REPORT: Tennessee among states with high rates of depression

Published: May. 11, 2018 at 3:52 PM EDT
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A report recently released from Blue Cross Blue Shield states that 49 of 50 states had rising rates of depression, Tennessee among them.

The report, which used data from medical claims from 2013 to 2016, found that diagnoses of major depression jumped 33 percent over that period of time. Approximately nine million commercially insured people in the US suffer from major depression, the report indicated.

Millennials and teenagers experienced the fastest climb in diagnosis rates. Millennial diagnoses went up to 47 percent, while teenagers went up to 63 percent.

"The high rates for adolescents and millennials could have a substantial health impact for decades to come," Trent Haywood, the group's senior vice president and chief medical officer, said in a statement.

Women were found to be diagnosed double the rate of men.

The report also discovered a wide variety related to geographic differences in the diagnosis of major depression. High rates of major depression were discovered in New England, the Pacific Northwest and various pockets of the South and Midwest. According to the report, Tennessee's rate of depression is five percent, on the upper end of the spectrum.

The highest, however, was Rhode Island at six percent. The lowest was Hawaii at two percent. Every state except Hawaii experienced rising diagnosis rates of depression over the period of the study.

A number of factors could be behind the rise of major depression diagnosis.

A 2017 study published in the journal Child Development found nighttime usage of a cellphone can increase anxiety and depression in teenagers and reduce self-esteem.

"We've suspected that there's a problem here, we've seen correlational studies, but this shows us that teens using their phone late at night leads to disrupted sleep which leads to increased depression, emotional fragility and sometimes acting out," psychologist and CBS News contributor Lisa Damour told "CBS This Morning" last year.

"Even if they're having a great time, even if they're being super appropriate on their phone, if the phone is getting in the way of sleep they need it still causes harm," Damour said.

The report also indicated that there could be links between major depression and other health conditions. Of the nine million Americans diagnosed with major depression in 2016, just 15 percent were diagnosed with that condition alone.

85 percent of people were diagnosed with major depression and one ore more other health condition, according to the report. However, the report warns that it cannot be determined which came first: the major depression or the other serious health conditions and whether or not one leads to another.

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms of major depressive disorder include:

Feelings of sadness, emptiness or hopelessness

- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters

- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities

- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much

- Tiredness and lack of energy

- Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain

- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness

- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements

- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame

- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things

- Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide

- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

If you think you may be suffering from depression, speak to your doctor. If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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