a Peace & Harmony Blog

Depression – The Silent Killer

Depression is not all the same in every person, and It comes in many different ways; there will be times when someone feels lonely, hopeless, or sad and depressed. Clinical depression is the medical name for Major depression and can last as long as two years with disabling effects. Contrary to some beliefs, depression is not attached to one specific thing. You can have the best life with a bank account full of money and still suffer from depression. When you have major depression, it can prevent you from doing your usual daily routine. Everything becomes a chore. Regular activities you do daily will be impossible to complete. Getting out of bed will seem like torture. If left undiagnosed, major depression can go on for years. If left untreated, it can be life-threatening.

So many have struggled with long-term depression, substance abuse, and the stigma of mental illness. Those who suffer from Major depression become very good at masking and minimizing suffering from those around them. As a result, friends, coworkers, and even family members will have no idea how much you struggle in your day-to-day life. In addition, those who don’t respond to treatment may turn to substance abuse or may even commit suicide as a way to stop their pain and suffering. Knowing this could save a life, it is vital to know the symptoms of major depression and the signs of suicide.

Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand, and they feed off each other in the worst ways. There is always the worry that some personal catastrophe will happen and send a person suffering from depression and anxiety into the dark. There is always the fear that these dark episodes will be the final one that causes suicide.

In the Black community, mental health issues, more often than not, go undiagnosed. People of color have a higher rate than other racial groups. Due to the expectations that those in the African American community should exhibit strength and the mainstream stigma of mental illness, many will not reach out for help when they need it. In addition, add on the extreme stress from institutional and racial violence and substandard health care. The results can be catastrophic, leading to many who take their own lives.

Depression can make you feel hopeless and even worthless. It presents itself in many different ways. The people who care about you may also feel useless as time passes, and they see you suffer wave after wave of depression with seemingly no end in sight. Depression can hit hard anytime, and it is frustrating to see. One day your loved one is the person you always have known, and then the next, they can hardly pull themselves out of bed. Your loved one suffering from depression mustn’t see that you are frustrated and distraught over their illness. The pressure and upset they feel watching you be emotionally drained and worried about a disease they couldn’t control can make things worse.

Risk Factors to look for in Suicidal People

The following are risk factors for suicide, although just because a person may exhibit these factors does not always mean they are suicidal.

  •  Depression and other mental disorders and feeling alone,
  •  Substance abuse (often in combination with other mental illnesses)
  •  Firearms in the home
  •  Incarceration
  •  Previous suicide attempts
  •  Family violence, including physical, mental, or sexual abuse
  • Exposure to suicidal behavior from peers or family members

In Children and adolescents, major depression is a widespread condition that affects emotional, physical, and social development. Some risk factors may include but are not limited to a family history of depression, conflicted peer relationships, pessimistic thinking, dispute with parents, and deficits in coping skills. Up to 3% of children and 8% of adolescents in the U.S. suffer from depression. Depression is significantly more common in boys under age 10, but by age 16, girls have more significant depression. When diagnosing children, the same diagnostic criteria apply to them as adults.

The difference between children and adolescents may be that children tend to express irritability rather than a depressed or sad mood. The severity of the depression must be regarded as, for instance, developmental stage suicidality, social factors, and environment. Often weight loss may play a part and be considered a failure to reach weight goals.

Interpersonal and cognitive behavior therapy are recommended for mild depression and are suitable adjuvant treatments to medication in those with moderate to severe depression. For patients with moderate or severe depression, pharmacotherapy is recommended. Tricyclic antidepressants are not effective in children and adolescents. The boxed warning for increased risk of suicide on antidepressants; therefore, careful assessment, follow-up, safety planning, and patient and family education should be included when treatment is started.

Depression is a big issue in the LGBTQ + community, so much so that gay men are 3X more likely to have an eating disorder. In addition, somewhere between 30 and 60 percent of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, or transgender people deal with anxiety and depression at some point in their lives. That rate is 1.5 to 2.5 times higher than their straight or gender-conforming counterparts. It’s an extremely high number, and it raises many questions. While the full answer is undoubtedly complicated as to why you or your LGBTQ loved ones are more apt to struggle with anxiety or depression, here’s where context is key to understanding it for yourself. If you’re LGBTQ, I will wager a bet that you’re good at reading a situation to determine how much you can safely be yourself.

Unfortunately, this adaptive skill comes at a cost because it was developed in response to high levels of constant prejudice and discrimination. What can I do for myself or someone else? Treatment helps, but there is no guaranteed miracle cure for depression or anxiety, but getting treatment will make a difference. No single pill or session with a therapist can heal you, but it is a huge step in recognizing the signs in yourself for an episode and working through it before it spirals out of control.

You should take swift action if you suspect someone is on the verge of suicide. Some suicides can be prevented if you recognize suicidal warning signs. The first step in helping them is recognizing these signs and getting help immediately. The hardest thing to do during an episode of depression is holding onto hope. So let Peace & Harmony Counseling Services, LLC, experts in mental health and substance abuse, help you begin to heal and find hope again.

If you or someone you know is suffering and contemplating suicide, please call the Nation Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.