Depression is much more common than many people realize. With everything going on in the world right now, now is a good time to check in with the state of your mental health. Critical self-exams can be for the prevention or early detection of physical and mental health ailments. Both men and women can benefit from taking the time this month to think about whether they or someone they love may be at risk for depression.
The Link Between Biological Disease and Mental Disease
Cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity are among the leading biological diseases where checkups save lives. Scheduling regular wellness appointments with your healthcare provider and administering self-checks can reduce your odds of becoming sick. But what about mental diseases? After all, the risk of clinical depression is often higher in individuals with serious medical conditions.
Depression co-occurs with many other illnesses and medical conditions, including:
- Cancer: 25% of cancer patients experience depression.
- Strokes: 10-27% of post-stroke patients experience depression.
- Heart attacks: 1 in 3 heart attack survivors experience depression.
- Eating disorders: 33-50% of anorexia patients have a comorbid mood disorder, such as depression.
- Diabetes: 1/3 of persons with diabetes experience depression.
It is thought that medical disorders may contribute biologically to depression. Some people may also become clinically depressed as a psychological reaction to the prognosis, pain, and/or incapacity caused by an illness or its treatment. Symptoms of depression are frequently masked by these other medical illnesses, resulting in treatment that addresses the symptoms but not the underlying depression.
Depression Can Affect You, Too
Most people are reactive when it comes to their health; they seek out information when they are already suffering. “It won’t happen to me,” also known as the optimism bias, causes us to disregard the reality of a situation because we think we are excluded from the potential negative effects.
However, depression has no bias. It does not discriminate based on age, race, gender, sexual orientation, or income. Depression is the most common mental health disorder and the leading cause of worldwide disability.
Consider these alarming depression statistics:
- Depression affects over 300 million people worldwide.
- 1 in 5 Americans will be impacted by mental illness during their lifetimes.
- 1 in 10 Americans (approximately 18 million adults) are affected by depression in any given year.
- Depression is the primary reason why someone dies of suicide about every 12 minutes – over 44,000 people per year. (For comparison, homicide claims less than 16,000 lives each year.)
Self-Checks for Mental Health
Early detection is key when it comes to treatment. Self-screenings and the “I Touch Myself” project have helped raise awareness, encourage body positivity, and save lives when it comes to spotting treatable diseases early – but it’s not as simple with mental health.
For this reason, Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles uses a digital Patient Health Questionnaire known as the PHQ-9, which is a widely respected tool for measuring major depression. This two-minute depression assessment asks 10 questions pertinent to your mental health. While all responses are confidential, the KCLA staff interprets scores and reaches out to you based on the findings.
Only a medical professional can diagnose you with a mental health disorder, but Ketamine Clinics Los Angeles hopes this tool can serve as a conversation starter when it comes to seeking treatment. The diagnosis of depression is missed 50% of the time in primary care settings. By filling out this screening test, you are one step closer to determining the severity of your condition, which means better treatment and faster healing.