Depression is often referred to as a silent killer. The stigma associated with depression leads many people to remain undiagnosed. Yet, the number of people suffering from depression is higher than most people want to admit. The World Health Organization came out with a study saying that the number one illness in the world is depression. Acknowledging the depth of the problem is the first step in helping to correct it. Depression doesn’t have to be a battle fought in the darkness. There is hope for the millions of people worldwide suffering with depression.
World Health Organization Study on Depression
The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a study in which it determined that over 300 million people worldwide are living with depression. This represents an 18% increase from 2005 to 2015. Sadly, fewer than 50% of people living with depression receive treatment.
This lack of diagnosis and treatment is responsible for a reduced quality of life for patients. It also has a significant economic impact on both individuals and governments. Dr. Shekhar Saxena, Director of the World Health Organization’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, discussed the impact of depression with the New York Daily News. In an interview, he stated that “the worldwide inattention to mental health doesn’t make any dollars or sense. The WHO estimates depression and anxiety fuel a global loss of roughly $1 trillion associated with lost productivity, people being unable to work and health care expenses.”
While it may seem that depression has jumped to the top of the list of illnesses overnight, that is not the case. In reality, depression has hovered around number 1 or 2 on the list since 2010. In the U.S. alone, approximately 16.1 million adults experienced at least one depressive episode in the past year. While there is no singular cause for depression, those who have undergone extremely stressful situations, such as abuse, chronic illness, war, or natural disasters are at higher risk of developing major depressive disorder.
The goal of the WHO is to help increase awareness of depression and reduce the harmful effects. When individuals with depression are diagnosed and treated, the harmful symptoms can be reduced or eliminated, thereby improving quality of life for both the patient and their loved ones. It can also help reduce the economic drain caused by lost productivity at work and increased medical costs.
What Can Be Done?
While the numbers may seem daunting, there is hope for patients suffering from depression. The first step in getting help is getting an appropriate diagnosis. Once they are diagnosed they can begin receiving help. Patients can receive support by confiding in loved ones who can help them through the process.
Psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy can be beneficial. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) includes talk therapy as an effective treatment for major depressive disorder. The DBSA website explains how talk therapy works by stating, “A good therapist can help you cope with feelings and symptoms, and change behavior patterns that may contribute to your illness. Talk therapy is not just “talking about your problems”; it is also working toward solutions. Some therapy may involve homework, such as tracking your moods, writing about your thoughts, or participating in social activities that have caused anxiety in the past. You might be encouraged to look at things in a different way or learn new ways to react to events or people.”
Antidepressants are another possible solution for treating depression. They are typically prescribed for moderate to severe depression. The Mayo Clinic explains the way that antidepressants, also known as SSRIs, help, stating, “SSRIs ease depression by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is one of the chemical messengers (neurotransmitters) that carry signals between brain cells. SSRIs block the reabsorption (reuptake) of serotonin in the brain, making more serotonin available. SSRIs are called selective because they seem to primarily affect serotonin, not other neurotransmitters.”
While they are effective, antidepressants aren’t for everyone. Some people experience extreme side effects, others are resistant to SSRIs and don’t experience relief of symptoms. For these patients, alternative therapies are recommended.
One such alternative treatment is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS). TMS is safe, and provides symptom relief in two thirds of patients. It also has fewer side effects than SSRIs, making it a smart choice for patients looking to treat their depression. An article in Science Daily highlighted the benefits of TMS for patients dealing with depression, asserting, “psychiatric researchers at Rush University Medical Center have found the non-invasive, non-drug therapy to be an effective, long-term treatment for major depression.”
TMS for Relief from Depression
If you are interested in learning more about Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) the caring staff at Strive TMS can answer your questions. They can help you determine if TMS is right for you.
For further questions contact Strive TMS (strivetms.com) by calling:
801-494-1922 (Utah Residents)
702-291-2967 (Nevada Residents)