Depression: Why Is It Not Being Diagnosed?

Mental Health

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder

It is normal to feel down sometimes, be in a bad mood or maybe experience a period of sadness after a tragic life event. However, many people are depressed, and although they may suspect they are depressed they are not being diagnosed or treated.

According to Healthline, 80 percent of individuals affected by depression do not receive treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates more than 300 million people worldwide (all ages) suffer from depression. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) says in 2014 approximately 15.7 million adults (ages 18 and older) in the U.S.“ had experienced at least one major depressive episode.”  

What are some symptoms of depression?

  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities

  • Thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts

For a full list of symptoms read here.

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends adults (18 years and older) be screened for depression during primary care visits, but statistics show depression is often overlooked.

A study conducted by Rutgers University found less than five percent of adults were screened for depression during primary care visits despite the recommendation from USPSTF.

There are some conditions like obesity, diabetes and hypertension where screening for depression should always be done.   

Latest finds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say 43 percent of adults with depression are obese. It’s hard to say which comes first, the obesity or the depression? Does being depressed cause obesity, or does being obese cause depression? We may not know the answer, but several studies show people who have a healthier weight have a lower risk of suffering from depression.

Studies show having diabetes increases your risk for depression. It’s also possible people with depression are more likely to develop diabetes. This makes sense considering some depressed people may be more likely to lead an unhealthy lifestyle with a poor diet and lack of an exercise program.  According to the American Diabetes Association, one of the reasons could be due to the stresses of daily diabetes management.

Some research even suggests depression is common in patients with uncontrolled hypertension.

Clearly, we cannot separate our mental health from our physical health. Depression may be the result of or cause chronic health problems. Ignore the perceived stigma of mental disorders, and be open to discussing symptoms of depression with your doctor so it can be properly diagnosed and treated.  

Enjoy your healthy life!

The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, health care attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here.


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