Number of depressed/anxious people on the rise
Sat, 01 Mar 2014 04:30:00 GMT —
One in every ten people you meet has a diagnosable form of an anxiety disorder or depression. That statistic makes these diseases the number one cause of disability in people under the age of 45.
Danielle Ullom of Myrtle Beach is one of nearly 58 million people who suffer from anxiety and depression. Her symptoms stemmed from a demanding job as an EMT and a father dying of cancer.
"I used to sit there and I would rock back and forth and rub my hands together and pick at my nails and just hum, and my husband was the only one who could calm me down," Ullom said.
For her, this was the most stressful time of her life.
"If you take a soda bottle and and you shake it and it's not completely full so you shake it and then you just tip the top off and it explodes, that's kind of how I always felt," Ullom said.
Danielle found it hard to open up about her feelings because she was always the one helping others.
Clinical Psychiatrist Dr. Murray Honick of Strand Psychiatric Associates said Danielle's story is not uncommon.
"There's still a certain amount of stigma, and still some people carry around a great deal of shame and guilt and won't speak about it," Dr. Honick said.
Bobby Baldwin, a senior student at Coastal Carolina University has a similar story to Danielle's.
His anxiety began in high school, and he hid his problem for a long time.
"People are scared to talk about it. They don't want to admit that they have a problem," Baldwin said.
Sufferers like Danielle and Bobby describe the feelings as agonizing, like feeling they might die or feeling they have no control over their own emotions.
In some cases, anxiety and depression leave people unable to work or even leave their homes.
Despite the uncomfortable feelings, only 1/3 of sufferers actually seek professional help.
Those who don't can actually make their situation worse.
"They'll sometimes self medicate unfortunately with alcohol and drugs. A lot of times they'll go to the health food store and the internet and take some herbal remedy or some non-prescription medication thinking it's safer," Dr. Honick said.
Dr. Honick said although there are many medications for anxiety and depression on the market right now, many avoid it in fear of it's potentially dangerous side effects, but added the side effects are often mild in most people, and usually outweigh the pain and suffering.
"It's rare that we can't find a combination of medication for someone to take," Dr. Honick said.
Since taking medication, Bobby and Danielle have both eased their anxiety symptoms.
Bobby even runs his own chapter of Active Minds on Coastal Carolina University's campus. Active Minds is a group that aims to help college students struggling with mental illness.
But why has the number of anxiety and depression sufferers increased over the years? Some professionals say it's because we're more open as a society to talking about mental illness.
Dr. Honick, however, says there isn't just one answer.
"A lot of adults are having to work harder now. Most families are dual income families so there's less free time to enjoy each other and relax. Others don't exercise like they should, which would be a source of stress relief, and diet has been increasingly poor in this country," he said.