Monday, February 1, 2016

Screening For Depression

Mental Health

“Highly sensitive individuals are those born with a tendency to notice more in their environment and deeply reflect on everything before acting, as compared to those who notice less and act quickly and impulsively. As a result, sensitive people, both children and adults, tend to be emphatic, smart, intuitive, creative, careful, and conscientious…”
Dr. Elaine Aron, The Highly Sensitive Child: 
Helping Our Children Thrive When the World Overwhelms Them (2002)

Unwell Being: “La tristesse durera toujours.” [The sadness will last forever.] ― Vincent van Gogh
Image Credit: ©
SourceScientific American

Elizabeth Lees of Scientific American reports on a recommendation made in the United States, which says that all adults, including pregnant women, should be screened for depression by their family physicians. In “All US Adults Should Be Screened for Depression, Panel Recommends” (January 27, 2015), Lees writes:
This recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) is largely consistent with the group’s previous recommendation, which was issued in 2009, said Karina Davidson, a member of the task force and a professor at Columbia University Medical Center. However, at the time the previous recommendation was made, there was not enough evidence for the group to either recommend or discourage depression screening for pregnant and postpartum women, she said. 
Depression, a disability of the mind that also affects the body, is the most common mental-health problem in the United States. About 16 percent of the American population (one in six individuals) has suffered depression at some point in their lives, and 6.7 percent (one in 14 individuals) has suffered a bout of major depression in the last year. This equals 15.7-million adults, half of whom received no treatment; and of those receiving treatment less than one-quarter of those diagnosed (21 percent) received treatment in accordance with guidelines set by the American Psychiatric Association. (In Canada, 8 percent of the adult population, or about 1.5 million adults had a major depressive episode.)

Other stats to consider: 1) women are 70 percent more likely than men to suffer depression; 2) the average age of onset is 32; 3) a greater prevalence of depression was found in the southeastern states; and 4) depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, reports the World Health Organization, with an estimated 350 million persons of all ages suffering depression. This equals approximately 4.8 percent of the current world’s population of 7.3 billion people.

Another question worth pursuing is whether it is also possible and necessary to conduct early screening on children, since the numbers are similar to that of adults. There is sufficient knowledge that antidepressant drugs are not as effective for adolescents as they are for adults. In effect, children are not little adults but require as a group individual research on effective treatments. Current methods of treatment focus on psychotherapy, the two most widely used being cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), both conforming to what are called evidence-based treatment approaches.

Well, there might be too much evidence, and not enough love, hope and beauty. And not enough simple acts of kindness. The world feels deeply fractured and alienated, awash in haughty indifference (a form of hate) and passive rhetoric (a form of cruelty). Where is the hope when people are not present? Yet they still demand more. Absence makes the heart grow colder. A few bear the burden, feeling a reality that is unreal, callous, unbearable. “Don’t worry; be happy.” I wish it were so easy. “La tristesse durera toujours.” For the few, courage is getting out of bed and doing what is necessary for others. With angry tears and, more often than not, a warm broken heart.

For more, go to [ScientAmer]

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