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FAQs about Depression

FAQs about Depression

Are we experiencing a depression epidemic?

Major depression is a common malady. Twenty percent or more of the population can expect to have at least one bout of depression in their lifetime. It is a disorder that is widely unrecognized, undiagnosed, untreated, and stigmatized. Depression is often trivialized, seen as a sign of "weakness"...

When should you stop taking antidepressants?

How long a person takes antidepressants or lithium depends on the nature of that individual's illness. In general, people with severe, frequent, or prolonged bouts of depression (in the form of major depression or the depressed side of bipolar disorder) will require prolonged maintenance medication...

Is depression genetic?

Genetic factors play an important role in major depression and bipolar disorder. These are illnesses in which familial patterns are often apparent, particularly in bipolar disorder, where a first-degree relative (a child) has an approximately 25 percent chance of having the disorder if one parent...

What does it mean to be bipolar?

In bipolar disorder (or manic depressive disorder), as in major depressive disorder, there is a basic disturbance in the background emotional tone we call mood. Unlike people with major depression (or unipolar disorder), bipolar patients have a variable pattern of depressed and manic episodes....

If a friend says she's suicidal, should you take her seriously?

Depressed people often have suicidal thoughts. They see no end to their anguish; they can't believe in a happy outcome; and they sometimes think they don't deserve to live or their families would be better off without them. As many as 10 to 15 percent of depressed patients commit suicide. Some 50...

Are there alternative treatments for depression?

It would be nice to report that self-help works! Unfortunately, serious depression is a very disillusioning affair. The most intelligent, educated, cultivated people are equally laid low. They include those with the best plans for better living; the most prudent and health-conscious; college...

Can you get addicted to antidepressants?

Antidepressant drugs and lithium are not habit-forming or addicting. Craving does not develop, nor does tolerance (requiring higher and higher doses for the same effect). Abrupt cessation (or even skipping doses of some drugs) can cause withdrawal symptoms such as jitteriness and insomnia, but this...

How do you find a good psychiatrist?

You might ask your primary physician for a referral. Then there's a word-of-mouth referral from a friend or relative. The local medical society or psychiatric society (a local branch of the American Psychiatric Association, for example) can help. If there's a medical school or big hospital in town...

How common is depression in the teen years?

Depression occurs in children and adolescents often, but not exclusively, in contexts of strong stresses such as family discord, abuse, or failure at school. Nationally, about 5 percent of adolescents have major depression. Common symptoms include physical complaints, sad appearance, poor self-...

Five Food Tips to Fight Stress

WHETHER YOUR STRESS IS PHYSICAL OR EMOTIONAL, IT CHANGES THE WAY YOUR BODY USES AND ABSORBS NUTRIENTS. It's important that your body gets the nutrients your speeding metabolism needs. That's why it's a good idea to eat foods that calm you down, rather than make your stress worse. The following tips...

CFIDS - What to do for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a poorly understood condition, which has been known for many years by a variety of names: fibrositis, myofascial pain syndrome, and muscular rheumatism. It is very common and probably accounts for many so-called "tension" headaches, frozen shoulders, and low back pain. The presence...

CFIDS vs. Chronic Fatigue

Although commonly confused, CFIDS and Chronic Fatigue are actually two separate terms. In 1994, the Centers for Disease Control developed a research and clinical definition for chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome (CFIDS). However, there is still a great deal of confusion around how the...

Is stress making you sick?

IF STRESS IS AFFECTING YOUR HEALTH, HERE ARE WAYS TO BECOME MORE RELAXED. The Physical Stress Scale assesses the extent to which you may be experiencing the negative physical consequences of intense or prolonged stress. Research has shown that individuals scoring medium to high on one or more of...

Are you an underachiever?

IF YOU CAN'T SEEM TO ACCOMPLISH MUCH, HERE ARE WAYS TO BECOME MORE PRODUCTIVE. Underachievement is another stress indicator associated with physical problems and emotional discomfort. High scorers on this scale have the perception that they are not being very productive with their lives and, as a...