Facts About Mood and Anxiety
There are several types of depression - major depression,
dysthymia, bipolar depression, and Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Clinical depression or major depression is a serious and
common disorder of mood that is pervasive, intense and attacks
the mind and body at the same time. Current theories indicate
that clinical depression may be associated with an imbalance of
chemicals in the brain that carry communications between nerve
cells that control mood and other bodily systems. Other factors
may also come into play, such as negative life experiences
including stress or loss, medication, other medical illnesses,
and certain personality traits and genetic factors.
Symptoms of depression:
- Persistent sad, anxious or empty mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities
- Decreased energy, a feeling of fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Restlessness or irritability
- Inability to sleep or oversleeping
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Dysthymia is a
milder form of depression that lasts two years or more. It is
the second most common type of depression but because people
with dysthymia may only have two or three symptoms, may be
overlooked and go undiagnosed and untreated.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
is a type of depression that follows seasonal rhythms,
with symptoms occurring in the winter months and diminishing in
spring and summer. Current research indicates that the absence
of sunlight triggers a biochemical reaction that may cause
symptoms such as loss of energy, decreased activity, sadness,
and excessive eating and sleeping. (See SAD
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depression, is a type
of mental illness that involves a disorder of affect or mood.
The person's mood usually swings between overly "high" or
irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, with periods
of normal mood in between.
- Extreme irritability and distractibility
- Excessive "high" or euphoric feelings
- Increased energy, activity, restlessness
- Racing thoughts, rapid speech
- Decreased need for sleep
- Unrealistic beliefs in one's abilities and powers
- Increased sexual drive
- Abuse of drugs or alcohol
- Reckless behavior such as spending sprees, rash business
decisions, or erratic driving
- In severe cases, hallucinations and loss of reason
Mental health specialists refer to bipolar disorder by type:
Type I bipolar disorder involves extreme upswings in mood
(mania) coupled with downward spirals. In Type II, the upward
swings are more mild (hypomania), but the frequency and
intensity of the depressive phase is often severe. Since the
elevated mood states of Type II are relatively mild, they are
often missed and the bipolar nature of the illness goes
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by
excessive, unrealistic worry that lasts six months or more. In
adults, the anxiety may focus on issues such as health, money,
or career. In addition to chronic worry, GAD symptoms include
trembling, muscular aches, insomnia, abdominal upsets,
dizziness, and irritability.
- Excessive worry about everyday things that interferes
with daily functioning
- Physical symptoms such as sweating, nausea, clammy hands
- Associated with higher risk for suicide
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a complex health condition
that can develop in response to a traumatic experience - a
life-threatening or extremely distressing situation that causes
a person to feel intense fear, horror or a sense of
- Re-experiencing the event through intrusive thoughts or
- Avoiding conversations or situations that remind the
sufferer of the event
- A sense of detachment
- Irritability, anxiousness, hypervigilance
- Outbursts of anger
About Mood and Anxiety Disorders
- In the United States, depression affects nearly 7% of
men (6 million men).
- Four times as many men as women die by suicide in the
- Men often deal with depression by withdrawing from
others and throwing themselves into their work, engaging in
risky or dangerous behavior, and/or becoming angry,
frustrated and abusive.
- It remains unclear whether depression is actually less
common among men, or if men are just less likely to
recognize and acknowledge the symptoms than women.
- Women 18 to 45 years of age account for the largest
proportion of people suffering from depression.
- Twenty to 40 percent of menstruating women experience
premenstrual mood and behavioral changes.
- Approximately 2 to 10 percent of women experience
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, a severe form of
premenstrual syndrome that is characterized by severely
impairing behavior and mood changes.
- In one major study, 100 percent of women who had
experienced severe childhood sexual abuse developed
depression later in life.
- Although bipolar disorder is equally common in women and
men, research indicates that approximately three times as
many women as men experience rapid cycling.
- Other research findings indicate that women with bipolar
disorder may have more depressive episodes and more mixed
episodes than do men with the illness.
- As many as 10 percent to 15 percent of women experience
a clinical depression during pregnancy or after the birth of
- There is a three-fold increase in risk of depression
during or following a pregnancy among women with a history
of mood disorders. Once a woman has experienced a postpartum
depression, her risk of having another reaches 70 percent.
- As many as 80 percent of women experience the
"postpartum blues," a brief period of mood symptoms that is
considered normal following childbirth.
Depressive Illness and Latinos:
- According to a 1997 National Ambulatory Medical Care
Survey, the number of Latinos diagnosed with a depressive
illness increased 72.9% since 1992 .
- A recent study found that Latinos are disproportionately
diagnosed as having major depression compared with the other
ethnic groups .
- Latinos are more likely to present "somatic" symptoms of
depression, like body aches and nervousness .
- In the year 2002, 37% of Latinos were uninsured - nearly
twice the rate as Caucasians .
- About 2% of school-aged children (i.e. children 6-12
years of age) appear to have a major depression at any one
time. With adolescence, girls, for the first time, have a
higher rate of depression than boys. This greater risk for
depression in women persists for the rest of life.
Depression is diagnosable before school age (i.e. ages 2-5)
where it is somewhat more rare but definitely occurs.
Overall, approximately 20% of youth will have one or more
episodes of major depression by the time they become adults.
- Bipolar disorder is more likely to affect the children
of parents who have the disorder. When one parent has
bipolar disorder, the risk to each child is estimated to be
15-30%. When both parents have bipolar disorder, the risk
increases to 50-75%.
- According to the American Academy of Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry, up to one-third of the 3.4 million
children and adolescents with depression in the United
States may actually be experiencing the early onset of
- About 4% of teenagers have major depressive disorder (MDD)
at any one time. Among teens, girls are more often affected
than boys. MDD frequently interferes with home, school and
family life, including causing a lot of family stress.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teenagers,
with about half of these associated with depression. This
makes depression a common and serious illness that is
important to identify and treat early in the course of the
- Up to 90% of bipolar disorders start before age 20.
- Depression in its many forms affects more than 6.5
million of the 35 million Americans who are 65 years or
- Symptoms in older persons may differ somewhat from
symptoms in other populations. Depression in older people is
often characterized by memory problems, confusion, social
withdrawal, loss of appetite, inability to sleep,
irritability, and, in some cases, delusions and
- Somatic symptoms of depressive disorders, such as aches
and pains, can sometimes be obscured by other physical
problems in older adults.
- Adult Caucasians who have either depression or an
anxiety disorder are more likely to receive treatment than
adult African Americans with the same disorders even though
the disorders occur in both groups at about the same rate,
taking into account socioeconomic factors.
- More than 2.5 million African Americans have bipolar
- According to the 2001 Surgeon General's report on mental
health, the prevalence of mental disorders is believed to be
higher among African-Americans than among whites, and
African Americans are more likely than whites to use the
emergency room for mental health problems.
- African Americans with depression were less likely to
receive treatment than whites (16 percent compared to 24
- Only 26 percent of African-Americans with diagnosed
generalized anxiety disorder received treatment for their
disorder compared to 39 percent of whites with a similar
diagnosis, according to the 2001 Surgeon General's report on
- Preschool children of depressed mothers have been
reported to have lower social competence.
- School age and adolescent children of depressed parents
have more difficulty relating to peers, higher rates of
depression and anxiety, and increased rates of disruptive
- Sons of depressed fathers show decreased levels of
- An estimated 70 percent of adults in the United States
have experienced a traumatic event at least once in their
lives, and up to 20 percent of these people go on to develop
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD.
- An estimated 5 percent of Americans - more than 13
million people - have PTSD at any given time.
- Approximately 8 percent of all adults - one of 13 people
in this country - will develop PTSD during their lifetime.
- An estimated one out of 10 women will get PTSD at some
time in their lives. Women are about twice as likely as men
to develop PTSD. This may be due to the fact that women tend
to experience interpersonal violence (such as domestic
violence, rape or abuse) more often than men.
- Almost 17 percent of men and 13 percent of women have
experienced more than three traumatic events in their lives.
- Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability
(lost years of productive life) in North America, Europe
and, increasingly, in the world. By 2020, Major Depressive
illness will be the leading cause of disability in the world
for women and children.
- Mental illnesses strike individuals in the prime of
their lives, often during adolescence and young adulthood.
All ages are susceptible, but the young and the old are
- 10-15% of all depressions are triggered by other medical
conditions (such as thyroid disease, cancer or neurologic
problems) or by medications. The use of drugs and alcohol
can also cause depression.
- The lifetime prevalence of Major Depressive Disorder is
16.2% (32.6-35.1 million US adults) and the one year
prevalence is 6.6% (13.1-14.2 million US adults).
- Bipolar Disorder is often missed, with delays in
diagnosis of 8-10 years.
- About 2.8% of the U.S. population (4 million Americans)
has Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) during a year's time.
GAD most often strikes people in childhood or adolescence,
but can begin in adulthood, too. It affects women more often
- PTSD can occur at any age and symptoms can occur even
years after the trauma.