Robin Williams 1951-2014

While the tragic death of a cultural icon can raise widespread awareness, it is important to know that depression is a global issue and that there is help for those affected.   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 9% of American adults suffer from depression, or chronic feelings of hopelessness, despondency, or isolation. The World Health Organization (WHO) considers the condition a global epidemic with over 350 million people—5% of the world’s population—suffering globally. Depression can be a facet of a larger condition or circumstance such as post-traumatic stress disorder or substance abuse, or it can be the primary diagnosis itself. Depression is involved in more than two-thirds of the suicides that occur in the United States every year and

is the leading cause of disability in Americans between ages 15 and 44. While there are effective treatments for depression, less than half of those affected receive help. Lack of resources or trained health care professionals, as well as a social stigma around mental illness leaves many feeling helpless and lost. With a combination of medication and psychotherapy more than 80% of patients show improvement, though treatment can be as varied as the causes. The high cost of care is just another barrier for some already feeling overwhelmed and stigmatized. Finding Help on NeedyMeds On a previous blog post, we shared our Patient Assistance Program listings and Major Depression Resource Page as ways to help bring down medication costs and find assistance. We also have information…

Major depression, also commonly referred to as clinical depression, is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States. Major depression, including major depressive disorder, manic depression, and dysthymia, affect more than 19 million Americans a year. Almost two-thirds of those with depression are women. The symptoms of clinical depression vary, but common symptoms include persistent sad or anxious mood, sleeping issues, reduced appetite, irritability, fatigue, and thoughts of suicide among others. From Mental Health America, “Depression causes people to lose pleasure from daily life, can complicate other medical conditions, and can even be serious enough to lead to suicide.”   There are many causes of major depression, and each case is different. “For some people, a number of factors seem to be involved, while for

others a single factor can cause the illness. Oftentimes, people become depressed for no apparent reason.” One common reason is biological, having too many or too few neurotransmitters in the brain. However, genetics, medication side effects, and cognitive problems (i.e. “negative thinking patterns and low self-esteem”) can also trigger depression. Treatment for clinical depression is different for everyone, being that each case has its own set of causes and symptoms. For many people treatment is quite effective. According to the Mental Health America, “Clinical depression is very treatable, with more than 80% of those who seek treatment showing improvement.” The two most common treatments are medication and psychotherapy.   Finding Help on NeedyMeds If you need assistance affording a medication, the first…