Mature audiences only
You have no doubt seen or heard the commercials: "Where does depression hurt? EVERYWHERE. Who does depression hurt? EVERYONE." Mental illnesses can consume you, take over your entire life and hurt everyone around you if you let it. I am no exception.
My life feels like I am stuck riding on a rollercoaster in the middle of a hurricane. I have ups and downs, and I have left a path of destruction in my wake. My sanity dangles on a tiny fragile string, and through this blog I am giving the world a look into my broken mind and my unstable life.
In the end, I am just a girl trying to maintain my sanity in a candy-coated world of misery. Here you'll get a glimpse at just how true those commercials are. Keep your arms and legs inside the blog at all times, hold on tight, and prepare yourself for a very bumpy ride ...
Feel free to comment here on the blog or email me at email@example.com.
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Whether you have depression or know someone with depression, it is important to be educated about this condition and to not let misperceptions dictate how you view others or - if you have depression - how you view yourself.
In this article, Dr. Larry Culpepper, a primary care physician and professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Boston University, discusses three misperceptions of depression and shares the truth about the condition.
Misperception 1: A depressed mood is the only symptom of depression.
While having a depressed mood, such as feelings of sadness or emptiness, is a significant symptom of depression, there are several other symptoms that are signals of a depressive episode. For some, depression creates a change in appetite, weight or energy levels. Depression can also lead to difficulties with concentration or decision making. Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much), can also be a symptom of depression.- Healthcare providers are trained at evaluating the symptoms of their patients, and can provide clarity on what symptoms mean and what steps need to be taken for a patient to feel better.
Misperception 2: Getting treated for depression is something to be ashamed of.
The feeling that others may view treatment negatively has the potential to become an obstacle to seeking care. It's important to know that if you have depression, you are not alone. Depression affects almost 16 million people in the U.S. Getting help is a key element in recovery for all individuals with depression. If you feel like you do not want to seek treatment or want to discontinue your treatment due to feelings of embarrassment, talk to your healthcare provider for guidance.
Misperception 3: People with depression can "snap out of it."
Depression is a medical illness and people who are depressed cannot simply "get over it" and feel better. It is critical that people with depression know that seeking treatment does not constitute weakness, but rather is a key step toward recovery. There are a variety of therapies available, such as talk therapy and prescription treatments. Engage in a conversation with your healthcare provider to discuss what treatment options are available to help you.
Misperceptions of depression can affect many areas of life for people living with depression and their loved ones, but they don't have to. Through informed discussions, it is possible to eliminate misperceptions and better understand the condition. If you feel like you or a loved one may have depression, take the first step by talking to your healthcare provider about your options.
(BPT) -- When seasons change, moods can change with them. The long, dark and cold months can give people a serious case of cabin fever. Some people may even suffer from seasonal depression.
Those who face this type of depression, known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), feel a physiological response by the body to decreases in light exposure associated with the fall and winter months, according to Dr. Gary Bruss, program dean of the American School of Professional Psychology at Argosy University, Southern California.
"This is one of the more biologically based forms of depression," says Bruss. "SAD can be characterized by moodiness, heightened irritability, lack of interest in those things you usually take pleasure in, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, and difficulty concentrating that take place during those fall and winter months every year."
Simply put, you may not feel as peppy as you normally do or have the same energy level or you may not want to be around people or follow your regular routine. If you are a student, you could see your grades declining and if you work, you may see your performance slipping.
Being proactive about your mental health and taking care of yourself can help address depression and mood swings. Bruss recommends engaging in exercise, going for a walk or meeting friends or family for coffee or some fun activity. He also adds it is important to eat a balanced diet, get enough rest at night, do nice things for yourself or find a hobby to help occupy your time.
"In the fall and winter, we tend to see an increase in seasonal affective disorder and in overall stress," says Dr. Devin Byrd, dean of the College of Health Professions at South University. "Becoming more acutely aware of your habits, stress levels and social activities can help assess and counter-balance the onset of seasonal sadness or depression."
If you sense that the season may be negatively affecting your well-being, Byrd recommends you initiate a new hobby, increase exercise, watch what you eat and take measures to take an active role in social activities.
Light exposure therapy can combat the signs and symptoms of SAD. During this type of therapy, you sit near a device called a light therapy box. This box gives off a specific kind of light that mimics the natural light from the outdoors and can ease SAD symptoms.
If signs of depression appear in a family member, friend or co-worker, Bruss recommends talking with them and encouraging them to seek help if depression persists or worsens. He also points out that the holiday season can have a major impact on depression if a person has experienced the death of a family member, close friend or a pet. If the severity of the depression interferes with a person's ability to function socially and/or professionally, then it's time to seek help from a mental health professional, says Bruss.
"Seeking professional help is an increasingly common practice and people should not feel anxious about seeing a psychologist for psychotherapy or taking medication for depression if it's needed - especially for a disorder that is based so heavily on our biology. The most important thing is to connect with a professional who can help you restore emotional balance, peace and happiness to your life," Bruss says.
(BPT) -- There are more than 19 million adults in the United States living with depression and many more people could be suffering but are unaware that what they are feeling is depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. This common and treatable illness affects people from all walks of life and can significantly interfere with a person's behavior, physical health and interaction with others.
The more you know about depression, the more likely you are to be able to help yourself or help others. While great strides have been made in recent years to educate the public about depression and reduce stigma surrounding mental illness, many myths still remain about the condition.
* Myth - Depression is a character flaw. Depression is not a personal weakness and it should be viewed as any other medical condition. People who are depressed are often unable to function as they had in the past and struggle to accomplish everyday tasks. This is not because they are lazy or being dramatic, it is because depression is a serious health issue that should be recognized and treated as early as possible. Both young people and adults who are depressed need professional treatment.
* Myth - Only certain types of people have depression. Depression affects all ages, races and genders. Sometimes people believe that only certain types of people can be depressed. Even people who seem to have everything including a good job and healthy relationships can have depression. While statistics show that some groups, like older adults, are more likely to suffer from depression, anyone can struggle with the illness. It can run in families, but anyone, even those without a family history, can be depressed.
* Myth - Depression causes people to be violent. People who are depressed are no more likely to be violent or commit crimes than members of the general population. Although some people with depression do experience feelings of anger and sometimes have outbursts, the vast majority of people who have depression never harm anyone.
* Myth - Depression is not a big deal. If left untreated, depression can lead to extreme changes in your mood, thoughts, behaviors and bodily functions, and for some people suicidal thoughts. Almost everyone who dies by suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like "You'll be sorry when I'm dead," or "I can't see any way out" - no matter how casually or jokingly said - may indicate serious suicidal feelings.
* Myth - Depression will go away on its own. Positive thinking is not enough to cure depression. Some people who have mild depression can make lifestyle changes which can help alleviate symptoms of depression, but many others need to seek treatment to get better. A mental health professional can help them learn more positive ways to think about themselves, change behaviors, cope with problems, or handle relationships. A clinician can prescribe medications to help relieve the symptoms of depression. For many people, a combination of psychotherapy and medication is beneficial. Early detection is extremely important because 80 percent of people who receive some form of treatment for depression can learn to manage the condition and live a fulfilling life.
* Fact - Help is available. If you think you or someone you know might be struggling with depression, you are encouraged to visit HelpYourselfHelpOthers.org and take an online mental health screening. Online screenings are free, anonymous and available 24/7.
Although the screenings are not diagnostic, they do provide valuable insight helping to identify if you are exhibiting symptoms associated with depression and connecting you with appropriate treatment resources.
NOTE: If you or someone you know is in immediate danger because of thoughts of suicide, call 911 immediately. If there is no immediate danger but rather a need to talk to someone, call the national suicide prevention line at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Slightly more than 6 percent of U.S. teens take prescription medications for a mental health condition such as depression or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), a new survey shows.
The survey also revealed a wide gap in psychiatric drug use across ethnic and racial groups.
Earlier studies have documented a rise in the use of these medications among teens, but they mainly looked at high-risk groups such as children who have been hospitalized for psychiatric problems.
The new survey provides a snapshot of the number of adolescents in the general population who took a psychiatric drug in the past month from 2005 to 2010.
Teens aged 12 to 19 typically took drugs to treat depression or ADHD, the two most common mental health disorders in that age group. About 4 percent of kids aged 12 to 17 have experienced a bout of depression, the study found.
Meanwhile, 9 percent of children aged 5 to 17 have been diagnosed with ADHD, a behavioral disorder marked by difficulty paying attention and impulsive behavior.
Males were more likely to be taking medication to treat ADHD, while females were more commonly taking medication to treat depression. This follows patterns seen in the diagnosis of these conditions across genders.
Exactly what is driving the new numbers is not clear, but "in my opinion, it's an increase in the diagnosis of various conditions that these medications can be prescribed for," said study author Bruce Jonas. He is an epidemiologist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
But these are stressful times and it is also possible that children are becoming more vulnerable to these conditions as a result. "The recession and various world events might be a contributing factor," Jonas speculated.
"Adolescents and children do take psychiatric medications. It is not the majority, but it's also not rare," he said. "There are many ways to treat mental health problems and mood disorders in adolescents, and medication is just one of them."
A mental-health expert not involved with the new study cautioned that psychiatric drugs are not a cure-all.
"Using psychiatric medication is always a serious thing. You want to do it carefully and not use them inappropriately," said Dr. Glenn Saxe, chair of child and adolescent psychiatry at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City. "If a parent is concerned that their child may have a mental health problem, see your pediatrician and get their advice."
The next step, Saxe said, may be a thorough evaluation by a mental health professional. "It is important that there is no other explanation for the problem or symptoms and to explore all treatment options, not just medication," he said.
Other conditions may respond better to other types of therapy either with or without medication, explained Saxe, who is also director of the Child Study Center at NYU Langone Medical Center.
Of those teens taking a single psychiatric medication in the survey, roughly one-half had seen a mental health professional during the past year, the findings showed. Saxe noted that many pediatricians are adept at handling common mental health problems in adolescents and children.
The survey showed that white teens were much more likely to be taking a psychiatric drug when compared to blacks or Mexican-Americans, 8.2 percent versus 3.1 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively. "I thought there would be differences, but I was surprised by the magnitude," study author Jonas said. This gap may be due to lack of access to health care or other economic issues.
Location may also play a role, another mental-health expert said.
"Where I practice, minority children are the majority because we are housed in a major urban area that is easily accessible by many types of transportation," said Dr. Rose Alvarez-Salvat, a child psychologist at Miami Children's Hospital.
She is hopeful that other cities and states will soon catch up and help bridge this divide. "Most parents will know when there is something going on with their child," Alvarez-Salvat said. "They just need to be vigilant and be proactive and seek out resources in their area."
The findings are published in the December issue of the CDC's NCHS Data Brief.
They may be one of millions of American adults affected by bipolar disorder, a mental illness that can cause extreme mood swings from lows, called bipolar depression, to highs, called bipolar mania.
Bipolar depression is often the primary mood episode for many with bipolar disorder and may sometimes recur more often and last longer than bipolar mania. These depressive symptoms may include prolonged periods of sadness, a loss of interest in activities a person used to enjoy, feelings of worthlessness, concentration difficulties and inner tension. Bipolar depression can also be disruptive and can interfere with a person's ability to handle everyday tasks, such as work or family life. Understanding bipolar depression and how to manage its symptoms is important to encourage proper management and treatment.
Being diagnosed with bipolar depression can be an overwhelming challenge, but it doesn't have to be. Many people with bipolar disorder are able to manage their depressive symptoms and lead a productive, stable life. An accurate diagnosis is the first step in dealing with bipolar disorder. Talking to a doctor about depressive symptoms will help in achieving an accurate diagnosis and designing an appropriate treatment plan. Family and friends are there for support and to help with managing the condition.
Additionally, it's very important for those affected by bipolar depression to have access to reliable information and resources. Online resources are a great place to learn more about bipolar depression. One website, www.TalkingAboutBipolar.com, provides visitors with information about bipolar depression, including signs and symptoms and how someone can work with a doctor to find an effective treatment plan. This website also provides information about a support program called Thinking Forward, which provides members with free information, resources and practical advice.
Bipolar Depression And Its Impact On Day-To-Day Life
A survey showed that the biggest concern among people living with bipolar disorder (73%) is that their illness will impact their families, relationships or jobs. The online survey, which was commissioned by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare and AstraZeneca, asked 2,000 people living with bipolar disorder, as well as 500 physicians who treat such patients, about their impressions and concerns when it comes to managing the depressive symptoms of this complex illness.
Bipolar disorder affects approximately 8 million American adults and is characterized by very low moods, called bipolar depression, and very high moods, called bipolar mania. Most people with bipolar disorder spend more time in the depressive phase than the manic phase.
In the survey, 90 percent of patients said they have a hard time managing or finishing daily tasks due to their depressive symptoms, such as sadness, feelings of emptiness and/or an inability to concentrate. About 9 in 10 also said they have cancelled social engagements because of bipolar depression.
One important aspect of managing bipolar depression is having a good doctor-patient relationship. Unfortunately, in the survey, 41 percent of people with bipolar disorder said they wished they could be more open with their physicians about their depressive symptoms. Seventy-two percent of physicians agreed that many of their patients don’t know how to accurately describe their bipolar depression symptoms.
Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare recommends the following steps for bipolar patients to strengthen communication with their doctors:
- Describe how you’re feeling to the best of your ability. You do not have to know the clinical language — just use your own words.
- Jot down any questions and concerns you have before your doctor’s appointment so you don’t forget them.
- Don’t hesitate to share anything and everything with your doctor, even if it feels personal or unimportant. Your doctor is best equipped to help you when he or she has all the information.
- Work with your doctor to set expectations and goals for your treatment. For many patients, these may be “everyday” goals, like getting back to a regular work schedule or spending more time with family and friends.
To learn more about bipolar disorder, including additional tips for an effective patient-physician dialogue, visit www.thenationalcouncil.org or www.facingbipolar.com.
The disease, schizophrenia, is the focus of a television documentary which was developed to help destigmatize the disease and create better awareness.
The film tells the true story of a daughter who tries to reconnect with her father who has the disease, and examines the condition and how it can affect families.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that interferes with the ability to think clearly, see reality from fantasy and make decisions. While the illness affects individuals, it can also have serious consequences for those who love and care for them.
Typically, it begins in late adolescence or early adulthood. Symptoms can include hallucination, delusions, paranoia and withdrawal from family and friends. It affects more than 2.4 million people in the United States and touches many others including the families, friends and communities of those afflicted with the illness.
Even though its effects are felt by many, persistent social stigma and misunderstanding still surround the disease. This stigma, fueled by misinformed characterizations of mental illness seen in the movies on television and in sensational media stories, can cause families dealing with schizophrenia undue stress.
Unlisted: A Story of Schizophrenia is a look at one woman’s personal journey to reconnect with her father, who has been living with schizophrenia since his 20s, after more than a decade of hiding from him and unlisting her phone number. Delaney Ruston brings a unique perspective into the myriad ways schizophrenia impacts individuals and families. In addition to being the daughter of someone with the disease, she is also a doctor and a filmmaker.
Haunted by questions about why she isn’t closer to her father and whether it’s possible to now have a meaningful relationship, Ruston sets out to get to know her dad and help him get the quality care he needs.
“Unlisted is an examination into the nature of responsibility — of parents and children, of physicians and patients, and of society towards those affected by severe mental illness,” says Ruston. “Through increased awareness and understanding, we can help lessen the stigma that causes deep isolation and delayed medical intervention for individuals in greatest need of ongoing support and care.”
“By giving us such a compelling and human story, Unlisted makes an incredibly important contribution to our understanding of mental illness and the challenges we face in confronting it,” says David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., former U.S. Surgeon General and Assistant Secretary of Health.
The public television broadcast of the film is sponsored by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. Visit UnlistedFilm.com.