Treating Depression

Is effective treatment available?
By Marcia Clemmitt, June 26, 2009

Depression and suicide always increase in tough economic times, as indicated by a rash of suicides by men despondent over their families' financial troubles. Meanwhile, a wave of suicides and mental disorders — mainly post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression — has hit military personnel returning from repeated deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, swamping military health-care systems. Depression, the most common serious mental illness, is sometimes caused by genetics, but it also can be triggered by stress or trauma. Access to treatment has expanded in recent years, as more and more primary-care doctors screen for the disease. And a new mental-health-care “parity” law passed by Congress in 2008 is expected to increase insurance coverage as well as access to mental-health services. But many people with severe depression remain uninsured and dependent on public health-care programs, which recession-plagued states are cutting back as revenues dwindle.

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