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Facts about depression, small tips to consider while having symptoms of depression

John Topol

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Facts about depression

Know your enemy before it conquers you

Depression is a mood disorder that affects your entire body, including your moods, thoughts, and behaviors. Depression is not a sad mood that passes, nor is it a sign of weakness. Left untreated, depression may disrupt work, family, and personal life. Many of these consequences, however, are avoidable. It is a treatable disease, yet many people who are depressed do not seek treatment.

Depression affects more than 19 million adults in the U. S.

It is common among women and people with other chronic conditions Direct treatment accounts for 28 percent—$12.4 billion—of total costs related to depression—$43.7 billion—in the U. S. each year. Lost productivity and excess absenteeism at work account for much of the remaining costs.

The population with depression is largely young, female, single, and low-income The adult population with depression is very different from the adult population without any symptoms of depression. The population with depression is composed of larger proportions of younger adults, women, and single and low-income individuals, compared to the population without depression

An individual who experiences five or more of the following symptoms may be


• low motivation level

• avoiding friends

• difficulty concentrating

• changes in eating patterns

• changes in sleeping patterns

• suicidal thoughts

• unpleasant, negative thoughts

• an inability to experience pleasure in daily activities

• feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness

• crying spells

• loss of energy

• lack of *** desire

Causes of Depression

• a combination of biological, genetic, and physiological factors.

• Some episodes of depression can be situation-induced. (For example, loss of a loved

one, loss of ones job, difficulty adjusting to college, parental conflict, and financial


• Depression may be due to a chemical imbalance, physical illness, drug and alcohol

use, or an inadequate diet.

Mental and physical health status are closely related. People who are depressed tend to be less physically healthy than people who are not depressed. Women are more susceptible to depression Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. Higher rates of depression in women are associated with both biological and social factors. Depression occurs most frequently in women ages 25 to 44, and peaks during childbearing years. Social factors such as stress from family and work responsibilities also increase the risk of depression in women. Because women have a longer life expectancy, the death of a spouse may also contribute to higher rates of depression in elderly women. Men and women view depression differently Some 43 percent of women identify depression as a health problem, compared to 32 percent of men. A larger proportion—60 percent—of men, however, view depression as an emotional weakness, compared to 48 percent of women.3 Because men are socially conditioned to hide their feelings, they are more likely to express their symptoms of depression through substance abuse, such as alcoholism, and antisocial behaviors

Can depression be treated successfully?

Absolutely. Depression is highly treatable when an individual receives competent care. Licensed psychologists are highly trained mental health professionals with years of experience studying depression and helping patients recover from it. There is still some stigma or reluctance associated with seeking help for emotional and mental health problems, including depression. Unfortunately, feelings of depression often are viewed as a sign of weakness rather than as a signal that something is out of balance. The fact is that people with depression cannot simply “snap out of it” and feel better spontaneously. Persons with depression who do not seek help suffer needlessly. Unexpressed feelings and concerns accompanied by a sense of isolation can worsen a depression. Getting quality treatment is crucial. If depression goes untreated, it can last for a long time and worsen other illnesses. Even people with severe depression benefit from treatment.

Small tips to consider while having symptoms of depression

Problem How can I prevent it? What should I ask?

Problem: I just want to pull the covers over my head and sleep all day.

How can I prevent it: Make plans for the day that you will look forward to. Try to keep busy. Surround yourself with sights, sounds, and smells that give you happiness

What should I ask: Is there a support group meeting I could go to? Are there classes nearby that I could take? Where could I volunteer to help someone else?

Problem: I have no energy. I’m restless, and have the blahs.

How can I prevent it: Start exercising, even a little. Move around to upbeat music that you really like. Spend at least 10 minutes every day outside in the fresh air. Walk if you can or sit.

What should I ask: Is there a beginning exercise group I can join? Is there anyone I can walk outside with?

Problem: I feel like I got a bad deal in life.

How can I prevent it: List what you are grateful for. Look at your list each day and add to it. Try to see the beauty and goodness in the world around you. Write it down. Have an attitude of gratitude. Reach out past yourself to help someone else.

What should I ask: Who are the people who have been good to me? Who are the people I have been good to? Are there memories I treasure?

Problem: I can’t go on like this.

How can I prevent it: Reach out to your family and friends for support. Talk to your social worker or religious counselor. Seek professional help—ask for a referral to a counselor. Ask your doctor about depression medications that can be used by people with kidney failure.

What should I ask: Can you recommend a therapist for me to talk to? Can you prescribe an antidepressant that will be safe for me to take?


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