ARE YOU DEPRESSED ?

25. April 2007, 19:46 | by WD Milner | Full Article |

Are you depressed? Depression is a common yet treatable condition affecting about twenty-five percent of women and ten percent of men sometime in their lives. Less that one-third of those with depression seek help but for those who do seventy-five percent are treated successfully. The first steps towards this success are spotting the warning signs and seeking help.

No one knows exactly what causes depression but several factors may be involved. The most common belief is that depression is the result of a chemical imbalance in one or more neurotransmitters, chemical messengers in the brain that transmit information along neural pathways. Several factors can make you more susceptible: a family history of the condition, sudden or sustained stress, drug abuse, for women the 3 months immediately following childbirth and menopause.

Depression can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, race/ethnicity or religious background. It is an illness and not a character flaw. Nor is it something that is likely to go away with positive thinking and/or stoic endurance. Similarly it is not just a matter of needing to be cheered up, nor need someone be sad as an essential component.

Living and/or working with someone suffering from depression can be difficult but friends and family can make a difference. By listening, being supportive, understading and sympathetic can provide a social and emotional “cushion” that can help the person in dealing with their condition. In contrast, being overly critical, patronizing, pushy or taking the person’s behaviour personally and becoming angry, feeling guilty or responsible can be counterproductive at best.

The most effective treatment for depression is a comination of counselling and antidepressant drugs. Self-help groups and the support of family and friends are also effective in treating the symptoms of depression.

The following questionaire, part of a primary care program developed by a group of medical doctors, can provide a brief preliminary look at whether a person might be suffering from depression.

For the last two weeks, have you had any of the following problems nearly every day?

  1. Trouble falling or staying asleep or sleeping too much?
  2. Feeling tired or having little energy?
  3. Poor appetite or overeating?
  4. Little interest or pleasure in doing things?
  5. Feeling down, depressed or hopeless?
  6. Feeling bad about yourself — or that you are a failure or have let yourself or your family down?
  7. Trouble concentrating on things, such as reading the newspaper or watching television?
  8. Being so fidgety or restless that you are moving around a lot more than usual? If no, then what about the opposite — moving or speaking so slowly that other people have taken notice?
  9. In the last two weeks, have you had thoughts of hurting yourself in some way or that you would be better off dead?
  10. Have you answered YES to five or more of the above questions, one of which was #4 or #5?

If you answered YES to question #10, you may have depression and should consult your doctor for a proper thorough evaluation.

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Categories: ,
Keywords: depression,antidepressants,counselling,support,symptoms,questionaire

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