Hope

April 1, 2010

Don’t give up hope, a new study suggests to people suffering with depression. It may take 14 weeks and a change of medication but people with major depression now have a 50-50 chance of getting better and getting well.

Antidepressant Celexa helps nearly a third of patients get well. Studies show that switching drugs or adding a new drug makes a third of the remaining patients well. The good news is about half of people with depression get better after their first or second treatment regimen.

Overall, a third of depressed patients respond to the first antidepressant. It may take six, eight, or 12 weeks and then two-thirds will need some switching or a different drug. It’s great that treatment can heal depression, but it would be even better if treatment could cure depression.

Researches also believe that “hope therapy” are showing positive results. Hope therapy seeks to build on strengths people have, or teach them how to develop those strengths. It focuses not on what is wrong, but on ways to help people live up to their potential. It’s different from traditional talk therapy, which often focuses on what’s wrong.

The hope therapy participants had significant change in measures of self-esteem, life meaning, and anxiety than those not in the therapy. There was a decrease in depression symptoms as well. The therapy group was taught skills that researchers believe are related to hope. Hopeful people have goals, the inspiration to go after those goals, and the skills to make them happen.

If you feel you know how to get what you want out of life, and you have that desire to make that happen, then you have hope. And this hope really can make a huge change.

Depression in Children

March 31, 2010

It is estimated that 2.5% of children in the U.S. suffer from depression. Depression is significantly more common in boys under the age of 10. But by age 16, girls have a greater incidence of depression. Childhood depression is different from the normal “blues”. Just because a child seems depressed or sad, does not necessarily mean they have depression. But if these symptoms become persistent, disruptive, and interfere with social activities, interests, schoolwork and family life, it may indicate that he or she has depression.

The symptoms of depression in children vary. Children often act out or perform angry behavior. Many children display sadness or low mood similar to adults who are depressed. The primary symptoms of depression revolve around sadness, a feeling of hopelessness, and mood changes. Most kids with significant depression will suffer a noticeable change in social activities, loss of interest in school and poor academic performance, or a change in appearance. Children may also begin using drugs or alcohol, especially if they are over the age of 12.

Children with a family history of depression are at greater risk of experiencing depression themselves. Children who have parents that suffer from depression tend to develop their first episode of depression earlier than children whose parents do not. Children from chaotic or conflicted families, or children and teens that abuse substances like alcohol and drugs, are also at greater risk of depression.

Although relatively rare in youths under 12, young children do attempt suicide. Girls are more likely to attempt suicide, but boys are more likely to actually kill themselves when they make an attempt. Children with a family history of violence, alcohol abuse, or physical or sexual abuse are at greater risk for suicide, as are those with depressive symptoms.

Treatment options for children with depression are similar to those for adults, including psychotherapy and medicine. The role that family and the child’s environment play in the treatment process is vital. Your child’s doctor may suggest psychotherapy first, and consider antidepressant medicine as an additional option if there is no significant improvement.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 50-75% of eating disorder patients (anorexia and bulimia) experience depression.

Depressive disorders are known to affect the way an individual eats, sleeps and feels about himself and others. Many people tend to eat more food to suppress extreme emotions and depression. They use the snacks and food indulged in as escape routes to deal with emotional stress or bad relationships. Some common eating disorders are anorexia, compulsive eating, binge eating and bulimia. These eating disorders are curable if they are detected in time and medical advice is followed. It is also possible to have multiple eating disorders. People who suffer from eating disorders become very weak emotionally. They use food as a medium to relieve themselves.

Emotional support is the most essential requirement to treat these individuals. Self-esteem problems are at the core of many eating disorders. They also play a role in other conditions, such as depression, alcoholism, drug abuse, self-injury and suicide. Depression may precede eating disorders and contribute to their onset. It has also been observed that living with the eating disorder leads to depression.

The states with the lowest depression rate are New Jersey and Hawaii. According to the NSDUH Report, they have rates of 6.8 and 6.7.

The states with the highest depression rate are Rhode Island and Utah. They have rates of 9.9 and 10. Rhode Island has a low suicide rate despite the higher rate of depression. Psychiatrists point to several factors that could contribute to Utah’s high levels of depression: limited mental health resources, restricted access to treatment as a result of cost, poor quality of resources and a varied list of other factors, including an underfunded educational system and a culture deeply rooted in the Mormon faith.

My question to everyone is, why is Utah the most depressed state in the United States? Living in Utah, what are our own opinions how certain factors here contribute to depression?

Power of Exercise

March 28, 2010

Exercise helps prevent and improve a number of health problems  including high blood pressure, diabetes, and arthritis. Research on anxiety, depression and exercise shows that the psychological and physical benefits of exercise can also help reduce anxiety and improve mood.

Some physiological ways exercise helps is that it releases feel-good brain chemicals, such as neurotransmitters and endorphins, to help ease depression. Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body. Exercise reduces immune system chemicals, which usually worsens depression. Exercise also increases body temperature that could possibly have calming effects.

Exercise has emotional benefits as well. It can help you gain confidence because getting in shape can make you feel better about your appearance. It takes your mind off worries and from your negative thoughts that feed depression. Also, it can allow you to socially interact more by meeting others walking or running around you.

Doing 30 minutes or more of exercise a day, for three to five days a week can significantly improve depression symptoms. But smaller amounts of activity can still make a difference. Exercise is so important and is one treatment away from drugs or counselors. Most studies show depression and exercise to have psychological and physiologic benefits for participants, with 90% reporting depression relief effects!

15 Ways to Cope

March 26, 2010

  1. Get plenty of sleep
  2. Get out of bed in the morning
  3. Diet & Nutrition
  4. Exercise
  5. Watch your favorite comedy, talk with people who make you laugh, visit your childhood hangouts or do anything that helps you remember happier times
  6. Think about happy thoughts
  7. Go out and do something you enjoy
  8. To get your mind off your own problems try to think of some way you can help someone else
  9. Talk to friends or anyone who will give you support
  10. Find positive outlets and channels for your emotions
  11. Don’t compare yourself to other people
  12. Don’t obsess about it or be hard on yourself if you still feel depressed or aren’t happy
  13. Change your life
  14. Seek counseling
  15. Pray if you believe in a religious faith, you may find solace in praying, meditating, or reading holy texts

Depression that occurs during pregnancy or within a year after delivery is called perinatal depression. Researchers believe that depression is one of the most common complications during and after pregnancy. Often, the depression is not recognized or treated because some normal pregnancy changes cause similar symptoms and are happening at the same time. Some of these symptoms include tiredness, problems sleeping, stronger emotional reactions, and other changes. Some women don’t tell anyone about their symptoms because they feel embarrassed, ashamed, or guilty about feeling depressed when they are supposed to be happy. They worry that they will be viewed as unfit parents.

There may be a number of reasons why a woman gets depressed. Hormone changes or a stressful life event can cause chemical changes in the brain that lead to depression. After pregnancy, hormonal changes in a woman’s body may trigger symptoms of depression. During pregnancy, the amount of estrogen and progesterone in a woman’s body increases greatly. In the first 24 hours after childbirth, the amount of these hormones rapidly drops back down to their normal non-pregnant levels. Researchers think the fast change in hormone levels may lead to depression, just as smaller changes in hormones can affect a woman’s moods before she gets her menstrual period.

Some researchers have found that depression during pregnancy can raise the risk of delivering an underweight baby or a premature infant. Some women with depression have difficulty caring for themselves during pregnancy. They may have trouble eating, sleeping, have a poor diet, or may use harmful substances, like tobacco, alcohol, or illegal drugs.

Dark Quotes

March 24, 2010

“For me being depressed means you can spend all day in bed, and still not get a good night’s rest.”

“Depression is the inability to construct a future.” - Rollo May

“Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.” - Dodie Smith

“Depression is nourished by a lifetime of ungrieved and unforgiven hurts.” - Penelope Sweet

“Insanity is knowing that what you’re doing is completely idiotic, but still, somehow, you just can’t stop it.” - Elizabeth Wurtzel

“That’s the thing about depression: A human being can survive almost anything, as long as she sees the end in sight. But depression is so insidious, and it compounds daily, that it’s impossible to ever see the end. The fog is like a cage without a key.” - Elizabeth Wurtzel

“My recovery from manic depression has been an evolution, not a sudden miracle.” - Patty Duke

“You largely constructed your depression. It wasn’t given to you. Therefore, you can deconstruct it.” - Albert Ellis

“Depression is rage spread thin.” - George Santayana

The Elderly

March 22, 2010

The highest suicide rates are found in men older than 75 years. According to the National Institutes of Health, of the 35 million Americans age 65 or older, about 2 million suffer from full-blown depression. Another 5 million suffer from less severe forms of the illness. Elderly face many changes such as the death of a spouse, medical problems, social isolation, grief, and loneliness. Loss is painful especially the loss with their independence, mobility, health, long-time career, or someone they love.

Even though depression in the elderly is a common problem, only a small percentage get the help they need. There are many reasons depression in older adults is so often overlooked. Some assume seniors have good reason to be down or that depression is just part of aging. Elderly adults are often isolated, with few around to notice their distress. Physicians are more likely to ignore depression in older patients, concentrating instead on physical complaints. Finally, many depressed seniors are reluctant to talk about their feelings or ask for help. Untreated depression poses serious risks for older adults, including illness, alcohol and prescription drug abuse, a higher mortality rate, and even suicide. The American Academy of Family Physicians go into more detail on the clues of depression of the elderly so we can be more aware to know the symptoms and help.

Depression and TV

March 22, 2010

Studies show that the time teenagers watch television increases there risk of becoming depressed as a result. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Harvard Medical School looked at the media habits of 4,142 healthy adolescents and calculated that each additional hour of TV watched per day boosted the odds of becoming depressed by 8%. Other forms of media, such as playing computer games and watching videos, didn’t affect the risk of depression.

The researchers described several possible mechanisms that could be at play. Perhaps TV watching cut into time that could have been spent on organized after-school activities and other pursuits thought to reduce the risk of depression. TV watching also could have displaced sleep, which is important for cognitive and emotional growth.The programs and ads teens watched may have made them feel inadequate and worthless, or they could have stirred feelings of anxiety and fear, all of which contribute to depression. Depression affects 5% of children and teenagers, and watching less TV can be one important way to prevent it.

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