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  E. Why Minor Depression Should Be Identified and Treated

Narrator: This is Science Today. Even though depression is the most common mental disorder, affecting between 17 to 20 percent of the American population, it is often under-diagnosed. Dr. Lewis Judd, chair of the psychiatry department at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, says a little over half of those with depression are identified and receive treatment.

Judd: People may not know they are depressed. They may feel they have low energy, “I have trouble getting out of bed, you know, I am having trouble sleeping, my appetite is bad and I'm losing weight” and may not be aware that it actually is an illness they are experiencing, thinking that maybe it's just a phase they are going through.

Narrator: Judd led a multi-center study indicating that minor depression – a less severe form of the disorder – can be effectively treated with medication. Since minor depression left untreated can lead to the more debilitating, major depression, Judd says it's important to get treatment as soon as possible.

Judd: It's important that everyone be aware of the signs and symptoms and to seek help – not suffer in silence, not suffer alone.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.