Can You Prevent Depression?

Can You Prevent Depression?

New research indicates serious depression can be prevented. The United States healthcare system needs to do more to offer screenings and to teach prevention techniques.

Ways to Prevent Depression

According to an American Psychologist article published in the May-June 2012 issue healthcare providers should offer regular screenings for depression, just as they offer other preventive services like vaccines. Many people in the medical community are unaware of how effectively depression can be prevented, and more needs to be done to give people adequate treatment for depression.

Authors of the American Psychologist article note the primary method for helping individuals avoid a major depressive episode is to teach them the mood-altering techniques already used by individuals experiencing major depression. These techniques are often used in talk therapy programs, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, and include strategies like identifying the real reasons behind irritability or anger.

What Is a Major Depressive Episode?

A major depressive episode can include many symptoms, such as depressed mood and loss of interest in daily activities, according to the American Psychiatric Association’s proposed Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, version 5 (DSM-5). The proposed version set to publish in 2013 notes the following symptoms:

  • Feelings of sadness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Noticeably less interest or pleasure in almost all activities
  • Body weight changes of more than five percent in a month
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Motor activity increases or decreases
  • Feelings of fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt
  • Lowered ability to concentrate and make decisions
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Suicide Attempts

These symptoms must be present for at least two weeks, must last most of the day and must include five of the above nine criteria in order to be classified as a major depressive episode.

Future Strategies for Treating Depression

Authors of the American Psychologist article make several recommendations for treating depression. They note that scientific research shows 22 percent to 38 percent of major depressive episodes could be averted with currently available methods.

Medical professionals in the United States and worldwide should learn to identify high-risk groups and test evidence-based interventions that will have the widest reach.

Looking for Depression Treatment?

Depression is a serious illness that can be treated with talk therapy programs and medication. If you are looking for a program to treat depression, please call our toll-free number. We help individuals overcome mental health issues and provide emotional and physical support for recovery. We are available 24 hours a day to offer information and advice, so call now.