Some Facts About Depression


Depression is a serious medical illness which negatively influences how you feel, how you think, and how you act. It affects nearly 1 in 10 Americans and is considered the major psychiatric disease of the 21st century. It does not discriminate based on age, gender, race, culture or income.


Why do people become depressed?

n      Biochemistry

n      Genetics

n      Personality

n      Environmental factors

n      Societal expectations

n      Distorted thinking

n      Losses or perceived losses


What are the Symptoms of Depression?

n      Deep, persistent feeling of sadness

n      Feel tired, listless, overwhelmed

n      Low self-esteem

n      Loss of interest in activities

n      Feelings of hopelessness

n      Isolation from others

n      Sleep difficulties

n      Low energy, fatigue

n      Indecisiveness

n      Change in appetite, with possible weight increase or decrease

n      Restlessness, irritation

n      Feelings of worthlessness

n      Distorted thinking

n      Thoughts of death or suicide

n      Any relief is only temporary


In children depression is often difficult to recognize. Be aware of any significant, persistent change in behavior. Keep in mind that children can, at times, become suicidal.


Common depression signs in children:

n      Sad expression

n      Wish to be alone

n      Change in eating

n      Change in sleeping habits

n      Poor concentration

n      Aggressive behavior


Factors in adolescents:

n      Risk among females peaks at age 18-19

n      Diagnosis is often difficult

n      Same basic symptoms as adults

n      May be seen as behavior or conduct disorder

n      May result in or from substance abuse

n      Rebellion

n      Wearing black

n      Morbid themes in writing, music and drawing

n      All night television watching or sleeping during day

n      Missed classes or drop in grades

n      Boredom

n      Anorexia or bulimia


Factors of depression related to aging include:

n      Multiple losses

n      Empty nest

n      Menopause

n      Loneliness

n      Inactivity

n      Lack of exposure to sunlight

n      Ageism

n      Risk increases with advancing age


Facts about Suicide.

n      7th leading cause of death in U.S.

n      3rd leading cause of death in teens & young adults.

n      15% of untreated patients with recurrent depression will die of suicide.


Risk Factors of Suicide:

n      Previous suicide attempts

n      Family history

n      Recent suicide or attempt of friend

n      Anniversaries of difficult life events

n      Impulsivity

n      Increased agitation

n      Increased calmness

n      Giving things away

n      Saying goodbye

n      Severe stress


What can you do about depression?

n      Go easy on yourself.

n      Adjust your personal goals

n      Break large tasks into small ones.

n      Practice regular mild to moderate exercise.

n      Re-establish your support systems.

n      Participate in activities you enjoy.

n      Avoid isolating, even if you feel like it.

n      Learn what the serenity prayer means.

n      Seek professional help early on.

n      Address possible nutritional issues.

n      Discuss with your physician whether medications are recommended.


What to do when a loved one is depressed:

n      Learn more about depression and its effects.

n      Lower your expectations.

n      Take care of household chores that are neglected.

n      Encourage discussion, while avoiding arguments.

n      Avoid labeling him or her as lazy or faking illness.

n      Suggest and support him or her in seeking professional help.

n      Consider getting professional help for yourself.

n      Call to ask if there's anything he or she needs.

n      Volunteer to plan a simple outing with him or her.

n      Offer a sympathetic ear.

n      Show your concern and interest.

n      Respect his or her need for time alone, without abandoning.

n      Listen without trying to fix the problem.

n      Offer hugs, hold his or her hand, etc.

n      If suicidal, take to nearest hospital emergency room!


In general, remember:

n      Depression is not contagious, but try not to be overwhelmed yourself.

n      Don't invalidate his or her worries.

n      Show kind concern, not worried concern.

n      Keep in mind that he or she will eventually get over his or her feelings.

n      Keep things light and playful, if possible.

n      Distract as much as you can with activities you believe your loved one would enjoy.


If you or a loved one has experienced the above symptoms for more than two weeks you may wish to schedule an appointment with a qualified psychotherapist, such as any of those listed on the website. We welcome your call and are eager to assist you in restoring your emotional well being.