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Untreated Depression

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Are the signs of untreated depression in men different from those in women?

Men who have untreated clinical depression may exhibit more anger, frustration, and violent behavior than women. In addition, men with untreated depression may take dangerous risks such as reckless driving and having unsafe sex. Men are not aware that physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain, can be symptoms of depression.

Why is untreated depression considered to be a disability?

Depression can render people disabled in their work life, family life, and social life. Left untreated, clinical depression is as costly as heart disease or AIDS to the U.S. economy. Untreated depression is responsible for more than 200 million days lost from work each year. The annual cost of untreated depression is more than $43.7 billion in absenteeism from work, lost productivity, and direct treatment costs.

How does untreated depression affect my family?

Living with a depressed person is very difficult and stressful for family members and friends. It’s often helpful to have a family member involved in the evaluation and treatment of a depressed relative. Sometimes marital or even family therapy is indicated.

Can untreated depression lead to suicide?

Depression carries a high risk of suicide. This is the worst but very real outcome of untreated or under-treated depression. Anybody who expresses suicidal thoughts or intentions should be taken very, very seriously. Do not hesitate to call your local suicide hotline immediately. Call 800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) or 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) -- or the deaf hotline at 800-799-4889.

Most people who suffer from clinical depression do not attempt suicide. But according to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 90% of people who die from suicide have depression and other mental disorders, or a substance abuse disorder. Men commit almost 75% of suicides, even though twice as many women attempt it.

The elderly experience more depression and suicide than you might think. Forty percent of all suicide victims are adults over the age of 60. Older adults suffer more frequently from depression because of the frequent loss of loved ones and friends as they age. They also experience more chronic illnesses, more major life changes like retirement, and the transition into assisted living or nursing care.

Are there certain risk factors for suicide with untreated depression?

The risk factors for suicide associated with untreated depression include:

  • Family history of mental or substance abuse disorder
  • Family history of physical or sexual abuse
  • Having attempted suicide previously
  • Having family members or friends who have attempted suicide
  • Having mental and substance abuse disorders
  • Keeping a firearm in the home

If you or someone you know has risk factors for suicide and has also displayed warning signs, seek the help of a mental health care professional right away. Also, do not leave the person alone. People often talk about suicide before they attempt it, so pay close attention to what the person is saying.

WebMD Medical Reference

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