Depressive Disorders include the following three categories:
Major Depression: Interferes with ability to eat, sleep, work, study, or enjoy once-pleasurable activities. May occur once or recur frequently.
Dysthymia: Long-term, chronic symptoms, not disabling, but doesn’t feel good. May experience some major depression.
Bipolar Disorder: Cyclic mood changes between severe highs (mania) and severe lows (major depression). May be dramatic or gradual.
Depressive disorders affect about 16.5% of U.S. adults and 11.2% of adolescents. One in four women and one in ten men will suffer from depression at some point.
Depression results in more absenteeism than almost any other physical disorder and costs employers more than $51 billion per year in absenteeism and lost productivity, not including high medical and pharmaceutical bills. The total spent on antidepressants/antipsychotics in 2010 was $28 billion.
Depression destroys productivity, relationships, and quality of life. Unfortunately, 15% of severely depressed people will commit suicide, which is now the 4th leading cause of death among U.S. adults.
Though counseling has historically been used for depression, the increasing availability of pharmaceuticals has nearly eliminated it as a treatment choice.
Antidepressants (and antipsychotics) are now the most-prescribed class of drugs in the U.S., though recent studies increasingly show antidepressants fail to beat placebos and carry serious risks. One of the most dangerous side effects of antidepressant therapy, especially in adolescents, is increased risk of suicide. Nevertheless, depression “treatment” remains a very important and lucrative market, primarily due to the fact that antidepressant drugs usually must be taken for life.
Currently, 21% of women and 10% of men in the U.S. take an antidepressant.