According to an article from CBS News, published January 27, 2016, depression screening will be a routine part of health care. The new guidelines, issued by the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, a government advisory group, points to the fact that millions of Americans do not get depression treatment despite the fact they need it.
The depression screen guidelines were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Depression screening would involve healthcare providers, including addiction treatment centers, asking specific questions about certain symptoms, even if patients are admitted for a different reason. And screens will be administered even if a patient isn’t talking about depression. However, the guidelines are missing some important information that could help a person needing depression treatment. For instance, they do not include how often healthcare providers should screen. And what happens if a healthcare provider identifies someone who does have depression. Some experts are worried about the fact that many healthcare providers do not have the expertise or staffing to properly treat depression. Furthermore, many providers are already too busy and may feel burdened by the extra responsibility.
It’s very common for people seeking medical attention to experience symptoms of depression. In fact, according to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force, depression is the leading cause of disability in those 15 years or older. And according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 7% of American adults experience an episode of depression at least once each year. Someone diagnosed with depression might find that symptoms are interfering with their life. A person might not be able to attend school, go to work, or have meaningful relationships. And many women who have just given birth are vulnerable to post-partum depression, which come with the same risks as clinical depression. These risks include experiencing suicidal thoughts and even suicide attempts.
Because depression might eventually lead to a person taking their own life, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force is aiming to help save the lives of thousands of people. They hope to get more and more people into depression treatment in order to prevent suicide and loss.
For some people, depression can develop as a result of a recent experience, such as trauma or the loss of a loved one. For others, depression doesn’t have a trigger and instead results from an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. However, some people find that depression is relieved by changing one’s thoughts, indicating that a person’s thoughts and beliefs can contribute to depression. Furthermore, hormones can also play a role.
As already mentioned, depression screening may lead to more and more people getting the depression treatment they need. Depression treatment Centers can include cognitive behavioral therapy as well as medication, if needed. Often, a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and changes in a person’s lifestyle lead to the best results. However, doctors and mental health providers who work together can help ensure that a person is benefitting from the depression treatment they are receiving.
Experts are recognizing that there are too many people not getting the depression treatment they need. This new healthcare guideline may be the answer to saving lives and improving the mental health of Americans.
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