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The Great Depression

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Feeling down and blue? That’s not surprising — the economy is down, jobs are scarce, people are being laid off and the stock market has collapsed. What could be worse?

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When events over which people feel they have no control occur, or when they are inevitable but unpleasant, people say, “I am depressed.” They feel down and out. Depression can be medically diagnosed not merely when changes in outlook and mood negatively affect behaviour, thinking and normal functioning, but only if they have lasted two weeks or longer.

Depression appears to be a nebulous entity, “all in the head”, and is often summarily dismissed as just that. In a way it is true, because medically, depression occurs when the neurotransmitters — chemicals responsible for carrying messages in the brain — are unbalanced and out of sync. It can start in childhood, but usually becomes obvious between the ages of 25 and 44. This is a time when the external stresses of life are at their peak. It probably results from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental and psychological factors.

The onset of depression appears with the insidious onset of vague sadness, irritability, anxiety, fatigue, loss of energy, altered eating habits with weight gain or loss and decreased concentration. Physical symptoms like headache, digestive symptoms and vague aches and pains may set in. None of these, on investigation, entail identifiable diagnostic abnormalities, nor do they respond to conventional medical treatment. Subconscious attempts by the individual to artificially boost one’s mood may manifest as drug or alcohol abuse. It may remain unrecognised by family, peers and society until there’s a suicide attempt.

The Greeks had a name for long lasting depression. They called it “dysthymia”, a diagnostic term still in use. The symptoms of dysthymia are mild and last from 3-5 years. Affected people are always sad, pessimistic, socially withdrawn and unproductive. Major depression, on the other hand, shows negative mood changes that may be overwhelming. This, if untreated, can last from six months to one and a half years. A combination of stressful situations leads to a type of depression called an “adjustment disorder”. Manic-depression or bipolar disorder results in extreme mood swings, alternating between sadness and withdrawal and reckless mood elevation, insomnia, increased libido and grandiose ideas.

All types of depression are more common in women. Hormonal changes in women — pre-menstrual and during menopause and childbirth — directly alter the neurotransmitter ratios in the brain and make them vulnerable to depression. A particular type, called post partum (after childbirth) depression, is peculiar to women.

Depression is not a normal or inevitable part of ageing. Depression can set in with age, as a result of external causes like financial insecurity, illnesses and loss of a spouse, or physical factors like atherosclerotic blood vessels with compromised blood flow to the brain.

Children and adolescents can also develop depression. They feign illness, refuse to go to school, sulk, get into trouble, or are disruptive, negative and irritable.

Depression must be treated before it spirals out of control. Treatment with psychotherapy (talking) and medication leads to 80 per cent recovery and normal productive lives.

Antidepressants must be taken regularly for three to four weeks before the full therapeutic effect appears. The medication should then be continued for the time specified by the doctor, despite apparent improvement, to prevent a relapse.

If you are depressed:

Feelings of tiredness and hopelessness are part of depression and, even though it may be difficult, go to a therapist and begin treatment.

• Engage in regular physical exercise. The chemicals released during the activity will cross the blood brain barrier and elevate your mood. Physical fitness is a great morale booster.

• Go to a movie, or visit a friend.

• Participate in religious, social or cultural activities.

• Set realistic goals.

• Large tasks may appear formidable and insurmountable, but can be completed if broken into smaller ones, and then prioritised without guilt.

Try to spend time with other people and speak to a trusted friend or relative. Isolating yourself prevents others from reaching out to you.

It is better to postpone life-altering decisions like marriage, divorce or a job change till the depression lifts.

Mood improves gradually. It does not become elevated overnight, nor is it possible to “snap out” of depression. Improvement is often as insidious as the onset. Sleep patterns revert to normal and appetite becomes normal even before the mood lifts. Positive thinking replaces negative thoughts as the depression starts to respond to treatment.

Those around depressed souls also need to be conscious. They can help by listening to them, providing encouragement and not making demands that may heighten their sense of failure. Any reference to suicide is a red flag — an appeal for help and urgent intervention. It must be taken seriously.

CLICK & SEE :How to Tackle  depression

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Categories
Healthy Tips

Chat Reduces Post-Natal Depression

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An intimate chat with a peer cuts down the chances of postnatal depression by half among high risk women, a new study has shown.
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Cindy-Lee Dennis, associate professor at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, examined the effectiveness of phone-based peer support to prevent postnatal depression among high risk women.

After web-based screening of more than 21,000 women from seven health regions in Ontario, 701 high risk mothers were recruited and randomised to receive standard postnatal care or standard care and the support of a peer volunteer (who had experienced postnatal depression themselves).

Mothers who received peer support had half the risk of developing postnatal depression at 12 weeks after birth compared to those in the control group.

Mothers were receptive to receiving telephone-based peer support and more than 80 percent said they were satisfied with their experience and would recommend this support to a friend.

In an accompanying write-up, Dennis said: “Women and family members need to be educated about postnatal depression so they can recognise the symptoms.”

“Treatment needs to be convenient and accessible to new mothers.” Although antidepressants are effective, many women are reluctant to take medication, especially when breast feeding, said a Bloomberg release.

She called for a coordinated multidisciplinary approach to identify postnatal depression involving all health professionals who come into contact with new mothers including midwives, doctors, nurses and health visitors.

Sources: These finding were published in the British Medical Journal Online.

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Featured

How to Fend Off Depression in Winter

winter depression, blues, SAD

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While some people look forward to fall and winter, others dread the cooler temperatures and shorter days. They know that the winter season will bring worsening symptoms of depression.

Up to 3 percent of the population in the U.S. may suffer from winter depression, which experts term seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. Countless others have a less severe form, dubbed the “winter blues.” Symptoms may include:

• Extreme fatigue
• Getting too much sleep
• Difficulty concentrating
• Weight gain

Several treatments have been shown to improve seasonal winter depression, including:

Light therapy
Talk therapy
• Melatonin

Light therapy might be as simple as getting up early and walking outside on a bright winter morning. A technique called “dawn simulation” — in which a light is programmed to turn on early in the morning in your bedroom — can also help.

Light boxes are widely sold over the Internet, and exposure to them can help. When buying one, choose one that is at least 1 foot by 1.5 feet. These larger boxes have more supporting research. Patients sit in front of the light boxes daily for a specified amount of time. Getting bright light in the morning is best for most people.

Most people with seasonal winter depression respond best not only to bright light exposure in the morning, but also to a low dose of the hormone melatonin in the afternoon to reset their body clocks to normal.

For some people with winter depression, getting more therapy during colder months can help, too. A boost in activity will also help, even walking around the block or getting out to a ball game.

One warning: Craving carbohydrates — especially sweets — is a common symptom of SAD. But the boost in energy you get form these simple carbs is temporary, and the extra sweets can mean you’ll put on weight.

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Healthy Tips Meditation

Control your depression

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Depression is one of the most under-diagnosed and misunderstood illnesses……

Sign of Depression
Constant sadness,Lack of motivation,Irretability,Trouble of concentration,Feeling isolation,Loss of interest in favorite activities,Hopelessness,Feeling worthless or guilty for no reason,Fatigue, Low energy,Sleeping trouble, and significant wet loss….CLICK & SEE

There might be thousand reasons for mental Depression but you will have to find out some ways to get rid of it.You will have to alter your wayof thinking.You must look at the people arround you and observe what has happned or is happening in your life ,the same might have happened or is happening in their lives too.But all are not reacting the same way like you.Some are crying and getting more and more depressed and few are taking it as a life’s experience and again fighting it out as a challange.

It is a fact, that everyone wil not be challinging type, but one can always alters one’s way of thinking which is verymuch possible for most of the person.

If you start thinking with reasons, you will understand that it is only your Personality which gives all the mental pain and if you can take strong decision that you are not going to entangle yourself again to this type of situation.… I believe,… HALF WORK IS DONE.

There are reasons for depression but all reasons are not controlable, we can only alter our thinking. When we cannot control certain thing ,our mood gets off,our mind deeps into negativity. If that very moment we start doing something which is within our control and successfully overcome it , we get back into positivity and get relief from Depression.

According to me MEDITATION is the best way to get rid of all kinds of frastration and mental depression and quickest and easiest way to get back to normal happy life.
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Now,what is meditation?
There are many types of meditation, but all involve focussing one’s attention on something, such as a word, a phrase, an image, an idea or the act of breathing. Some people think that meditation is a way to awareness of your thoughts and how they affect your life. Some people see meditation as a way to “quiet the chatter” of their own minds. Some people think that meditating is a form of prayer – another way of communing with God.

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Meditation would typically be practised sitting in a quiet environment for around 20 minutes a day. For some people, meditation is a spiritual or religious activity and they use meaningful thoughts as the focus of their meditation. However, meditation can also be used as a relaxation method without any spiritual or religious goal .
Meditation has been used as a relaxation method to relieve stress and anxiety. Because anxiety and depression often occur together, meditation may help with depression as well.

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How do you meditate?
Popular books on how to meditate are available in many bookshops. Various organisations (generally with spiritual goals) also offer training in meditation. Here is a simple technique of meditation that is similar to those taught in these books and courses:
1.Sit in a quiet room in a comfortable position with eyes closed.
2.Choose a word which is relaxing or meaningful for you (for example, ‘Love’ or ‘Calm’ or “ Jesus” or OM or whatever as per your wish) and repeat it silently over and over in your mind. Do not force yourself to concentrate on the word. Alternatively, concentrate on your breathing or look at the flame of a candle.
3.If your mind wanders, turn your attention gently back to the word, or to your breathing, or to the candle.
4.Do this for about 20 minutes each day

In few ocations meditation can make depression worse
Although meditation can be very helpful in relieving depression or in preventing depression from arising, the act of focussing inwards can actually heighten feelings of despair. I would suggest not trying to meditate when you are extremely depressed, and especially not at times that you are having any thoughts of self-harm.

As one experienced meditator said, “Meditation while clinically depressed can result in intensification of feelings of despondency, hopelessness, and negativity generally. The metta practice (where the meditation is focussed on the development of loving kindness towards yourself, and others) is theoretically a good thing, but in practice it can be a nightmare if all you feel is self-hatred!”

Thus, if meditation seems to be making things worse, then you would be advised to stop immediately.

However extremely depressed students have benefited from meditation when they have had constant guidance and feedback from an experienced teacher to make sure that they are using meditative techniques in a helpful way.
Although such opportunities are unfortunately very rare, a very experienced meditation teacher who is on hand to give you step by step guidance can probably help you even when you are experiencing severe depression.

 Click & see : How to Tackle  depression otherwise