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Treatment Works: Get Help for Depression and Anxiety

Many Americans suffer from mental conditions such as depression and anxiety. Studies show these health problems and illnesses affect about 1 in 5 Americans. A tough situation such as a natural disaster, the loss of a loved one, or financial distress can trigger or increase depression and anxiety.

Do You Know the Signs?

Someone who is depressed has feelings of sadness or anxiety that last for weeks at a time. He or she may also experience:

  • Photo: Depressed man with hand on foreheadFeelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not get better, even with treatment

Effective Treatment Exists

People who suffer from depression or anxiety should seek help as early as possible. Most adults see an improvement in their symptoms when treated with antidepressant drugs, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. Unfortunately, many never seek treatment. New research suggests that racial minorities and people with less than a high school education may be less likely to be diagnosed for depression. It is often difficult for depressed or anxious people to believe that things can get better. Try not to let hopelessness or shame stop you or a friend from getting medical help. Take action.

Where to Find Help

If you or someone you care about is in crisis, please seek help immediately.

  • Call 911
  • Visit a nearby emergency department or your health care provider's office
  • Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) to talk to a trained counselor

Improving mental health is part of CDC's overall public health mission. For more research on depression, anxiety, and other chronic conditions, read Preventing Chronic Disease. Specific articles on depression and anxiety include:

More Information

  • Page last reviewed: October 1, 2012
  • Page last updated: October 5, 2012
  • Content source:
    • Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Digital Media Branch, Division of Public Affairs
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