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Depression is More Common Than You Think

The sad deaths of several high-profile personalities in 2014 turned a spotlight onto an illness that is affecting more people today – depression. From Hollywood elites to elite college athletes the mental health condition was shown to be one that supersedes every conceivable barrier.

In fact, in 2012 16,000,000 (or 6.9 percent) American adults experienced at least a single episode of major depression. At any one time, depression affects the lives of nearly 10 percent of our adult population. It affects children, young people, seniors, men and women, rich andDepression 8 poor, the well-educated and those facing educational challenges.

Studies show that major depression is experienced by:

  • 30 percent of college and university students
  • 14 percent of post-delivery moms
  • 11 percent of young people before age 18
  • 10 percent of senior adults (aged 65 or older)

Unfortunately, although depression is experienced by so many, only half (50 percent) of those affected will get needed treatment. This could be because treatment is not readily available, because of perceived stigma or because the symptoms go unrecognized until it is too late.

Symptoms of depression include at least two or three of the following:

  1. Deep sadness
  2. Sapped energy and difficulty concentrating
  3. Trouble with sleep – either too little (because the mind won’t shut off) or too much (though the person never feels rested)
  4. Profound sense of hopelessness
  5. Disinterest in activities or relationships that were once enjoyed
  6. Headache, stomach ache or other unexplained physical ailment

While it is true that women face a 70 percent greater likelihood of depression compared to men, it isn’t clear why this is so. Some suggest that it may be that women are simply more apt to seek treatment

At Family Guidance we have mental health professionals able to address symptoms of major depression whether you are young, old, rich, poor, male or female. Don’t ignore your symptoms. Get help and start on the road to recovery.

The Serious Effects of Untreated Depression

Depression 4Depression can affect people of any sex, social class or age. In many cases, symptoms of depression are ignored and left untreated, of which the consequences can be serious. Even though occasional feelings of sadness are normal, depression that lingers and affects normal everyday activities is cause for concern. Ignoring those symptoms can lead to long term consequences.

Ignoring Depression as a Possibility
Someone who loses interest in formerly enjoyed activities, who withdraws from others, who becomes listless and tired could be showing signs of real depression. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away, but could lead to more serious consequences. Often the fear of stigma from being diagnosed with a mental illness stops someone from seeking help for depression.

The Facts About Depression
Every year depression affects people of every age group

  • 12 percent of adult women
  • 7 percent of adult men
  • 20 percent of the elderly
  • 3 percent of teens
  • 5 percent of children

Depression is a serious condition that deserves attention and treatment. The risks of not treating depression are staggering. Consider that 15 percent of those with depression commit suicide every year. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens in our country. White men aged 85 years and older are five times more likely to commit suicide than others. Suicide is a permanent response to what can be a temporary problem. Treatment is key.

Don’t ignore depression either in yourself or in someone you love – no matter what their age. At Family Guidance Center we have professional mental health professionals who can show you how to overcome depression. You just need to take the first step and call us today.


The Reality of Childhood Depression

SAD 2While few people actually envision children and youth when they are picturing depression, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry says that approximately one of every 20 kids and teens may be dealing with depression. That means that one child in each school classroom could be struggling with this disease. Very few families expect that that one child to be living in their own home.

How Can a Parent Know?
Not every child who feels low is depressed. Sadness is part of the normal range of human emotion. So how can a parent tell if their child is depressed? There are some clues to recognize that your child is struggling with depression, here are some signs to watch for:

  • Sadness that results from a particular circumstance can be normal and isn’t necessarily depression
  • Sadness that comes and goes may be normal feelings
  • Sadness that persists and is not connected to any identifiable event deserves a second look
  • A history of depression in the family tree means parents should be alert
  • A child who seems angry and unusually irritable could be showing signs of depression. While depression in adulthood can trigger isolation and sullenness, in children it is often expressed in angry outbursts.

What Can a Parent Do?
It’s very important that parents who see warning signs get their child in for a medical appointment as soon as possible. A brief screening often is enough to discover depression. Not getting help may make symptoms worse. Treatment, on the other hand, is highly effective.

If your child seems sad for no apparent reason or is showing signs of unexplained anger, make an appointment with your family physician or bring them in to Family Guidance today. We can help you and your child move beyond depression to a healthy life.

Depression During the Winter: When a Gray Sky Makes You Feel Blue

Here in the Mid-West winter has settled in. Deciduous trees have lost their last leaves creating a barren, gray landscape. The gray and cloudedDepression 6 skies can add to a sense of being enveloped in a bleak, cold cloud. For some people, this atmosphere acts as a trigger for depression. Combine the gloomy surroundings with the emotional and physical tiredness which can follow the holiday season and a person vulnerable to depression can experience a depression that stays with them throughout the season.

Seasonal Depression is Real
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a form of depression triggered by environmental factors like low sunlight and harsh temperatures. The let-down of post holiday weeks and months only worsens the risk of a winter season depression.

People who experience SAD may not realize that it is actually a form of diagnosable depression. They may dread winter and do their best to endure the long months of listlessness, tiredness and low mood, when all along there has been treatment available to help with the condition.

Treatment Helps
Sometimes SAD is treated with antidepressant medication, often though light therapy is recommended. The idea is that the brain is reacting negatively to the absence of bright light and by providing it, the brain can revive and release hormones that help with low moods. Cutting edge light technology comes mounted on a headband and directs light directly into the retina. Even though the sky is cloudy, getting outside in spite of the cold can also help to alleviate seasonal depressive symptoms from low levels of sunlight.

If you feel down for more than two weeks for no obvious reason during the winter months, call us today at Family Guidance. It could be seasonal depression. We can help you with the depression that lingers with you over the cold months.

Mental Health Among the Elderly at Christmas: When Depression is a Part of the Holidays

Depression 6Christmas time is here! While this is a season of joy and gladness for many, it can be a difficult time for some. And the older we get, the more holiday challenges we may face. Perhaps children have grown up and moved away, leaving a person feeling lonely. Maybe friends or even a spouse has fallen ill. It could be that the years have brought physical limitations such as poor eyesight, hearing loss or hampered mobility. All of these changes can impact how someone feels about the holiday season.

The Difference Between Feeling Down and Depression
While it is not at all unusual for circumstances such as these to create brief periods of feeling blue for the elderly, this is not the same as being depressed. The difference between feeling down and being depressed is that occasional bouts of sadness are temporary and normal activities continue. Depression, on the other hand, is profound enough to keep a person from taking part in the things they normally care about including holiday celebrations. It can affect how a person functions, their personal relationships and their physical health.

Untreated Depression Can Become Worse
Sometimes the isolation of depression can lead a person to thoughts of suicide. Many times depression is linked to physical illness. As the body ages and sicknesses arise, mental health problems such as depression can take an opportunistic hold. The good news is that while untreated depression can worsen, it is a mental health condition that is highly treatable – one which many older adults overcome.

At Family Guidance we see clients of all ages, including older ones facing the challenges of depression at holiday time. If you or an older adult in your life is living with depression don’t just accept this as something which is an unavoidable part of life. Physical health and strength may decline with time, but mental health can remain strong and vibrant all through a lifetime. Call us today and find out how you can be alert to and overcome the symptoms of depression.