According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression is one of the most common serious health issues in the United States.
ALTON — Depression and anxiety can go undiagnosed for a variety of reasons.
Sometimes the symptoms of depression and anxiety are mistaken for other medical illnesses or prescription medication use. Individuals may be reluctant to discuss symptoms of depression and anxiety with their physicians for fear that they may seem weak or that they may get embarrassed.
“A person may feel there is a stigma attached to getting help for mental health issues such as depression or anxiety,” Saint Anthony’s Director of Psychological Services Susanne Ringhausen said. “Left untreated, however, depression and anxiety can lead to disability, poor health, and poor quality of life.”
Saint Anthony’s Health Center is sponsoring free and confidential screenings in honor of National Depression Screening Day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 9, in Saint Anthony’s Psychological Services, located in Suite 101 of Saint Clare’s Professional Building at 815 E. Fifth St. in Alton.
Individuals who take part in this screening will meet privately with a mental health professional to discuss symptoms. The individual will be provided information about these diagnoses and recommendations for treatment based on their set of symptoms. Each screening will take 20 to 25 minutes.
To register for a screening, call (618) 474-6240.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression is one of the most common serious health issues in the United States. Individuals who experience depression may feel sad or irritable. They may have difficulty with sleep or appetite. In addition, individuals who experience a depressive episode tend to find they experience no pleasure from doing the things they used to enjoy. They may isolate themselves from friends and family. The symptoms of depression can vary from person to person, but the consequences of depression are often the same. A person struggling with depression may find they are having difficulty at work or in their social lives. They may find they are not getting involved in activities outside of their home. When depression is severe, a person may even have difficulty completing daily tasks like showering and dressing.
Anxiety is another common but serious illness. Worry can be a temporary reaction to stress, however, when worry becomes excessive and an individual has difficulty controlling it may progress into an anxiety disorder negatively affecting the individual’s life. NIMH reports that 28.8 percent of the U.S. adult population will experience an anxiety disorder over the course of their lifetime. At times, anxiety can occur in combination with depression; at other times, it stands alone. There are a wide variety of anxiety disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, specific phobias, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder, to name a few. Each anxiety disorder has different symptoms, but all the symptoms cluster around excessive, irrational fear and dread. A person struggling with anxiety may find interacting with other people to be difficult. They may struggle at work or in certain situations like shopping or at large gatherings. When anxiety is severe a person may even have difficulty leaving their home for fear of the worst happening.
“Depression and anxiety are extremely treatable diagnoses,” Ringhausen said. “There is no reason that anyone needs to suffer in silence. An illness is not a weakness.
“Effective treatment with brief therapy and/or medication is readily available for both depression and anxiety and can greatly improve the quality of life.”