Posts Tagged 'depression management'

Depression Has A Genetic Cause

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Depression

When people talk about someone being “depressed” most often they are referring to what medical professionals term “unipolar depression”. Other terms used to describe the condition are “clinical depression”, “major depressive illness”, and “major depression with melancholic features”. Regardless of the name, all these refer to the same illness located in the same region of the brain, damaging the same cells and causing the same chemical imbalances. Other conditions that also have “depression” in their name for example “bipolar depression” are very different in the cells and chemicals affected.

Over the last several decades medical research has established a definite genetic link for unipolar depression. If one of your parents and other members of your immediate family are afflicted with unipolar depression you have a one in five (20%) chance of suffering it yourself. Should both parents have the depressive gene your odds of being depressive as well fall to one in two (50%). But even when no one in your family suffers from unipolar depression, or has the genetic marker, the genes can and do show up spontaneously.

Just how important this genetic component is has been proven by studies that focused on people with identical genes (twins) but, for a variety of reasons, were raised apart by different parents. These studies concluded that, if both twins had the depression gene, both individual were most likely suffering from unipolar depression regardless of the different life experiences and conditions.

The genes that have been identified as causing unipolar depression act by causing the brain to over react to stress stimulation. It is normal for everyone to secrete a steroid stress hormone into the body and certain chemicals into the brain when faced with a stressful situation. Although this process is completely normal, those who suffer from unipolar depression don’t turn off these hormones and chemicals when the stress is past. And when these substances remain at high levels for too long a time, they cause severe damage to healthy brain cells which is a major contributing cause to the disease.

For example, athletes who perform at high levels often release steroid stress hormones to meet a physical challenge such as catching a pass or hitting a baseball in a pressure situation. This happens for just a short period of time, once the immediate challenge is past the athlete’s body turns off the stress response and the body reverts to its normal state.
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In those people who carry the genes responsible for unipolar depression these responses to stress are not able to be turned off. All the normal stresses of everyday life cause large amounts of the steroid stress hormones and other chemicals to flood the brain and this overload causes severe damage to otherwise healthy brain cells which eventually brings on unipolar depression.

Why Do I Keep Getting Depressed?

Friday, September 17th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Depression

I was amused to find that the word ‘worry’ comes from the Old English meaning ‘to strangle!’ To a large extent, that’s what depression does to us. It strangles us to the point where we’re unable to continue to lead a normal life. Why do I keep getting depressed, you may well ask.

Have you ever had the experience where, after meeting and talking to someone for just a short time, they leave you with an unaccountable feeling of depression?

I knew a chap like this once. It wasn’t that he was depressing in his attitude. In fact, if anything, he was quite upbeat. The trouble was that he used to talk in a monotone voice, no inflections, no depth to his speaking. He used to leave me feeling very depressed. If you know of such a person, or perhaps you’ve been lucky enough to have avoided one, do try to keep out of their way as much as possible.

You sometimes run into them if you mix with very serious, scholastic types. Let me hasten to add that by no means all scholars are depressing to talk to. On the contrary, some a quite hilarious, but if you do have a circle of friends who’s general demeanor makes you depressed, I would really suggest you try to ease yourself from their company and find others who enjoy life rather more.

Some people, I know, are just downright depressing from the word ‘go.’ If you’ve just come out of hospital after an operation, they had the same operation a few years ago, but of course theirs was much worse. If you’ve just started a business, they may reply that they hope you don’t fail like old so-and-so. They say it seems to them you were mistaken in going into business during these bad economic times. And so on.

They’re out there. Watch for them.

Too little sleep and relaxation is another thing that can cause the basis for depression. We hope you’re not indulging in any ‘stinking thinking,’ brooding about matters long past, but make sure you have sufficient sleep and that it’s the right kind of sleep.

If you find yourself dreaming excessively, have a look at your life and see whether something’s worrying you enough to cause these dreams. You won’t be enjoying the restful sleep that’s so necessary to us all.

Eating foods with excessive carbohydrates and consuming too much sugar, can also send your moods on a roller coaster ride. So make sure you relax properly, and go to bed at a sensible hour.

If you’re under a doctor’s care, and you’re taking antidepressants, go back to the doctor if your depression seems to be worsening, and ask him or her about the side effects of the medicine. The dosage may be too high, or they simply may not suit you. In which case, change them.

Here, we find another roller coaster. Withdrawals from certain antidepressants can plunge you ever deeper into depression, and then you’re given more pills to counter the withdrawals you had from your first set of medications.

Depression Is Caused By Our Thoughts

Saturday, August 7th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Depression

Depression doesn’t happen overnight. We’re not tiptoeing through the tulips feeling gay and frivolous one day, and the next, lying on our backs, overcome by crippling depression. Neither do our neurotransmitters suddenly decide to go completely off the rails.

The truth of the matter is that depression is caused by our thoughts. The whole point of this article is to show how we become depressed originally. We’ve looked at symptoms, we’ve examined what we feel like when in the grip of depression; how we are quite unable to pursue our hobbies or even work. We simply want to sit or lie there, and when we move, all we feel is pain.

But everything has to have a beginning and depression is no exception. It’ll probably start off with an unresolved worry. Something that nags at us, and worse, something we can’t let go. It’s probably in the backs of our minds for a considerable time, and may be anything. But something for which we simply can’t find an answer.

Let’s suppose we’re an archaeologist. We’ve been asked to give a talk to the local archaeological club about the site of a known battle some five miles away that took place in the 6th. century.

Now, you’re a professional, not only in archaeology, but you also hold professorships in ancient and medieval history. You’ve excavated the remains found on the battlefield, formed your conclusions and together with your wide knowledge of history, you’ve put together what almost certainly occurred.

You know a lot more than your listeners, who are merely keen amateurs. The lecture finishes and on the way out, you happen to overhear someone say; “Yes, wasn’t a bad lecture, but he was talking a load of rubbish about the final outcome.”

You recognize the person as someone who’s never short of a criticism about anything, but his remark stings you. You happen to see him in the pub later on, but instead of going over to him and politely saying that you overheard his remark, found it interesting and would like to discuss it further, you simply let it fester.

You know perfectly well that he’s wrong, that if you spoke to him you’d have no trouble in pointing out the error of his ways, but the remark simply sits in your mind, rolling back and forth and like a snowball, becomes bigger and bigger. There’s no solution, simply because you haven’t allowed there to be a solution.

It would be so easy to lay the matter to rest, but instead you simply ruminate on it and prove that depression is caused by our thoughts. The slight caused by this person becomes larger and larger in your mind, until it even affects your sleep.

You find yourself dreaming excessively. Far too much R.E.M. sleep and consequently awake in the morning, exhausted, because you haven’t had the restful sleep your body so urgently needs.

If you keep on along this path, then things can only worsen and before you know it, you have full-blown depression.

The Five Different Types of Depression

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Depression

Depression is experienced by millions of people as they go through daily living. This type of mood disorder bring feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and can even lead to suicidal tendencies when unchecked. Sadly, most people experiencing depression dismiss most of its symptoms and consider the feelings as “blues” or “downtime”. Later, episodes of depression slowly impair normal function such as working, eating, sleeping and maintaining interpersonal relationships. A depressed person may become withdrawn, lose interest in one’s hobbies and stop socially interacting even with loved ones.

Indeed, recurring bouts of depression should immediately be arrested lest it impairs healthy living. It is not easy to overcome depression since it is not just a feeling but a serious type of disorder that needs therapy and/or medication from a mental health professional. Usually, a psychiatrist prescribes anti-depressants that can correct the chemical imbalance that produces depressive symptoms. Nevertheless, it is a must for people with depression to undergo psychoanalytic sessions in order to detect the underlying causes of the disorder. The good news is that there are many available medicines that can be safely used by affected people so they can resume their normal lifestyle.

Nevertheless, it is important to understand that the different types of depression that can affect a person, namely:

Major Depressive Disorder

When this is experienced by an individual, the person’s normal lifestyle is drastically affected since even his sleeping or eating habits have changed. More so, the person completely lost interest in activities that were once interesting such as hobbies. This type can recurrent and emotionally debilitating that is why medical attention should be sought once symptoms are detected.

Postpartum Depression

After giving birth, there is a sudden shift in hormonal balance in women thus depression sets in from a period of one to six months.

Bipolar Disorder

Symptoms of this depression include sudden emotional highs or lows which seems like a roller coaster ride. This sudden change in mood can lead to reckless behavior (such as deviant sexual behavior) that can be destructive. This can be corrected by psychotherapy and drug treatment.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Commonly known as SAD, people experience lethargy and sadness when subject to gloomy weather such as winter and even overcast days.

Substance induced mood disorder

As the name implies, some medications can also induce depression especially when abused. Other toxins such as alcohol can influenced moods and produce depression.

Ways to Undo Your Depression

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010 No Commented
Under: Depression

Depression is part of life. Every once in a while, an average person gets depressed. And as such, one should be able to deal with it the right way to ultimately achieve personal development.

Life is about accepting challenges and learning how to deal with it. It is not so much if you encounter depression, but what matters the most is your ability to get out of a depressing situation after a fall.

There are several ways to deal with depression; some of the most effective ways include the following:

1. Maintain a positive disposition. One of the things that you should keep in mind is that problems and things that cause depression are all temporary. Tell yourself that “this too shall pass, like any other thing.” It is important that you look at the brighter side of things to achieve personal development. If you would consider problems as a normal occurrence and a passerby, then you know that tomorrow things will be better if you would just let go of negative emotions and ill thoughts.

2. Keep your self and mind preoccupied. Dealing with depression also involves keeping yourself busy with things that can enhance personal growth. Avoid situations that will hinder you from growing and developing as a person.

3. Pamper yourself. Depression can make a person naturally feel bad about his self. The cause of depression can normally lower self-esteem, but you can end that depressed feeling by pampering yourself. Go to a wellness spa, have a body massage, or read a book that will enhance your personal development. Listen to a soothing music while taking a long relaxing bath with water dropped with essential oils. Take time to relax, shop and indulge yourself on things you consider a luxury, and before you know it, your depression has melted away.

4. Exercise regularly. Take at least 30 minutes of your day to exercise. Even a simple brisk walk every afternoon can give you a healthy body and a sound and focused mind. If you want to achieve personal growth, aim for total wellness, enhance not just emotions and mental state but you must also include your body.

5. Get involved. To chase away your depression, cry and pour yourself out but after that, after releasing all your anxiety and emotional baggage, get out and involve yourself in various activities that would make you socialize by joining support groups, bonding with your closest friends, and having fun with your family. Involving yourself in various social activities like fund raising would improve not just your social skills, you will also widen your social network and ultimately achieve personal development.

Teenage Depression

Thursday, June 10th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Depression

Bullying is the act of displaying superiority over a person or group of people in a way that makes the person or group feel inferior. It consists of continuous unsolicited criticism, fault-finding, deliberate exclusion and isolation, humiliation, threats and even physical abuse. Bullying is a problem in all stages of life from name calling on the playground when you are 5 years old, to being shoved in a locker at high school and even as adults in the workplace. However it is during the pre-teen and teen years, when the developing self-identity is so fragile that bullying often has the most damaging long term effects.

Bullying is a problem that exists in every culture, across both genders and in every socio-economic environment across the world – it is a problem that has no prejudice. So what can be done to combat bullying? The first step is to recognise bullying behaviour. There are many teenagers who experience such extreme forms of bullying that they dread going to school and it impacts negatively on their participation in otherwise valued occupations. However these teens often suffer in silence because they don’t feel they can trust any adults with their concerns for fear of the problem not being handled properly which ultimately escalates the bullying problem. Therefore it is important that once it is evident that bullying is occurring, that it be handled delicately to avoid aggravating the victim as a target.

So how do you recognise if a teen is being bullied? Bullying is usually context specific, and in most cases teen experience bullying at school or via the cyber-world. If you notice the teen has suddenly started to display avoidant behaviour and anxiety around specific activities or places, whereas they appear to be engaging normally in other areas, this may indicate bullying. Do not be confrontational when trying to confirm your suspicions, but rather encourage an open discussion about any problems the teen may be experience in that particular area in their life. You could start by describing what you have noticed in a non-judgemental way. Once the teen admits to being bullied it is vital that you do not react with anger or panic as this reinforced the bullied teen’s victim role. Rather it is recommended that you calmly try to problem solve together with the teen about plausible strategies to overcome the problem.

Some examples are:

  • Ignore the bully and walk away
  • Hold the anger
  • Take charge of your life
  • Talk about it
  • Find your true friends

There is another element to bullying affecting teenagers of the new generation because of the technological era that we live in. Cyber-bullying is growing concern especially because adults often don’t feel empowered by adequate cyber knowledge to assist their children effectively. Cyber-bullying can also often be a faceless act, because the bully can hide behind the anonymity of the cyber-world to target their victims. Teens often do not realise the lasting effects decisions they make in the present can have on the future.

Some strategies for preventing and combating cyber bullying include:

Be safe online: protect your passwords, not sharing it with anyone, even friends. Be careful about sharing personal information online

  • Tell someone
  • Report it to your service provider

Block the bully: social networking sites like Facebook and YouTube take this issue very seriously

  • Don’t respond
  • Save evidence of unsolicited email, texts, etc.

Getting Over a Depression

Saturday, May 15th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Depression

More and more people are seeking out treatment for depression in the U.S. In the past 15 years, the number of patients being seen has doubled, to 25 million. A sizeable minority of people will battle severe depression at least once – one in four women, and one in eight men. With so many people seeking treatment, it can be hard to find the right therapist for you. How do you choose the right one?

One friend told me to treat it like a shoe buying excursion: try them on until you find a fit. Several other friends who have been in therapy have also given me some suggestions, and here are the criteria that I have heard and found useful in my own search for the right counselor.

  • Good listener. Above all, you want to choose a therapist who is a good listener. They should listen more than they talk. Many patients report that this isn’t the case, and that they feel like their therapist doesn’t listen to them. You are paying this person to listen to you, don’t accept one who won’t.
  • Open-minded. If you feel like your therapist is judging you during your session, this is not a good sign. You don’t want to have the therapist who is supposed to help you be more positive about yourself making you feel worse instead. You can end up with feelings of unworthiness and lower self-esteem if your therapist is judgmental. Time to switch therapists!
  • Helps you find your strengths. Sometimes it is not just about what is wrong, but what is right. Pick a therapist who can help you find what is working in your life, and what strengths you have that you can develop further. This helps self-esteem.
  • Holds off on the meds. Many patients report that their therapists were quick to medicate them. Often, therapists wrote out prescriptions during the first session.

Ideally, you have chosen a therapist who will not be in such a hurry to medicate you. You want a therapist to take more time getting to know you so that they can better gauge what medications you need and in what doses.

Sometimes you are just going through a tough time and need help to get you through. Other times it may be just a sympathetic ear you need, someone to talk to. Therapy can provide these things. For it to be beneficial though it is important to choose the right therapist for your needs. You should take a bit of time to shop around before committing to one for treatment.

Severe Depression Treatment

Thursday, May 13th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Depression

A friend of mine had to be admitted to hospital and was given ECT as she was on the verge of a mental collapse after her boyfriend left her. The results of that severe depression treatment were long lasting and devastating and she became a bitter and rather difficult person. I must say that this was forty years ago and I wonder what therapy she would be given now. Maybe things have not changed that much.

You can imagine our surprise when her ex boyfriend appeared on Facebook and they now correspond regularly. My friend has taken a philosophical view and has forgiven him. So, there is a sort of happy ending to a rather dramatic story of severe depression treatment.

Severe depression treatment has to take into account many of the rather dramatic symptoms which can be present. There can be complete isolation, suicidal thoughts, paranoia and manic episodes. The feeling that the person is completely detached from every living contact around him or her is one of the greatest challenges in contemplating any alternative treatments for severe depression.

How to deal with the symptoms is nothing short of a enormous challenge. There are voices which take over the person and paranoia and schizophrenia are quite common co-morbid disorders. The patient becomes obsessed and persecution mania can set in so that she feels that she is being spied on all the time.

While anti depressants, psychotherapy and some lifestyle changes can all be part of severe depression treatment, there are other things to consider too. Looking at the alternative treatments for severe depression, it does seem that the anti depressants give the best results in the short term. But they come with heavy side effects such as a loss of sex drive, sedation and other problems. In fact the warnings on the boxes of these medications are the black box ones, which is in fact the maximum warning that the FDA issues.

As the patient comes out of the depression, the alternative treatments for severe depression can be examined and considered. These can range from ECT, psychotherapy and counselling and also herbal remedies. As regards the latter, I have prepared a website outlining how this treatment should never be overlooked. While there are lots of studies on St. John’s Wort also abbreviated to SJW, there are other herbs such as Passion Flower, Gingko Biloba which been proved to be invaluable in the treatment of depression generally.

Considerations to Make When Living With Someone With Depression

Friday, May 7th, 2010 No Commented
Under: Depression

There are several different types of depression, and not all of them can be changed by will alone. Loss of a loved one, losing a job and personal tragedies may be helped without medications, but clinical depression and bipolar disorder are real, and they are caused by chemical imbalances. These require something, be it supplement or prescription, to help bring balance back.

There is a problem with this picture. While strides have been made in changing the general attitude about depression, those who suffer from it still feel as if it is a personal failing. This is one of the things you will probably have to help with if you are living with someone with depression. You may feel helpless, but there are many other things you may be able to help with.

1) Talking it Out: When depression is caused by something that has happened, talking about it is going to be very important. It’s also not going to be easy and will probably involved a lot of Kleenex. Encourage discussion but don’t press too hard. Be prepared for many different emotions to be displayed, including anger, self doubt, loneliness and frustration. These are all natural emotions and it’s best if they are brought out in the open and discussed without judgment.

2) Seek Medical Help: As mentioned above, there are times when it will take a doctor to help resolve the issue. If you suspect there is more to the depression than grief, it may be time for a diagnosis. Without that, nothing can be done with any degree of safety. The person you are trying to help may resist the idea, and forcing them to go may be a mistake. However, if you suspect the situation has gotten to the point that someone’s life may be in danger, over rule the resistance.

3) Find out Options: Nowadays, there are many different treatment options, including some herbal remedies. If the diagnosis is mild to moderate, St. John’s Wort may be an appropriate method. Bipolar disorder and major depression should only be treated by prescriptions as they do not respond appropriately to these problems.

4) Follow Doctor’s Orders: Once the person starts to feel better, the temptation to stop taking the medications or supplements may be great. This is not a good idea, unless the doctor agrees. It is very likely that the imbalance will return, and it could be worse than before.

5) Offer Quiet, Nonjudgmental Support: Recovering is going to take time and it may not be easy, especially at first. Encourage involvement in favorite past times, but don’t push.

If you need support, there are depression support groups that may be able to help. They may have more suggestions on how you can help your loved one. Don’t be afraid to reach out.