Is Your Depression Medication Working?
Not sure if your antidepressant is doing its job, even though you're taking every dose? It's tough to evaluate your own progress, but this survey will let you compare your experience to others.
Last Modified: 2013-11-21 | Tags »
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People with mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may not seek help on their own. Take this quiz to learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms in your loved one.
Last Modified: 2014-02-04 | Tags »
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There are a number of causes of depression. Some can be attributed to abuse, genetics, death or loss, conflict and medications. Learn more about the causes of depression.
Transcript: Depression is a serious mental illness that affects people of all ages and walks of life. A person with...
Depression is a serious mental illness that affects people of all ages and walks of life. A person with depression may experience a range of often disabling emotional and physical symptoms that can interfere with the ability to function normally in everyday life. While the cause of depression is not fully understood, it is generally believed that a number of issues may influence the presence of depression, ranging from low self-esteem, life events and critical illness, as well as genetic, biological and environmental factors. Researchers believe that people suffering from depression may have imbalances in serotonin and norepinephrine, which are neurotransmitters that enable brain cells to communicate. Decreased levels of serotonin and norepinephrine are also believed to cause the irritability, sleep problems and fatigue associated with depression. Depression also appears to run in some families, suggesting that a family history of depression increases the risk for children and siblings in successive generations. People who lack self-confidence, who tend to be overly critical of themselves, who have a generally negative outlook on life, or are unable to cope well with stressful events are also believed to be at risk for depression. Traumatic life events such as a death, job loss or divorce may trigger depression. Even welcome events like graduating, getting married, having a baby or moving into a dream home may lead to depression, often because regular routines are disrupted and new demands emerge. Depression often occurs in conjunction with certain illnesses, such as cancer, Parkinson's disease, heart disease or Alzheimer's disease. Certain medications - like barbiturates, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers and codeine - are associated with depression as well. A history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse may often be a cause of depression later in life. Many famous people, past and present, have suffered from depression including Vincent Van Gogh, Ernest Hemingway, Michelangelo, Mark Twain and Mozart. More recently, celebrities like comedian Jim Carrey, actor Hugh Laurie and actress Brooke Shields, as well as Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, have talked openly about their bouts with depression, while actor Owen Wilson's depression was made public following his attempted suicide. While the exact cause of depression is not completely understood, depression can be successfully treated in more than 80 percent of people who seek help. If you - or someone you know - is affected by depression, it's important to consult a mental health professional as soon as possible.More »
Last Modified: 2014-04-17 | Tags »
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You won't feel better just waiting for depression to 'go away'. To speed up your relief, stay active and take charge of your life, in addition to taking your medication. See these suggestions that you can put into play, today.
Last Modified: 2014-04-17 | Tags »
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Depression has affected the lives of people. Find help and help others dealing with depression by sharing your story: Depression: What was your experience? Check out our video here.
Last Modified: 2014-02-13 | Tags »
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You need to take an active role in your own treatment and be your own, best advocate. That means finding out what your antidepressants are doing and how psychotherapy works.
Last Modified: 2013-03-08 | Tags »
antidepressants, treating depression, relieving depression, psychotherapy, talk therapy, ssris, neurotransmitters
Walking or jogging in the park can boost your mood and help you feel refreshed. Learn more through this video on exercise and depression.
Transcript: When you have major depression, the very LAST thing you may want to do is take a jog around the block....
When you have major depression, the very LAST thing you may want to do is take a jog around the block. But, NUMEROUS studies have shown that a consistent, MONITORED exercise routine can help improve your mood and TREAT major depression symptoms. A 2011 study conducted at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center revealed that 12 weeks of daily aerobic exercise, when combined with antidepressants and psychotherapy, contributed to a REMISSION of symptoms in almost 30 PERCENT of participants. And another TWENTY percent showed obvious improvement. The participants' exercise routine included jogging on a treadmill, cycling on an exercise bike, or speed-walking on the sidewalk. Even more dramatic results came out of a Duke University study. In it, exercise alone proved to be the most effects way to prevent relapse of depression. The group that ONLY exercised had the LOWEST rate of symptom relapse-only EIGHT percent, compared to 38 percent in the antidepressant-only group and 31 percent of the exercise-and-drug group. A few other studies conducted on the subject came up with the same fundamental result - exercise eases depression symptoms! But HOW? Some researchers say that patients may feel better because they're taking an ACTIVE part in their treatment, rather than simply taking a pill. It's also likely that ENDORPHINS play a LARGE role in improving the MOOD of depressed people. These chemicals, released during exercise, are known to change a person's mood for the BETTER. It's also possible that exercise releases norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that affects mood. Exercise can also help you gain CONFIDENCE by meeting exercise goals, it can distract you from your worries, and HELP you interact with others. If you'd like to incorporate a fitness routine into YOUR treatment plan, speak with your mental healthcare provider right away. And to learn more about major depression, take a look at other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-25 | Tags »
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Meditation may sound kooky and quaint, but it could improve your depression. Learn about the meditation and depression connection.
Transcript: When you think of "meditation", you probably picture Buddhist monks sitting cross-legged in Tibet. But...
When you think of "meditation", you probably picture Buddhist monks sitting cross-legged in Tibet. But meditation offers benefits to EVERYONE, and it might EVEN help EASE major depression symptoms. Numerous studies have used MINDFULNESS-based COGNITIVE therapy to examine meditation's effects on major depression. Patients practicing mindfulness meditation sit and concentrate on the rhythm of their breathing. It helps them notice their painful thoughts and then let them float away, instead of brooding over them. COGNITIVE behavioral therapy, in the form of gentle questions from a therapist, is done WHILE the patient is practicing mindfulness. THIS therapy is intended to help patients ALTER painful thinking patterns and respond to problems in a more constructive way. Research has validated this approach. In 2008, a study of people with major depression showed that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy prevented relapse more than treatment with antidepressants alone did. The researchers from the University of Exeter in the UK randomly split 123 people into two groups-one group started MINDFULNESS-based COGNITIVE therapy and was allowed to stop taking antidepressants if they wanted to. The other group continued with only antidepressants. Forty seven percent of the MINDFULNESS-based COGNITIVE therapy group relapsed, compared to SIXTY percent of the group on antidepressant treatment alone. The meditators also reported GREATER enjoyment of daily life and BETTER physical health. Another relapse study in 2010 at Ontario's Center for Addiction and Mental Health looked at three groups of people with major depression. One group continued taking antidepressants, one STOPPED them and started mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and the third took placebos. The relapse rates were the SAME for those on medication and those who meditated and received drug therapy. If you're thinking about trying mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, or even traditional mindfulness meditation, make sure you discuss it to your psychiatrist first and never stop antidepressant medication abruptly or without a doctor's supervision. To learn more about major depression, take a look at more videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-06 | Tags »
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Depressive disorders can lead to physical symptoms, like migraine and pain. Health risks like diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure are connected, too. Here's a look at what can complicate depression, and what depression complicates.
Transcript: Nearly 19 million Americans annually are affected by depressive disorders. In addition to depression's...
Nearly 19 million Americans annually are affected by depressive disorders. In addition to depression's often-disabling symptoms, it may also lead to other complications that impact virtually every aspect of your life. Depression is typically characterized by persistent sadness, low energy and loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. People with depression are also at risk for a number of serious complications that may result in physical problems, financial troubles, relationship issues or even, in more serious cases, suicide. Often, the apathy, lethargy and difficulty concentrating that typically accompany depressive illness may cause sufferers to be incapable of meeting their day-to-day responsibilities, leading to work or school absences, overlooked bills, arguments at home, and even job loss. Insomnia is characteristic of many forms of depression and being unable to meet the body's need for restorative sleep may lead to a number of complications, including slowed reactions when driving, a compromised immune system and heightened risks for high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. Experts also believe depression not only increases the risk of heart disease, but may AMPLIFY the severity of existing cardiac conditions as well. It's also thought that depression changes in bone mass may be accelerated by depression, leading to osteoporosis. People with depression may also experience multiple unexplained physical symptoms including stomach aches, migraines, aching muscles, and severe back or abdominal pain. Research suggests this is because mood and pain use the same pathways in the brain and are controlled by the same chemical messengers. It's also believed that reduced levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, and to a lesser degree, norepinephrine, may prompt stress-related responses in the body that can lead to inflammation and changes in blood clotting, as well as cell and organ damage. Depression sufferers may turn to drugs or alcohol in order to feel better, but this ultimately creates more problems in the long run. In addition, people who are taking antidepressants to treat their depression may be at risk for side effects, such as dizziness, weight gain or loss, tremors, sweating, sleepiness or insomnia, fatigue, or headaches. Another complication is the impact depression may have on a person's sex life, as depression tends to reduce both the sex drive and the ability to enjoy sex. In addition, the side effects of antidepressant medications often include reduced libido and sexual dysfunction. Depression also complicates relationships. Sufferers who are struggling with depression symptoms may be unable to consider the needs of others. At the same time, family members, friends and coworkers may feel hurt and rejected. Often, survival of even the most secure relationships is threatened. Parental depression also takes its toll on children. Depressed mothers may be less attentive to prenatal care or an infant's needs. Having a depressed parent is also linked to reduced social skills and self-esteem, increased stress and vulnerability for depression in children. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are common in many types of depression. Depression sufferers have up to a 15 percent risk for suicide. If you or someone you know is contemplating suicide, it's imperative to call 911 or a suicide hotline. Fortunately depression can be treated successfully and these complications may be avoided. If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, see your doctor or a mental health professional.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-01 | Tags »
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Normal depression and chronic depression are not the same. If you're experiencing prolonged lethargy and despair, you might be at risk for chronic depression. Watch this for more.
Transcript: Most people feel gloomy, worn out or disconnected from life at one time or another. But when these feelings...
Most people feel gloomy, worn out or disconnected from life at one time or another. But when these feelings continue nearly every day for two years or more, you may be suffering from Chronic Depression. What differentiates Chronic Depression, also called Dysthymia or Dysthymic Disorder, from Major Depression is that symptoms are less severe and often persist for several years. People with Chronic Depression typically function adequately in everyday activities, yet feel continually unhappy and unable to live life to its fullest. It's estimated that Chronic Depression affects more than 10 million Americans annually. Many celebrities including Jim Carrey, Drew Barrymore, Harrison Ford, Hugh Laurie and Sheryl Crow have spoken openly about coping with ongoing depression. The exact cause of Chronic Depression is not known. However, as in Major Depression, it's believed to involve changes in the brain that result in reduced levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, which helps regulate mood and emotions. Chronic Depression may develop in response to significant life stressors, such as the loss of a loved one, a violent or otherwise traumatic event, severe financial or relationship problems, or difficulties at work. It may also be caused by certain chronic illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, Parkinson's disease, as well as by long-term use of some medications. Studies suggest that a family history of any depressive, anxiety or bipolar disorder can also increase the likelihood of developing Chronic Depression. Chronic Depression often begins with vague feelings of sadness and emptiness that gradually multiply. And it can start in childhood or adulthood, and occurs more often in women than men. The primary hallmark of Chronic Depression is a persistently low, dark or sad mood accompanied by chronic lack of pleasure in daily life. It also is not uncommon for sufferers to experience a major depressive episode, called "double depression", especially if Chronic Depression goes untreated. These symptoms may include feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, insomnia or excessive sleeping, poor concentration, appetite changes and low self-esteem. No two people experience Chronic Depression exactly the same way, but most struggle with the same symptoms, that characterize Major Depression, but with less severity. Several of these symptoms must be present for at least two years in adults to meet the criteria for a diagnosis of Chronic Depression. Actor/film maker Woody Allen often portrays characters in his movies that seem to be Dysthymia Sufferers. However, it's not uncommon for sufferers to experience occasional periods of feeling relatively normal amid low moods. Unfortunately, Dysthymic disorder is less responsive to treatment than major depressive disorder. For many sufferers, the first step is visiting a family physician to rule out any other causes of the depression symptoms, such as a medical condition or substance abuse issues. Treating Chronic Depression typically includes psychotherapy, in which a mental health professional may provide counseling, cognitive and/or behavioral therapy to aid in developing coping skills. Treatment may also include medication, such as antidepressants, which should be mutually determined by patient and physician, according to effectiveness versus side effects. In any case, medication for Chronic Depression may take several weeks to provide optimal benefits. Chronic Depression sufferers can also benefit from positive lifestyle habits such as healthy eating, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and nurturing a strong support system. Rarely do people with Chronic Depression recover completely. Some require ongoing therapy or medication. But seeking an accurate diagnosis and treatment is an important first step in enjoying life again. If you think you, or someone you know, may be suffering from Chronic Depression, please consult your family physician or a mental health professional.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-01 | Tags »
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Can a fish a day keep the psychiatrist away? Not really, but Omega-3s, found in cold water fish, can help ease symptoms of depression. Learm more about the link between omega-3s and depression. treatment.
Transcript: It may take several different approaches to ease depression: medication, exercise, psychotherapy, stress...
It may take several different approaches to ease depression: medication, exercise, psychotherapy, stress reduction...and even nutritional support. Some studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon and other cold-water fish may help ease the symptoms of some types of depression. Some researchers even think a LACK of omega-3 in your diet could predispose you to psychological disorders such as depression. For those with depression, an omega-3 supplement in combination with any prescription medication MAY help boost the mood. For example, eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA, a type of omega-3, may reduce symptoms of moderate depression, especially among those who don't respond to an initial antidepressant treatment. The benefits of omega-3s to patients with bipolar depression are less clear, however. Just a few small studies have noted that omega-3 fatty acids can help reduce the mood swings of bipolar disorder. If omega-3s ARE effective against depression it may be because they make it easier for serotonin, a neurotransmitter that boosts mood, to do its job more efficiently. And a lack of available serotonin is known to trigger depression. Hence, many antidepressant medications are known as serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs. If you are thinking about supplementing your depression treatment with omega-3, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration is still considering its use and how much of it you may need to take to see benefits. For more information on managing and treating depression, check out other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-07-12 | Tags »
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Major depression in women is more common than in men. Learn more about gender differences and depression.
Transcript: Clinical depression is a mental illness affecting some 15 million Americans and about ten million of...
Clinical depression is a mental illness affecting some 15 million Americans and about ten million of them are women! Depression is a pervasive mood disorder characterized by feelings of sadness and hopelessness as well as a loss of interest in enjoyable activities. As well as a loss of interest in enjoyable activities. Although anyone can be diagnosed with depression, the rate is two times higher among women! For women, depression is more likely to occur earlier, last longer, and recur more often. Women with clinical depression may attempt suicide more often than men, although they succeed less frequently. In addition, depressed women are more likely to have a co-existing mental illness such as an anxiety or eating disorder. In seeking to understand why depression is both more frequent and more severe in women doctors have discovered that ovarian hormones play a huge role. To demonstrate, they point out that boys and girls have equal rates of depression in childhood. After puberty, though, the gender gap grows pronounced. This is likely due to fluctuations in a female's mood-affecting hormones, like estrogen and progesterone. From puberty onward, some three to five-percent of women acquire another hormonal risk factor for depression: premenstrual dysphoric disorder. PMDD is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome, which causes debilitating mood symptoms around menstruation. It's likely that the mood swings, depression, and despair surrounding PMDD are also related to cyclical changes in female hormones. For further proof of the hormone/depression connection, researchers look to pregnant women and new moms. Dramatic hormonal shifts both during and after pregnancy lead to higher rates of depression in females including a fairly common condition called postpartum depression. The risk of clinical depression is again heightened later in a woman's life, when her estrogen levels fall during early menopause. And women who use hormonal birth control, like the pill, are more likely to become depressed, too! In addition to this hormonal component, doctors point to a genetic link between women and depression. Females with mental illnesses in their family are much more likely to become depressed. Plus, some experts suspect that environmental factors like physical or sexual abuse, and work and family stress, affect women more severely, and for longer periods, than they do men. Whatever the reason for their higher rates of major depression, women are not without help. Depression is one of the most treatable mental health conditions! So if you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of depression, don't hesitate to meet with a medical health professional.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-21 | Tags »
women depression, depression women, postpartum depression mood disorders, gender, women mental, severe depression, depression facts, major depression causes, major depression, clinical depression mental, mental health, mental illness, mental condition