HOUSTON (FOX 26) - You may have a discussion that you're not expecting at your next doctor's appointment. That's because a government task force released new recommendations that encourage doctors to start screening every adult for depression. "Living in a black hole or impending doom" -- that's how severely depressed people often say they feel. It's beyond the typical blues and affects everyone differently.
"Men typically get angry," explains Internist, Dr. Steffanie Campbell, from Kelsey Seybold Clinic. "For men who are short-tempered or impatient, often times that is depression. Women can be tired all the time, they're in pain, they eat more or less, those are mild depression. As it advances - it becomes more severe, you start to withdraw, no longer find enjoyment in life that used to give you enjoyment."
Depression is one of the leading causes of disability and studies show it is on the rise. That's why there are new recommendations for doctors to spark the conversation.
Dr. Campbell tries to address those concerns plus screens all of her patients. It starts with a few simple questions, then she works with them to put together a game plan.
"I want to make sure they're safe and the people around them are safe, then formulate a plan," says Dr. Campbell. "What are we going to do? Prescribe some medication, get you to talk to somebody, get you somewhere you can be safe, it should be more of a relationship-type process. Finding a doctor is like a dating relationship -- you need to find someone you're comfortable with to tell your deepest darkest secrets. I need to know what skeletons are in your closet, and then I need to help people deal with those."
Paula Wick agrees and believes the new recommendations could help a lot of people.
"Mental health still has that taboo," says Wick. "People don't talk about mental health issues, so I guess if your doctor asks you, I think it would be easier to admit you have issues. Everybody goes through stuff in life and so sometimes it's hard admitting it because you think it's a failure admitting those things."
It's important to realize that children can also suffer depression. Dr. Campbell says for boys, parents should watch for behavioral issues, aggression or anxiety. As for girls, Dr. Campbell says they often cry more when they're depressed.