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Front Page » May 15, 2003 » Local News » Stress triggers anxiety, depression
Published 4,158 days ago

Stress triggers anxiety, depression


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By KAREN BASSO
Staff writer

Stressful events like the country's economic uncertainty, recurring terrorist alerts and war can cause many individuals to feel anxious and depressed.

Personal relationship problems, financial difficulties and prolonged periods of extra stress can also impact mental and physical wellness, according to state and federal experts.

Mental health officials further explain that divorce difficulties, death of a loved one, trouble at work or physical illness can also trigger symptoms of depression.

These are just some of the reasons why May is designated as mental health month across the nation.

Although many Carbon County residents do not feel that they suffer from mental illness, the statistics may surprise local citizens.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 18.8 million adult Americans ages 18 years and older will suffer from a depressive illness each year.

The figure represents approximately 9.5 percent of the adult population in the United States.

Although often not considered by many as a mental health disorder, depression is considered one of the largest health illnesses to affect adults.

The mental health institute explains that women are nearly twice as likely to suffer from major depression than men however, men and women are equally likely to develop bipolar disorder.

Major depression can develop at any age, but the mental health institute indicates that the average age of onset is the mid-20s.

Depression is one of the largest mental illnesses which is treated by mental health officials nationwide.

Carbon County is no exception to the situation. In fact, state and federal mental health experts caution local residents that depression is an illness which should not be left untreated.

"Too many people resist treatment for depression because they believe depression isn't a serious problem or that it is a personal weakness. The first step to wellness is understanding that depression is never a normal part of life, no matter what age, gender or physical health situation," explained psychologist Jesse H. Wright.

One of the main emphasis which mental health experts hope to highlight during the month long awareness campaign is that mental health problems, especially depression can occur to anyone.

"Sometimes people are afraid that getting treatment for depression will mean strong medications or lengthy sessions with a therapist. The truth is, depression can be treated quickly and effectively," continued Wright.

The mental health institute indicates that many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time.

In particular, depressive illnesses tend to co-occur with substance abuse and anxiety disorders.

For this reason, it is extremely important to seek professional assistance when necessary.

Although it is difficult at times to determine whether a person is suffering from depression, the following symptoms are common amongst patients.

•Depressed mood or feeling sad most or all of the time.

•Loss of interest in enjoyable activities.

•Low self-esteem, negative attitudes and guilt.

•Decreased energy, fatigue most or all of the time.

•Indecisiveness; inability to concentrate or to complete tasks.

•Changes in eating habits or sleeping patterns.

•Hopelessness, suicidal thoughts.

Depression is one of the leading mental health illnesses in the nation. However, other mental disorders also occur which require professional attention. That is why Four Corners Mental Health in Carbon County offers residents assistance when mental illness occurs.

Currently, the local mental health institute is participating in a program called the Utah frontier project. This project is a six year program that will be funded through October 2004 and it originally began in three counties in southwest Utah including Carbon and Emery counties.

The purpose of this project is to develop appropriate systems of care for children with serious emotional disturbances and illnesses.

The national mental health institute explains these disturbances as being an emotional or mental disturbance that causes functioning problems in various domains and is more long term in nature.

In order to provide children with proper assistance, the local facility gets the child's family involved in the therapy process.

"Assessment and treatment of the family is facilitated in a family involved setting with rights to privacy and confidentiality being paramount," explained Four Corners frontier project activist Michael Gibbons.

Because mental health illnesses effect everyone in some way, Carbon residents are encouraged to contact the local facility for further information regarding treatment or counseling.


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