Depression

The Causes Postpartum Depression

April 17th, 2014

Postpartum depression should not be confused with regular ‘baby blues’ or ‘maternity blues’ which are a transitory and mild form of moodiness that is suffered by as many as 80% of all postpartum women. With this more run of the mill postpartum moodiness, symptoms typically include irritability, tearfulness, sleeplessness, lack of concentration and headache, and usually lasts somewhere between a few hours to several days. This more common type of postpartum sadness or moodiness is not considered to be the same ailment as a major postpartum depressive disorder.

Not all causes of postpartum depression are known, and in the search for better understanding of the known contributors, the following thirteen factors have been examined and found to be significant predictors of postpartum depression. Relative effect amount is listed in parentheses next to the contributing feature.

• Unplanned/unwanted pregnancy (.14 to .17)

• Low socioeconomic status (.19 to .22)

• Single parent (.21 to .35)

• Maternity blues (.25 to .31)

• Infant temperament problems/colic (.33 to .34)

• History of previous depression (.38 to.39)

• Poor marital relationship (.38 to .39)

• Low social support (.36 to .41)

• Life stress (.38 to .40)

• Prenatal anxiety (.41 to .45)

• Childcare stress (.45 to .46)

• Prenatal depression, i.e., during pregnancy (.44 to .46)

• Low self esteem (.45 to.47)

These listed contributors are known to correlate with postpartum depression such that high levels of life stress or high levels of prenatal anxiety seem to indicate the likelihood of high levels of postpartum depression.

Another believed cause of postpartum depression are the hormonal changes that occur just after childbirth, though ongoing clinical studies have failed to find a specific correlation with postpartum depression and changing hormonal levels following birth. Certainly this is a rocky time in terms of emotions and hormones, but there just isn’t evidence that changing hormones alone are responsible for postpartum depression.

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Causes of Depression

December 23rd, 2013

Rather than look at the causes of depression as though depression were a fully understood condition, let’s look at it in manageable packets. Exploring and understanding risk factors related to depression can go a long way toward making decisions about treatment and acceptance of a bout of major depression.

Also, as everyone is different, so to are the factors or causes of any one case of depression. For one person depression may have a side effect of increased sleep and fatigue, while another person may respond to depression with opposite symptoms of excess energy or overdrive modes of behavior.

Risk factors related to depression:

• Age

Though major depression typically occurs in people between the ages of 25 and 50, those over the age of 65 are particularly vulnerable for various reasons.

• Gender

Women are about as twice as likely as men in the United States to be diagnosed and treated for depression. About 20-25% of women and 12% of men will experience a serious bout of depression at least one time in their lifetimes. Among children, depression seems to happen in equal numbers of boys and girls. Then, as the sexes reach adolescence, girls tend to become more depressed than boys do. This gender imbalance with major depression continues into older age.

Women are both historically more likely to seek treatment for depression and negative feelings that may be occurring, such as feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, though even more recent stats show an increasing number of men seeking self improvement therapy sessions.

• Marital Status

People who are unhappily married, separated or divorced have high rates of major depression. The rates of major depression are considerably lower for those who are happily married.

Risk factors do not ensure that someone will develop a depressive episode, and everyone has the susceptibility of developing depression from time to time. Risk factors are just a way of saying that of those that had the worst depression symptoms the listed features were present as well.

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Better Understanding Clinical Depression

November 23rd, 2013

Sadness is a difficult thing to define when it comes to perhaps relating the term to others you might know, and especially the factor of defining what the cause and effective cure for depression might be, clinical depression can be a problematic issue when coming to understand yourself or others along with any symptoms that might be descriptive of the issue. Clinical depression is by no means a thoroughly understood subject of discussion, but one that the medical societies the world over are trying to come to terms with, this means taking more cases into consideration to help individuals understand their own depression.

Medical facilities all over the country are trying their best to make clinical depression have less of an impact on the American culture that currently has, the deep roots of which are tied with family history as well as an understanding of such things, and yet also being able to gauge in other factors such as environment into the equation to figuring out more of the conundrum of clinical depression. It can be difficult to gauge your own understanding of mental illness without feeling like a hypochondriac, feeling as though you are imminently at risk, and without feeling like those around understand less than they should be aware of.

Clinical depression can afflict anyone, with backgrounds and other influences aside, and no one has true immunity to these mental illnesses that create the functioning entity that is deemed clinical depression. There are many medications to help alleviate the pain that stems from having this problem, but a person needs to understand what their chances are in regards to how best to approach this problem effectively and well, a good place to start is with an adequate amount of research done through many sources including psychologists and doctors on mental illness as well as Internet sites that may have a lot to say on the subject.

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Is Manic Depression / Bipolar Disorder What Becomes of Mistreated Depression?

October 23rd, 2013

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric diagnostic classification of so-called ‘mood disorders’ where a person experiences depression and/or a manic state, hypomania or a mixture of these states, whereas ‘major depression’ or ‘unipolar disoder’ is a single short or long bout of depression without the countering manic attributes.

In my humble opinion depression is just a sign that we need to rediscover what it is that inspires us and makes us feel satisfied with living life. It’s like a deeper layer of self is saying “I’m not happy. I’m not happy.” Until we finally listen and find something that makes us feel happy. Is it possible that manic depression and most types of bipolar disorders are simply this same voice becoming more insistent?

In extreme cycling of manic and depressed states could it be this same inner voice has grown so frustrated with our inability to take its cues and redirect our lives toward more satisfying activities and foci that it adamantly paints examples of happiness with bouts of uncontainable mania?

It seems that the mind-body whole will always strive to find happiness and a sense of wellbeing. Perhaps manic depression is the imminent discovery of a reordering of one’s life to find what it is that makes us feel most happy and satisfied as the person we are today.

Change is the only constant and so we each have our ways of making sure it doesn’t happen too fast. Sometimes our perspectives become outdated and we’re given signs like depression to help us realize that we need to redefine our ideas of happiness. So if you’re feeling depressed, instead of reaching for medication, try to sit back and relax as you redirect yourself toward a life and perspective that fits you more comfortably, as “this too shall pass”.

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Alternative Medicine for Depression Treatment

September 23rd, 2013

The most popular and sought after depression treatment can be broken into three main types: prescription medications, natural and so-called ‘alternative’ medicine, as well as cognitive behavior therapy type programs. Typically one or more of these different types of depression treatment are utilized to help find relief for depression symptoms and causes.

Many people are reluctant to take prescription anti-depressants and other pharmaceutical drugs often prescribed for the treatment of depression. Most of these drugs have not undergone long term testing and so the long term effects are really not known. Many studies and cases have further indicated the potential harm of using pharmaceutical drugs to treat depression, as some types of anti-depressants have known side effects including depression, of all symptoms!

During the 1990s it is estimated that the use of alternative medicine for treating depression increased by more than 300%. Additionally, not only do natural medicines work effectively at treating depression symptoms, but these natural drugs have been around and used for thousands of years, thus giving us much more history to refer to in search of the correct treatment for a given situation and individual.

Natural therapeutic agents such as Kava Kava, St. John’s Wort, Valerican Root, SAM-e and 5-HTP have all been shown to effect significant anti-depressive results in those taking one or more natural medicines for depression for between three and twelve weeks. Of course the reduced cost of natural medicines is also another attractive feature of trying homeopathic remedies for depression.

There are also many combination herbal blends that combine the medicines listed above as well as others. It is generally recommended, however, that patients try different single medicines and herbs before combining them, in order to determine what each ingredient does on its own.

Cognitive behavioral therapy programs can also help decrease or eliminate depression by helping patients identify automatic thoughts and find out which core beliefs in which they are rooted. There is also supportive work done to overwrite the negative core beliefs with positive ones that will effect change in the direction that the client wishes to move. In the meantime, patients are given various types of coping skills and exercises to decrease stress and anxiety during this time of exploration and work.

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The Anxiety – Depression Relationship

August 23rd, 2013

Though depression is thought of as a ‘low energy’ type of state, it is very often accompanied by symptoms of anxiety. Depending on the individual case, sometimes it is depression that eventually leads to additional problems such as anxiety, perhaps from a feeling of helplessness about being able to change one’s life to avoid being depressed. In other cases it is anxiety that begins to show up. After a period of time the anxiety develops into depression because the person feels as though he or shoe is trapped into anxious feelings.

Generally though, depression and anxiety disorders are quite different issues. One of the reasons that they are so often confused by the layperson is that they are often treated in similar ways. Many of the same anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medications are prescribed to those suffering from either disorder or even a combination of the two.

It has been estimated that around 85% of all major depression (as opposed to bipolar disorder, a.k.a. manic depression) cases are accompanied by symptoms of mild to acute anxiety. For the most part, the anxiety portion of combination symptoms comes as a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder. In this same study, about 35% of this group had symptoms of panic disorder.

Because anxiety and depression go together so often they are generally considered to be the linked twins as far as the biggie mood disorders go. Unfortunately depression is takes longer to treat when it is accompanied by anxiety. Many of those who have suffered from depression with anxiety claim that it is the anxiety that they feel is the difficult and lingering part of their ailment.

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Treating Depression Symptoms with Respect

July 23rd, 2013

Have you been feeling particularly down in the dumps for such an uncharacteristically long amount of time that you’ve considered taking anti-depressant drugs? Uncomfortable symptoms are the body’s way of telling us that something isn’t right physically, uncomfortable emotions (as well as physical ones) are the psyche’s way of trying to tell us what we’re lacking mentally, emotionally or more collectively, ‘spiritually’.

Let’s say you become violently sick and keep throwing up. You happen to have some anti-nausea pills so you pop a few of those. Then you remember that codeine prescription left over from a broken arm a couple of years ago so you decide a couple of those couldn’t hurt. The codeine numbs the pain to such a degree that you’re not aware of the localized pain in the right side of your abdomen. In this scenario you’ve just managed to prolong treatment of appendicitis, an easily curable yet deadly situation if left untreated for longer for very long at all. Pain is your body telling you where the problem is.

Similarly, depression is some deeper aspect of ourselves telling us where our mental or emotional pain is located: in our happy-sad indicator. Depression is just a sign that we should take a step back and reexamine what it is that makes us feel most satisfied, productive, helpful or complete in life. No one is happy all the time, but things like satisfaction and feeling comfortable with our niche in life are what makes life feel worth living. If we’re feeling depressed it’s time to redefine what it is that gives us these happy-feeling sensations of accomplishment or belonging.

It’s okay to be depressed. Realize mentally that it’s part of a cycle of discovery and redirection, while giving yourself emotional room to just feel it for a while. Ride it out and see what tomorrow brings.

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What to Do with Depression

June 23rd, 2013

Depression can be an opportunity for growth in disguise, it can be short lived or progressively intense for longer periods of time, but one thing we should try to avoid is medicating it without first trying to discover what it symbolizes.

In much of today’s modern and Westernized culture we look for solutions. We isolate and classify every bit of information we encounter rather than looking at things in terms of a larger perspective. When it comes to physical, emotional or mental discomfort this has come to mean looking for simple solutions to whatever ails us. If you get a headache, take some aspirin. If you get depressed, go to the doctor and he/she will give you some ‘anti-depressants’.

Treating symptoms rather than looking deeper to root causes or at the image of whole mind-body health tends to… treat symptoms and little else. Symptoms are the body’s way of telling us that it needs something it’s not getting, that it’s getting too much of something, or that it’s fighting off an infection, in which case symptoms can help us determine what it is that will assist the body in its fight.

When we get the flu or a cold we sometimes find that we suddenly begin craving juice and things with vitamin C. Sometimes when we’re ill we lose our appetites in order to be able to focus all the body’s energy on fighting the infection. We use a huge amount of resources during food digestion. Lack of appetite is a very effective way to redirect the body’s natural defensive powers.

Depression is also a sign, a sign that we’re not happy. That’s pretty obvious, but think about it for a moment. If some deeper layer of ourselves is trying to make us realize that we’re unhappy is it likelier that taking some happy pills is going to make us truly happy, or taking the time to reconsider just what it is that makes us feel satisfied? In this way depression can be very much the hidden opportunity for growth. When we’re forced to reconsider our life choices, daily activities and the like we’re apt to discover or revisit different ways of thinking and experiences that fit better with the person we are today.

With the exception of extreme cases where individuals truly feel they might harm themselves –where anti-depressant drug therapy may help give some extra ‘space’ to tackle depression in manageable packets—depression should be seen as the heralding of a burst of change. Change, after all, is the only constant. We feel death pangs as we outgrow old perspectives and ways of living; just as night unfolds to the next day, depression always yields the birth of new happiness, fresh ideas about what is satisfying and how to manifest these inspirations in our lives. In the meantime go ahead and let yourself feel bummed or downright crushed and hollow. These are the ‘little deaths’ that signal our personal evolutionary milestones.

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Natural Depression Medication

May 23rd, 2013

Many people are reluctant to begin taking pharmaceutical antidepressant medications or other medications typically prescribed for the treatment of depression –and with good reason. None of the popular antidepressant drugs have been studied long enough to really know what it is we are taking into our bodies, nor what we can expect from them in the long run.

On the other hand, there are many natural medicines that have been taken for thousands of years by peoples of many different cultures for the treatment of depression and depression related symptoms, such as anxiety and low energy.

Below is a brief list of the most well known natural depression medications as well as a description of their uses and effects.

• Valerian Root

This natural herbaceous medicine is given primarily for is sedative effects upon the central nervous system. Valerian is know to produce immediate and marked relaxation and reduced restlessness, making it suitable for evening use to encourage a good night’s sleep. With depression and anxiety many of the symptoms are exacerbated by a lack of rest during the nighttime hours. The vast majority of studies done around Valerian Root show it as a very effective depression medication in terms of its ability to calm the central nervous system as well as providing an enhanced quality of sleep.

• St. Johns Wort

This is one of the most widely used homeopathic antidepressants that is available today. St. Johns Wort is shown to effectively treat both anxiety an depression in periods of time as short as two to six weeks in duration. There are even clinical trials where St. John’s Wort is tested side by side with popular pharmaceutical antidepressants and St. John’s Wort is shown to be at least as effective as its pharmaceutical counterparts.

• Kava Kava

This is one of the most anxiolytic herbs know to mankind. An analysis that involved over twenty-five clinical studies shows that Kava Kava is more effective than placebo at producing relief of symptomatic anxiety. Also, Kava Kava is one of the safest types of anti-anxiety and anti-depression drugs.

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Depression Help: Where to Turn

April 23rd, 2013

Everyone feels the sting of depression from time to time. Depending on the kind of person you are, you may or may not wish to consider alternative types of treatment other than traditional therapy and medication. As long as you are not having thoughts of harming yourself, perhaps you’d benefit from taking some time to research the different types of treatment, or to relax and take a step back from daily life in order to let resolution manifest of its own accord.

Everyone is different. Some people need to talk with someone, and this is the only way that he or she is likely to come to a solution or a plateau from which recuperative work can be carried out. If you consider yourself to be this type of person perhaps you’d do best seeking a psychotherapist with whom you can discuss your feelings. If talking is important to you, avoid psychiatrists, as these mental health professionals are likely to push drugs and minimize therapy unless you seek a therapist in addition to treatment by a psychiatrist.

Again, if you are suffering extreme depression or your depression is accompanied by many bouts of anxiousness each day then you may feel better skipping straight to professional help of some kind. However, if you have a little patience and some sense of self direction you may very well do better simply taking a step back and reassessing your life.

Many times depression comes about as a way for our deeper selves to let us know that we’re missing out on some goal or that current perspectives are not matching up with what our lives are like. Basically, depression is an aspect of ourselves telling us that we’re not happy. When we stop to consider the clues we can often put together these pieces to form some idea of which direction in life will lead us back to a sense of satisfaction and well-being.

There are a number of excellent informational websites about depression as well as online discussion boards where you can research and discuss topics related to depression. This can be a great way to get a head start on your own self discovery, or to supplement professional treatment of your depression.

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