Still today in 2011 there is a stigma attached to Depression. It is because of this stigma, of being LABELED that still half the population who have been diagnosed or who have signs of depression will not or refuse to get help.
It is a lack of education about the disease, that fuels this stigma, a build up of fear of the unknown.
Depression in itself is a disease all on its own, however, it is also often a risk factor to other diseases and often a side effect to some medications. The following is taken from the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine; Prevalence, Treatment and Control of Depressive Symptoms in the United States: Results from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) 2005 – 2008
Primary care clinicians approach patients not as single disease or risk factors, but as whole persons, understanding that depression confers a direct burden of suffering but also complicates the management of various other chronic diseases or risk factors. For example, the epidemiologic evidence for an association between depression and cardiovascular risk is quite strong.[20,21] Depression prevalence is also higher among individuals with diabetes, and depression is correlated with poor glycemic control. Depression and metabolic syndrome are correlated as well, and each is an independent predictor of adverse cardiac outcomes.
Beyond considering depression as a risk factor, however, depression is also a disabling disease unto itself, accounting for disability, reduced quality of life, loss of work days, damage to relationships, and even suicide.[24,25] Although recognition of depression has improved, our data show that more than half of US adults with depressive symptoms are untreated, and 3 of 4 people with severe depressive symptoms are not taking antidepressant medications. Treatment to remission significantly reduces relapse rates in depression; however, almost half of people taking antidepressants have not achieved remission of depressive symptoms.
Following is an excerpt from the Journal with a link:
Prevalence, Treatment, and Control of Depressive Symptoms in the United States: Results from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2005–2008
Background: Depression remains a major public health problem that is most often evaluated and treated in primary care settings. The objective of this study was to examine the prevalence, treatment, and control of depressive symptoms in a national data sample using a common primary care screening tool for depression.
Methods: We analyzed a sample of adults (n = 4836) from 2005 to 2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9) to determine the overall prevalence, rates of treatment, and antidepressant control of mild, moderate, moderately severe, and severe depressive symptoms.
Results: Of the sample, 20.1% reported significant depressive symptoms (PHQ-9) score, ≥5), the majority of whom had mild depressive symptoms (PHQ-9) score, 5–9). Even among individuals with severe depressive symptoms, a large percentage (36.9%) received no treatment from a mental health professional or with antidepressant medication. Of those taking antidepressants, 26.4% reported mild depressive symptoms and 18.8% had moderate, moderately severe, or severe depressive symptoms.
Conclusions: Despite greater awareness and treatment of depression in primary care settings, the prevalence of depressive symptoms remains high, treatment levels remain low, and control of depressive symptoms are suboptimal. Primary care providers need to continue to focus their efforts on diagnosing and effectively treating this important disease.
I suggest you go and read the discussion part of the article as it shows there is a long way to go in this fight. They use an analogy with High Blood Pressure that seems quite fitting.
Here is a link to the discussion page:
Have a Great Day!