The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified Depression As “the biggest challenge facing Europe in the 21st century”, the definition is encouraged by figures which tell us that 3.8% of the world’s population suffers from it.
in spain almost three million People are diagnosed with depression, which is a The most common mental illness in our countryAccording to a report by Fundamed.
Depression is classified as an illness in the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM V), which considers it a depressed mood for most of the day, with a significant decrease in pleasure or interest in activities that were previously enjoyed.
Prevalence rates reflect only diagnosed people. But there can be more, because in many cases this disease is not manifested directly, only with a feeling of sadness, and many people are not diagnosed. Depression has many faces.
In some situations, the depressive picture is manifested by physical symptoms rather than mental symptoms. This is a condition known as Silent, masked or hidden depressionAnd it is not recognized in the International Classification of Mental Disorders.
What is silent depression?
Many people suffer from depression, but this is not the case: they go to work, participate in social obligations or carry out daily activities without any apparent problem. But deep down they feel tired because everything is a struggle for them.
American Psychological Association (APA) defines masked depression as “an episode of major depression in which The patient complains of physical symptoms Rather than looking at mood disorders and finding a biological cause for physical symptoms.”
Patients who carry it usually go to the doctor Complaints about various organic pains who live every day, but the origin of the disease is psychological, which affects the body physically.
In fact, it is believed that Up to 10% of people Those who attend primary care services have symptoms of depression, but up to 50% of cases go undiagnosed.
Figures that give importance to initiatives such as Manifesto “The need for psychology in primary care”, presented by the Madrid Business Association, the Business Forum, the People and Business Foundation and the Official College of Psychology in Madrid, and by which they call for more resources for mental health.
They ask specifically Changing the model of mental health care Because of the high incidence of mental disorders and “the need to change the strategy and bet on a stable psychological service in primary care”.
Symptoms of masked depression, beyond sadness and melancholy
Far from what one might think, the main symptoms of depression are not masked Neither sadness nor sadness, which remain in the background. Depression in primary care is estimated to present with physical complaints 45% and 95% of cases.According to the Spanish Society of Family and Community Medicine (semFYC).
The patient usually talks about somatic and behavioral complaints, somatic changes and physical disorders that often mask the presence of depression:
- neurological disorders: Headache, headache or paresthesia is one of the most frequent symptoms. They are usually tense in nature and moderate-moderate in intensity.
- Autonomic disorders: Asthenia, weakness or hyperhidrosis
- Sensory disorders: Dizziness or tinnitus
- Digestive disorders: Nausea or bowel irregularity
- Cardiovascular disordersheartbeat
- Other disorders such as Fatigue, sleep problems, weight lossOr impotence, alopecia, shortness of breath, itchy skin or eczema, among others.
These somatic symptoms are more frequent especially in women, especially in pregnant women, the elderly, children or patients with associated organic diseases. The described symptoms make this diagnosis difficult because it usually masks the true disorder.
In most cases it means A long way from specialist to specialist which delays the diagnosis. Because, almost always, even the patient himself does not understand what is happening to him, because depression is hidden in diffuse fatigue or indeterminate pain.
But the underlying disorder is a depressive disorder, which includes typical symptoms such as low mood, loss of interest in certain activities, inappropriate guilt, impaired concentration, and, in the most severe cases, suicidal thoughts.
Need treatment as soon as possible
When depression meets criteria for major depressive disorder, such as sadness or low mood, the diagnosis is made earlier than in somatized depression.
This delay increases the possibility that the psychological condition will become chronic and impair the person’s quality of life, as other medical and psychiatric complications may emerge. Treatment as early as possible will prevent this chronicity and, especially, pain.
he treatment It is usually started, as with any other type of depression, with antidepressant medication or psychological intervention, or both at the same time if the doctor deems it necessary.
Source: El Diario