Depression Information
People are usually not so open when it comes to mental health issues. Hopefully this post will provide some information on depression.
  • There are some great resources out there where you can get more information and help, I have attached these resources at the bottom.
  • As with most other medical conditions the earlier a problem is addressed the better the outcome. 

Facts about depression.

Depression Can Be Helped

Depression Can Be Helped

  • Depression affects almost 15 million Americans a year and is the leading cause of disability in American workers who are under the age of 45.
  • Woman are affected more than men but men have a higher incidence of suicide.
  • Depression can affect people in many different ways. Common complaints would be loss of sleep, inability to pay attention, lack of interest and a feeling of hopelessness.
What causes Depression
  • There are many of causes for depression and in most cases there is not a single reason.
  • Genetics increases the risk of depression but both identical twins will only exhibit depression 30% of the time confirming that there are other factors involved in the development of depression.
  • Significant trauma and stressful situations can lead to depression.
  • There are anatomic differences in some patients with depression
  • The frontal lobe is less active in patients with depression.
  • There are changes in how the pituitary gland and hypothalamus (both found in the brain) respond to hormone stimulation.
 How is Depression Diagnosed?
  • We all have ups and downs as we endure setbacks.
  • Depression becomes a problem when a depressed mood has taken over your life, you have little energy and are no longer enjoying the little pleasures in life.
  • If you or a loved one are experiencing depression it is important to seek out help.
  • You may ask your physician for a referral or look at your insurance plan to find someone in network.

The CDC states, “The American Psychiatric Association’s diagnostic criteria for Major Depressive Disorder defines depression if a person experiences five or more symptoms below for a continuous period of at least two weeks.

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Hopelessness,
  • Depressed mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable
  • Change in weight or appetite (either increase or decrease)
  • Change in activity, this can either be hyperactivity or decreased activity where someone sleeps a lot
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling tired or not having any energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Difficulties concentrating and paying attention
  • Thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Most symptoms must be present every day or nearly every day and must cause significant distress or problems in daily life functioning.”

Prevention of Depression 

Ways to help prevent depression-These techniques will increase endorphins and improve mood
  • Get enough sleep
  • Expose your body to some sun everyday. Coincidentally, light therapy can be used to treat depression.
  • Get plenty of exercise
  • Keep involved in activities and social interaction
  • Find a way to relax such as meditation, reading a book or taking up an enjoyable hobby.

How is Depression Treated?

  • The earlier the intervention the easier it will be to get back on track.
  • It is harder to treat depression as someone slips into a deeper feeling of despair but all levels of depression can benefit from treatment.
  • Treatment usually includes therapy where behavior patterns are addressed. The two most common types of therapy include cognitive and interpersonal therapy.
  • A medication may be added. If it suggested by your health care provider you should ask as many questions as needed so that you feel comfortable. These medications usually take a few weeks to work and may even require a change of medication.
  • The goal of treatment is to increase attention spans, energy level and renewed interest  in personal relationships.
  • Hospitalizations may be required for those with a concern of hurting themselves but most cases can be handled as an outpatient.
  • A higher risk of suicide include feelings of wanting to hurt oneself or a preoccupation with death. Giving away possessions or visits to say goodbye are also concerning. These cases need immediate medical attention and should not be ignored.
 Drug use associated with depression
  • Associated substance abuse is common.
  • About 30% of those affected with depression will have a substance abuse problem.
  • This is not unexpected as both conditions are fueled by feeling of despair.
  • One may seek drugs or alcohol as an outlet.
 Recurrence of depression
  • Relapses can occur.
  • They may be triggered by something stressful in your life such as job loss or death of a loved one.
  • Special effort should be given to keeping your body healthy during these times.
  • If you feel yourself slipping seek help.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness  (NAMI) Family-to-Family is a free 12-week course for family caregivers of individuals living with mental illness.
 Nami is also a great resource, they have an informative website. Take a look.
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