girl sits in a depression on the floor near the wallMyths about clinical depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), about 2% of the adult population struggles with clinical depression at some point in their lives. This psychiatric disorder is one of the most common in the United States.

When diagnosed, many individuals seek treatment for their clinical depression. However, many avoid treatment and continue to suffer. There are several reasons why people don’t seek treatment for their clinical depression. For instance, they may not believe the diagnosis and may be hesitant to accept the fact that they have clinical depression. They may not believe that treatment for clinical depression can help them. There is also a chance that they don’t even recognize that they need help.

Some believe the common myths that are associated with clinical depression. Understanding these myths about depression can help individuals seek the help they need and find answers to the questions they are seeking. Common myths about depression include:

Only women get depressed. Although it’s not true that only women get depressed, it is true that women are more likely to report it to their doctors, or talk about their depression symptoms with other people. Men need help just as much as women when it comes to overcoming depression, especially since they rarely seek out help or support on their own.

Antidepressants will cure depression. While antidepressants can help to minimize the symptoms of depression, therapy will generally also be prescribed to help those struggling with clinical depression. Whether individuals participate in therapy in an outpatient setting or a clinical depression treatment center, the combination of therapy and antidepressants can help patients find quick and more long-lasting relief from their depression symptoms.

Depression is hereditary; if a parent suffers from clinical depression, the child will suffer from depression too. Although a family history of depression can be a contributing factor to a diagnosis of clinical depression, it is not the primary factor. If a parent has struggled with depression, it can be helpful to find out what treatment was effective in overcoming the depression for the parent. The more one knows, the better equipped they may be to recover from their own battle with clinical depression.

Depression will go away on its own. Sometimes this happens, but more often, depression symptoms can linger with many people for months, even years. For individuals with clinical depression, the symptoms may seem to pass momentarily, only to come back at a later date.

Depression always leads to suicide. This is a common myth – especially among young people. But just because an individual is suffering from clinical depression, it doesn’t mean that they are having suicidal thoughts or actions. Many symptoms of depression have nothing to do with thoughts of suicide, such as lack of drive or motivation, having no desire to be social, lack of appetite, or an inability to get out of bed. Usually, suicidal thoughts come with very severe depression, and can be a symptom of another psychiatric disorder.

suicidepreventionArticle in Deseret News about Suicide Prevention

SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the media and mental health professionals met together Monday to discuss how they can work together to help bring hope, information and resources to those in crisis.

“We can make a big difference when we partner with the media to get the right message out there,” said Kim Myers, suicide prevention coordinator with the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. “I hope we realize the value of partnering together in forwarding these issues. The media can be great partner in that. … (It) can change the public perspective and promote healing.”

Myers moderated a panel discussion on suicide prevention titled “Crisis Response: What Role Does the Media Play?” at the Generations Mental Health Conference at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

The four-member panel was comprised of Liz Sollis of the Utah Department of Human Services; Candice Madsen, KSL-TV producer; Barry Rose, crisis services manager for the University Neuropsychiatric Institute; and Emily Hoerner with the Utah Chapter of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Sollis said the Utah Department of Human Services tries to provide as much information as possible to help combat the barrier caused by the stigma surrounding suicide.

Read the full article.

SOURCE: Deseret News – SALT LAKE CITY

sad teenagerTeen depression in Boys

Interestingly, more and more teen boys are succumbing to depression.  What was once thought to be a female only issue, has crossed over into teen boy’s lives as well.  Rates of anxiety disorders and depression are soaring among teen boys. For the first time, depression among males is nearly as prevalent as among females in this group.

During the adolescent years, teen boys are learning to be men.  They get ideas about how to do this through television, movies, books, friends and from older men.  However, when teen boys are fighting depression, they do not feel like confronting it because it doesn’t seem “manly” or sometimes even allowed.  This can make detecting teen depression difficult.

Unlike girls, who often cry or express emotions outwardly, teen boys generally hold their feelings inside.  Their depression may be expressed as anger or outbursts.  Sometimes teen boys detach or cant’ concentrate.  But mostly, they stuff their feelings or ignore them when teen boys are feeling depressed.  Some may not realize they are dealing with depression.  They may just feel weak and attempt to hide the feelings of weakness they are dealing with.

According to rightstep.com, “Boys ignore depression by zoning out in TV or video games. They ignore it by spending hour upon hour in their room listening to music. Rarely will adolescent boys verbalize their struggles. Instead (they adopts a mask to cover the pain (they are) feeling.”

Ellen McGrath, of Psychology Today, reports of teen depression that, “Perhaps the biggest problem with today’s young males is that they often have mild to moderate alexithymia—they are unable to identify their own (and others’) feelings and thus unable to communicate about them. They never learned how from absent or overworked fathers.

However, the ability to communicate feelings is an increasingly important survival skill. It is certainly required for stable interpersonal relationships throughout life—at school, at work, and in the families most expect eventually to create…There is an immediate need to take action. If not, our sons face life-threatening consequences—drug and/or alcohol addiction, self-destructive behavior and accidents, suicide, and violence towards others. Such problems are already rampant.”

Although there is a rise in depression among teen boys, there is much that can be done to solve the problem and help these boys regain confidence and happiness in their lives.

wordsforless-StethoscopeTeen Depression Treatment: Alternative Treatments for a Teen-Onset Illness

It has been said that mental illness is the illness of youth and for those trained in treating mental health issues, this statement will ring true.  For others, it may seem counter-intuitive, particularly given that the prevailing images of persons with mental health issues are most often those of disheveled adults.  Because these images may portend the future of bright eyed children, whose mental illness goes untreated, it is essential to know that the onset of many major mental illnesses– schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, eating disorders, etc.–occur in late adolescence and young adulthood, not in mid- to late-adult life as dominant cultural notions suggest.

From this menu of youth-onset, mental health disorders, one of the most prevalent is teen depression, which affects approximately 10% of teenaged youth and is a leading contributor to teen suicide. The ability to effectively identity risk for depressive disorders and to treat teens who develop depression will help us minimize the course and impact of depression in the lives of our children.

Like many other complex health conditions, depression is highly heritable.  Though researchers do not fully understand the causes of depression, they do know that genes play a role, accounting for almost half the risk for a teen to develop depression.  Given that a child may be “wired for” depression, it becomes essential for teens and adults to develop a sophisticated and empathetic understanding of the illness and of the range of treatment approaches that are available.  If you know that depression runs in your family, you may consider exploring some of the following alternative teen depression treatment options that could build emotional resilience and potentially alter neural networking, optimizing the body’s ability to change, thus making the brain more resistant to depression risk factors, including your genes.

Nutritional evaluation and assessment is a good place to start as an ever increasing volume of contemporary research confirms the links between nutritional deficiencies and depressive symptoms.  For example, both Vitamin B and Vitamin D deficiencies have been directly linked to depression.  The old adage of “You are what you eat,” is less myth and more fact as science and technology allow us to understand the inner workings of the human brain and neuro-chemical systems.

The ancient traditions of Acupuncture, Yoga, and Meditation have found research-based support as effective alternative treatments for depression in teens and young adults.  Many studies support the use of Acupuncture for the treatment of depression.  Additionally, Integrative Yoga Therapy, a modern day application of traditional yoga practices and principles, can increase an adolescent’s self-awareness through an integrated mind-body practice.  Yoga, including breathing exercises and meditational elements, has been studied as a treatment for depression and has been shown to curb the stress-response in study participants.  Teens who are at risk for or who are experiencing depression are often easily triggered and have a heightened stress-response.  Through the practice of Integrative Yoga Therapy, teens can learn to calm their nervous system response, and with practice decrease the frequency and intensity of the painful and debilitating emotions of depression.

About the author – Robert Hunt is a recovering addict of 20 years.  He has devoted his life to helping others suffering from chemical addictions as well as mental health challenges.  Robert maintains many blogs on drug addiction, eating disorders and depression.  He is a sober coach and wellness advocate and a prominent figure in the recovery community.
Visit my blog | Follow me on Twitter @RecoveryRobert

Anxiety SymptomsAm I stressed or experiencing burnout?

Being burned out means that you feel empty, devoid of motivation, and beyond caring. People experiencing burnout often don’t see any hope of positive change in their situations. To illustrate the difference between stress and burnout, think of stress feeling like you are drowning in responsibilities, while feeling burnout is being all dried up and done. Another difference between stress and burnout is that while you are usually aware of being under a lot of stress, you don’t always notice burnout when it happens. Interestingly, even minor burnout can affect the quality of one’s life, relationships, work productivity, and physical health.  In fact, burnout has been shown to be linked to depression, drug abuse, alcoholism, and even suicide.  When people feel helpless and “dried up” or all of their energy and abilities, they may turn to harmful things to cope.  Recognizing that you are experiencing burnout is key to awareness and/or recovery from harmful habits/behaviors.  Most of us would be wise to slow down a little and say “no” to the many demands placed on us a little more often.

As indicated by healthguide.org, “burnout may be the result of unrelenting stress, but it isn’t the same as too much stress.  Stress, by and large, involves too much: too many pressures that demand too much of you physically and psychologically. Stressed people can still imagine, though, that if they can just get everything under control, they’ll feel better.”

So, what can you do to prevent burnout?  Perhaps it would serve you to simply relax and take a deep breath.  Simplify or cancel the things you can in your life that start the burnout feelings you may be experiencing.  There’s always more time tomorrow and there are lots of people who will help us if we reach out and ask. Push yourself to slow down or take a break. Cut back on whatever commitments and activities you can. And, to truly overcome burnout, give yourself time to rest, reflect, and heal.

Teen DepressionTeen depression

Normal adolescents are moody and irritable – and who can blame them with all of the insecurities of youth not to mention puberty?  Because of these ups and downs, it is difficult to determine if a teenager is depressed or just acting like a normal teenagerDepression is a medical condition that causes both psychological and physical symptoms. Further, depression can happen at any age, including the teen years.

About 1 in 5 teens has suffered from depression at some point (WebMD.com).  It has been found, however, that many teens do not get the proper treatment for depression.  Sometimes their symptoms are ignored or disregarded.  WebMD indicates that when teen depression does not receive the proper treatment, the result of this neglect may be serious, and could result in various problems including:

  • Poor performance at school
  • Troubled relationships
  • Increased rates of substance abuse
  • Risky sexual behavior
  • Increased rates of physical illness
  • Increased rates of suicide attempts and completions

Teens may be depressed for various reasons – adolescence can be a difficult time of life.  The most common symptom of teen depression has been found to be frequent sadness for no apparent reason. But, it is important to note that teens with depression may have signs of extreme irritability, anger, or anxiety as well or in place of sadness.

Another behavior often related with depressed teens is having physical complaints, such as stomachaches or headaches. Often, having physical complaints keeps depressed teens from attending school and other activities, further alienating them from their peers and often resulting in poor school performance.

WebMD.com also indicates that, “Teens with depression may have changes in sleep habits with unexplained crying. They may become extremely sensitive to rejection or failure. Other symptoms may include:

  • Feeling helpless
  • Anger
  • Withdrawal from activities
  •  Avoidance of peers
  • Apathy
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Slow or rapid movement
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Substance abuse
  • Difficulty with authority
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions”

There is hope for those teens suffering from depression and for their loved ones who are seeking help.  Teen depression is a treatable medical problem.  Most treatments include some type of behavioral therapy as well as medication.  Talking things out with a trusted counselor can help teens cope better with things in their lives.   Often cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is used to help teens change destructive patterns of thinking and begin to find confidence and more security in their lives.  There are many anti-depressant medications that can help to regulate the chemicals in teen’s bodies that may be deficient due to teen depression as well.

 

bipolar3Treatment for bipolar disorder

There is no cure for bipolar disorder.  However, treatments are available and have proven to be very successful in most cases.  Good treatment helps people gain control of their mood swings and other related symptoms of bipolar.  Because bipolar disorder is recurrent and lifelong, people with bipolar disorder need life long treatment.  Both medication and psychotherapy are needed to reduce symptoms and prevent relapse.

The following mood stabilizing medications are used to treat bipolar disorder:

  • Lithium (sometimes known as Eskalith or Lithobid) was the first mood-stabilizing medication approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the 1970s for treatment of mania. It is often very effective in controlling symptoms of mania and preventing the recurrence of manic and depressive episodes as in bipolar disorder.
  • Valproic acid or divalproex sodium (Depakote), approved by the FDA in 1995 for treating mania, is a popular alternative to lithium for bipolar disorder. It is generally as effective as lithium for treating bipolar disorder.
  • More recently, the anticonvulsant lamotrigine (Lamictal) received FDA approval for maintenance treatment of bipolar disorder.
  • Other anticonvulsant medications, including gabapentin (Neurontin), topiramate (Topamax), and oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) are sometimes prescribed. No large studies have shown that these medications are more effective than mood stabilizers.

Other medications, called “Atypical antipsychotic medications” are also sometimes used to treat symptoms of bipolar disorder. Often, these medications are taken with other medications. Atypical antipsychotic medications are called “atypical” to set them apart from earlier medications, which are called “conventional” or “first-generation” antipsychotics. (www.nimh.nih.gov).  These include:

  • Olanzapine (Zyprexa), when given with an antidepressant medication, may help relieve symptoms of severe mania or psychosis.
  • Aripiprazole (Abilify), like olanzapine, is approved for treatment of a manic or mixed episode.
  • Quetiapine (Seroquel) relieves the symptoms of severe and sudden manic episodes.
  • Risperidone (Risperdal) and ziprasidone (Geodon) are other atypical antipsychotics that may also be prescribed for controlling manic or mixed episodes.

Further, antidepressant medications are sometimes used to treat symptoms of depression in bipolar disorder. Most people with bipolar disorder struggle significantly with depression.  People with bipolar disorder who take antidepressants often take a mood stabilizer too. Doctors usually require this because taking only an antidepressant can increase a person’s risk of switching to mania or hypomania. Commonly prescribed anti-depressants to treat bipolar disorder include:

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Bupropion (Wellbutrin)

Before taking any medication for bipolar, it is important to discuss the many side effects with your doctor.

An additional treatment for bipolar disorder is psychotherapy.  This “talk” therapy, can be an effective treatment for bipolar disorder. It can provide support, education, and guidance to people with bipolar disorder and their families. Some psychotherapy treatments used to treat bipolar disorder include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people with bipolar disorder learn to change harmful or negative thought patterns and behaviors.
  • Family-focused therapy includes family members. It helps enhance family coping strategies, such as recognizing new episodes early and helping their loved one. This therapy also improves communication and problem-solving.
  • Interpersonal and social rhythm therapy helps people with bipolar disorder improve their relationships with others and manage their daily routines. Regular daily routines and sleep schedules may help protect against manic episodes.
  • Psychoeducation teaches people with bipolar disorder about the illness and its treatment. This treatment helps people recognize signs of relapse so they can seek treatment early, before a full-blown episode occurs. Usually done in a group, psychoeducation may also be helpful for family members and caregivers.

A licensed psychologist, social worker, or counselor typically provides these therapies. This mental health professional often works with the psychiatrist to track progress. The number, frequency, and type of sessions should be based on the treatment needs of each person.

Again, although there is no cure for bipolar disorder, proven treatments have given patients hope and much more consistent, high functioning lives.

(nimh.nih.gov)

 

Depression FactsDepression Facts

  1.  Of the estimated 17.5 million Americans who are affected by some form of depression, 9.2 million have major or clinical depression
  2. The economic cost of depression is estimated at $30.4 billion a year but the cost in human suffering cannot be estimated
  3. Women experience depression about twice as often as men
  4. By the year 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that depression will be the number two cause of “lost years of healthy life” worldwide
  5. Major Depression is 1.5-3.0 times more common among first-degree biological relatives of those with the disorder than among the general population

(www.psychiatry.wust.edu)

There are three basic causes of depression:

  1. A family history of depression
  2. Drug or alcohol abuse
  3. Feeling trapped in your life

Recurrence Rates of Depression:

  1. After one episode of depression, the risk of another episode is 50 percent
  2. After two episodes of depression, the risk of another episode is 70 percent
  3. After three episodes of depression, the risk of another episode is 90 percent.

Approximately 15 percent of people who have depression, have chronic depression.  The bad news is that depression is recurrent.  The good news is that depression is treatable.  (Anxietydepressionhealth.org)

Feeling depressed doesn’t mean you feel sad.  Sometimes this is confusing.  People don’t believe they are depressed because they aren’t sad.  Sometimes people are depressed in other ways.  A good definition of depression is a lack of vitality.  You may have low energy, high anxiety, lack of enjoyment, or lack of fulfillment.  Depression affects one’s entire body.

An interesting fact is that depression doesn’t usually get worse.  Sometimes it gives depressed people comfort to know this.  It’s unlikely that mild depression will turn into severe depression: even though mild depression is very painful.

Abusing drugs or alcohol will definitely lead to depression because they deplete your brain of serotonin and dopamine. Brain scans show that it can take months for a brain’s chemistry to return to normal after drug or alcohol abuse.

Alcohol abuse almost doubles the risk of depression.

Marijuana users are four times more likely to develop depression.

Even stimulants such as cocaine cause depression. Cocaine initially stimulates your brain, and temporarily elevates your mood. But over the long run it depletes your brain of serotonin and dopamine and leads to depression.

DepressionSymptoms of Depression

Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms. People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms vary depending on the individual. However, the more symptoms are exhibited, the stronger the symptoms are, and if the symptoms are longer lasting—the more likely it is that an individual is dealing with depression.

If you are suffering with some of the following symptoms and they are persistent, you may be suffering from clinical depression. It’s important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life’s normal lows. When these symptoms are overwhelming and disabling, that’s when it’s time to seek help for depression.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness, even aggression
  • Loss of interest in daily activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased  or loss of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Easy tasks now feel difficult
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping (hypersomnia)
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Unexplained aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
  • Consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless behavior

 

References: Helpguide.org, Nimh.nih.gov

AbbieOVERCOMING DEPRESSION – ABBIE’S STORY

Sometimes when I look back at what I’ve been through in my life, I’m amazed that I’ve done as well as I have. Besides being sexually molested by my step-grandfather, my mother’s family totally turned on us when my sister and I told what he had been doing to us. That was hard on my parents. My dad started drinking again and my mother eventually became addicted to drugs. We lost our house, mom and dad split up, and my dad left us in a motel for nine months. We had to keep changing schools and I don’t know how things could get worse, but then my mom went to jail. But jail actually turned out to be a good thing because it helped her get sober and back on track.

Although I almost dropped out of high school, I did end up graduating with a 3.6 GPA.

“The thing that motivated me the most to stay in school and stay in control of my life was watching my mom get clean and sober and turn her life around. Now I’m doing all I can to make her proud of me.”

I’ve been getting help for my PTSD and depression, and I can honestly say things have never been better. I got a scholarship and am now attending Salt Lake Community College. I would like to become a substance abuse counselor. I’ve already had lots of

experience. I was one of the founders of a youth group called K.O.P.P.I.R. (kids of parents and people in recovery). We meet at least once a week and help each other through the tough times and we do a lot of service projects.

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