Many people have felt sad or depressed at times. Depression occurs without regard to gender, age and lifestyle. Feeling depressed can be a normal reaction to loss, life’s struggles or an injured self-esteem. But when feelings of intense sadness — including feeling helpless, hopeless and worthless — last for days or weeks and keep you from functioning normally, your depression may be something more.
• Depression is a common condition, affecting about 121 million people worldwide.
• According to a 2009 report in the New York Times, the use of antidepressants doubled between 1996 and 2005. Today, it’s estimated that 10% of Americans take antidepressant medication — that’s 32 million sufferers.
• Depression is among the leading causes of disability worldwide.
• Depression can be reliably diagnosed and treated in a primary care setting.
• Fewer than 25% of those affected by depression have access to effective treatments.
Signs of Depression**:
Two major signs of depression are:
1) Loss of interest in activities normally enjoyed and,
2) Overwhelming sense of hopelessness or pessimism.
Other symptoms or behavioral indicators for depression include:
• Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
• Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in nearly all activities most of the time
• Excessive or inappropriate feelings of guilt or worthlessness
• Sluggishness, loss of energy or fatigue most of the time
• Difficulty concentrating
• Insomnia, especially early morning awakening, or excessive sleeping
• Increase or decrease in appetite
• Recurrent suicidal thoughts or attempts
• Constant pains, headaches or stomach problems that do not respond to treatment
Every individual may exhibit different signs and symptoms with different frequency or severity. But if five or more of these symptoms apply to you or someone you know, it could signal depression.
Depression can affect everyone***:
Depression can be prevalent in a specific phase of a person’s life. For example, teen depression is a serious condition that affects emotions, thoughts and behaviors. Although teen depression isn’t medically different from adult depression, teenagers often have unique challenges and symptoms. Issues such as peer pressure, academic expectations and changing body types can cause various moods, and ups and downs for teens. For some teens, the lows are more than just temporary feelings; they’re a sign of depression.
Many moms experience the “baby blues” after childbirth. Most common are mood swings and crying spells. Some experience a more severe, long-lasting form of depression known as postpartum depression.
Men also go through “andropause,” which is the equivalent of menopause in females. Andropause correlates directly with depression, a significant factor in the so-called mid-life crisis men experience during their late 40s to late 50s. There are a variety of symptoms and conditions that hormone-impaired men experience during this mid-life transition, including irritability, loss of libido, lack of energy and weight gain.
No matter how you look at it, depression can be a disabling condition, if left untreated.
Traditional therapies used to treat most emotional distress are antidepressants. Common among them are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Lexapro and Zoloft. These drugs have been shown in clinical trials to be no more effective than a placebo for the vast majority of those taking them. Worse, they have a long list of side effects, including weight gain, sexual dysfunction and increased risk of suicide and violent behavior.***
Treatment options offered at The Woodlands Institute target the underlying causes of depression, which may be related to dietary habits, vitamin deficiencies, food sensitivities and hormonal imbalance (despite normal blood levels of hormones). Depression is NOT caused by a deficiency in a pharmaceutical drug!
If you or a loved one is suffering from any form of depression, please call 281-298-6742 and ask to speak to a wellness consultant, who will assist you in finding the program that will best fit your symptoms and specific health goals.
Some excerpts of this article have been derived from http://www.articles.mercola.com and from http://www.doctoroz.com
*Statistics from WorldHealthOrganization.com
**Adapted from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition and http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles