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leeches leech mehdi leeches therapy Side Effects of Anti-depressants by mehdi jaffari

Side Effects of Anti-depressants

Anti-depressant Therapy is a highly effective way to ward off depression. Anti-depressants have been proven to be rather successful in dealing with the symptoms that often cause a depressed person’s severe debilitation. However, these drugs are not without side effects. In fact, anti-depressants can cause many side effects, some of which are negligible while some are serious.

Some people quit anti-depressant therapy abruptly because of the anti-depressants’ side effects. This should not be done. Abrupt cessation of anti-depressant therapy can cause worse symptoms that highly resemble withdrawal symptoms. The same goes for changing the dosage without informing the physician.

Indeed, when taking anti-depressants, it is imperative that you cooperate fully with your physician and follow his instructions to the letter. If you notice any side effects, be sure to inform him of them. Never alter your treatment plan without his consent or the repercussions may be severe.

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  • The Meaning of Life
  • Understanding our Journey
  • The Benefits of Meditation
  • Unlocking our Treasure
  • Forgiveness
  • Managing your Anger
  • Finding your Inner-self
  • Energy of Water

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The Meaning of Life is an incredibly powerful segment and a main ‘tool’ [or key] to bring us back to the basics of reality! It covers important areas, where we are able to take a step back and define our lives and look at the importance of what we are doing and what we are achieving.  Mehdi understands the difficulties of coping with hectic schedules, long working hours, raising families and somehow in the midst of everything, bringing fruitfulness into a relationship.  Everyone deserves to enjoy all aspects of life, but unfortunately, during our varied and busy existence in today’s society, we can easily ‘loose’ focus and direction.  This powerful segment allows us to put aside what we think are important routines and lifestyle issues and evaluate the real meaning of life.

Understanding our journey is a beautifully presented and emotional section, covering the importance of recognising our abilities and how we can help others in significant and positive ways.  Mehdi clarifies the valuable role in taking responsibility for our actions in all areas of our lives.    

Benefits of Meditation – Mehdi speaks about the importance of replacing negative energy with positive energy.

Unlocking our Treasure – Mehdi reminds us of a ‘natural treasure’ we are born with.  This treasure enables us to love and care for ourselves and others, though it can be easily lost by simply not understanding ourselves on a deeper level.  Mehdi is passionate in providing direction to help recognise our treasure, bringing connection to ourselves in order for us to love ourselves, which in turn brings love from others.

Forgiveness is a significant area and very much a learning process of ceasing to feel resentment or anger towards another person.  Mehdi speaks about the consequences of living with negative feelings and explains how we can learn to forgive past events.  He teaches powerful meditation techniques to bring peace and forgiveness into our lives, creating a more positive future.

Managing Anger is an important skill, enabling us to safely express intense emotions, after all, we can’t physically and emotionally lash out at every person that irritates or annoys us.  Anger is a normal human emotion and Mehdi teaches how we can learn to change this pattern of behaviour through meditation.

Finding your innerself is about understanding strengths and weaknesses on a deeper level. It’s important that we challenge ourselves and are able to question what we should be doing this very moment. Life can sometimes seem like scaling a mountain, but it’s important we feel able to continue scaling the next one, followed by the one after that.  Mehdi speaks about how we can find our true potential and takes us step by step through meditation to help us succeed in conquering the highest mountains in life.

Energy of Water – Mehdi takes you step by step through a water meditation technique and explains the many benefits of receiving energy through water.

 

Life, Love & HarmonyLife, Love & Harmony:

Life, Love & Harmony is a beautiful teaching dvd explaining how we can bring balance into our lives.

Have you ever wondered how some people manage to accomplish inner-contentment in today’s hectic lifestyles? Walk with Mehdi on this exciting journey and learn more about how you too can enjoy the benefits of Love & Harmony in your life.

Life is a gift and often taken for granted as we get caught up in different situations. This dvd raises awareness that often lays buried beneath the surface of our daily existence. Relax and enjoy Love, Life & Harmony.

Nausea

The most common side effect of anti-depressants is nausea. This is also one of the most common reasons that people stop taking anti-depressants entirely. It mostly begins a week after beginning the treatment. Oftentimes, all you have to do is to wait for a few weeks for your body to adjust to the treatment regimen, and it will go away on its own.

Some of the things that you can do to cope with the nausea would be to take your meds along with food and to drink plenty of fluids. Unsweetened fruit juices, cold water, and ginger ale (as long as it’s not carbonated) are highly recommended. You could also take an antacid or a bismuth subsalicylate to lessen the nausea. Ask your doctor if you can take the slow-release form of the medications you are taking, as this will ease some of the discomfort. If none of these helps reduce nausea, ask your doctor if the dosage can be lessened.

Increased Appetite and Weight Gain

Women are more prone to depression than men. Women also tend to be more concerned about their appearance than men. But there are also some men who are concerned with their physical appearance. When anti-depressant therapy starts working and brings patients to the point where interest in physical appearance has been regained, they tend to be rather prone to quitting the therapy when they see that they are gaining weight because of it.

One of depression’s symptoms is lack of interest in exercise and excessive lethargy. It also affects the appetite. When the drug starts working, appetite may be regained. Without a corresponding increase in physical activity, weight gain can follow.

Some drugs, particularly Bupropion and some Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors do not cause weight gain as much as the others, so if weight gain is likely to be a concern, ask your doctor if you can take these types of antidepressants instead.

To cope with weight gain, you may try eating healthier foods such as vegetables, grains and fruits. You can ask a dietitian to construct a meal plan for you. Lessen your intake of sweets and carbonated beverages. Avoid eating fast food and foods that are high in fat and cholesterol content. Exercise regularly; not only will this help you lose weight, it will also improve your mood.

Sexual Problems

Intake of anti-depressants may affect sexual performance, decrease desire or reduce libido. More serious side effects include erectile dysfunction and delayed ejaculation. The strength of a person’s orgasm and his ability to achieve it may also be severely compromised.

These side effects can last as long as you are taking the anti-depressant medication. Some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are more likely to cause inability to achieve orgasm or result in delayed orgasm. Tricyclic anti-depressants, on the other hand, are more likely to cause erectile dysfunction.

Ask your doctor if your dosage can be reduced. If not, just schedule your sexual activities before you have to take your anti-depressants. Also, ask your doctor if you could switch to bupropion or mirtazapine, as these are less likely to cause sexually related side effects. If not, you may also ask your doctor for drugs that can treat these side effects directly yet may be used in conjunction with your therapy.

Fatigue and Drowsiness

During the early weeks of your anti-depressant treatment, your body is still getting used to the drugs you are taking. This adjustment period is often coupled with fatigue and some degree of drowsiness.

The best thing that you can do is adjust your schedule so that you have to take your medications before you go to sleep. This will be quite beneficial as it will help ease your sleeping problems. If not, you may comply with your body’s needs and take a nap during the day. Make sure that you avoid any activities like driving or operating any machinery if you feel drowsy or fatigued to prevent an accident.

Insomnia

Some drugs, instead of causing a person to feel drowsy or fatigued, would cause a person to feel rather energized instead. They may induce an energy boost in some people. While this may not necessarily be a bad thing, there are cases when a person would have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, so he is tired during the day.

To cope with insomnia, try taking the medication during the morning to make the energy boost work to your advantage. Also, avoid food and drinks that will have the same effect, such as coffee or carbonated beverages. Avoid substances that have caffeine as this will only worsen sleeplessness. If you absolutely have to take the medications before bedtime, expend excess energy by doing some exercises an hour or two before you go to sleep. If the insomnia is particularly severe, ask your doctor if he can prescribe a sedative for you as well.

Other Side Effects

Other side effects of anti-depressant therapy include dry mucous membranes (particularly in the mouth), blurred vision, constipation, dizziness, anxiety, restlessness, and agitation. Remember to talk to your doctor about these side effects so that they can be properly managed. Posted in Depression
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leeches leech mehdi leeches therapy Overcoming Depression: Importance of Support Overcoming Depression: Importance of Support by mehdi jaffari

Depression is generally acknowledged to be a personality disorder. Although not everyone in the health sector may agree about the fine points – what its symptoms are, how it can be diagnosed and how best it can be treated – everyone agrees that it’s one of the most debilitating personality disorders around.

People with depression are so consumed by grief, despair, hopelessness, and all other negative feelings that they become truly incapacitated. They cannot do all the things that they have been able to do with ease before; in fact they won’t even want to try. They lose interest in their physical appearance, in other people’s company, in eating, in working, and all other things. In short, they cannot function.

Therefore, even if the matter of depression’s causes, onset and symptoms is far from settled, two things remain very clear: depression can eventually kill (either through suicide or through physical degeneration resulting from the individual’s inability to function and accomplish activities of daily living), and people who are suffering from depression cannot be left untreated.

Get Treatment for Depression

There are two main methods of treating depression. The first one is medication. It has been found out in studies that depression is related to inadequate levels of certain neurotransmitters. Antidepressants are medications that can alleviate this condition. For instance, if the serotonin levels in the brain are low and are causing a patient to feel down, some antidepressants will block the receptors that reabsorb serotonin. Serotonin, after it has facilitated the signal transfer between neurons is typically reabsorbed by the neuron that released it in the first place. By preventing reabsorption, the serotonin stays in the synapse (the junction between two adjacent neurons). While the medication is in use, every serotonin release adds to the existing level of serotonin in the synapse and this alleviates the effect of reduced serotonin levels, specifically the symptoms of depression.

The second treatment method is psychotherapy. In this case, the therapist talks the patient through his feelings, his thoughts and his perceptions. The therapist sifts through the information that he gains from these sessions (including those he spends with the patient’s family) and is able to see the patterns of depression – when it is triggered, by what it is triggered, how depression develops in the patient, and what being depressed makes the patient feels. Psychotherapists are trained professionals who are able to help their patients develop coping mechanisms against depression and, overall, help reduce the frequency of depression episodes and help prevent their recurrence.

Joining a Support Group: Crucial Coping Strategy

A support group does exactly what it says – it provides support for people who are suffering from depression, people who are trying to recover from depression and people who have already recovered from depression. Support groups provide people with depression disorder a very valuable service: they provide peer acceptance.

People who are suffering from depression do not only have to cope with their feelings of melancholy or despair and their inability to function normally. They also have to cope with the lack of understanding – sometimes by their friends and family – and by with the social stigma that is commonly attached to personality disorders in general and depression disorders in particular.

Their friends and family might want to help, but such good intentions are useless when unaccompanied by full understanding. Their spouses, friends and children may think can act cheerful, encouraging and positive. However, this usually does not work because, to the suffering party, it may only seem insincere and forced. In some cases, family members’ and friends’ efforts to cheer a depressed person up can only make him feel more frustrated and guilty because he still can’t do what he knows his friends and family wants him to do: get all better and bring things back to normal.

Society also has a rather harsh view about depression disorders. Some will probably say, “Everybody has problems. If I and billions of other people can cope with our problems, why can’t you? If you are feeling miserable, it’s your fault for letting yourself feel miserable.” This social stigma makes people with depression reluctant to talk about their feelings and discuss their condition in the fear that they will be judged instead of understood and will receive ridicule instead of assistance.

Talking with psychotherapists is great. Understanding is there, all right. However, the experience is akin to having a complete physical; one lays himself bare to his doctor, and the doctor checks him up because that is his job.

Support groups provide people who are afflicted with depression disorder an entirely different experience. In support groups, people who have depression are liberated from their enforced silence and are free to be themselves. They can express their feelings without fear of judgment or rejection. They can be with people who do not expect anything from them. They feel a sense of belonging. The members of the support groups are people who are going through or have undergone the same thing. Thus, when these members tell someone they understand – they speak only the truth and nothing but.

Support groups, practically speaking, are very effective at motivating and affirming people with depression disorder. By listening to other people speak about their own conditions, someone can learn from others’ experiences. He can pick up good coping methods from others, and he can start applying them to his own life. He will feel inspired by other people’s success stories. The tiniest little step towards recovery is noted in support groups, moreover, because the members know exactly how hard it is to overcome depression.

Get Online Depression Support

Support groups for people with depression disorder can be found online. These also function like the traditional support group. The members are typically people who have “been there, done that.” The motivation and affirmation is also available. However, interaction among the members is done online.

However, support groups online have something that offline support groups do not have – anonymity. Thus, those who are not very comfortable about sharing their life experiences with others will find the anonymity of online support groups to be their biggest draw. One can, after all, open up more with someone whom he knows he will probably not meet in real life.

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Posted in Depression
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leeches leech mehdi leeches therapy Overcoming Depression by mehdi jaffari

Overcoming Depression

Millions of people suffer through depression at least once in their lives. It’s a debilitating disease that can affect anyone. Everybody, no matter what age or what culture, is at risk for developing depression.

There is a social stigma that comes with being depressed. Depression is seen as something of a weakness. Whenever you tell someone, a family member, for example, that you are depressed and need to go to the doctor, some would just raise their brows in sheer ignorance and scathingly say “get over it!”

This advice, sensible as it may seem, is easier said than done. Depression isn’t something someone can just ‘get over’ as if it were a nightmare someone can just awake from. It is a disorder that can stem from abnormalities in neurotransmitter functions and possibly the endocrine system as well. So unless these people can reach into your body and put these things right, then I suggest they shut up and get their facts straight.

The thing is – depression isn’t something that can be fixed in a hurry or with a mere attitude change. Overcoming depression is not easy, but it is possible.

Acknowledge Your Depression

The first step to overcoming depression is overcoming denial. Do not listen to people who have a wrong view of depression, as is often the case. Society can garner a lot of misconceptions. Get your facts straight. Know what depression is and what its symptoms are and determine if you may actually have depression. If you think it is highly likely that you do have depression, then you should acknowledge the possibility then get some help. The sooner you can get yourself to a doctor and get diagnosed, the better.

Medications can really help with overcoming depression. You’ll feel a lot better once you start taking them. At the very least, they’ll make you feel better or well enough so you will be able to move on and start making positive changes in your life.

Recognize Patterns of Thinking

After you have accepted that you have depression, try to look at it from a different perspective. Depression stems from an abnormality in neurotransmitter function, true. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t have an influence over the condition. Your mind is yours and you can control your thoughts.

If you have a psychiatrist, he will probably help you analyze your patterns of thinking that lead to an episode of depression. The next time you feel yourself becoming sad, try to think about why you’re feeling that way. Don’t just reason out that it’s because you’re depressed. Telling yourself that you’re depressed over and over again will just make matters worse. Pinpoint the patterns of thinking that got you feeling that way in the first place.

For example, if you’re feeling down in the dumps, ask yourself why you’re feeling that way. Is it because you had a bad day at the office? If it is, then ask yourself why you think it was a bad day. From here on, enumerate your reasons. If your reasons include ‘I was worthless again’ or ‘They’re better off without me’ or ‘My coworkers don’t like me’, stop and consider the logic of what you are saying. Patterns of thinking like this one can get a person bogged down. The next time you notice yourself thinking the same thoughts, say ‘stop’ and make a conscious effort to stop your train of thoughts.

Be Active

Aside from fighting a negative pattern of thoughts, fight inactivity as well. Inactivity can make a person feel bogged down and make him feel unenergetic. When you’re feeling lonely, leave your house and take a walk, see some scenery, breathe in some fresh air. If that doesn’t work, find something else that will keep you occupied. Start a new project, for example. This will also help boost your concentration. Even small activities like doing crossword puzzles can help, as long as they keep you from thinking about your problems.

Another great activity would be to help others out. Find an orphanage or a hospital and volunteer. Helping others would make you feel better about yourself and boost your self-esteem. Not only that, you’d also be making the world a much better place and touch the lives of many people.

You could also try to get more involved with your religion. Get to know your pastor and have him help you with your spirituality. Read your Bible and find a connection with God. Sometimes, this can really change the life of some people and make them much happier individuals.

When you find that you cannot sleep at night, get up and do something instead of lying around in bed thinking. Read a book or watch some television. You can also try drinking some warm milk. You’ll sleep when you get tired enough; ironically, it’s when you worry about not being able to sleep that you truly won’t be able to sleep.

Get Rid of Your Vices

Sometimes, the things that supposedly help us get through the day are actually the very things that make our lives miserable. Sometimes, we don’t know if we’re taking in a tonic or a poison.

Take alcohol, for example. Commonly, we think that alcohol is something that can make us happy. But in reality, alcohol destroys serotonin. Serotonin insufficiency is actually what antidepressants are trying to prevent. By taking in alcohol, you’ll be rendering antidepressants useless. Or worse, if you’re not taking antidepressants, you’re actually making yourself more miserable.

Also, try not to smoke as smoking reduces the oxygen supply to the brain and increases lethargy.

Some substances can seriously make matters worse for someone who is depressed. Listen to your doctor when he tells you about the substances that you should not take along with your antidepressants.

Be More Positive

Adopt a world view that isn’t too taxing. Smile more. Be more forgiving. Stop expecting the world to bow down at your feet because you’ll only get disappointed if it doesn’t. And trust me, it won’t. View the world more realistically. Remember that the world won’t adapt to you, it is you who will have to adapt to the world. Life will always have its ups and downs – you can’t change that. But those ups, they’re what makes life worth living even if you’re in one of those down swings. Never give up hope.

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leeches leech mehdi leeches therapy Treatment for Depression by mehdi jaffari

Treatment for Depression

People who are suffering from depression often refrain from getting treated because of the social stigma that accompanies their condition. It’s an unfortunate thing, especially since a lot of progress could be made if only the person would only get some treatment. Luckily, however, society is starting to be more open-minded about depression and getting treatment for this disorder. The health sector is finally making progress in loosening the sclerotic beliefs of society about ‘depression as a weakness’ and society has finally become more accommodating for people who suffer from this disease.

As it is, the health sector has also advanced in the treatment for this condition, and many people’s lives are being vastly improved.

Here are the three most common treatments used for depression:

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is the first-line treatment against depression in most cases. This is often used in cases of mild or moderate depression. Psychotherapy is also called ‘talk therapy’. In psychotherapy, the doctor ‘talks’ with the patient, and this helps the patient deal with depression. It might seem pretty simple and some might be a bit doubtful as to how ‘talking’ could alleviate depression. However, psychotherapy has been proven again and again to be highly effective. It not only treats depression; it even helps prevent it from recurring or from coming back.

There are many different types of psychotherapy. But arguably the most common ones are cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy and interpersonal therapy. This three may also be used in conjunction with each other for a more effective treatment.

 

Their differences lie mainly on techniques for reframing negative thoughts and using some behavioral skills that will ward off depression. Usually, the doctor would try to seek out the root of the person’s depression so that the patient will understand why he or she feels that way. The person is then helped through the trauma that the particular event might have caused.

Psychotherapy is also aimed at helping the person find better ways of coping. It equips the person with better coping mechanisms that are problem-focused instead of emotion-focused.

It also helps them recognize triggers for depression, so they can consciously try to abate them when they come. This is also geared at helping the person analyze some of his illogical assumptions whenever something distressful occurs. In short, psychotherapists can help patients put things in their proper perspective. For instance, if someone is depressed because he thinks his co-workers do not like him, the psychotherapist will not only talk the him through his feelings; he will also help the patient determine whether his assumptions were right in the first place – in other words, whether he really has something to be depressed about.

Antidepressant Therapy

Often used in conjunction with psychotherapy is antidepressant therapy. According to researchers, people who exhibit the symptoms of depression usually have incorrect neurotransmitter levels in their brain; neurotransmitters are substances in the body that transmit electrical signals from one brain cell to another.

There are three neurotransmitters that affect a person’s mood; namely, norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. If there is a disturbance in their functions, depression may occur. Antidepressant drugs work by correcting these imbalances to stabilize the person’s mood.

Several types of antidepressants have been created over the years. All of them can reduce the symptoms of depression but some may be more effective for specific types than others. These are the different kinds of antidepressants:

Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCAs) – this type of antidepressant affects the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and serotonin. TCAs are highly effective. Unfortunately, they cause more side effects than the other types of antidepressants so the use of this drug is confined mostly for severe cases, especially cases wherein the depressed person is at great risk for suicide.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) – this antidepressant class is used to treat people who do not respond to other treatment modalities. MAOIs are also used to treat mental illnesses. However, when taking this kind of drug, the patient must be very careful about following dietary restrictions. Some foods and beverages like cheese and wine commonly interact with this drug. And since depressed patients are prone to alcoholism and overeating, this type of drug is generally used only if there is no other alternative and if the patient can be monitored.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) – this type of antidepressant helps maintain serotonin levels in the brain. People who are depressed are said to have low levels of serotonin. Either there is a disorder in serotonin synthesis or in its transport. SSRIs work by inhibiting the reuptake or reabsorption of serotonin by the source neuron.

This is how the process usually works. A neuron releases serotonin into the junction between it and the next neuron; this junction is called the synaptic cleft or chemical synapse. The serotonin binds itself to receptors on the next neuron; signal is thus transmitted from the source neuron to the adjacent neuron. After they have done their work of transmitting brain signals from the first neuron to the next, the former neuron reabsorbs the serotonin from the synapse so that it can be reused for the next transmission.

SSRIs inhibit reabsorption of the serotonin. Serotonin therefore stays in the synapse and alleviates serotonin deficiency.

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) – like SSRIs, SNRIs also work by increasing the amount of serotonin in the brain. The difference is that SNRIs also affect norepinephrine and inhibits its reuptake, making the drug more effective and more applicable to a wider range of depressive disorders.

Doctors may also combine stimulants and anti-anxiety medications to help with the treatment. These drugs, however, will not be able to treat depression if they aren’t taken along with the antidepressants.

After the symptoms of depression have disappeared, the patient will still be advised to stay on antidepressant therapy. This is to prevent relapses, which are highly common in cases of depression. Over the next few weeks, if the patient constantly and consistently shows progress, he will be weaned off the medication until it is discontinued entirely.

Electroconvulsive Therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy is a treatment that involves electrical induction of modified grand mal seizures. Indeed, when a person goes through ECT, he will look as if he is being electrified. In fact, a lot of people think this treatment is inhumane and dangerous. This is a gross misconception.

ECT is widely accepted by all mental institutions. It is used to treat cases of depression which are particularly severe. However, this type of treatment is mostly held off until the doctors are sure that the other treatment modalities, particularly antidepressant therapy, failed to work. In some cases though, like when suicide risk is markedly high, ECT becomes a first-line treatment. When a patient is known to have a history of depression and known to be unresponsive to antidepressants but responsive to ECT, he may also be given ECT as a first-line treatment.

Electroconvulsive therapy is highly effective and is perfectly safe. The risks that are involved in ECT therapy are mainly associated with misuse of equipment or negligence among the health care staff. This treatment has been in use since the early 1940’s, although why it works still remains a mystery.

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leeches leech mehdi leeches therapy Depression: Early Diagnosis is the Key by mehdi jaffari

Depression: Early Diagnosis is the Key

Contrary to popular belief, depression doesn’t really discriminate against cultures. People all over the globe are suffering from depression, regardless of their race, ethnicity or culture. However, in some cultures, people are more open to the thought of getting treated for personality disorders than others. In others, people think that depression is a sign of weakness and those who are known to suffer from it will be humiliated or will ‘lose face’ in society. Consequently, in such cultures, people who have the symptoms avoid going to the doctor at all costs; thereby not getting any medication that would have helped.

Another misconception is that young people don’t get depressed. This is hardly the case. Anybody can get depressed, no matter how young or old. Even infants can get depressed. Of course, some age groups are more likely to be afflicted with the disorder than others. But this doesn’t change the fact that everybody is at risk of depression.

The problem, though, is that when young people get depressed, people usually react negatively. Depression manifests differently in adolescents. They don’t get melancholic like most adults who suffer from depression. Instead, they ‘act out’, become rebellious, become overly reckless, and exhibit little concern for their safety. They may act irritable and uncooperative most of the time.

A lot of people think those who act like this are mere ‘troublemakers’. They are stereotyped as ‘bad eggs’ and are thus deserving of punishment and isolation, instead of encouragement and treatment.

Another age-related problem with depression is that of elderly depression. Old age is the period in a person’s life when diseases run rampant and mental degeneration occurs. Thus, people are less likely to recognize signs and symptoms of depression for what they are. People often just take these as a normal part of aging, when they’re really not.

The problem with depression is that it may continue to get worse and become more severe if left untreated. If it gets particularly severe, the person may even commit suicide. Those who are depressed and those who love them suffer needlessly because they do not know when to seek help. Their problems could’ve been easily solved through medications and some psychiatric help, especially if the condition was diagnosed early. And to make matters worse, hurdles like culture and age only make it harder to spot depression. There is a social stigma that comes with ‘seeing a shrink’ that makes people reluctant to get treatment. But if left untreated, depression has too many repercussions, not just for the patient, but for his family as well. This is why people must be on the lookout for any symptoms that might indicate depression.

How is Depression Diagnosed?

Depression is diagnosed mainly through an analysis of a person’s symptoms. Doctors can easily give a diagnosis but of course, it is the prerogative of the client to seek help in the first place. If the client or his family fails to spot the symptoms, they may not seek any help at all.

The symptoms of depression include:

  1. Sadness, increased anxiety, feeling of ‘emptiness’
  2. Loss of interest in activities previously found pleasurable
  3. Feelings of helplessness and worthlessness/poor self-esteem
  4. Feelings of guilt
  5. Frequent crying, feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
  6. Activity intolerance and fatigue
  7. Poor memory and concentration
  8. Difficulty in making decisions
  9. Restlessness and irritability
  10. Sleep disturbances
  11. Weight gain or weight loss
  12. Somatic symptoms that are not eased by treatment
  13. Persistent thoughts about suicide and death, actual suicide attempts

If the first two symptoms are present along with five others, then it is highly likely that the person suffers from depression and should get seen by a doctor.

The diagnosis of mental disorders like depression depends not on any laboratory tests or any high-tech machinery. In fact, all the doctor has to do is talk to the client and talk to the patient’s family. Thus, it’s vital for the family members to be observant because they’ll be the physician’s primary source of information. Depressed patients don’t usually get admitted into a mental hospital unless they have a high risk for suicide.

However, that’s not to say that physicians don’t conduct lab tests for people who may be depressed. They still conduct physical examinations and laboratory tests to rule out any possibility that the symptoms may be caused by some other disease. There are many differentials for a diagnosis of depression, after all, like brain damage for example. Attributing the symptoms immediately to depression could prove fatal. If a wrong diagnosis was given, then the actual disease could keep on worsening and may ultimately lead to the patient’s death.

Commonly, a physician would order tests for hormone function to see if there is any disorder of the hypothalamus. He could also order an MRI or a CT scan to see if the brain is functioning properly or if there is any brain damage that may be causing the symptoms.

Either way, it’s very important that you report any symptoms to your doctor as soon as possible. Never wait for things to get worse as this disease affects not only the one afflicted but also those who live with them, particularly those who love them.

Who can Give a Diagnosis of Depression?

Psychiatrists – psychiatrists are doctors who specialize in mental disorders. They are well-versed in matters of psychology and are the ones who can best deal with depressed patients. They can prescribe antidepressant medication like prozac and they can provide psychotherapy; psychotherapy actually means ‘talk therapy’.

Pychologists – these mental health professionals can help people by being some sort of ‘life coach’. They help people make positive changes in their lives by encouraging positive behavior and thinking. They can give psychotherapy to clients but they are not allowed to prescribe any medications.

Family Physicians – a family physician, on the other hand, can prescribe antidepressant drugs but cannot provide psychotherapy. What they can do is to refer patients to other health care professionals who specialize in personality and mental disorders.

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leeches leech mehdi leeches therapy Depressive Personality Disorder: Catch It Early by mehdi jaffari

 Depressive Personality Disorder: Catch It Early

Depression in its early stages, like any other disease, is easier to treat. Unfortunately, depression is rather difficult to diagnose. More often than not, it can be recognized only when symptoms have become distinctly obvious – and the condition has become rather serious.

A person’s slide into depression is generally not abrupt. It usually starts from simple feelings of sadness until it leads to a serious impairment of the ability to function. However, not all people develop depression. Normally, we are equipped with coping mechanisms to help us adjust to the stresses of everyday life. People who develop depression or any other psychiatric disorder for that matter usually have faulty coping mechanisms. Because of this and certain chemical imbalances and inadequacies in the brain, a person is not able to cope with stresses and the person, in a manner of speaking, “shuts down.”

What is Depressive Personality Disorder?

A person’s personality is composed of consistent patterns of behaviors, feelings and thoughts. The personality of an individuals develops as they grow into maturity. People with personality disorders experience constant moodiness and grumpiness. This becomes a serious obstacle to accomplishing their daily tasks and they soon become isolated from other people.

A person with depressive personality disorder is generally unhappy. He has poor self-esteem and he also feels inadequate. He is always very critical about himself and also tends to be judgmental of others. He is always worrying about anything and everything, and he generally has a very pessimistic outlook in life.

Causes and Diagnosis of Depressive Personality Disorder

Like other psychiatric conditions, Depressive Personality Disorder (DPD) has no single cause. It is brought about by a mixture of several factors including heredity, the environment, life experiences, and inherent traits. DPD is noted in the 4th edition of the official handbook of recognized psychiatric conditions (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or DSM). Nevertheless DPD symptoms remain unclear and diagnostic procedures for this are far from what anyone could call “established.”

Although much study has been done on personality disorders, more research is needed on Depressive Personality Disorder. Many doctors fear that being diagnosed with DPD can cause unnecessary difficulties for the patient – for instance, he may suffer from the stigma that is associated with personality disorders in general.

It is also rather difficult to classify a person’s personality. A person’s personality is multifaceted and no one can say for certain that a person who acts in a particular way has DPD or that a person who seems to behave normally does not have DPD.

Doctors also argue that a DPD diagnosis may actually be unnecessary. A type of depression called Dysthymia is often closely linked with DPD. Dysthymia is a chronic depressive disorder where the patient does not experience major depressive episodes. Some psychiatrists believe that DPD is, in fact, just a subtype of Dysthymia. Some, however, are firm in their belief that DPD is a unique personality disorder and not a mere subclass of Dysthymia.

Although the matter of DPD symptoms and diagnostic procedures is far from settled and remains controversial even now, treatment options for the various depression disorders are usually similar. Certain treatments are actually applicable to most major types of depression disorders. Even if the specific type of depression disorder is unclear, a doctor may start treating the patient using general treatment modalities.

In the current diagnostic criteria for Depressive Personality Disorder, at least five of the following conditions must be present before someone can be diagnosed with DPD:

  1. Gloomy, cheerless, and/or dejected
  2. Feeling of inadequacy and low self esteem
  3. Self-criticism and self-blame; prone to brooding and constant worrying
  4. Being negativistic, critical and judgmental of others
  5. Being pessimistic
  6. Prone to feelings of guilt and remorse

As mentioned earlier, DPD diagnosis deserved more than a notation in the appendix of the DSM handbook. This indicates that DPD as a personality disorder is not fully accepted or recognized by the DSM Committee. Nevertheless, the fact that it has been mentioned at all is actually an encouraging sign. This can awaken interest in and induce further study and research on the subject of DPD.

Recognize the Signs of Depression

When does simple sadness become serious depression? How do you know when everything is perfectly normal and when you need to seek professional help? Early recognition of the signs of depression is one of the best ways of preventing serious depression.

If you feel gloomy, cheerless and miserable but only for a certain period of time – usually a short one – you can be pretty sure that what you’re feeling is just plain sadness and nothing more serious. It may be depression if you constantly and chronically feel gloomy, cheerless and miserable.

Though there are distinct differences among the various types of depression, there are common signs that raise a warning. Presence of these signs and symptoms indicate the impending onset or development of depression. The more of these signs are present in an individual, the greater the possibility that he is in an already advanced state of depression. The following are some of the common signs of depression:

  • Sleeping pattern abnormality or disruption (presence of disturbing dreams or bouts of insomnia and hypersomnia)
  • State of constant worry, irritability and anxiety
  • Disruption in the performance of the activities of daily living (unable to go to work or school, unable to eat or unable to take care of personal hygiene)
  • Disinterest in activities that were previously pleasurable
  • State of agitation (or being easily agitated)
  • Constant moodiness

What have been enumerated above are just a few of the signs and symptoms of depression. These symptoms, when spotted early, can be managed easily. If you notice the prolonged occurrence of any of the above symptoms, you can take on activities that can make you feel better. Regular exercise, proper nutrition and other physical activities are crucial. Some studies show that engaging in simple activities can improve one’s mood significantly.

Treatments for Depressive Personality Disorder

The fact is that depressive patients usually refuse to cooperate. This makes assessment and initiation of treatment more challenging to health care practitioners. Since there are no certain and established diagnostic criteria for depressive personality disorder, choosing the right treatment option is even more difficult than usual.

Antidepressants are mainstays in depression treatment programs. These pills help correct chemical imbalances in the brain, thereby alleviating the symptoms of depression. However, antidepressants in themselves cannot cure depression, and their effect is never immediate.

Aside from medication, one of the most common treatments for depression is the DBT or the Dialectal Behavioral Therapy, personality psychotherapy and group therapy. Like depression medication (antidepressants), these therapies do not bring about immediate results. Changes can be seen only after around several months or more.

Usually, medication and therapy are used together in curing depression. The medication alleviates the symptoms and the physical condition that accompanies depression, but the psychotherapy sessions can instill in the patient practical coping mechanisms that can prevent a recurring condition.

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leeches leech mehdi leeches therapy Elderly Depression Ignored by mehdi jaffari

Elderly Depression Ignored

Many people say that persistent depression is a normal response to aging. This is mainly the reason why many depressed elderly are left untreated. People automatically suppose that the expression of extreme sadness is just a natural part of becoming old.

Sadness as a response to loss, grief and temporary mood swings are normal parts of the aging process, but long-term depression can lead to serious problems. Since health professionals do not give much attention to depression in the elderly, this disorder greatly affects the lives of people in this demographic group. It is, in fact, considered as one of the causes of suicide in most countries.

 

Studies show that medical professionals and the government don’t give enough consideration to the health condition of the elderly. Older people get little help, and this is quite unfair on their part. Depression among the elderly is a serious problem and should not be ignored! Equal treatment for the young and the old should be implemented.

This article, it is hoped, will serve to advocate the cause of the elderly. It will provide information about elderly depression, thereby increasing awareness about the importance of the feelings and medical situations of the elderly.

What is Elderly Depression?

Depression among the elderly coexists with other medical illness and disabilities. People with advanced age think that they have lost their purpose because of their physical limitations. They may have lost their means to interact with society because of the loss of a loved one, retirement or relocation to a new home.

These situations usually lead to helplessness and despair. Most health professionals believe that older people tend to slow down, and this notion might lead to late diagnosis and delayed treatment. As an effect, the elderly depend largely on themselves when it comes to coping with sadness and despair.

Since elderly depression has been largely neglected, the incidence of death due to severe depression has increased. Depression among the elderly usually lasts longer than that among the young and adults. Researchers have shown the relationship between depression, heart attack and even suicide. So if you have an elderly person in your home and you’re concerned about him or her, then you should provide them the respect and the attention that they deserve.

Risk Factors and Causes of Depression in the Elderly

Almost 6 million people ages 65 and older in the United States are affected by depression, but only 10% of them are receiving proper treatment. Older people feel that they cannot support themselves (especially financially) because they no longer have the means (physical strength, job, etc) to do it. To arrest the progress of depression among the elderly, it is important to determine this condition’s risk factors.

Depression among the elderly mainly affects women who are experiencing stressful events like death of the spouse/children, isolation, pain, and lack of social support. Depression can also be caused by chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, and cancer. Side effects of medication in treating these chronic illnesses can also lead to depression.

Having a family history of depression is also a big factor for depression among the elderly. In order to treat depression among the elderly, awareness of the risk factors is significant.

Recognising the Signs and Symptoms of Elderly Depression

To better understand elderly depression, here are the signs and symptoms. It is hoped that this can help in the early diagnosis of elderly depression so that treatment can be promptly delivered:

  1. Complaints of pain all over the body, low energy, slowed movements and speech, poor eating habits, disturbed sleeping pattern, decrease or increase in weight, dizziness and anxiety.
  2. Disorientation specifically with respect to time, place and person; intense sadness, loss of motivation, and withdrawal from family and friends.
  3. Talks of despair and statements of not being needed anymore. Frequent visits to the doctor but symptoms are not verified by laboratory tests.
  4. Talks about death and refusal to do things that bring happiness or pleasure.

Looking for Help: Treatment for Elderly Depression

Treatments for elderly depression are successfully provided by health care professional and mental institutions. Treatment for depression includes medications and psychotherapy. The combination of these two treatments can be very effective in treating elderly depression.

Medications

Anti-depressants are medications specially made to treat depression. These medications are the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), which decreases the supply of serotonin in the synapse, the tricyclics and the MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors).

Treatments of elderly depression involving the use of antidepressants require careful administration. Antidepressants must be prescribed by a medical professional because different patients have different reactions to drugs. So if a certain anti-depressant doesn’t work for an elderly person, then another anti-depressant might work for him or her.

Older people and their caretakers should be advised that the medications take effect after 6-8 weeks and continuous intake of anti-depressants should be done to prevent relapse.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is an alternative treatment for depression in later years. Most people of advanced age have poor absorption so there is a tendency that medications for treating depression may not take effect.

Psychotherapy is the process of building a genuine relationship between the therapist and the patient. In psychotherapy, the patient has the opportunity to express all his negative thoughts about life. He or she can express his feelings of sadness and despair. The objective of psychotherapy is to help the patient (elderly) to return to his or her normal functioning. Therapist will help these depressed elders to solve their problems and have a positive outlook in life.

The Problems Affecting the Treatment of Elderly Depression

Depression is treatable, but why is it that a lot of our seniors still suffer and die because of depression? Despite the advances in medicine, one question still remains. Why is elderly depression ignored?

Mental illness is considered as a stigma to our society. We can trace the roots of this predicament from the patient’s family, friends and society themselves. That’s why; seniors experiencing depression don’t usually seek medical attention. They find it hard to seek help because they believe that there is no hope for them. They also feel abandoned and believe that nobody will support them both emotionally and financially in case they need treatment. The feelings of hopelessness and social isolation are just some of the reasons why elderly depression is still left largely untreated.

When will the people, especially the medical professionals and the government, give attention to our elderly? Is it fair to let our parents and grandparents die of despair? Think about it.

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leeches leech mehdi leeches therapy Teenage Depression: What’s the Fuss?by mehdi jaffari

  1. Teenage Depression: What’s the Fuss?

The transition from childhood to puberty is a big challenge to children. Many adolescents search for their true identity, who they are and where they fit in. This constant searching, questioning and trying to fit in somewhere or with someone bring to bear intense pressure on the lives of teenagers, and they may become depressed as a result.

In their enthusiasm to express their true self and seek independence from their parents, some teenagers resort to different activities that would catch their parents’ attention. Some adolescents engage in risky activities like drinking alcohol, joining “gangs” and, worst of all, using prohibited drugs. The worst thing about this is the fact that it is really difficult to determine if a teenager is doing all these things because he is depressed or because he’s just going through a rough patch.

Teenage depression is a serious problem that affects every aspect of an adolescent’s life. Due to depression, an adolescent finds it difficult to take advantage of the opportunities and face the problems in his life. Teenage depression isn’t just mere sadness or mood swings. It is a severe disorder that should be given due attention.

A Guide to Teenage Depression

It is true that the teenage years are the most complicated stage in a person’s life. However, most teens are able to manage and move on with their lives. They divert feelings of depression and try to develop healthy relationships with family and friends. They also learn to develop their potential and increase their sense of self-worth.

Mood swings are normal in a growing teenager, of course. However, depression does happen in teenage years. The worst thing about it is that teenage depression can devastate an adolescent’s life and overshadow the rest of his life with intense sadness, worthlessness and anger.

Even though there is always a treatment for teenage depression, parents and teachers should be aware of its signs and symptoms. Unlike adults, teenagers have no means to seek medical attention on their own. They still depend on their parents to give them the help they need. If you have a teenager under your care, if you have a friend who’s depressed or if you yourself are a teenager suffering from depression, this article will increase your awareness about teenage depression.

Causes of Teenage Depression

Depression is an illness that has no definite cause. In teenage depression, however, it is usually triggered by three main factors. The first cause of teenage depression is social rejection. Since teenager years are supposed to be that period in a person’s life when he or she “finds his true identity,” a teenager usually does all sorts of things, experiment with all kinds of stuff/activities and wanders from one group of his peers to another to find his “nest” – that group to which he truly belongs.

He can become a well-adjusted and confident adult if he finds what he is looking for and if his curiosity has been appeased. Unfortunately, the opposite can also happen and instead of feeling a sense of belonging, a teenager may feel socially rejected instead. This is when teenage depression can set in.

Another cause of teenage depression is family turmoil. The family is the first place where a child starts to learn about love and acceptance. If a teenager grows in a home that is anything but loving and accepting, he may have a warped perception about life, love and family. Then he will see that his own perceptions are not in accordance with others. This can also lead to depression.

The third cause of teenage depression is failure to achieve their goals in life. Teenagers want to explore their potential and they have a big desire to pursue their dreams. If they fail, it may be difficult for them to accept their failure and become depressed as a result.

Although the causes of teenage depression can be considered as minor problems when they are compared to the reasons that trigger depression in adults, we should realize that the depression that results – however seemingly minor the cause – is still very real. Parents should therefore learn how to gauge depression in their teenage kids, to give importance to the feelings and emotions of their teenage children, so that the condition can be given proper attention.

Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Teenage Depression

Most teenagers suppress their feelings and it’s quite difficult to determine if a teenager is depressed or not. This is the reason why parents and guardians should be aware of the different signs and symptoms of teenage depression. Some depressed teenagers appear sad, but others show anger and hostility.

Teenage depression has two faces. A teenager suffering from depression can be active or passive. Active symptoms of teenage depression are irritability, anger, hostility, restlessness, tearfulness, or frequent crying and agitation. Passive symptoms of teenage depression are lack of motivation and enthusiasm, loss of interests in activities, hopelessness, withdrawal from family and friends, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, fatigue, and feeling of worthlessness.

If you have a teenager who has one or more of these signs and symptoms, try to remember how long your child has been acting this way and how much he or she has changed. Teenagers normally exhibit some changes in their personality because of the intense pressure that they are experiencing, but if these changes occur to an extent that may be harmful, parents must do something.

Effects of Teenage Depression

Depression can definitely have negative effects in the lives of most teenagers, their families and society. These are the following effects of teenage depression if it is left untreated:

Problems at school – due to depression, teenagers have difficulty concentrating on their studies. This may lead to failing grades or even suspension or expulsion from school.

Low self-esteem – teenagers suffering from depression feel guilty, worthless, ugly and powerless.

Substance abuse – most teenagers attempt to alleviate their depression by engaging in activities that can help them suppress their feelings. They resort to drinking alcohol and drug abuse.

Reckless behaviour and violence – depressed teenagers engage in out-of-control behaviours like driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs or engaging in unsafe sex. Since depressed teens feel worthless, they may wish to die and thus do violent things. They may even kills themselves or hurt others.

Suicide and Teenage Depression

Suicide can be an outcome of teenage depression. It is very important that we learn to tell when a teenager is seriously thinking about taking his own life. Teenagers who speak so positively about death and are very vocal about committing suicide should be carefully observed. Teenagers who exhibit drastic changes in behaviour should also be carefully monitored. If a teenager who is normally quiet and forlorn becomes manically cheerful and bright all of a sudden, steps must be taken to determine if the drastic change portends serious depression. Finally, teenagers who give away all of their prized possessions for no apparent reason and do other seemingly irrational things bear looking out for.

Conclusion

Even though the incidence of depression is significantly less in teenagers than in adults, we should never take it for granted. Parents and guardians must support their teens and help them surpass whatever problems or difficulties they may be going through. You should take some time to listen to your children. Depressed teens want and need help. Violent behaviour, high-risk activities, failing grades, withdrawal, and all the other things that parents usually think are normal in the teenage years may actually be a teenager’s cry for help.

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leeches leech mehdi leeches therapy Coping with Depression: It’s Not All About the Meds by mehdi jaffari

Coping with Depression: It’s Not All About the Meds

Depression is not just simple sadness. It’s way graver than that. Depression makes you feel helpless, hopeless and very exhausted. You do not seem to have the motivation to take care of your needs, much less other people’s needs. The sad part is, the person cannot seem to control, or perhaps has very minimal control, over his or her situation.

Yes, medication can help improve one’s condition. It facilitates better release of neurotransmitters in the brain. But medications alone will not cure a patient suffering from depression. There are a multitude of factors that affect a person’s mood; neurotransmitters are only partly responsible.

Self-Help

Self-help may be applicable only in the early stages of depression when the individual is still functional to some extent. If you are experiencing depression, try the following:

Set realistic goals – failure to meet goals which are too high can exacerbate feelings of depression and bring self-esteem down. Realistic goals are attainable, doable and achievable – and every successful achievement of a goal will make you feel good, satisfied and confident.

Try to engage in activities that you once found pleasurable – certain feelings are “programmed” into your brain. If you do things that give you pleasure, you will feel happier and will be able to counter feelings of depression. By doing things that give you pleasure, moreover, you will feel your life becoming more interesting and less depressing.

Do not isolate yourself – go out with friends. Talk to them about your problems and feelings. Most importantly, you should listen to their problems and feelings. This will take your mind off your own problems. This will also give you a sense of perspective; you will realize that other people have greater problems and that you really don’t have anything to feel depressed about.

Do something productive – go to the gym and work out. Stay busy at the office and clock in some overtime. Redecorate your home. Do something productive. This will not only increase your sense of self-worth. This will also make you too busy to feel depressed. Idleness will only give you time to wallow in depression.

Cut yourself some slack – remember that depression cannot be cured overnight. Do all of the above steps but don’t expect miraculous results. Depression cannot be cured overnight so give it some time. Don’t beat yourself up over it whenever you slip and feel some of your depression coming back. That won’t help any.

Support Groups

It is important to seek support. Depression can be overwhelming for a person to handle alone. Without support, the person can fall into a never-ending pit of depression.

Two of the major support groups for patients with depression are the Depression Group (sponsored by the National Mental Health Association) and the Depression and Related Affective Disorders Association (DRADA). These groups provide a safe forum where people with depression can talk about themselves openly, without feeling apprehensive about being judged harshly. After all, everyone is in the same boat – or has been – so one can be sure no one will start pointing fingers in condemnation.

In support groups of any kind, members often give each other tips on coping and lots of encouragement. Support groups operate on the premise that people will find it easier to overcome their depression if they realize that they are not alone, that other people are also experiencing the same things and that other people, too, get depressed.

People are also much more likely to believe others who truly understand what it feels like to be depressed. When someone in the group says he did this and that then he started feeling better afterwards, the other members of the support group are much more likely to believe him and follow his example, than well-meaning friends or co-workers who cannot know what it really feels like to battle with depression.

Group support is essential in the healing process. Members of the support group can encourage, inspire and empower you.

Family Support

Depression rarely affects just one person. If you are depressed and can not function, your family will probably feel the effects. Other family members may feel unwanted and ineffective, and they may slide into depression as well. It is a vicious cycle, and it must be stopped.

You should talk to your family. Tell them what you feel. Even if it seems like your family is not going to understand, you should try to make them understand by describing your condition and how depression is making you feel.

If, on the other hand, someone dear to you is experiencing depression, here some of the things that you can do to help him overcome depression:

Communicate – people suffering from depression need other people with whom they can talk without the fear of being rejected. You should encourage him to talk to you. Be empathetic and very understanding. You may not have all the answers and you may not have the solution to his problem, but you can provide emotional support.

Encourage – you should encourage him to engage in mild activities. Keep him busy so he will have less time to think depressing thoughts. Of course, you should also encourage him to talk to a psychotherapist. It would also be better if you can accompany him to his psychotherapy sessions.

Do not try to cheer him up – do not try to talk or cheer him out of his mood. Your failed attempt will only cause frustration and unnecessary conflict between the two of you. Do not set expectations and, more importantly, do not keep pressing him about getting better. He’ll only feel even more frustrated if he doesn’t get immediately better and thus fail your expectations.

Do not add to the pressure – you can suggest therapy, tell him to go back to work, encourage him to work out, or to remind him about his medication – but you must never pressure him to do all these things. He is already under too much pressure as it is; additional stress from you will not help. What he needs is your love, support and understanding.

Final Note

Depression, some say, is a curable condition. That may be so, but the fact remains that there is no single cure for depression – because there is no single cause. Yes, medication is vital to curing depression. However, permanent healing can only be possible when it comes from within and, of course, through the help of family and friends.

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leeches leech mehdi leeches therapy Causes of Depression by mehdi jaffari

Causes of Depression

Depression is an emotional state characterized by an intense feeling of unhappiness and weariness. The cause of depression is idiopathic. Experts don’t clearly know the root cause of depression. Some clinical specialists theorize that depression may be caused by a combination of factors – biological, genetic or environmental.

This disorder is really unpredictable; you never know when depression will strike. Anyone is at risk of depression. Women have the highest risk of depression. They are twice as susceptible of depression than men. Women are easily affected by stress, especially single mothers who act both as the provider and caregiver. Women also experience hormonal imbalances that cause their unpredictable mood swings particularly during menstrual cycles and pregnancy.

Men, on the other hand, also experience depression but they are most likely to deny that they’re depressed. They tend to hide their feelings and divert their attention from their depression by drinking alcohol or using prohibited drugs. Therefore, assessment and treatment of depression among men is quite difficult.

This article will provide you with significant information about the causes of depression. It aims to promote awareness among people who may be on the brink of becoming depressed or who have someone in the family in that condition.

Biological Causes of Depression

The brain is the vital organ responsible for controlling all the movements in the body. It sends signals to all other organs of the body so that they will function or work the way they are supposed to. The neurons, which are the main components of the brain, use chemicals called neurotransmitters to transfer messages from the brain to the different parts of the body. These neurotransmitters are known to be responsible for the emotional state of a person.

There are two neurotransmitters that have been identified to have significant roles in the biological cause of depression. These brain chemicals are epinephrine (an excitatory or a chemical responsible for fight-flight response) and serotonin (an inhibitory which controls food intake, sleep cycle, wakefulness, temperature, pain, sexual behaviour, and emotions). If the epinephrine and serotonin supply in the synapse (site of neurotransmission) decreases, then there will be an incidence of depression.

We can also associate this phenomenon to the ability of the pre-synaptic neuron to release and reabsorb brain chemicals. If the pre-synaptic neuron does not release enough brain chemical, there will be an insufficient amount of the chemical at the synapse. If it reabsorbs the chemical even when there’s an insufficient amount of it at the synapse, then the condition is exacerbated.

Cortisol levels may also be another cause of depression. Cortisol is a hormone in the body which reacts and is produced in great amounts during anger, stress or fear. In a normal person, the cortisol level rises in the morning and decreases in the afternoon. In a depressed person, however, the cortisol level increases in the morning but does not level off as the day progresses.

The low supply of the neurotransmitters in the synapse and the higher-than-normal level of cortisol may somehow contribute to or trigger depression.

Genetic Causes of Depression

Scientists have long been linking depression to genetic factors. They believe that genetic factors play an important role in solving the mystery of the cause of depression.

Researcher support that someone who comes from a family with a history of depression will likely transfer this disorder to the next generation. Studies show, furthermore, that if both parents are vulnerable to depression, the greater their children’s susceptibility or vulnerability to depression.

Other researchers have implicated the transmission of depression to first-degree relatives. For instance, if the male child in the family has depression, the other members of the family may have a 70% chance of developing the disorder too.

Nevertheless, these studies do not prove that the genetic factor is the only cause of depression. There may still be other causes which can trigger depression such as environmental factors; namely physical condition, personality, trauma and stress.

Environmental Causes of Depression

As people go on with their lives, they encounter certain situations that make them feel sad, weak and helpless. Here are some of the environmental causes of depression:

Trauma and Stresses – these are instances in a person’s life when he encounters problems he cannot overcome. Things like financial problems, divorce, accidents, broken relationships, or the death of a loved one may trigger depression. Unexpected changes in a person’s life – say, moving house, graduating from school, looking for a job, or starting a family can also precipitate depression.

Pessimistic Personality – people who always think negative thoughts and people who have low self-esteem may be at a higher risk for depression than people who are optimistic and people who have high self-esteem.

Physical Problems – severe medical disorders like cancer, heart diseases, HIV, AIDS and other communicable diseases can contribute to depression. Since people with these diseases are vulnerable and weak, they get stressed and are easily prone to depression. Depression can make the person weaker and weaker everyday and this can exacerbate their medical condition. Some medical treatments for the above mentioned ailments also have side effects that may trigger depression.

Mental Disorder – mental instability can also cause depression. Some of these disorders are anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse. People with these disorders have great tendencies to become depressed.

Conclusion

Depression is a devastating condition so everyone must learn how it affects the body. It can be induced by many factors (e.g. hereditary, biological and environmental). But the “universal” or definite cause of depression still remains unknown.

There are diverse causes for different people. Every person has a unique perception of his environment. Every person has his own way of coping with his problems, and people who are experiencing depression should use effective coping methods to fight depression. Today, numerous treatments like medicines (antidepressants) and modification therapy are being used to alleviate the symptoms of depression.

We cannot find the exact solution for depression but we should support each other to prevent the occurrence of this debilitating disorder. Stressful situations we encounter each day are really inevitable. We cannot prevent these situations from happening. However, if we know the causes of depression, we can be better prepared to face them and prevent ourselves from developing depression.

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