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Mental health and depression

Depression is a common disorder. About 17.7 million American adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2018, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, or SAMHSA. It affects 264 million people and is a leading cause of disability worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Clinical depression is more than just being sad about the death of a loved one, being in a bad mood or being upset about a lost relationship. If left untreated it can cause people to lose sleep, stop eating or lose their jobs. For people with chronic diseases, such as diabetes, depression can affect their ability to care for themselves. For example, people with diabetes are up to 3 times more likely to have depression than people without diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Examples of complementary treatments suggested by the National Alliance on Mental Illness include herbs and supplements and exercise, including yoga. These treatments may be helpful, but NAMI stresses that the FDA does not review or approve many of these treatments.

The government agency that oversees these therapies is the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. People can visit this website to see what the current science says about the effectiveness for a particular complementary therapy.

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