May is Mental Health Month
May 26, 2011
EAGLE COUNTY – Mental Health America, formerly the National Mental Health Association, has designated May as Mental Health Month. One in four Americans live with a diagnosable, treatable mental health condition and go on living full and productive lives.
This week’s article will focus on one of the most common mental illnesses, clinical depression. Depression causes people to lose pleasure from daily life, can complicate other medical conditions, and can even be serious enough to lead to suicide.
Although over 70 percent of individuals with depression have full remission with effective treatment and over 80 percent show improvement, less than half of those suffering from it seek treatment.
Could depression be affecting you? Everyone gets down from time to time, but sometimes it’s more than “the blues.”
Too many people believe that depression is a normal part of life’s ups and downs, rather than a real health problem. Understanding its symptoms , causes, and available treatments may help you decide if you are affected and how to get help.
If you experience five or more of the symptoms of depression for two weeks or longer, you may have depression. A doctor or mental health professional can confirm a diagnosis, explain possible causes, and most important, help you begin immediate treatment that leads to relief.
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Many things can contribute to clinical depression. For some people, several factors are involved, whereas for others a single one can cause the illness. Often people become depressed for no apparent reason.
Biological causes include having too little or too much of certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. People with specific thinking patterns and low self-esteem are more likely to develop depression. Clinical depression is more likely to occur with certain illnesses, such as heart disease, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and hormonal disorders. Side effects of some medications can bring about depression.
A family history of clinical depression increases the risk of developing the illness. Situational factors, such as difficult life events, financial problems, death of a loved one or any significant loss can all contribute.
Clinical depression is a real, common, and treatable mental health condition. Resources are readily available within our community, including doctors, mental health professionals, and mental health clinics. For more information on this topic or referrals to local services, visit http://www.mentalhealthamerica.org or contact Colorado West Mental Health in Vail at 970-476-0930, or in Eagle at 970-328-6969.