Depression by its very definition refers to a mental illness that causes feelings of deep sadness and loneliness accompanied by the loss of interest in activities a person used to enjoy. It affects every facet of one’s life from career and finances to friendships and family. Depression can be caused by a variety of predispositions such as genetics, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. In many cases, depression is also caused due to excessive substance abuse.
Dangers of Depression
- Relationship Issues: Depressed people have usually no control over their temper and tend to lash out to their friends and family members with no apparent reason. In other cases, they isolate themselves, withdrawing completely from social interaction. The consequence of this withering away of relationship is difficulty in building and maintaining human relationships, which makes recovery even more painful.
- Poor Academic or Work Performance: Depressed people find it really hard to concentrate on their work or assignments; they even fail to make important decisions. This is because low energy and lack of motivation makes them perform poorly in every area.
- Reckless Behavior: Because of depression, a person’s personality gets distorted and he loses his sense of balance, and engages in activities that are danger to the society. This can include crime, unprotected intercourse, and domestic violence.
- Addiction: It is very rare that depression goes away on its own, while depressed people cannot recover from it themselves; which is why they require treatment. However, in the absence of proper professional help and support, they tend toward drugs and alcohol abuse, which leads to addiction. So, because of this, they need additional professional help in the form of drug intervention. You can visit the source to know how to help someone with an Alcohol addiction.
- Suicide: The most serious danger associated to depressed people is they might try to end their life. As one of the most common symptoms of depression, suicidal instincts or behaviors are a clear indication that a person needs help.
- Other Health Problems: Depressed people are less likely to take care of themselves. They bathe and wash less often, and remain unhygienic most of the time, eventually leading more serious health issues. Depression can cause poor eating and weight fluctuations, and reduce immune efficiency makes the depressed person more vulnerable to other illnesses, such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity, mental decline, and even cancer.
Disability for Depression
Disability does not always have to mean a physical deformation, permanent injury, or a severe illness. Psychological disorders such as depression can also have devastating effects, rendering people unable to work or take care of themselves for long periods of time. If a person is diagnosed with a Major Depressive Disorder, then he or she can get Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits – a federally funded program administered by the U.S. Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA does acknowledge mental disorders as a disability and depression is one of them to qualify for receiving disability benefits. However, there are certain requirements and eligibility conditions that must be met in order to receive disability benefits.
Depression is evaluated under the criteria of listing 12.04 Depressive, Bipolar and Related Disorders. According to the officially listed criteria, “These disorders are characterized by an irritable, depressed, elevated, or expansive mood, or by a loss of interest or pleasure in all or almost all activities, causing a clinically significant decline in functioning.”
SSA has to establish the existence and severity of the state of depression by evaluating “objective” medical evidence. This evidence consists of treatment notes that contain information about a patient’s symptoms (description of illness) and signs (occurrences that indicate psychological abnormalities in the areas of behavior, mood, thought, memory, perception, or orientation) – as described by a qualified medical professional. The severity is determined by evaluating the functional limitations that depression imposes on the person’s daily activities, social interactions, and concentration, persistence, or pace.
To qualify for the SSDI benefit program, a person must:
- Be unable to work because he/she has a medical condition that is expected to last at least one year or result in death.
- Not have a partial or short-term disability
- Meet SSA’s definition of a disability*
- Younger than his/her full retirement age
* Medical documentation of the requirements for confirmed depressive disorder, the person should have boon going through five or more of the following:
- Depressed mood;
- Diminished interest in almost all activities;
- Appetite disturbance with change in weight;
- Sleep disturbance;
- Observable psychomotor agitation or retardation;
- Decreased energy;
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness;
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking; or
- Thoughts of death or suicide.