Facts on Depression

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“Stay with me, bro!”

I have been writing about bullying and depression in my latest articles. I have myself for many years suffered from depression because of what happened me at my former job. But there can be other reasons why we sometimes suffer from depression apart from bullying; discrimination, unemployment, death of a loved one, various medical conditions, divorce, stress, using drugs and alcohol and so on. There may even be biological causes. This is a very common problem in society and that is why I think it is important to also give some tips and ideas on what you can do if you suspect that you might be depressed. At the end of this post, I have put some links to online self-help tests. Please note that these tests are only meant to identify the symptoms of depression. They can not replace a doctor’s advice! At the end, also 10 myths about Depression.

Today’s Quote
“We all need solace.
More solace they need who seek it,
And most solace they need
who do not show it.”
(Peter Sahlin)

There are a few questions we can ask ourselves, so that we can check them point by point. And in this way, we know a bit more about our health. Make a pause for a moment from everyday life and start to think;
– “How do I really feel inside, how long have I been low and sad, have I lost appetite, have I lost interest in things that I used to enjoy, sleeping too much or too little, do I have thoughts of hurting myself?”

If you feel that you have been sad and even depressed and have done so in the past two weeks or more, I suggest that you contact your doctor or health care. They will ensure that you get the help you need. Below is a list of FAQ on Depression that might help. Further on a list of some more links to medical information that have helped me, at least to reach more understanding of my depression and anxiety.

DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS – How to Recognize Depression

Question
I have been feeling quite miserable/unhappy/distressed for a long time now. Do I have depression? What are typical depression symptoms?

Answer
If someone has the following symptoms maybe they have depression as an illness and they do not simply feel sad or low:
• Pervasive low mood and tearfulness, unresponsive to and out of keeping with current circumstances.
• Other mood tensions including tension, irritability and anxiety.
• Insomnia (typically waking early)
• Reduction in appetite, weight loss and constipation
• Lack of energy and tiredness/lack of stamina
• Loss of libido
• Loss of concentration/forgetfulness
• Feelings of low self-esteem, guilt and helplessness
• Thoughts of suicide
A depressive episode is diagnosed if 5 or more of these symptoms last most of the day, nearly every day, for a period of 2 weeks or longer.

Question
How do I know if I’m depressed? I feel miserable for days now. Do I have clinical depression? What are the symptoms and signs of depression?

Answer
If you recognize some of the problems and symptoms of depression described above, it may be worth investigating whether you are depressed. If in doubt, consult your doctor.

Question
What must I do to help someone who is depressed? How should I behave with someone depressed? How can other people bring me to life?

Answer
Here are some suggestions on how to behave with a depressed relative or friend:
Be tactful, but not to the point of pretending that the problem does not exist.
Seek an opportunity to communicate that you are aware of the person’s difficulty and available to help or listen.
Invite the person to express how he or she is feeling, but do not insist on it.
Do not demand too much: be encouraging but patient, allowing the person to choose his or her pace.
Try to avoid premature or bland reassurance, which risks communicating that you fail to understand or do not care.
Make it clear that you are trying to understand and ask what you can do.

Question
If someone is feeling depressed should they refer to professionals? I am feeling down must I see a doctor?

Answer
Usually it is necessary to ask for professional help when depression and other symptoms have continued for a time beyond which “normal” depression has previously lasted and has been accompanied by the inability of the patient to function in all the usual and necessary roles – for example, as an employee, parent, spouse or friend. The purpose of help is to find out whether treatment would be expected to shorten the length of the illness and if so which of the range of specific treatments would be most suitable and likely to be most effective.
Reasons to refer a patient to a mental health team is when someone is in a severe condition, failing to respond to common treatment, complicated by other factors such as personality disorders, or presents particular risks.

Question
Which are the best treatments for depression? Is psychotherapy better than drugs? Which drugs are used and when?

Answer
Basic treatment for mild, moderate, and severe depression and the depressed phase of bipolar illness is generally similar. The principal decision is to decide whether drugs or psychotherapy or a combination of both is preferred. Surveys have shown that most of the patients in primary care would prefer psychotherapy rather than medicines, but evidence of effectiveness is limited only to some forms of psychotherapy.
For mild to moderate depression, cognitive-behaviour therapy and anti-depressants are considered to be equally effective. For more severe depression, antidepressant medicines are more effective.

Antidepressants can improve or completely relieve the symptoms of depression. Several medication options are available, depending on the patients’ age and tolerance of the medications. There is no evidence that one medication works better than another; however, the side effects of the medications differ.

A combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy can be more effective than each method alone. In particular, antidepressants can be a condition for success with psychotherapy.

ONLINE SELF-HELP TESTS

Disclaimer
These screening tests are intended solely for the purpose of identifying the symptoms of depressive disorders, and are not designed to provide a diagnosis for clinical depression. An accurate diagnosis for depression and other psychiatric disorders can only be made by a physician or qualified mental health professional after a complete evaluation, including a physical exam to rule out any medical illnesses or conditions.

If you suspect that you might suffer from depression, you should contact your doctor as quickly as possible, no matter what test result you get. If you want to, you could print out the test result and show it to your doctor. This might help him or her to assess your condition.

There are many different kinds of self-tests on Depression on the Internet. They almost look the same, but they have been developed by different medical researchers over the years and some tests may have different emphasis on certain issues. Here are the most famous and well-known self-tests.

BDI Beck Depression Inventory (Registration required)
Beck’s Depression Inventory (Downloadable questionnaire, PDF-file)
Counselling Resource
DSM IV Depression Self Test (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders)
Goldberg Depression Questionnaire
HAD (Hamilton Depression Scale. Also known as HDS or HAMD)
K10 Test for Psychological Distress
MADRS (Montgomery-Åsberg depression rating scale)
National Depression Day Screening
Patient Health Questionnaire “PHQ-9”
QIDS-SR (Quick Inventory of Depressive Symptomatology – Self Report)
Zung’s Self-Rating Depression Scale

10 MYTHS ABOUT DEPRESSION THAT YOU CAN DISPEL

Everyone knows what a depression is because we almost all have felt “down” and we use the term depression to describe how we feel. But this is not true. Here are some myths about depression that is not true.

1. Depression is not a disease
– Clinical major depression is a serious illness that affects the sufferer’s mood, thoughts and body. Research has shown that the disease depression has genetic and biological causes and people affected have higher levels of stress hormones.

2. Although depression is a disease you can not do anything about it
– Depression is treatable and more than 80 percent will be improved with treatment. With new treatments and drugs even more affected should get better.

3. Depression is nothing more than that we feel bad, which is a normal condition of life
– To equate depression and sometimes to feel ill is like believing that pneumonia is the same thing as cold. Everyone feels bad sometimes one or two days. But depression can linger a lifetime in some patients. No one commits suicide because they feel down sometimes.

4. People suffering from depression just feel sorry for themselves
– However, depression affects one in 15 women and one in 30 men in their lifetime. Some of the world’s most famous people have suffered from depression, for example, Alexander the Great, Napoleon Bonaparte, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Florence Nightingale, Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Ludwig van Beethoven and Michelangelo. And these people are not exactly people who felt sorry for themselves.

5. You can overcome depression yourself. Anyone who can not make it is weak
– Depression can not be removed at will as cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Depression is caused by chemical changes in the brain that does not go away by positive thinking and determination. To seek treatment for your depressive symptoms show courage and strength and not a lack of will.

6. Depression goes away by itself
– In the vast majority, depression can persist for months or years. Depression may go away by itself only to return later in life. When someone is suffering from depression who have already had a previous depression are at higher risk to get other depressions. Clinical depression can lead to death by suicide, which can happen if you wait too long to seek treatment.

7. Depression is part of normal aging
– Depression is not the same thing as aging, although the elderly experience more events and situations that can lead to depression, such as loss of friends and family, illness, and isolation. Older people who grew up in a time when you did not discuss psychological or mental illness may feel more shame than younger people to seek treatment. The highest incidence of suicides occur in people aged 65 years and older and men are more vulnerable than women. It is therefore important for older people to seek treatment.

8. Depression affects only women
– Although women suffer from depression twice as more than men, men suffer just the same. But depression among men is not reported as much as in women. Perhaps it is because depression is perceived as weakness in some cultures. But men are more successful in suicide attempts than women, so it is important for men to seek treatment.

9. Depression does not affect children and teenagers. If children and teenagers are affected, it is just a normal part of growing up
– Statistical calculations show that one of 33-100 children and that one of 8-20 teenagers get depressed each year. The variation in numbers is because it is difficult to measure depression in children and teens. Children and teens often can not communicate as well as adults, so adults must learn to recognize depressive symptoms in their children and teens.

10. If someone in a family has suffered from depression, everyone in that family will suffer from depression as well
– But just as one can have genetic predisposition or susceptibility to high blood pressure or diabetes, you can have a genetic susceptibility to suffer from depression. But this does not mean that everyone in the family is affected if one does. You should just be aware that a person’s risk of being affected by depression, is higher if the family is affected. Then it is important to seek treatment if the symptoms occur.
[Source: 2007-04-18 Zvi Wirschubsky]

Notes on Dr. Zvi Wirschubsky
Graduate in Medical Science with Professor Georg Klein supervisor (Doctor of Medical Science), in 1990 he became a licensed physician, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm.
Visit his blog: Ny Medicin

Sources:
Patient Health Questionnaire “PHQ-9”
Psychology Information Online
Web4Health
WebMD
• A search on Google Scholar gives you in-depth medical studies on Depression

© 2012 Jonathan Axelsson
אתר הבית של יונתן
Twitter @tzedaqyal

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About Meadow of Tzedaqyal

“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience” (Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, 1881-1955)
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