Clinical Depression Screening Important to Overall Health


As cooler weather and shorter days creep in, your thoughts may naturally look ahead to the approaching winter months. One thing you might not realize about this time of year is that it also coincides with National Depression Screening Day (NDSD), held during Mental Health Awareness Week each October. The goal of NDSD is to call attention to the illness of depression on a national level, educate the public about its symptoms and effective treatments, and offer individuals the opportunity to be screened for depression.

Clinical depression is a common medical condition affecting more than 19 million American adults each year. Depression screenings can be a routine part of health care exams, just like testing for heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. The symptoms of clinical depression are sometimes mistakenly believed to be a normal part of life, which is why proper testing is critical.

Clinical depression affects men and women of all ages, races, and socioeconomic groups. Statistics show that one in four women and one in 10 men will experience depression at some point during their lifetime. It is believed that as many as two-thirds of those suffering from this illness do not seek the necessary treatment, which can complicate other medical conditions if depression is occurring at the same time.

Reasons to seek a depression screening

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Restlessness or irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

More than 80 percent of all cases of clinical depression can be effectively treated with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Because screenings are often the first step in getting help, consider being screened for clinical depression if you are experiencing any of the above symptoms.

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