This is the second part of my reflections as I read the book Noonday Demon by Andrew Solomon. You can check out part one here.
In the book, the author has a lot of facts and statistics that literally shocked me. I have no idea where he got this information from nor do I know the accuracy of it. I am simply telling you what the book said. However if even a fraction of it is true, then I hate to imagine what it will be like 50 years from now. But before I get into the facts and statistics. I will start with the next set of quotes.
1. Psychosomatic complaints exist in the unconscious brain and often enough the brain sends inappropriate messages to the stomach so they exist there as well.
What the author was discussing when I jotted down this quote was specifically related to stomach cramps. However, this thought process can really be applied to almost any and all unexplained ailments in people who suffer from depression. It is very common for those with depression to suffer from diabetes, migraines, obesity, heart disease and a list of other ailments. While some of these are very real, there is no doubt some are caused by the depression. I mean think about it. Your brain is sending the wrong messages to your body. So of course your body is going to act funky and be out of sorts. It just makes sense. How can your body be totally uneffected when your brain is the keeper of the gate? If the puppet master is not ok, then the puppets won't perform properly. The brain is the puppetmaster and the body is the puppet. I wish more doctors realized this.
2. Depression is not entirely chemical based and simply replacing chemical will not relieve depression.
I am so glad he brought up this point. There is so much emphasis being placed on the chemical components of PD/depression that I am afraid people will forget that simply fixing the chemical side of it will not "cure" you. There is no magic pill for depression. Yes meds help lessen the severity of symptoms but they do NOT make them disappear entirely. I worry that people are too focused on the chemical side of it Unless people realize meds are only half of the battle, then depression cannot be contained. Notice I said "contained" and not "cured".
3. Treating depression means making the most of the life you have between episodes.
This is a very powerful statement that really hits home with me. Mostly because that is exactly where I am now. I have spent the last several years cycling from one episode to the next. Now I am somewhat stable. I am doing the best to make the most of the time I have. To somehow make amends for the damage I did and hopefully to lessen the blows of the next episode because there will be a next episode. It may not be as damaging, long or insane as the past ones, but there is always a next one.
Now for some facts and statistics that are rather disturbing. I don't know where they got these statistics from, but if they are even half right, then I can't understand why more isn't being done to treat depression. Why there is such a stigma attached to it when so many are effected by it. Do we really have our heads stuck that deeply in the sand???
5. According to recent research 3% of Americans suffer from depression. That is 19 million people and more than 2 million of those are children.
6. Bipolar affects 2.3 million and is the 2nd leading killer of young women (3rd for young men).
7. In DSM-IV, Depression is the leading cause of disability for Americans and people abroad.
8. Depression claims more useful life years than war, cancer, and AIDS combined.
9. An American adult has their depression recognized properly only about 40% of the time and less than half of those recognized get appropriate treatment (that means out of 19 million people, less than 3.8 million receive the appropriate treatment)
If you would like to know more about the author you can visit his website. I have links below to purchase his book if you're interested. I should say I am not getting anything out of "reviewing" this book. The only reason I started writing down quotes from it is because I could only find the audio version of the book. This is the only way I am able to actually pay attention to what the author is saying. My mind likes to wander in a world of its own making.