• Depression and Suicide

    Posted on December 22, 2011 by Cynthia Gossman in Suicide.

    An estimated 19 million Americans suffer from depression.
    Clinical depression is not a temporary case of the “blues.” People with depression may experience recurrent episodes of depression that can last anywhere from a few hours to a few months.

    Depression is present if at least five or more of the following symptoms are present during a two-week period; at least one of the symptoms must be either depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities.

    • Depressed mood
    • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
    • Change in appetite or weight
    • Change in sleeping patterns
    • Speaking and/or moving with unusual speed or slowness
    • Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
    • Decrease in sexual drive
    • Fatigue or loss of energy
    • Feelings of worthlessness, self-reproach or guilt
    • Diminished ability to think or concentrate, slowed thinking or indecisiveness
    • Thoughts of death, suicide, or wishes to be dead

    Additional factors that point to an increased risk for suicide in depressed individuals are:

    • Anxiety, agitation, or enraged behavior
    • Isolation
    • Drug and/or alcohol use or abuse
    • History of physical or emotional illness
    • Feelings of hopelessness or desperation

    Facts About Depression

    • Women suffer from depression twice as much as men. This two-to-one ratio exists regardless of racial and ethnic background or economic status.
    • Depression in people 65 and older increases the risk of stroke and other medical complications.
    • The economic cost of depressive illnesses is $30 million to $44 billion a year.
    • More Americans (19 million) suffer from depression than coronary heart disease (12 million), cancer (10 million), and HIV/AIDS (1 million).
    • Even though effective treatments are available, only one in three depressed people gets help.

    Depression and Suicide

    • Although most depressed people are not suicidal, two-thirds of those who die by suicide suffer from a depressive illness.
    • About 15 percent of the population will suffer from depression at some time during their life. Thirty percent of all depressed inpatients attempt suicide.

    Medical Illness and Depression

    • Researchers believe that after an initial attack of severe depression 70 percent of people are vulnerable to another episode.
    • The following illnesses are commonly associated with later-life depression: cancer, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.
    • Research shows that depression and heart disease often accompany each other and that each can lead to the other. While roughly one in six people have an episode of major depression, the number goes to one in two for people with heart disease.
    • About 25 percent of cancer patients suffer from clinical depression.
    • Depression in people 65 and older increases the risk of stroke and other medical complications.
    • Nearly eight out of ten patients with depressive illness will improve through treatment with medicine and psychotherapy.

    Prevent suicide through early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses.

     Figures from the National Center for Health Statistics for the year 2005.

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