Beat the Winter Blues
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You've heard of the "winter blues," but did you know that depressed mood disorders may result from dreary weather? Several treatment options help combat seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of depression. Get the details now!
Transcript: Everyone has days when they feel down for no reason or just can't get motivated on a cold winter morning....
Everyone has days when they feel down for no reason or just can't get motivated on a cold winter morning. But if you find yourself experiencing drastic mood changes every year when fall and winter roll around, you may have Seasonal Affective Disorder. Seasonal Affective Disorder, called "SAD," is a type of recurring depression that coincides with seasonal variations. It commonly occurs during late fall and continues through winter, occurring less commonly in spring and summer. And the ensuing depression typically increases in severity as the season progresses. At least a half million people in the U.S.A. are affected by SAD between September and April every year. It's also believed that a milder form of SAD, referred to as the "Winter Blues" affects even more people. SAD is most common in areas where winter days are the shortest. It can affect people of all ages, but typically occurs most commonly between the ages of 15 and 55, with women accounting for three out of every four sufferers. Symptoms of SAD may include feeling moody, grumpy, anxious or unhappy. Sufferers also tend to sleep more, lack energy and crave carbohydrates. Typical depression symptoms such as lack of interest in normal activities, social withdrawal and decreased sexual interest may be present as well. People who have SAD symptoms in the spring and summer often experience insomnia, lack of appetite, weight loss, crying spells and decreased concentration. The precise cause of SAD is unknown. However, experts have identified several factors that are likely contributors. For example, reduced sunlight during the winter months is believed to disrupt the body's circadian rhythm or "biological clock," which can lead to feelings of disorder and depression. Decreased sunlight may also cause a drop in the brain chemical serotonin; a neurotransmitter that helps regulates mood and emotions. Seasonal changes may also result in a disruption of the body's natural levels of melatonin, a sleep-related hormone that the body produces in increased amounts in darkness. High levels of melatonin are associated with depression symptoms. Also, as with other types of depressive illnesses, people with a family history of the disorder are more likely to be affected by SAD. The level of depression associated with SAD is typically mild to moderate. In some cases, however, the depression can be severe enough to interfere with daily living. So it's important to consult a mental health professional for an accurate diagnosis. Diagnosing SAD involves meeting criteria stated by the American Psychiatric Association in the DSM IV manual including the presence of depression and other symptoms for at least two consecutive years, during the same seasons every year, followed by periods without depression when the seasons change. The most common treatment for SAD is bright light therapy using a light box that simulates natural light. This is thought to suppress melatonin production and help restore the body's natural circadian rhythms, with symptoms often relieved within a week. People who experience SAD during the spring and summer months may find relief by traveling to a cooler climate. When symptoms interfere with normal activities, SAD may also be treated with medication. Typically antidepressants from the serotonin selective reuptake inhibitor family such as Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa and the antidepressant Wellbutrin is specifically FDA approved for SAD. Counseling or behavioral therapy can also be effective in helping SAD sufferers manage symptoms. Other ways to manage SAD symptoms include exercising regularly, maintaining healthy eating and spending more time outside. Untreated, SAD may worsen and lead to: substance abuse; problems with school, work or relationships; and suicidal thoughts or behaviors. If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from SAD, please consult a mental health professional.More »
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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 »
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What is major depression? It's a clinical disorder leading to feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Learn the basics of this chronic condition.
Transcript: Everyone experiences periods of sadness, grief and discouragement. But when these feelings persist more...
Everyone experiences periods of sadness, grief and discouragement. But when these feelings persist more than a couple of weeks and impair your ability to get through the day, you may have Major Depression. Major Depression, also known as Clinical Depression or Major Depressive Disorder, is the most severe form of depression. People experiencing major depression typically feel such intense sadness and hopelessness that they are constantly depressed, and have no interest in normal activities. Major Depression is one of the most common mental health conditions and is the leading cause of disability in the U.S., affecting as many as 15 million Americans yearly. Symptoms of Major Depression vary because everyone experiences depression differently. Some people eat too much or too little. Some have trouble sleeping or can't get out of bed. Still others may be unusually irritable, or have difficulty concentrating. Other symptoms of depression include lack of energy, loss of pleasure in activities previously enjoyed, and thoughts of suicide. The typical onset for Major Depression is between the ages of 25 and 44, but can affect anyone at any age. Women are twice as likely to experience Major Depression and are particularly vulnerable to depression following childbirth, because of hormonal and physical changes. Men suffer from Major Depression, too. However, men are less likely to seek help when depressed, so it often goes unreported. Men may also be more likely to express their unhappiness through anger, substance abuse or violent behavior. Episodes of Major Depression may last for six to nine months. While some people experience a single occurrence, others may experience repeated episodes throughout their life. That's why most mental health professionals consider Major Depression a chronic illness requiring long-term treatment.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-02 | Tags »
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Despite its name, atypical depression is pretty common. Some of the symptoms include bipolar-like modds swings. More symptoms are explained in this video.
Transcript: Do you feel happy in positive situations yet slip into a dark, depressed mood as soon as you feel alone...
Do you feel happy in positive situations yet slip into a dark, depressed mood as soon as you feel alone or rejected? You may be suffering from Atypical Depression. Although its name implies Atypical Depression is unusual, it is actually one of the most common types of depression. What distinguishes Atypical Depression from other types of depression is what's called "mood reactivity," meaning sufferers experience both high or lows depending upon a particular situation. In contrast to most types of depression where sufferers may experience persistent sadness and an inability to enjoy normal activities even when good things happen, people with Atypical Depression experience pleasure in positive interactions or events, along with brightening of their mood. People with Atypical Depression also tend to be extremely sensitive and react intensely to any situation they perceive as negative. As a result, they may experience severe depressive symptoms in response to rejection of a friend or lover, or even constructive criticism from a coworker. Other common symptoms of Atypical Depression include: overeating accompanied by cravings for carbohydrates and sweets, weight gain, oversleeping, and what is often described as a "leaden-like" quality that may make sufferers feel weighed down and unable to move. Atypical Depression often begins in adolescence and, untreated, may continue into adulthood. As a result, people with this form of depression are often unaware of their mood swings, and may also be at an increased risk for panic attacks or a major depressive episode. While the precise cause of Atypical Depression is unknown, experts have identified numerous factors that may play a role in its development including: a family history of depression; previous mental, physical or sexual abuse; and alcohol or drug abuse. Atypical depression also occurs significantly more frequently in women than in men, with more than 70 percent of sufferers being female. Atypical Depression has also been associated with changes in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, which helps regulate mood and emotions. Like other forms of depressive illness, Atypical Depression can interfere with daily life. For example, oversleeping and sluggishness may affect home and work responsibilities, while mood swings can cause difficulties in personal and professional relationships. Often, the first step in resolving Atypical Depression is seeing your family doctor, who can rule out medical causes like low levels of thyroid hormone, which can cause depression and weight gain. Based on the results, you may be referred to a mental health professional. Diagnosing Atypical Depression involves meeting criteria stated by the American Psychiatric Association in the DSM IV-TR manual. The criteria include the presence of a depressed mood that readily improves in positive situations, plus any two common symptoms of Atypical Depression: interpersonal rejection, sensitivity, oversleeping, overeating and leaden paralysis. Treatment typically begins with medication, such as Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which are believed to be the most effective in treating Atypical Depression. Experts believe medication is most effective in combination with psychotherapy. If you or someone you know may have Atypical Depression, please see your doctor or a mental health professional.More »
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Change is hard, and sometimes it can lead to situational depression. Adjustment disorder, or situational depression, is often short-term but professional help can smooth painful transitions.
Transcript: Sometimes, a significant life change or problem can be so overwhelming that it results in anxiety, depression...
Sometimes, a significant life change or problem can be so overwhelming that it results in anxiety, depression and inability to go about daily activities, at which point it becomes Adjustment Disorder. Adjustment Disorder, often called Situational Depression, is a relatively common short-term condition that occurs when a person has an abnormal and excessive reaction to a particular stressor, positive or negative, such as a major life event, loss of a loved one or any unexpected change. Most people are able to adjust to stressful events within a few months. With Adjustment Disorder, however, sufferers are unable to cope with the stress and may experience a variety of symptoms ranging from mild to severe. Symptoms of Adjustment Disorder vary according to the intensity of the triggering situation, as well as the personal significance it has for a particular individual, but may include sadness, anxiety, hopelessness and loss of interest in everyday activities. Adjustment Disorder may also cause physical symptoms ranging from headaches and stomachaches to agitation, palpitations, lethargy and twitching. A number of behavioral symptoms may be present as well, such as changes in eating and sleeping habits, difficulty concentrating, isolation, missing work and engaging in destructive or reckless behavior such as using alcohol or drugs. These symptoms typically begin within three months of the stressful event and seldom last longer than six months beyond the original incident that triggered the stress. The circumstances triggering Adjustment Disorder include virtually any situation an individual perceives as stressful, from positive events like getting married or having a baby, to financial difficulties, divorce, job loss, serious illness, unexpected tragedy, or a disastrous event such as an earthquake, fire or flood. While Adjustment Disorder can affect anyone of any age, and is typically experienced equally by both men and women, it occurs most commonly during times of major life transitions such as during adolescence, middle age and in the elderly. An individual's susceptibility to Adjustment Disorder may also involve changes in brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, which helps regulate mood. Personality, temperament, well-being, life experiences and family history are each thought to play a role as well. In many cases, the symptoms of Adjustment Disorder are resolved on their own through the individual's gradual adaptation to the stressful situation or event. But if symptoms become so overwhelming that it becomes difficult to get through the day, it's wise to see your doctor. There are no clinical tests for Adjustment Disorder, but it's important to rule out any medical conditions that could be causing your symptoms. It's likely that your doctor will refer you to a mental health professional. Diagnosing Adjustment Disorder involves meeting criteria stated by the American Psychiatric Association in the DSM IV manual. Your mental health professional will need to confirm the presence of emotional or behavioral symptoms occurring within three months of a stressful event including marked distress in excess of what would typically be expected by the particular stressor, and a significant impairment in functioning. Treatment for Adjustment Disorder typically includes supportive psychotherapy that assists sufferers in putting the stressor in perspective and helps optimize coping skills. Anti-anxiety medications may be suggested for short-term relief of anxiety or insomnia. Some sufferers find it helpful to discuss their feelings in a support group setting with others who are coping with similar situations. Family therapy may be beneficial as well. Fortunately, Adjustment Disorder typically gets better within six months without any remaining symptoms. If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from Adjustment Disorder, please consult a mental health professional.More »
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People with psychotic depression experience paranoid hallucinations, like hearing voices, and delusions. Learn more about psychotic depression and treatment options here.
Transcript: What happens when a depressed person loses touch with reality, the cause may be a serious condition called...
What happens when a depressed person loses touch with reality, the cause may be a serious condition called Psychotic Depression. Psychotic Depression occurs when a person with severe depression also experiences psychosis, characterized by hallucinations that involve seeing or hearing things that don't actually exist, as well as delusional thoughts, which most often entail various irrational beliefs, thoughts and fears. The subject matter of hallucinations and delusions often reflects the sufferer's depressed mood. For example, people with Psychotic Depression may see frightening images such as an apparition of the devil, hear voices that insult them, or that urge them to harm themselves or others. People with Psychotic Depression may also: think they're dying of a serious medical illness; become unreasonably distrustful, often believing that others "hear" their thoughts or want to kill them; or believe themselves to be a famous person or guilty of a crime they didn't commit. Other symptoms of Psychotic Depression may include anxiety, insomnia, poor concentration, sudden outbursts of anger, constipation, physical immobility and extreme self-neglect. Psychotic Depression typically requires immediate medical attention, because sufferers may be unwilling or unable to take care of themselves, as well as to prevent self-harm or harm to others. Approximately one-fourth of people who are admitted to the hospital for depression suffer from Psychotic Depression. While the exact cause of Psychotic Depression is unknown, research shows an association with elevated levels of Cortisol, a hormone produced in large quantities during times of significant stress. With Psychotic Depression, natural Cortisol production may be off kilter, leading to psychosis. And, while no specific risk factors for Psychotic Depression have been identified, people who have a family history of depression are more likely to be affected. Unlike other types of mental illness involving hallucinations and delusions, like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, sufferers of Psychotic Depression are often aware that the things they see and hear are not real. This may result in embarrassment and attempts to hide symptoms, making diagnosis difficult. The first step in diagnosing Psychotic Depression often involves seeing a doctor for a physical exam and blood tests to rule out any medical conditions or drug reactions that could be causing the symptoms. It is also essential to have a complete mental health evaluation to differentiate Psychotic Depression from other mental disorders that cause breaking with reality, and from other types of depression. This is because treatment differs from other depressive illnesses, and risk of suicide is greater. Psychotic Depression can be treated successfully. However, it is not as responsive to psychotherapy as other forms of depression. Also, antidepressants alone are typically not sufficient. As a result, treatment generally involves a combination of antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs to effectively control symptoms. ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) may be used and can be very effective. But it typically is only used to treat extreme conditions that have not responded to other courses of treatment. Most people recover from Psychotic Depression within a year. However, it's often necessary to continue the medication regimen and receive ongoing professional follow-up, as the risk of depressive symptoms returning is higher than a return of the psychotic symptoms. If you think you or someone know may be suffering from Psychotic Depression, please consult your doctor or a mental health professional.More »
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What is depression? It's different from an occasional feeling of sadness. True depression is a clinical disorder. Learn the varying degrees of depression.
Transcript: Most people know what depression is - almost everyone suffers from occasional depression with symptoms...
Most people know what depression is - almost everyone suffers from occasional depression with symptoms like sadness, pessimism and low energy. It is only when depression lasts two weeks or more that it becomes a clinical disorder, at which point it is called Major Depression. People sometimes have a hard time understanding the difference between depression and normal sadness. It is important to understand that when someone has depression there are actually physical changes in the structure of the brain as well as reduced levels of important chemicals called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that allow communication between nerves, but they are also important for mood regulation. People suffering from depression typically have reduced levels of neurotransmitters, especially serotonin. Lower levels of serotonin lead to mood destabilization and depression. People suffering from depression can also have related changes in their brain structure. For example, people with a history of depression have a smaller hippocampus than others. This is important because the hippocampus is an important serotonin receptor.Although people commonly think of depression as a single illness, there are actually many different types, with different causes and treatments. One common type of depression is Major Depression. Symptoms often include overwhelming feelings of sadness, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, low energy and feelings of worthlessness. It may also result in poor sleep, appetite changes, and negative thinking. Another kind of depression, Dysthymia, is characterized by a chronic lack of pleasure in life. Its symptoms are less severe than major depression, but Dysthymia tends to last for long periods of time. Adjustment depression disorder can occur in the aftermath of a sad or traumatic event. A period of unhappiness is normal, but if the depressed feelings continue for several months then it is called adjustment depression disorder. One other common kind of depression is Seasonal Affective Disorder, a pattern of depression related to a lack of exposure to sunlight. Typically, SAD sufferers notice symptoms during winter, when days are shortest, and can often be helped with a light box that replaces lost sunlight. Depression is really a catch-all term for many related illnesses. Excellent treatments exist for most kinds of depression, but self-diagnosis is tricky. If you think you are suffering from depression, the first step towards feeling better is to see a doctor. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, check out other videos and sources on this subject.More »
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Common methods of treating depression range from medications and antidpressants, to talk therapy. Learn more about options for treating depression.
Transcript: Depression can be treated effectively with both therapy and antidepressants, but it is important to rule...
Depression can be treated effectively with both therapy and antidepressants, but it is important to rule out organic causes, like viral infection, before commencing treatment. The first treatment step is an evaluation to determine the severity of the depression and to assess contributing factors like genetics and substance abuse. Depending on the outcome of this evaluation, psychotherapy, antidepressants, or a combination of the two may be prescribed as treatment. Because depression is often a neuro-chemical phenomenon, antidepressants can be extremely helpful to many patients. Antidepressants correct imbalances in the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine. Most antidepressants fall into one of three categories: selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclics, or monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Prozac, Paxil, and Wellbutrin are the most commonly prescribed SSRIs, and typically have few side effects. Tricyclics and MAOIs have more side effects than SSRIs, but can be more effective for some patients. However, when someone is taking MAOIs they need to avoid eating cheese, tofu and drinking beer and certain wines. It can take time for antidepressants to become effective-sometimes up to 8 weeks - so it's important to continue taking medications for as long as they are prescribed. Antidepressants aren't habit-forming, but often need to be stopped gradually to give the body time to adjust. It's never a good idea to stop your medication or change the dosage without consulting your doctor. Herbal remedies like St. John's Wort have been used for centuries to treat depression. Research has shown antidepressants to be more effective than St. John's Wort, though it is still considered by some to be effective for treating mild depression. People who do have a mild form of depression may see significant improvement with just psychotherapy. But even when antidepressants are also used, integrating psychotherapy into the treatment can provide lasting benefits. When successful, psychotherapy can actually bring about physical changes in the brain - in other words, effective therapy has a healing power that is emotional, but also actually physical in nature. If you have depression, your doctor will often recommend that you add a regular exercise regiment to your lifestyle as well. Although exercise is not a cure for depression, its psychological and physical benefits can improve your symptoms. Small amounts of activity - just 10 to 15 minutes at a time - have been shown to improve mood. If you need a little push to get started, try scheduling a few sessions with a personal trainer. Depression can be a challenging illness to live with, but there are good treatment options available. If you think that you are suffering from depression, talk to a medical professional. If you are interested in learning more about this topic, check out other videos and sources on this subject.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-20 | Tags »
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Yes, kids can get depressed too. Symptoms of depression in children include irritability, anger and social withdrawal. Learn how to recognize the signs.
Transcript: Young children, like adults, can suffer from depression, a medical illness that can result in a range...
Young children, like adults, can suffer from depression, a medical illness that can result in a range of emotional and physical problems. Because younger children may not be able to describe how they feel, it's important to be aware of the symptoms to look for in children that may be depressed. It's estimated that one out of every 33 children may be affected by depression. Symptoms of depression are unique from child to child, and may manifest differently at different times, but primarily involve persistent sadness, mood swings and a sense of hopelessness. Your child's sleeping habits may change as well. Children with depression often have trouble falling asleep at night, or problems getting up in the morning. A change in your child's eating patterns, such as eating significantly more OR less, may also be a sign of depression. Other signs that your child may be depressed are an obvious change in the ability to function normally at home or at school, a lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyed, worsening performance at school and a noticeable change in appearance or demeanor. Many children with depression may often complain of physical ailments as well, such as frequent headaches or stomachaches that don't respond to typical remedies. And, although it's not uncommon for young children to have temper tantrums, frequent outbursts of anger and crying may also be a sign of depression. Some children suffering from depression may often be sad and tearful. Yet others may become extremely aggressive and argumentative. Not long ago, it was believed young children didn't get depressed. We now know that depression in children is not uncommon. Parents who notice obvious changes in their child's behavior that last more than a few weeks should schedule a visit with their pediatrician. Untreated, depression can have lasting consequences for children that result in setbacks to a child's emotional growth, social life and ability to succeed at school. While there are no specific tests to show depression, a trained therapist can conduct a thorough clinical evaluation and suggest the best treatment options. Most childhood depression can be treated effectively. If you suspect your child is depressed, it's important to seek professional help as soon as possible.More »
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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 »
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Depression is a treatable clinical disorder, but may not be preventable. While how to prevent depression is not truly known, there are ways to reduce your risk.
Transcript: Just as there is no single cause of depression, there is not one particular way to prevent it. There...
Just as there is no single cause of depression, there is not one particular way to prevent it. There are, however, steps you can take to manage anxiety, boost self-esteem and increase resilience to stress that may help you overcome many symptoms of depression. Mental health experts have long advocated exercise as a way to combat, and help prevent, depression. Recent studies show that exercising three to five times a week, for at least 30 minutes, can help reduce depression symptoms. While high-intensity, cardiovascular workouts showed the best results, any type of exercise - like walking, biking, swimming, kickboxing or even gardening - may help to reduce stress and boost self-esteem. Certain foods may also help fight depression, as evidenced by low rates of depression in Scandinavian and Asian counties, which both have diets high in fish. Clinical studies confirm foods rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, including salmon, sardines and tuna, can effectively reduce depression symptoms. Studies also suggest that high levels of B vitamins - folic acid, B2, B6 and B12 - can help battle depression. So a diet high in fruits and vegetables, as well as legumes, nuts and whole grains may be beneficial as well. Keep an eye on carbohydrates, too. They break down into sugar, which can worsen depression symptoms. If you choose to eat carb-rich foods, stick with the good ones, like green vegetables, fruit and nuts - and skip the chips, bagels and cupcakes. In addition to exercise and a healthy diet, it can also be beneficial to make time for activities YOU enjoy, whether you're writing in a journal, playing the piano, seeing a movie with friends, practicing free throws or spending quality time on the putting green. Many people find mind-body techniques valuable in helping conquer depression. Practicing meditation, yoga, Tai Chi or guided imagery has a positive impact on physiological processes, which may help improve relaxation, emotions, energy and concentration. Research suggests acupuncture may be another viable way to reduce or prevent symptoms of depression. By stimulating the body's central nervous system, acupuncture increases production of mood-enhancing endorphins. And don't forget to stay connected with the people you care about - and who make you feel good about yourself. There are many ways you can take charge of depression and help reduce or prevent its symptoms. If you - or someone you know - suffers from depression, please consult a mental health professional.More »
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Are you at risk for depression? Genetics and medical conditions can play a role, but they are not the only factors. Watch this for more on risks of depression.
Transcript: A number of factors can increase the risk for depression, a serious mental illness that can affect anyone,...
A number of factors can increase the risk for depression, a serious mental illness that can affect anyone, at any time of life. Risks include gender, a person's ability to cope with stress, the presence of certain medical conditions or loss of a loved one. Evidence suggests that genetics play a role in depression. While there is not a specific gene that causes depression, a family history of depression suggests that other family members may be at risk for experiencing depression during their lifetime. Gender is a risk factor as well. Women are twice as likely to suffer from depression than men, which many experts attribute - in part - to hormonal influences on the brain chemistry that regulates mood and emotions, as well as balancing work and family responsibilities. Depression is not uncommon in men, especially in a culture where male self-worth is often dependent upon physical prowess and career achievements. However, men tend to be less comfortable talking about their feelings or seeking help than women, suggesting that male depression may be underreported. Adolescents are also at risk for depression, particularly those who lack self-confidence, tend to be overly critical of themselves, or those who are unable to cope well with stress in everyday life. While risk factors may increase the probability of depression, there's no certainty that depression will occur. That's because depression risks are also closely associated with individual personalities, temperament and styles of coping, along with how each person construes and reacts to past and current life experiences. For example, a family history of physical, emotional or sexual abuse puts a person at risk for depression later in life. Depression risks may also occur in the context of relationships, as with the loss of a family member, infidelity, divorce, or betrayal by a friend or coworker. Serious illness, especially chronic conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer's or Parkinson's, pose a risk for depression as well. In addition, depression among caregivers of family members with these chronic conditions is approximately 10 times more frequent than in the general population. Not everyone with risk factors becomes depressed. And many risk factors can be managed with the help of a mental health professional. If you - or someone you know - is at risk for depression, please consult a mental health professional.More »
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True depression in children, while not common, can be frustrating for a parent. If you suspect your child is suffering from depression, learn how to spot the signs.
Transcript: Occasional sadness or anxiety is NOT uncommon in children and adolescents. But certain symptoms like...
Occasional sadness or anxiety is NOT uncommon in children and adolescents. But certain symptoms like persistent sadness, hopelessness and significant behavior changes that impact the ability to function in school, family or social situations can signal depression in young people. An estimated 2% of young children, and 4% to 8% of adolescents suffer from depression, a mental illness that can cause numerous emotional and physical symptoms. Depression can have lasting consequences that result in setbacks to a child's emotional growth, social life and ability to succeed at school. Studies also show that young people who struggle with depression often experience significant disadvantages in adulthood, underscoring the importance of early diagnosis. Yet another - and extremely critical - reason to seek professional help for childhood or adolescent depression is the connection between depression and suicide, which is the third leading cause of death among young people in the 10-to 24-year-old age group. If depression symptoms persist at least two weeks, it's important to visit your family physician to rule out physical causes of the depression symptoms. If depression is suspected, your doctor may suggest a mental health professional for a comprehensive evaluation. To diagnose depression accurately in young people, clinicians rely on the same DSM-IV diagnostic criteria published by the American Psychiatric Association used for diagnosing adults. However, the criteria acknowledge that diagnoses may be more difficult in young people because symptoms vary according to age and development. Meeting the diagnostic criteria for depression involves the presence of at least five of the nine symptoms listed in the DSM-IV, that persist for at least two weeks. Symptoms include persistent sadness, loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed, changes in appetite, sleeping or behavior, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and thoughts of suicide. Challenges in diagnosing depression in young people often include the inability of younger children to fully describe how they feel, as well as teens that may refuse to engage in conversation. To help ensure the most comprehensive understanding of the depression symptoms, the mental health evaluation typically involves interviews with the child and parents, and may include any useful information that other family members, friends, teachers or counselors can provide. Depression in children and adolescents is a serious mental illness that can be frightening for children as well as their parents. But it can be treated successfully. If you suspect your child may be depressed, it's important to consult a mental health professional as soon as possible.More »
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