GREENSBORO, NC -- A tribute to Robin Williams at the Emmy's once again shines the spotlight on depression.
Major Depressive Disorder is the leading causes of disability in the U.S. for people ages 15 to 44.The Anxiety Depression Association of America estimated 14.8 million Americans deal with depression every year.
Very often depression is linked to other disorders like PTSD-- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Seven-point-seven million people are diagnosed with PTSD yearly. More women than men. It's no longer something only veterans deals with.
Psychologist David Gutterman explains PTSD was redefined to include almost any kind of trauma from car accidents to emergency hospital stays or living through a natural disaster like a hurricane. "They may not reach the level of the traumas we think of with PTSD, but yes, things that are much more common day to day can be very traumatic."
Doctor Gutterman says PTSD used to be considered an Anxiety Disorder, but in the new definition, PTSD is in it's own category of a stress trauma disorder. And like other health issues, symptoms of PTSD may take a while to show themselves.
"And there is a mistake we make right away in thinking someone has come through a trauma and they are doing well, " says Gutterman, "it can be a month later, 6 months later it can be a year later when symptoms begin to emerge."
Doctor Gutterman says the importance of the redefinition is that instead of being a mental disorder it's now considered a reaction to an external environment. He says that takes the stigma away and lets more people get help. But if more people are getting help, what is the impact to our insurance costs and the mental health industry?
A spokesperson for Mental Health America says the veteran's administration pushed for the redefinition back in 2012. The broader designation means more symptoms and time were added to the list and that allowed for veterans to qualify more quickly and receive treatment more quickly.
The addition of the mental health care in the Affordable Healthcare Act means more plans will offer treatment and therefore more providers will begin to take part. The spokesperson added like anything else, there will be more people than providers at first, but then the industry will respond and catch up.
The Brain and Behavior Research Foundation provides this insight to the PTSD diagnosis:
.To be diagnosed with PTSD, a person must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
•At least one re-experiencing symptom
•At least three avoidance symptoms
•At least two hyper-arousal symptoms
•Symptoms interfere with daily life, such as going to school or work, being with friends, taking care of important tasks.