Perspective is a funny thing and depending on whom you ask will largely account for the answer you receive. Some people will tell you that we are currently immersed in the greatest time to be alive in our history on this planet. Technology is constantly breaking down boundaries and borders; seemingly turning the impossible into the possible. We can go faster, we can go further, and we know more about the world around us than ever before. Sounds pretty great right? Well, that’s one perspective.
On the inverse, many people might tell you that we are amidst crisis and our living in turbulent times. Politically, the country has never been so divided in any of our recollections. Wars are being waged across the globe for reasons that most of us either disagree with or simply don’t understand. The cost of living is on the rise, and sadly, not always in proportion to what we earn. And while many diseases, ailments, and conditions are on the decline, much more seem to be in a state of influx. And of these growing health concerns, perhaps none is more prevalent than the alarming rate of mental health conditions being diagnosed. However, it might be a little more complicated than that.
As we mentioned, perspective is a funny thing, and this notion can be applied to the current state of mental health in this country. Some might argue that mental health concerns are on the rise as a result of the troubled times we live in. The government, the media, the pressures we face – all of these in some form or another have been suggested as a link to a decline in mental health. However, others might argue that it isn’t a growing number of people with mental health concerns; rather, it is that these conditions are finally being recognized.
While it cannot be argued that the exploration, study and ultimate acceptance of mental health issues by the general population has increased, the mere fact of that should be a point of concern. For simply because an ailment isn’t formally diagnosed doesn’t mean that it isn’t present. And to that note, the statistics surrounding mental health in this country are alarming.
61,500,000 is the number of American’s who experience a mental health disorder in the course of a year – that’s a ratio of 1 in 4 people. Roughly 10 percent of young Americans ages 12-17 reported having at least one major depressive episode in the last 12 months, with 64% receiving no treatment. And while it would be easy to sit here and regurgitate statistics surrounding mental health, its current state in this country can be summed up simply – with the diagnosis of these disorders and conditions on the rise, so needs to increase the level and access to treatment. Sadly, this isn’t happening as quickly as it should.
The category of what constitutes a mental health condition is broad and varied. Suicide, schizophrenia, eat disorders, anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and much more are being diagnosed at a rate that health care professionals simply cannot keep up with. And while there are certainly dozens of mental health conditions that we know of, perhaps none are rising as quickly as depressive disorders; mainly, persistent depressive disorder or dysthymia.
According to Dr. Steve Bressert, Ph.D., “The essential feature of persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia) is a depressed mood that occurs for most of the day, for more days than not, for at least 2 years (at least 1 year for children and adolescents). This disorder represents a consolidation of DSM-IV-defined chronic major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder. Major depression may precede persistent depressive disorder, and major depressive episodes may occur during the persistent depressive disorder. Individuals whose symptoms meet major depressive disorder criteria for 2 years should be given a diagnosis of persistent depressive disorder as well as major depressive disorder.”
In other words, PPD is a long term, chronic depressive state that can often leave the sufferer so accustomed to said depressive state that it becomes the new “norm” for them, ultimately forgetting what it is like to feel any other way. Thankfully, there is hope and there is treatment; but in order to receive it, a person must first be diagnosed. It is for that reason we are writing this today.
While many of the stigmas surround mental health have been broken down leading to a more general public acceptance, some still exist. Often, it is a lack of education and knowledge on these topics that can leave thousands of sufferers with no relief, simply because they don’t know anything is wrong.
So with public health in mind, and the well-being of millions across the country, allows us to present to you 10 of the most common symptoms associated with the persistent depressive disorder. Our hope is that this will not only help educate you and potentially lead to treatment, but for those who already knowingly have been diagnosed realize, they are not alone.
One of the most common symptoms of a depressive disorder is a lack of sleep or an inability to sleep. It should also be noted that while having a sleep disorder does not in itself cause depression, a lack of sleep can certainly add to it.
Sleep is a vital part of staying healthy, both physically and mentally. Sleep is a time of rejuvenation for the body and a time of consolidation for the mind. However, you need only ask a person with PPD to know that sometimes their minds are not their best friends. Racing thoughts, negativity, and a persistent feeling of inadequacy will often leave them tossing and turning into the early hours of the morning. Not only is the detrimental to both the body and mind, but it can also lead to an intensified experience of some of the other symptoms on this list.