Depression is one of the most common mental disorders affecting society. Depression can result in severe impairments that can impact your ability to function normally on a daily basis.
- Depression is defined by the National Institute of Mental Health as a period of a least 2 weeks when a person experiences a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities, and had a majority of specified symptoms, such as problems with sleep, eating, energy, concentration, or self worth.
- In the last 25 years, there has been an explosion of research concerning hemispheric brain asymmetries as they relate to certain dimensions of emotion, personality, and psychopathology. A substantial number of electroencephalographic (EEG) studies have found a link between hemispheric asymmetry in frontal regions of the cortex and depressive symptoms.
EEG Brain Scans Can be Used to Aid in the Diagnosis of Depression:
(Ryan Thibodeau, et al. Depression, Anxiety, and Resting Frontal EEG Asymmetry: A Meta-Analytic Review, Journal of Abnormal Psychology 2006, Vol. 115, No. 4, 715–729)
- This meta-analyses examined 26 different studies, with 1,673 participants ranging from 12-64 years of age.
- F3/F4 Alpha brain wave ratio was used as an indicator of depression. Values outside of normal (.8-1.2) were suggestive of depression illness.
If the brain scan is showing data consistent with depression illness, then a follow up Patient Health Questionnaire (PGH-9) will be administered to further corroborate the findings. A physician will make the final diagnosis.
Prevalence (Statistics provided by the National Institute of Mental Health)
- Adults: In 2017, 17.3 million adults in the US had a least one major depressive episode. Of those 35% did not receive any treatment.
- 18-25 year-olds had the highest incidence of having a major depressive episode at 13.1%.
- Adolescents (12-17yrs) had an incidence of depression at 13.3% with 9.4% having a major depressive episode.
- 60.1% of adolescents reported receiving NO Treatment.
- Someone with depression may also suffer from an anxiety disorder or vice versa. Nearly 50% of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.
- In 2017, 10.7% of all adolescents have “felt sad or hopeless for two or more weeks and stopped performing their usual activities.”
- Bullying: Among parents of school-age children (5-17yrs), 24.6% reported that their child has been bullied on school property and 11.7% reported their child was cyberbullied.
- Johnson County has the highest incidence of bullying among the 4 KC counties at 26.9%.
- Stresses that impact a child’s healthy growth and development reported in KC, almost all of which have increased by 50% since 2015:
- Financial Strife: 27.3%
- Parental Separation/Divorce: 24.8%
- Household Mental Illness: 15.2%
- Parental Domestic Violence: 10.7%
Mental Health Concerns on the Rise in US and Kansas City (Statistics taken from the Kansas City Medical Society Pub, 3rd Quarter, 2019 Page 17)
- 56%: Rate at which suicide increased among 10-19 year-olds from 2017-2016, replacing homicide as the number one cause of death among youth.
- 33%: Suicide rate increase among all ages between 1999 and 2017 up from 10.5 to 14.0 people per 100,000.
- 1 out of 8 emergency department visits involve mental health and substance abuse.
- Kansas 36th and Missouri is 32nd in ranking among US states in access to mental health care, based on access to insurance, access to treatment, quality and cost of insurance, access to special education, and workforce availability.
- 11.7% of Kansas City Youth have been diagnosed with depression, more than doubling the 5.5% rate in 2015.
A physician is responsible for making the final diagnosis of depression. The physician will often use Depression Questionnaires, and a subjective interview to make a clinical diagnosis based on the responses.
Common Signs and Symptoms (According to the National Institute of Mental Health)
- Persistently sad, anxious, or having an “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
Causes of Depression
Depression is an extremely complex disease, and it can occur for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to, genetics, brain chemistry, personality and life events.
There is nothing to be ashamed of when asking for help. Emotional issues or coping difficulties do not reflect personal weakness. If you or someone you know needs help, then reach out and get in contact with a local physician who can help.
Depression is highly treatable, and it can be addressed with therapies, medications, and procedures by a variety of specialists. New and innovative treatments by a psychiatrist/doctor are available and can provide individualized treatment strategies based upon each patient’s unique features.