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One of my favorite health tips drives my friends nuts when I start preaching about juicing!

 

Do you have enough time in your day to eat all the recommended fruits and vegetables that will keep you healthy and happy???

 

It's not easy! But my personal solution is MY JUICE MACHINE!

 

Look into getting a juicer for your own health boost! A juice machine is the best investment you can make for your health and happiness!

 

Coconut Oil

 

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Depression Articles, Tips and Information

Depression - Symptoms, Causes and Treatment options

The main symptom of depression is sadness or low mood level, but many other mental and physical symptoms also occur. Here are symptoms, causes and treatment options explained.

In teenagers lack of interest in school work, withdrawal from social life and difficult mood can be signs of depression.

Depression is a complex of psychological and physical symptoms. Low mood level or sadness is often the most prominent symptom. The common property of these symptoms is a decreased activity level in parts of the brain.

 

THE SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION

Depression may give one or more of these symptoms:

 

-Low mood level or sadness.
-Lack of joy or interest in activities that were joyful before.
-Pessimism.
-Feel of guilt of something without any substantial reason to feel so.
-Inferiority thoughts.
-Irritability.
-Slowness in the thought process.
-Slowness in interpreting sensorial stimuli.
-Slowness of digestion or other internal physical processes, and symptoms caused by this slowness, for example inflated stomach, constipation or difficulties by urination.
-Slow physical reactions.

 

THE PHYSIOLOGICAL CHANGES THAT PRODUCE THE SYMPTOMS

By depression there is a decreased amount of neurotransmitters in parts of the central nervous system, mainly deficiency of serotonin, but also to some extend of noradrenalin, acetylcholine, dopamine or gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA), or the nerve cells do not react properly by stimulation from neurotransmitters. A neurotransmitter is a signal substance that transmits the nerve signal through the junctions between two nerve cells.

 

Serotonin and noradrenalin cause nerve cells to send impulses along to other nerve cells, and thus increase the activity in the brain. Deficiency of these substances causes slowness in parts of the brain, and that again causes the depressive symptoms.

 

The role of GABA is the opposite, namely to slow down some nerve impulses, mainly those causing anxiety and panic response. Lack of GABA causes higher anxiety and easier panic response. Yet, lack of this transmitter also seems to cause depressive symptoms. This is because a too high activity in some brain processes may slow down other processes. There are many causes and subtypes of depression with different physiological mechanisms involved.

 

TYPES OF DEPRESSION

Depression is often divided into subtypes according to exhibited symptoms.

 

1. Mono-polar depression and dysthymic disorder  

By mono-polar depression there are pure depressive symptoms. Mild cases of mono-polar disorder that do not affect a persons ability to work and to participate in social activities are often called dysthymic disorder.

 

2. Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disease) and cyclothymic disorder

In this condition there are periods with symptoms of depression - the depressive phase, alternating with periods of elevated mood level with increased mental and physical activity - the manic phase. In the manic phase, the affected person also sleeps poorly and has concentration difficulties. A mild form of this disease is called cyclothymic disorder.

 

3. Manic disorder

This condition is characterized by abnormally elevated mood, by unrealistic optimism, by lack of sleep and by hyperactive behaviour. Many psychiatrists think that this disorder is simply the same disease as bipolar disorder where the depressive face has not yet occurred.

 

4. Depression with mainly physical symptoms

Sometimes the physical symptoms of depression are alone or dominant, as for example: Digestive problems, constipation, difficulties with urination, slow response to sensorial stimuli or slow physical reactions.

 

CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

Two or more factors can have an effect simultaneously to cause depression. Depression can be an independent disease, or a part of other disease. Depression is also divided into different subtypes according to cause.

 

1. Reactive depression

This disease is simply a result from psychological stress, physical struggle or mental straining without proper rest or sleep over a long time period. The straining will simply wear out the nervous system or deplete the organism from nutrient necessary for the nervous system to work properly.

 

2. Endogenous depression

When there has not been any period of stress, straining or lack of rest that can explain the condition, the condition is often called endogenous depression. Inheritance is thought to be a part of the cause.

 

3. Depression by physical disease

Depression or depressive symptoms may be a symptom of physical disease. This is perhaps the most common cause of depression.

 

Diseases often associated with depression are: Heart disease, Parkinson's disease, stroke, hypertension or Cushing's syndrome. Mononucleosis or flu may trigger depression that continues after the infection has gone. By lack of thyroid hormones, hypothyroidism, the metabolism in the whole body is slowed down, including the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. Therefore depression is an important symptom of hypothyroidism.

 

4. Depressive symptoms as a consequence of unsound lifestyle

A general unsound lifestyle with too less exercise, too much of stimulants like alcohol, coffee or tea, too less of important nutrient and too much of sugar and fat may give depressive symptoms, as well as physical problems.

 

5. Postnatal depression

Women will often have a period of depression after pregnancy and berth of the baby Pregnancy and berth is physically and mentally exhausting, and may drain the body for nutrient. This in turn can cause depressive symptoms.

 

6. Seasonal affective disorder

Depression can occur in cold and dark periods of the year and go away in warm and light periods. Light stimulates brain activity, and lack of light is a causative factor.

 

TREATMENT OF DEPRESSION

Serious or prolonged depression is often treated with anti-depressive medication. Medicines used against depression generally increase the level of neurotransmitters like serotonin in the central nervous system, or they mimic the neurotransmitters.

The medications mostly used today increase the serotonin concentration by decreasing the removal of serotonin from the space around nerve cells. Examples of this medication type are: Fluoxetine (Prozac), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), escitalopram (Lexapro, Celexa), sentraline (zoloft).

 

By bipolar disorder in the manic face, heavy tranquilizers (neuroleptica) are used to stop the manic symptoms. By bipolar disorder, lithium salts are sometimes used to stabilize the condition, and prevent new outbreak of depressive or manic faces.

 

Psychotherapy is sometimes used by depression, usually in combination with medication.

Sometimes serious depression is treated by applying electric shock through the head, electroconvulsive therapy. The shock induces epileptic eruption of nerve signals through the brain and this gives cramps throughout the body. The cramps are alleviated or stopped by applying anaesthesia before the electroshock. This form of treatment is controversial, since it can cause memory loss and is suspected of causing brain damage. The possibility of brain damage is however denied by most psychiatrists.

 

By seasonal depression, light therapy maybe useful.

Adjustment of lifestyle should always be considered by depression or depressive symptoms. Lifestyle measures can sometimes be enough to cure depressive symptoms before a serious depression develop. Lifestyle adjustments can be:

 

- To slow down a stressful life with too much work or activities.
- Enough rest and sleep.
- A good diet with enough of necessary nutrients.
- Some physical exercise.
- Meditation.
- Supplement of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, lecithin, amino acids and essential fatty acids.
- Stimulants like coffee or tea may help against depressive feelings in moderate amount. However, if you are a heavy user of these stimulants, you should cut down on your consumption.

 

There exist nutritional products in the marked to help against depressive symptoms. These contain ingredients that the brain uses as building blocks for neurotransmitters, for example amino acids and lecithin. They also often contain vitamins and minerals that the brain uses as tools to produce neurotransmitters, especially vitamin B6.

 

Supplements may further contain herbal extracts that trigger higher brain activity much like anti-depressive medications, but may have fewer side effects.

 

Knut Holt is an internet consultant and marketer focusing on health items. TO FIND natural supplements to help against serotonin deficiency, GABA deficiency, hypothyroidism, mental problems, acne, skin problems, heart disease, hemorrhoids, rheumatism, and other common health problems, PLEASE VISIT:---- http://www.panteraconsulting.com/salg2.htm.

 

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How to Beat the "Black Dog" of Depression and Have Better Sleep

 

Almost 10% of the US population suffer from depression at any one time. Similar statistics would be expected from other developed countries. Depression can affect our sleep in many ways. Some of us sleep longer and others find themselves waking up in the early hours of the morning, unable to go back to sleep. Insomnia can be one of the many symptoms of depression, so it’s best to treat the depression itself and usually the sleep problems will resolve themselves. Depression can affect not only the sufferer but also family and friends who are often at a loss as to how they can help. We should let them and not try to shoulder the burden ourselves.

 

The last thing we need when depressed is someone telling us to, "Snap out of it" or "Pull yourself together"!

 

We have to be careful whom we chose to confide in though as some people still have the mistaken belief that depression is a "malingerers" complaint. Depression is a clinical complaint and a genuine illness. Symptoms of depression can include fatigue, lack of motivation, difficulty concentrating, insomnia, irritability and even physical symptoms such as headaches or digestive upsets.

 

Depression can be severe (major depression) which can completely disable the sufferer, or moderate (dysthymia) in which sufferers can function from day to day but never really feel content or happy. Then there is bipolar disorder which is less common. Those afflicted with bipolar disorder can swing from a high (manic) state to a low (depressed) state seemingly without cause.

 

What causes depression?

It could be several things. Depression may run in the family, or start after a chronic illness. It can also be caused by hormonal imbalance which is why so many women fall victim. A person's thinking pattern may be prone to depression, for example those with poor self esteem.

 

"Cures" for depression are many and some more effective than others. There is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) while sounding like something from the torture chambers of the inquisition, is an effective aid for severe depression. Prescribed medications like lithium can be effective but can also have side effects like drowsiness, dizziness, blurred vision, insomnia, constipation and more…

 

Herbal remedies are a viable option and have many less side effects while being remarkably effective and cheaper. Recommended are St John's Wort and Passiflora.

 

Regular exercise and a healthy diet are also important. Make sure there are plenty of B vitamins in the food you eat or take a supplement. Include foods which help raise serotonin levels (Oats, milk turkey and pasta) This will have a beneficial effect on your sleep too.

 

Cognitive or behavioural therapy can greatly assist by changing behaviour and thought patterns that may have led to the illness. To summarise - Share your problems with a trusted friend or paid counsellor, watch your diet, exercise regularly, take appropriate medication or enrol in behavioural therapy. Help yourself defeat the "black dog" of depression.

 

Wendy Owen is a health researcher and author.

Want to know how to cure insomnia and achieve healthy sleep? Visit http://www.insomnia-connection.com your resource for good sleep advice and articles. Sign on for our newsletter and receive 2 books absolutely free!

 

What Do You Know About Depression?

Most people do not take depression seriously enough. They only start paying attention when it is already too late. In fact, to start with, very few recognize the fact that it is a disease like any other. They are not aware that clinically it even has a name. It is known as major depressive disorder.

The general feeling in those who surround persons suffering from depression has always been that it is not a real disease with a real name.

The strong conviction in most is that persons suffering from depression are well able to do something about it using their personal will. The feeling is that they have the power and ability to “snap out of it.” Hence the frequent annoyance and frustration quite often displayed by those living with loved ones suffering from depression and depression-related symptoms. The result is that they never pay attention to the tale-tale signs when the depression has reached dangerous levels. They do not even see them coming and are therefore o very little if any help to the patient.

 

Understanding the Disease

Understanding depression or major depressive disorder is therefore an extremely important and necessary first step in its treatment and long-term management. The fact of the matter is that depression is a very serious disease and like any other disease, needs to be treated. Failure to seek treatment will only make things worse and can end up in fatal and tragic consequences. http://www.depressionforum.info/ is a good place to start as you seek out information on how to go about the treatment and management of depression in your loved one suffering from this deadly disease, also known as depressive disorder.

 

What is Depression?

The whole process of understanding starts with a deep appreciation of what exactly depression is. Medically speaking it is an imbalance of brain chemicals along with a number of other related factors.

 

Further evidence that the depression condition is a disease and is recognized as such by the medical profession can be found in the fact that it is mostly treated using medication. The treatment is usually a combination of medication and non-medication methods. For instance, psychotherapy or talk therapy is frequently used as a key part of the treatment on a patient who has been diagnosed as suffering from depression.

 

After Treatment, The Hard Work Starts

One of the most challenging aspects of depression is the fact that after treatment, the disease needs to be managed over a long period of time. It has to be carefully managed for virtually the rest of the life of the patient. The objective here is to minimize or completely eliminate the possibilities of recurrence. This is accomplished using a combination of medication and strict doctor’s order to avoid situations that bring about stress and agitation on the side of the patient.

 

Understanding the disease and its treatment is critical in managing depression after the major part of the treatment is complete.

 

Glenn Ford is a professional SEO expert and provides SEO Services thru http://www.seo-gurus.net/.

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Depression Is An Equal Opportunity Condition

 

Depression is a serious medical condition that can affect anyone. Men, women and children are all susceptible to this disease which can have devastating effects on someone's daily life. Depression can come on suddenly, for no reason, or it might follow a traumatic experience such as a death or some other traumatic experience.

 

Symptoms of depression can interfere with a person's ability to work, sleep, study and enjoy life in a fruitful way. If you find that these symptoms persist for more than a few weeks you should discuss it with your doctor. The symptoms to look for include: sadness, irritability, no interest in hobbies and activities which once were loved, hopelessness, problems sleeping, fatigue, thoughts of suicide or death, feelings of guilt and significant weight change.

 

Once these symptoms start affecting the way you live your life, it's time to seek help. M.I., who has had depression on and off for many years says, "I never really knew what was wrong with me. I would have these bouts with trying to cope with life, but all I would end up doing is staying sad and crying all the time. I couldn't see any way out of what I was dealing with in my life, but I'm glad I hung in there. Being able to find out what was wrong with me and knowing that I could get treatment for it changed my life."

 

Depression an also affect the physical health of a person, which is a symptom that is often overlooked. I. A., a depression sufferer shares, "I would get these pains in my arms, shoulder and hands. My doctor told me that he couldn't find anything wrong. Nothing wrong with my bones or my joints, but the pains never seemed to go away. Now I know it was related to the depression."

 

No one knows what exactly causes depression, but some believe it might be caused by an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain, and in that instance you and your doctor might decide that you need to take antidepressants. One form of depression called "Seasonal Affective Disorder" (SAD) uses light therapy as treatment since it's thought that a lack of sunlight during certain times of the year could be a cause.

 

If you think depression might be entering your life, don't wait to get help. There is nothing wrong with asking questions and trying to get help. Many people are too afraid or feel guilty about asking for help for depression. A lot of the world still thinks that depression is "just the blues" or just a person feeling down. Depression is a very real medical condition that is just as valid as having a broken bone that would need to be treated.

 

"A reluctance to get help can lead to years of disability and not having a good and happy life," says B.D., "I could have gotten help a long time ago, but I waited for about ten years before taking action. I thought I should have been a person strong enough to beat depression on my own. I sure wish I had made the move toward help instead of waiting."

 

Remember, depression is a treatable condition that can get better. You need to take the steps to get the help you need.

 

Belver Ladson is a successful entrepreneur, motivational coach and graphic artist. Belver strives to help people notice the goodness in life and that hope is always present. Belver can be reached at http://www.depressionknowhow.com.

 

The Many Dimensions Of Depression In Women

 

Life is full of emotional difficulties. However, when the "down" times are long lasting or interfere with your ability to function, you may be suffering from a common, serious illness—depression. Clinical depression affects mood, mind, body, and behavior. Research has shown that in the United States about 19 million people—one in ten adults—experience depression each year, and nearly two-thirds do not get the help they need.2Treatment can alleviate the symptoms in over 80 percent of the cases.

 

Yet, because it often goes unrecognized, depression continues to cause unnecessary suffering.Depression is a pervasive and impairing illness that affects both women and men, but women experience depression at roughly twice the rate of men. Researchers continue to explore how special issues unique to women—biological, life cycle, and psycho-social-may be associated with women's higher rate of depression.

 

No two people become depressed in exactly the same way. Many people have only some of the symptoms, varying in severity and duration. For some, symptoms occur in time-limited episodes; for others, symptoms can be present for long periods if no treatment is sought. Having some depressive symptoms does not mean a person is clinically depressed. For example, it is not unusual for those who have lost a loved one to feel sad, helpless, and disinterested in regular activities. Only when these symptoms persist for an unusually long time is there reason to suspect that grief has become depressive illness. Similarly, living with the stress of potential layoffs, heavy workloads, or financial or family problems may cause irritability and "the blues." Up to a point, such feelings are simply a part of human experience. However, when these feelings increase in duration and intensity and an individual is unable to function as usual, what seemed a temporary mood may have become a clinical illness.

 

THE TYPES OF DEPRESSIVE ILLNESS

1. In major depression, sometimes-referred to as unipolar or clinical depression, people have some or all of the symptoms listed below for at least 2 weeks but frequently for several months or longer. Episodes of the illness can occur once, twice, or several times in a lifetime.

 

2. In dysthymia, the same symptoms are present though milder and last at least 2 years. People with dysthymia are frequently lacking in zest and enthusiasm for life, living a joyless and fatigued existence that seems almost a natural outgrowth of their personalities. They also can experience major depressive episodes.

 

3.Bipolar disorder, or manic-depression, is not nearly as common as other forms of depressive illness and involves disruptive cycles of depressive symptoms that alternate with mania. During manic episodes, people may become overly active, talkative, euphoric, and irritable, spend money irresponsibly, and get involved in sexual misadventures. In some people, a milder form of mania, called hypomania, alternates with depressive episodes. Unlike other mood disorders, women and men are equally vulnerable to bipolar disorder; however, women with bipolar disorder tend to have more episodes of depression and fewer episodes of mania or hypomania.

 

SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION AND MANIA

A thorough diagnostic evaluation is needed if three to five or more of the following symptoms persist for more than 2 weeks (1 week in the case of mania), or if they interfere with work or family life. An evaluation involves a complete physical checkup and information gathering on family health history. Not everyone with depression experiences each of these symptoms. The severity of the symptoms also varies from person to person.

 

Depression

 

• Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
• Loss of interest or pleasure in activities, including sex
• Restlessness, irritability, or excessive crying
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness, hopelessness, pessimism
• Sleeping too much or too little, early-morning awakening
• Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
• Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling "slowed down"
• Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
• Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain

Mania

• Abnormally elevated mood
• Irritability
• Decreased need for sleep
• Grandiose notions
• Increased talking
• Racing thoughts
• Increased activity, including sexual activity
• Markedly increased energy
• Poor judgment that leads to risk-taking behavior
• Inappropriate social behavior

 

CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

 

Genetic Factors

There is a risk for developing depression when there is a family history of the illness, indicating that a biological vulnerability may be inherited. The risk is somewhat higher for those with bipolar disorder. However, not everybody with a family history develops the illness. In addition, major depression can occur in people who have had no family members with the illness. This suggests that additional factors, possibly biochemistry, environmental stressors, and other psychosocial factors, are involved in the onset of depression.

 

Biochemical Factors

Evidence indicates that brain biochemistry is a significant factor in depressive disorders. It is known, for example, that individuals with major depressive illness typically have deregulations of certain brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters. Additionally, sleep patterns, which are biochemical influenced, are typically different in people with depressive disorders. Depression can be induced or alleviated with certain medications, and some hormones have mood-altering properties. What is not yet known is whether the "biochemical disturbances" of depression are of genetic origin, or are secondary to stress, trauma, physical illness, or some other environmental condition.

 

Environmental and Other Stressors

Significant loss, a difficult relationship, financial problems, or a major change in life pattern have all been cited as contributors to depressive illness. Sometimes the onset of depression is associated with acute or chronic physical illness. In addition, some form of substance abuse disorder occurs in about one-third of people with any type of depressive disorder.

 

Other Psychological and Social Factors

Persons with certain characteristics—pessimistic thinking, low self-esteem, a sense of having little control over life events, and a tendency to worry excessively—are more likely to develop depression. These attributes may heighten the effect of stressful events or interfere with taking action to cope with them or with getting well. Upbringing or sex role expectations may contribute to the development of these traits. Patterns typically develop that negative thinking in childhood or adolescence. Some experts have suggested that the traditional upbringing of girls might foster these traits and may be a factor in women's higher rate of depression.

 

WOMEN ARE AT GREATER RISK FOR DEPRESSION THAN MEN

Major depression and dysthymia affect twice as many women as men. This two-to-one ratio exists regardless of racial and ethnic background or economic status. The same ratio has been reported in ten other countries all over the world. Men and women have about the same rate of bipolar disorder (manic-depression), though its course in women typically has more depressive and fewer manic episodes. Also, a greater number of women have the rapid cycling form of bipolar disorder, which may be more resistant to standard treatments.

 

Varieties of factors unique to women’s lives are suspected to play a role in developing depression. Research is focused on understanding these, including: reproductive, hormonal, genetic or other biological factors; abuse and oppression; interpersonal factors; and certain psychological and personality characteristics. Yet, the specific causes of depression in women remain unclear; many women exposed to these factors do not develop depression. What is clear is that regardless of the contributing factors, depression is a highly treatable illness.

 

THE MANY DIMENSIONS OF DEPRESSION IN WOMEN

Investigators are focusing on the following areas in their study of depression in women:

 

The Issues of Adolescence

Before adolescence, there is little difference in the rate of depression in boys and girls. But between the ages of 11 and 13 there is a precipitous rise in depression rates for girls. By the age of 15, females are twice as likely to have experienced a major depressive episode as males. This comes at a time in adolescence when roles and expectations change dramatically. The stresses of adolescence include forming an identity, emerging sexuality, separating from parents, and making decisions for the first time, along with other physical, intellectual, and hormonal changes. These stresses are generally different for boys and girls, and may be associated more often with depression in females. Studies show that female high school students have significantly higher rates of depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and adjustment disorders than male students, who have higher rates of disruptive behavior disorders.

 

Adulthood: Relationships and Work Roles

Stress in general can contribute to depression in persons biologically vulnerable to the illness. Some have theorized that higher incidence of depression in women is not due to greater vulnerability, but to the particular stresses that many women face. These stresses include major responsibilities at home and work, single parenthood, and caring for children and aging parents. How these factors may uniquely affect women is not yet fully understood.For both women and men, rates of major depression are highest among the separated and divorced, and lowest among the married, while remaining always higher for women than for men. The quality of a marriage, however, may contribute significantly to depression. Lack of an intimate, confiding relationship, as well as overt marital disputes, have been shown to be related to depression in women. In fact, rates of depression were shown to be highest among unhappily married women.

 

Reproductive Events

Women's reproductive events include the menstrual cycle, pregnancy, the post pregnancy period, infertility, menopause, and sometimes, the decision not to have children. These events bring fluctuations in mood that for some women include depression. Researchers have confirmed that hormones have an effect on the brain chemistry that controls emotions and mood; a specific biological mechanism explaining hormonal involvement is not known, however.

 

Many women experience certain behavioral and physical changes associated with phases of their menstrual cycles. In some women, these changes are severe, occur regularly, and include depressed feelings, irritability, and other emotional and physical changes. Called premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), the changes typically begin after ovulation and become gradually worse until menstruation starts. Scientists are exploring how the cyclical rise and fall of estrogen and other hormones may affect the brain chemistry that is associated with depressive illness.

 

Postpartum mood changes can range from transient "blues" immediately following childbirth to an episode of major depression to severe, incapacitating, psychotic depression. Studies suggest that women who experience major depression after childbirth very often have had prior depressive episodes even though they may not have been diagnosed and treated.

 

Pregnancy (if it is desired) seldom contributes to depression, and having an abortion does not appear to lead to a higher incidence of depression. Women with infertility problems may be subject to extreme anxiety or sadness, though it is unclear if this contributes to a higher rate of depressive illness. In addition, motherhood may be a time of heightened risk for depression because of the stress and demands it imposes.

 

Menopause, in general, is not associated with an increased risk of depression. In fact, while once considered a unique disorder, research has shown that depressive illness at menopause is no different from at other ages. The women more vulnerable to change-of-life depression are those with a history of past depressive episodes.

 

Specific Cultural Considerations

As for depression in general, the prevalence rate of depression in African American and Hispanic women remains about twice that of men. There is some indication, however, that major depression and dysthymia may be diagnosed less frequently in African American and slightly more frequently in Hispanic than in Caucasian women. Prevalence information for other racial and ethnic groups is not definitive.

 

Possible differences in symptom presentation may affect the way depression is recognized and diagnosed among minorities. For example, African Americans are more likely to report somatic symptoms, such as appetite change and body aches and pains. In addition, people from various cultural backgrounds may view depressive symptoms in different ways. Such factors should be considered when working with women from special populations.

 

Abuse

Studies show that women molested as children are more likely to have clinical depression at some time in their lives than those with no such history. In addition, several studies show a higher incidence of depression among women who have been raped as adolescents or adults. Since far more women than men were sexually abused as children, these findings are relevant. Women who experience other commonly occurring forms of abuse, such as physical abuse and sexual harassment on the job, also may experience higher rates of depression. Abuse may lead to depression by fostering low self-esteem, a sense of helplessness, self-blame, and social isolation. There may be biological and environmental risk factors for depression resulting from growing up in a dysfunctional family. At present, more research is needed to understand whether victimization is connected specifically to depression.

 

Poverty

Women and children represent seventy-five percent of the U.S. population considered poor. Low economic status brings with it many stresses, including isolation, uncertainty, frequent negative events, and poor access to helpful resources. Sadness and low morale are more common among persons with low incomes and those lacking social supports. However, research has not yet established whether depressive illnesses are more prevalent among those facing environmental stressors such as these.

 

Depression in Later Adulthood

At one time, it was commonly thought that women were particularly vulnerable to depression when their children left home and they were confronted with "empty nest syndrome" and experienced a profound loss of purpose and identity. However, studies show no increase in depressive illness among women at this stage of life.

 

As with younger age groups, more elderly women than men suffer from depressive illness. Similarly, for all age groups, being unmarried (which includes widowhood) is also a risk factor for depression. Most important, depression should not be dismissed as a normal consequence of the physical, social, and economic problems of later life. In fact, studies show that most older people feel satisfied with their lives.

 

About 800,000 persons are widowed each year. Most of them are older, female, and experience varying degrees of depressive symptomatology. Most do not need formal treatment, but those who are moderately or severely sad appear to benefit from self-help groups or various psychosocial treatments. However, a third of widows/widowers do meet criteria for major depressive episode in the first month after the death, and half of these remain clinically depressed 1 year later. These depressions respond to standard antidepressant treatments, although research on when to start treatment or how medications should be combined with psychosocial treatments is still in its early stages.

 

DEPRESSION IS A TREATABLE ILLNESS

Even severe depression can be highly responsive to treatment. Indeed, believing one's condition is "incurable" is often part of the hopelessness that accompanies serious depression. Such individuals should be provided with the information about the effectiveness of modern treatments for depression in a way that acknowledges their likely skepticism about whether treatment will work for them. As with many illnesses, the earlier treatment begins, the more effective and the greater the likelihood of preventing serious recurrences. Of course, treatment will not eliminate life's inevitable stresses and ups and downs. But it can greatly enhance the ability to manage such challenges and lead to greater enjoyment of life.

 

The first step in treatment for depression should be a thorough examination to rule out any physical illnesses that may cause depressive symptoms. Since certain medications can cause the same symptoms as depression, the examining physician should be made aware of any medications being used. If a physical cause for the depression is not found, a psychological evaluation should be conducted by the physician or a referral made to a mental health professional.

How To Identify Your Own Depression

Depression. What is it? Why would a normally healthy, optomistic person get depressed? If things go wrong, don't you just talk yourself out of feeling sorry for yourself? So what if your 23 year marriage ends, and your soon-to-be ex-husband moves in with your best friend; you are left to cope with 2 devestated teenagers; you loose your father and father-in-law to cancer; you have extreme job challenges; and, your new condo, purchased without REALLY knowing what to look for (just don't buy a home with a laundry room upstairs over the living room!) and you develop a roof leak, and a laundry leak into the living room. AND, you are the primary care giver for a very needy Mother.

You can handle all of this, right? And, when, the next year, you loose your Mother and Grandmother to cancer too, it doesn't send you over the edge, does it? Particularly when you also have Multiple Sclerosis, which has been misdiagnosed for over 35 years, and the worst thing for MS is stress and anxiety. You can handle everything, right?

Well, I found that I couldn't. Consider the following list of symptoms that one should review if you think that you might be suffering from depression. OR, if you, like me, are convinced that you CAN HANDLE IT, if the rain would just stop; or, if the roof would just stop leaking (I've already tried to get it fixed 2 times, and it hasn't yet worked; I now have a gallon bucket sitting in the front hallway to catch the water leaking from the hole in the roof); or, if the kids would just stop being "normal" teenagers, when you no longer have a husband to help you in the day-to-day coping with teenagers.

Here is a checklist of symptoms of depressive illness:
1) Loss of energy and interest.
2) Diminished ability to enjoy oneself.
3) Decreased -- or increased -- sleeping or appetite.
4) Difficulty in concentrating; indecisiveness; slowed or fuzzy thinking.
5) Exaggerated feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiety.
6) Feelings of worthlessness.
7) Recurring thoughts about death and suicide.

I remember clearly my "last straw". I read the list, above, and was sure that these 7 symptoms did NOT describe me. Then, with all of my water problems at home, I went to work in my 4th (top) floor office that just happened to have a flat roof. While on the phone arguing with the roofer who claimed that my roof shouldn't be leaking, and my telling him that it still was leaking, and if he didn't believe me, he could just come over and see my bucket full of water in my entry way, when I heard the familiar "pitter-patt" noise that freaked me out at home. I looked up at my office ceiling just in time to see water beginning to gush out of the ceiling tiles, around the hanging lights, and pour into my office. That did it. I went home. That night, I awoke thinking that I heard the "pitter-patt" in the upstairs laundry room, dripping water into my living room. I got up, turned off the water to the washing machine; stuffed all of my towels around the washer, and stood with my back against the wall in my first ever anxiety attack, thinking that if this was what my life had become, why would I even want to continue living it?

This event scared me into going to my Doctor. He had a great little "depression" test for me. Knowing my fragile state, he asked me the statements, and, based both on my answers and on the detailed symptom impairment document that I had started preparing for him, prescribed an antidepression medication for me.

I learned two critical things that day - three, really. The first one is that it is critical to have a Doctor that you trust, that knows you, and that LISTENS to what you are saying. Secondly, since he knew about my MS, he told me that Depression was a frequent secondary symptom of MS. (At that time, I hadn't done my MS symptom research yet; the Disabilitykey Workbook, found at www.disabilitykey.com is the ultimate result of all of my symptom and system - Long Term Disability and Social Security Disability Insurance - research for myself.) Third, I learned that no matter how strong your personality is, and no matter how positive a person you are, Depression is NOT something you can get over by just "thinking positive thoughts"; by "keeping a stiff upper lip". If you truely think that you are suffering from Depression, there is nothing wrong from talking to your Doctor, and seeking his advice.

All that I have discussed so far happened over a dozen years ago. I am still taking antidepression medication, and it does help. I have searched high and low for the original test that my Doctor used on me, and finally found one at one of my favorite resources, called the "Institute for Algorithmic Medicine" (that's academic talk for medical condition tests). The test is "The Zung Self-Rating Depression Scale". As you read the following questions, ask yourself where the statement ranks on the following scale:

1) A little of the time for me.
2) Some of the time for me.
3) A good part of the time for me.
4) Most of the time for me.

I fell down-hearted and blue.
Morning is when I feel the best.
I have crying spells or feel like it.
I have trouble sleeping at night.
I eat as much as I used to.
I still enjoy sex.
I notice that I am losing weight.
I have trouble with constipation.
My heart beats faster than usual.
I get tired for no reason.
My mind is as clear as it used to be.
I find it easy to do the things I used to.
I am restless and can't keep still.
I feel hopeful about the future.
I am more irritable than usual.
I find it easy to make decisions.
I feel that I am useful and needed.
My life is pretty full.
I feel that others would be better off if I were dead.
I still enjoy the things I used to do.

This little test, with your self rating for each statement, and with your symptom impairment documentation, so that your Doctor knows more about you and what is going on in your life, s/he can best decide what to do to help you better achieve a higher quality of life. Perhaps antidepression medication isn't what you need, something else would be better for you. But, if you don't learn, document, seek help, and discuss with your Doctor, s/he can't help you help yourself.

Many of you are probably asking yourselves how I can just put myself out there; just put into these bloggs what is going on in my life. I'm doing this, sharing these experiences so that you can know that I have been there; I've done that; I've got the t-shirts! For more about me, check out the "about us" section in the website: www.disabilitykey.com.

 

Carolyn Magura

Disabilitykey.com (www.disabilitykey.com) is a website designed to assist each person in his/her own unique quest to navigate through the difficult and often conflicting and misleading information about coping with disabilities.

Carolyn Magura, noted disability / ADA expert, has written an e-Book documenting the process that allowed her to:

 

a) continue to work and receive her “full salary” while on Long Term Disability; and

b) become the first person in her State to qualify for Social Security Disability the FIRST TIME, in UNDER 30 DAYS.

 

Click here ("www.disabilitykey.com/products.htm) to receive Carolyn 's easy-to-read, easy-to-follow direct guide through this difficult, trying process. If you are disabled, don't let this disabiling process disable you. Read Carolyns Disability Key Blog (www.disabilitykey.com/disabilitykeyblog.shtml).

Depression In Teenagers & Children

A while ago I did a blog about Adult depression. While doing the research on Adult depression, I learned quite a bit of information about depression in general, in addition to what I already knew because I suffer from this condition myself. What I didn't know, however, is just how prevelant this condition is in the population at large, and in children and teens in specific. One source said that depression is close to the top psychological condition in the western world (more about what this means in a later blog; it'll take a whold blog to talk about what this means).

 

Depression can be a mild disease that only causes some annoyance in the daily life, but can also get very serious and make a person totally unable to work and unable to participate in social life. By depression of some severity, there is also a greater risk of suicide. Depression can occur in all age classes. This article will cover the following: teenager and children depression statistics; teenager and children - specific depression symptoms (for "general" symptoms, check out the Adult blog), and, what you, as the parent and/or gaurdian, can do if you recognize the symptoms in one of yours. (Remember, the following information comes from many Internet sources.)

 

TEENAGER AND CHILDREN DEPRESSION STATISTICS

As many as 8.3% of teenagers in the U.S. suffer from depression.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death in teenagers.

 

As many as one in every 33 children and approximately one in 8 adolescents may have depression. (Center for Mental Health Services, 1996; these data have increased over the past 9 years). Treatment of major depression is as effective for children as it is for adults. (Dr. Graham Emslie, American Medical Association, Archives of General Psychiatry, November 15, 1997). Twenty years ago depression in children was almost unknown. Now the fastest rate of increase in depression is among young people. (I don't know about you, but this statistic scares me the most!) The statistics on teen depression are sobering. Studies indicate that one in five (1 in 5) children have some sort of mental, behavioral, or emotional problem, and that one in ten (1 in 10) may have a serious emotional problem. What is even more chilling is that of all these children and teens struggling with emotional and behavioral problems, a mere 30% receive any sort of intervention or treatment. The other 70% simply struggle through the pain of mental illness or emotional turmoil, doing their best to make it to adulthood. Many theorize that this is why the suicide rate in teens is so high. Suicide is the third (3rd) leading cause of death among young people ages 15 to 24. Even more troubling, it is the sixth (6th) leading cause of death among children ages 5-14.

 

The consequences of untreated depression can be:

increased incidence of depression in adulthood;

involvement in the criminal justice system;

or in some cases, suicide.

 

WHAT ARE THE TEEN/CHILDREN DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS?

As we see above, treatment (i.e., counseling, therapy, or even medical intervention, if needed) for depression is as effective for teens/children as it is for Adults. Let me state that again; research from a variety of sources indicates that appropriate treatment for depression in a teen and/or a child is as effective as it is for Adults. So, what, as a parent or gurdian, should we look for? What are the symptoms of real depression, and not just a "bad mood"?

 

"Real Depression" - the type that needs immediate and appropriate attention - in teenagers and in children is defined as: when the feelings of depression persist and interfere with the teen's/child's ability to function in his/her normal daily activities. This doesn't mean that one should ignore a teen's/child's bad mood if it lasts for a few days or a few weeks. What it does mean is that, at a minimum, you, the parent/guardian must know enough about your teen's/child's normal daily activities so that you can know when there are changes. OK, what covers "normal daily activities" for a teen/child? (And, in this, we are sticking to American generic teens/children, because that's what I am most famaliar with. If anyone can add to this list, please do so.)

 

As you read through this list, remember that your teen/child has to have "a siginficant" number of these symptoms; they have to be ongoing, out of character; and impair the teen's/child's normal daily activities (sound familiar?)

 

1) Snapping at people for no apparent reason - being irritable at everyone.

2) Physically or verbally aggressive at everyone.

3) Abandoning favorite hobbies or sports or other routine, daily activities.

4) Increased passive TV watching (where the teen/child has that "thousand yard stare" and is not interacting with the programs).

5) Increased risk-taking; e.g., dangerous driving; climbing too high in a tree and jumping, breaking something; other repeated unusually dangerous activities.

6) Misuse of drugs and alcohol. Particularly teens, who use drugs and alcohol to "escape". (1)

7) Changes in school behaviors (including training courses and work settings) for teens; changes in interpersonal behaviors and activities in a pre-school setting (i.e., used to like to color and play with clay; now just sits in a corner, holding a stuffed toy and sucking a thumb).

8) Frequent absences from school; poorer grades than formerly attained; increase in skipping classes; etc. For a child, reversion in activities (i.e., used to color within the lines, now just scribbling on paper; intentionally breaking things, etc.)

9) Complains of being bored (teen); a child whose attention waivers when it didn't before. A child who, during a group reading, who used to sit and listen, now gets up and wanders around.

10) Becomes disruptive in class (both teens and children).

11) Finds it harder to stay on task. Loses concentration easily; is mentally confused. Finds decisions difficult to make. In a child this might look like the following: unable to match blocks by color when s/he could before; unable to choose between playing ball and jumping rope when the child ALWAYS choose playing ball before. You can think of your own examples, I'm sure.

12) Cannot remember commitments - doesn't keep appointments (teen). As a child, forgets to bring papers home when s/he ALWAYS used to do so; forgets home address/telephone number when s/he has known them for months/years; etc.

13) Has difficulty staying still or conversely, is lethargic (sluggish). This would apply to both a teen and a child. You can picture, in your mind, the teen or child in constant motion; twitching, shaking a foot, or both feet; handling things; etc. OR, the teen or child who sits or lays with that thousand yard stare again. AND, again, this is unusual behavior for your teen or child.

14) Changes in relationships with family and friends. Usually, this change manifests itself in hostility, or in passivity. Arguing when s/he didn't before; or, using the "whatever" answer, when s/he used to talk to you. (Again, don't single this one symptom out; it must be one of many symptoms that your teen or child has.)

15) Stops going out with friends; shows no interest in group outings.

16) Increase or decrease in sexual activity (hopefully, an OLDER TEEN).

17) May start associating with a different peer group (that "bad influence" group as a teen; the "rowdy" kids as a child).

18) Loses interest in activities which once were fun.

19) More conflicts with parents and siblings than usual.

20) Changes in eating and sleeping habits.

21) Expresses inappropriate guilt, feelings of not being good enough, worthlessness, failure. (I can see this in a teen; not sure how this would look in a child. If you can, please let us know.)

22) Expresses hopelessness and having nothing to look forward to.

23) Speaks in a monotonous or monosyllabic manner.

24) Has a preoccupation with self; is withdrawn.

25) Cries easily, looks sad, feels alone or isolated.

26) Has fears about having to be perfect.

27) Fearful of doing something bad. This, in a child, could manifest itself as bedwetting after YEARS of not bedwetting; fear of darkness or "things that go bump in the night" after YEARS of no fear, etc.

28) Incidents of self-injury. Ideas of killing self. (I have no idea of how this would look for a child, and hope never to have such an idea!)

 

WHAT A PARENT/GUARDIAN CAN DO

The two most important things a parent can do for your child/teen is to first, KNOW YOUR TEEN/CHILD'S ROUTINE, AND NORMAL DAILY ACTIVITIES so that you can identify any changes; and, LISTEN:

1) listen when your children talk;

2) listen to their music;

3) spend more time with them and be involved in their activities;

4) take them to movies and concerts, and discuss them afterward;

5) know their friends, and listen to them, as well;

6) do not lecture or offer unsolicited advice, or ultimatums; and,

7) do not try to talk them out of their feelings; instead, ask them if they can describe their feelings. It goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, learn the above symptoms and know your teen/child. Here are some more things that you, the parent or guardian can do.

8) If a child, go to their day care periodically, and lern their routine; ask the teachers to alert you if their routine changes.

9) If a teen, go to ALL of your teen's teacher conferences to learn the patterns of the normal school day, and ask to be alerted immediately to changes.

10) For both teens and children, know their friends; see if your home can become the "gathering place"; get to know the parents of your child's or teen's friends and agree to let each other know if you see any changes in behavior.

11) In all cases, keep a diary of any changes that you see, so that you will be able to discuss the situation with great clarity and specificity with professionals, should the need arise.

12) Respond with love, kindness, and support if you think that your child/teen is experiencing problems that can lead to depression.

13) Let your child or teen know that you are there, whenever she or he needs you, and do so often and in age-specific (as Dr. Phil would say) ways.

14) Keep trying, but gently, if your teen shuts you out (depressed teenagers do not want to feel patronized or crowded).

15) Do not criticize or pass judgment, once the child or teen begins to talk (the important thing is that he or she is talking and communicating feelings). REMEMBER, NEVER CRITICIZE FEELINGS; everyone has the right to their feelings, even if you think that they are "wrong". Let them be voiced; if inapproptiate, seek professional assistance.

16) Encourage activity and praise efforts.

17) Seek help from a doctor or mental health professional, if the teen's or child's depressed feeling doesn't pass with time (be prepared to list behaviors, note how long and how often they have been occurring, and how severe they seem - hence, the diary mentioned above).

18) Do not wait and hope that symptoms will go away on their own. Better to seek assistance and be told that your teen/child is fine than to let your teen/child become one of the 70% who never receive help.

19) When depression is severe – if teens or children are thinking about hurting themselves or about suicide – seek professional help as soon as possible.

20) Parents of depressed adolescents may themselves need support. Seek out groups of parents who have experience with teen depression

 

Footnote (1):

What some of my friends and I did with alcohol when we had teenagers; we kept a "mark" (usually hidden so the teens couldn't see it on the bottle) that changed each time we used the bottle. In this way, we could know immediately if the teens were drinking, and could deal with the situation.

 

Carolyn Magura

Disabilitykey.com (www.disabilitykey.com) is a website designed to assist each person in his/her own unique quest to navigate through the difficult and often conflicting and misleading information about coping with disabilities.

Carolyn Magura, noted disability / ADA expert, has written an e-Book documenting the process that allowed her to:

 

a) continue to work and receive her “full salary” while on Long Term Disability; and

b) become the first person in her State to qualify for Social Security Disability the FIRST TIME, in UNDER 30 DAYS.

 

Click here ("www.disabilitykey.com/products.htm) to receive Carolyn 's easy-to-read, easy-to-follow direct guide through this difficult, trying process. If you are disabled, don't let this disabiling process disable you. Read Carolyns Disability Key Blog (www.disabilitykey.com/disabilitykeyblog.shtml).

 

Related Cure Help Health Tips articles on Depression

 

Symptoms of Depression - When you love someone who suffers from depression or bipolar disorder you may find yourself frustrated, angry or losing your ability to tolerate their behavior towards yourself, your children or other friends and family.

After Child Birth - Sometimes women suffer with depression immediately after child birth and this depression is known as postpartum depression. There are five kinds of postpartum depression, any of which can occur after child birth; however similar depression can also occur before or during pregnancy as well.

Although Bipolar Illness - Never give up in try to find ways to overcome your depression, anxiety or fears. At times, you may feel overwhelmed and feel that there is nothing else you can do. The fact of the matter is that there are ways in getting rid of your depression and anxieties.

Amplitude Changing Via - It is not easy to deal with depression and anxiety in the business world. Getting help from a professional should be the first thing you do if you deal with depression. Many companies nowadays have different programs for their employees.

Anti Aging Treatment - One of the most destructive states for your mind and body is strongly represented by depression. It is a phenomenon that affects millions of people around the world, no matter what culture they belong to. The triggering elements of depression are infinite and they vary from case to case.

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Depression After Divorce - Living your life together with another person, for a short time, or for a long number of years, can leave your feeling empty if you are going through a divorce. Divorce is a reason why many men and women alike find their selves fighting depression. Depression is a problem when you rely on another person, and your marriage ends.

Depression During Menopause - Depression is the most common psychological disorder in the US. Those who suffer from depression usually have physical and psychological symptoms, like insomnia and fatigue. Scientists agree that depression is linked to heredity, illness, certain medications, and pregnancy.

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Taking Powerful Drugs - A recent research showed that the brain activity is totally different during sexual activity. That is why men with depression have difficulty in having satisfactory life. The serotonin level in depressed patients is lower than normal adults.

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Alternative Arthritis Pain - Arthritis pan can be unbearable at times, but you have so many options that will make you feel better and the pain either disappear or lessen. Don't allow yourself to get discouraged from your pain.

 

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