Seasonal Affective Disorder
Hello, people… welcome back to the blog! Last week, we finished our two part series on phobias, and it seems everyone enjoyed it. I got a lot of great feedback on it, and people have been sharing their weird phobias with me even more than ever… I’ve really added to my list of doozies! This week, I wanted to talk about a topic I ran into recently, seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.
What is SAD? In the shrink bible, the DSM-5, it’s identified as a type of mood disorder. It’s not a standalone, but is specified as a major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern, meaning that it happens every year at the same time, typically starting in fall or early winter and ending in spring or early summer. Because of this, some people call SAD the “winter blues,” but this is misleading, as there is a rarer form of seasonal depression known as “summer depression” that begins in late spring or early summer and ends in fall. And while the two types obviously share many symptoms, interestingly, their profiles are slightly different. More on that in a moment.
First, let’s talk statistics. In the United States, the percentage of the population affected by SAD is about 5%, but varies widely based on geographical location, from 1.4% of the population in Florida, to 9.9% in Alaska. This should give you a clue about one of the main factors associated with SAD, the amount of available sunlight. SAD may begin at any age, but it typically starts between the ages of 18 and 30, and as with other types of depression, SAD is much more common in women; they are three times more likely to be affected than men.
Calling SAD the “winter blues” makes it sound like no big deal, but people with SAD experience serious depression- the mood changes and symptoms are very similar to chronic depression- and these symptoms can have a major impact on their lives for 40% of the year, as symptoms usually occur during the fall and winter months and typically improve with the arrival of spring, with January and February being the most difficult months in the US. While temporary, SAD symptoms can be overwhelming, and in some cases, it can seriously interfere with daily functioning. Thankfully, it can be treated, and that’s why I decided to cover this topic. Recognizing the disorder is very important because it can cause such serious psychosocial impairment, but it’s not just important to recognize it… getting help is key, because acute treatment can be very effective, and maintenance treatment can actually prevent future episodes.
People with SAD experience mood changes and symptoms similar to depression, and these can vary from mild to severe. Everybody gets bummed out from time to time, those everyday feelings of sadness or fatigue brought on by life’s ups and downs- even during the holidays- but depression is a different animal.
Seasonal depression is marked by some specific symptoms, and these may include:
-Sleeping more than usual and still feeling drowsy and fatigued during the day
-Loss of interest in activities that once brought you joy
-Increase in purposeless physical activity, like pacing and hand wringing; an inability to sit still
-Slowed movements or speech, severe enough to be observable by others
-Feeling irritable and anxious
-Feeling guilty, worthless, hopeless, sad, tearful
-Desire to isolate, not wanting to see people
-Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
-Increased appetite, overeating, and weight gain
-Cravings for carbohydrates
-Physical symptoms, such as headaches
-Thoughts of suicide or death
Clearly you don’t have to have every one of these to have SAD, and as with anything else, symptoms occur on a spectrum. Some people with SAD have mild symptoms and basically feel out of sorts or cranky, while others have symptoms that totally interfere with relationships and work. As I mentioned earlier, spring and summer SAD is much less common, but still occurs. The symptom profile is a little different; instead of people eating their way through it as a result of increased appetite, it’s difficult to get summer SAD people to eat at all, as they tend to have zero appetite. In my experience, it also seems to feature more agitation, almost manic type behavior.
What causes SAD? Like so many disorders, the cause isn’t completely understood, but we know that the body uses sunlight to regulate sleep, appetite, and mood. It’s believed that the decreased sunlight in the fall and winter months disrupt the body’s circadian rhythm. Lower light levels in winter disrupt the body clock, leading to depression and tiredness. As seasons change, people already naturally experience a shift in their biological internal clock that can cause them to be out of step with their daily schedule, so people may be more vulnerable during this time. The change in season, with shorter daylight hours, can lead to a biochemical imbalance in the brain, specifically in levels of serotonin and melatonin, two hormones that affect sleep and mood. SAD has been linked to this imbalance. There are risk factors involved as well. You’re more likely to develop SAD if you have an existing form of depression, or a relative with SAD or another form of depression. And Captain Obvious says that SAD is much more common in people living far from the equator where there are fewer daylight hours, so living somewhere where you expect months of darkness during the year isn’t the best plan if you have any of the risk factors.
The main feature of SAD is that your mood and behavior shift along with the calendar. So how do you know if you have it? If for the past 2 years, you:
-Had depression or mania that starts as well as ends during a specific season
-You didn’t feel these symptoms during your “normal” seasons
-Over your lifetime, you’ve had more seasons with depression or mania than without
I should note that sometimes it takes a while to diagnose SAD, because it can easily mimic so many other other conditions, like chronic fatigue syndrome, underactive thyroid, low blood sugar, viral illness, and/ or other mood disorders. If you suspect that you or a loved one may have it, the best course of action is to see a physician. There are online resources available as well, from the Center for Environmental Therapeutics, at cet.org. More on that at the end of this blog.
Clearly, you can’t stop the changing of the seasons, but there are some things you can do to combat SAD, including light therapy aka phototherapy, antidepressant medications, talk therapy aka cognitive behavioral therapy, or a combination of all three. Meds are usually brought in as adjuvants if light therapy is insufficient in reducing symptoms. Wellbutrin XL was the first drug approved specifically for SAD in the United States, and I’ve seen some success with it. Symptoms will generally improve on their own with the change of season, but it happens far more quickly with treatment. Treatment course differs depending on how severe your symptoms are, and of course, depending on whether you have another type of depression or bipolar disorder. For some people, simply increasing exposure to sunlight can help improve symptoms of SAD, and it’s recommended that people get outside early in the morning to get more natural light. If this is impossible because of the dark winter months, then phototherapy is key.
As I mentioned, light affects the biological clock in our brains that regulates our circadian rhythm, a physiological function that may induce mood changes when there’s less sunlight in winter. We know that natural or “full-spectrum” light can have an antidepressant effect. In phototherapy, you mimic that by sitting about 2 feet away from a light box, usually a 10,000-lux light box specifically, so that full spectrum bright light- about 20 times brighter than normal room lighting- shines directly upon you, but indirectly into your eyes. You do this for 15 minutes per day to start, and the times are increased as necessary with a max of 30 to 45 minutes a day, depending on your response. If using a weker lightbox, such as those that emit 2,500 lux, it will require much longer, about two hours of exposure per day.
Light therapy should be done in the early morning, upon waking, to maximize treatment response. Morning therapy also helps to specifically correct any sleep-wake cycle issues contributing to the symptoms. Please people, don’t look directly at the light source of any light box, to avoid possible damage to your eyes. I’ve heard of some practices that provide light boxes for patients with SAD. Again, the Center for Environmental Therapeutics has info on this. I’m sure you can also rent light boxes, and I know you can purchase them, but they’re expensive, and health insurance companies don’t usually cover them. But if you have SAD and live in a “dark” winter area, they can be worth their weight in gold.
Optimum dosing of light is crucial, since if done wrong it can produce no improvement, or partial improvement, and that can potentially lead to worsening of symptoms. I read some research that found that even a single, one hour light session can improve symptoms of depression in people with SAD. It varies; some people recover within days of using light therapy, most see some improvement within one or two weeks of beginning, but a few take longer. To maintain the benefits and prevent relapse, light treatment is usually continued through the winter, until you can be out in the sunshine again in the springtime. Because of the anticipated return of symptoms in late fall, I highly recommend that SAD patients begin phototherapy when fall first starts, even before feeling the effects of SAD. If the SAD symptoms don’t go away, your physician may increase light therapy sessions to twice daily. While side effects are minimal, be cautious if you have sensitive skin or a history of bipolar disorder. Common side effects of light therapy include headache, eyestrain, nausea, and agitation, but these effects are generally mild and transient, or disappear with reducing the dose of light.
Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT can also be an effective treatment for SAD, particularly if it’s used in conjunction with light therapy and/ or medication. CBT involves identifying negative thought patterns that contribute to symptoms, and then replacing these thoughts with more positive ones. For many of my patients, I utilize all three modalities for treating SAD, as this has shown the most benefit.
… is worth a ton of cure in this case. So what can you do to avoid SAD?
Get out! Get as much natural sunlight as you can. Spend some time outside every day, even when it’s cloudy, as the effects of daylight still help. If it’s too cold out, let the sunshine in… open your blinds, and sit by a sunny window, even at work. If trees block the sunlight, trim them. I have a SAD patient that has her trees pruned way down in early fall so she can get as much light in the house as possible.
Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Our diets do more than provide us with energy, they also impact our mental health. A healthy diet rich in fruits and veggies and low in processed garbage can help curb feelings of depression by reducing inflammation in the body, which is a big risk factor for depression. Pass up all those sweet starchy “foods” in favor of lean proteins and veggies. This will help you have more energy, even if you’re craving carbs bigtime. If you recall the blog on Vitamin D, research has found that people with SAD often have low levels, so people with SAD are also often encouraged to increase their intake of Vitamin D through supplementation, in addition to diet and sunlight exposure.
Stay Active! Exercise is a great way to naturally combat the imbalance of brain neurotransmitters like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine that can contribute to depression. When you exercise, your body produces endorphins, the mood boosting hormones that counteract serotonin and dopamine deficiencies that can bring you down. Exercise for 30 minutes a day, five times a week. That doesn’t have to mean you’re tied to the gym pumping iron all the time… Do something structured, but also pick an activity you enjoy and do it. Gardening, walking, dancing, and even playing with your kids can all be good forms of exercise.
Stay Connected! Social connections can be a great defense against depression. Whether you talk on the phone, video chat, or better yet, meet in person, keep in regular contact with friends and family for a healthy and happy mind. Experiencing depression of any kind isn’t a sign of weakness and shouldn’t be dealt with alone. Social support is very important, so stay involved with your social circle and regular activities. If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression that keep you in, seek help. Ask your physician what treatment options are available.
When should you call your physician? If you feel depressed, fatigued, and cranky at the same time each year, if it seems to be seasonal in nature, you may have a form of SAD. Talk openly with your physician, and follow their recommendations for lifestyle changes and treatment.
The Center for Environmental Therapeutics, CET, is a non-profit organization that provides information and educational materials about SAD, along with free, downloadable self-assessment questionnaires and interpretation guides, to help you determine if you should seek professional advice. All of that can be found on their website, cet.org.
I hope you enjoyed this blog and found it to be interesting and educational. Please feel free to share it with family and friends. Be sure to check out my YouTube channel with all of my videos, and I’d appreciate it if you would like, subscribe, leave comments, and share those vids! As always, my book Tales from the Couch has more educational topics and patient stories, and is available in office and on Amazon.
Thank you and be well people!
Your Brain On The Holidays
Your Brain on the Holidays
Your brain is always busy, but it feels busier during the holidays, and rightly so. There’s a lot for it to think about during the holiday season: what to buy, for whom, and how much to spend, how to make time to visit family as well as friends, how to dodge certain co-workers at the office Christmas party, and hopefully how to squeeze in holiday naps in between eating some good home cooking. Because holiday time tends to pile on the stress, researchers are fascinated with the subject of what is happening in our brains while we’re trading time wrapping presents and plastering on a smile to spread genuine holiday cheer.
Researchers believe that not only does the brain actually change over the holidays, but that they even know what culprit is: nostalgia. Essentially, nostalgia is that bittersweet feeling of love for what is gone, and the longing we feel to return to the past. The holidays lead to a special feeling of nostalgia that is unlike any other. Reminiscing with family, watching old holiday movies, eating favorite dishes, smelling the familiar smell of your grandparent’s house, and maybe even sleeping in your childhood bed….the holidays are a heady mix that induce nostalgia on steroids. But even more than this, therapists actually say that we should basically “expect to regress” during the holiday season. Who doesn’t want to be a kid again, to look forward to going home for the holidays? While “home” means different things to different people, I think even Ebenezer Scrooge can relate to the notion that when we celebrate the holidays with loved ones, something in us changes; it feels different. There is a child-like nostalgia, a forward-looking feeling of anticipation. Research suggests that’s because there are some serious changes in our brains during the holidays. Here are some examples of things that you might experience as a result of nostalgia:
1. You Want to Eat All of the Food
That’s pretty much what happens when you’re back in your mom’s or grandma’s kitchen, eating a meal with your siblings, is it not? You’re not just eating a meal, you’re living a memory, so you want it all! Eating a lot during the holidays is totally a real thing, and science says it’s largely because aromas trigger vivid memories, just like the smell of your grandparent’s house takes you right back to being seven years old. And socially, the same thing happens. Just because you and your siblings or cousins are grown-ups doesn’t mean you’ll act that way. Remember, if you’re regressing over the holidays, so are they. But just remember to be an adult and use your manners around the dinner table.
2. You Want to Drink All the Alcohol
There are many reasons that people drink more during the holidays. Studies have shown that the average American sees a 100% increase in their alcoholic drinking habits between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. Along with the holly jolly holidays comes an increase in social functions, holiday parties and dinners out, which inevitably leads to more alcohol consumption for most adults. Many of us look forward to celebrations during the holidays, but it’s amatuer hour when it comes to drinking… a time when some people who don’t normally drink actually drink far beyond their limits. Some of these people will suffer adverse consequences that range from fights and falls to traffic crashes and deaths. Sadly, people often put themselves and others at great risk just for an evening of celebratory drinking. So please, get a clue and get an uber. There is no reason to drive after drinking…remember: more than two means an uber for you!
3. You Want to Buy All of the Things
Holiday shopping, for most of us, feels pretty miserable. The music is loud, the mall is crowded, and you’re half way to the checkout before you realize you don’t actually know your uncle’s shirt size and you didn’t double check if your office Secret Santa recipient has any allergies. What’s worse? Apparently, shopping during the holiday season changes our brain, and even the most self-controlled shoppers can fall victim to marketing masters. That cheerful holiday music? Those festive colors? Those free samples around every corner? The bright cheery lights? Marketing. Allllll marketing. And, all pretty much intended to get you to relax, have a good time…and loosen that hold on your wallet and kiss that money goodbye. And not even any misteltoe!
4. Maybe You Don’t Want to Get Out of Bed
Not everyone enjoys the holidays. For some people, it can trigger serious battles with mental health, depression and anxiety. Between 4 and 20 percent of people experience a form of Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD, which is a depression that generally sets in during early winter and fades by spring or early summer. Even people who are not diagnosed specifically with SAD may still experience depression and anxiety over the holidays. Why? Well, we postulate that people’s desire for perfection can become crippling during holiday time. People see more of each other and have more than the usual amount of time to compare themselves to others during the holiday season, in terms of what they can or cannot afford to spend on gifts or where they may travel for vacation. People often try to do too much and end up over-extending themselves.
The holidays are meaningful to people for many different reasons. For some it is a religious holiday, for others a time to spend with family and friends, and even a time of sadness and loneliness for some. Whatever the holidays mean to you, you really need to make it a point to take good care of yourself during this busy season…it’s the best gift you can give yourself.Learn More
How To Get People To Like you In Ten Minutes
Through the years I’ve had lots of patients ask me how to interact with people and how to be social, the mechanics of it, so I want to give some rules of the road, social skills 101 if you will. First, let’s talk about why social skills are important. Social skills are the foundation for positive relationships with other people: friends, partners, co-workers, bosses, neighbors, on and on. Social skills allow you to connect with other people on a level that is important in life, a level that allows you to have more in-depth relationships with others rather than meaningless surface relationships that have no benefit to anyone. Once you understand the value of having good social skills, you need to want them for yourself and commit to working on them, because that may mean doing new things that may be uncomfortable at first. So, how would you start to improve social skills? Well, socialization is an interaction, so you need at least one other person to socialize with. So the first step is to put yourself among other people. Basically, you have to suit up and show up to socialize. You might feel wierd or shy at first, but don’t let anxiety stop you. If you’re not around other people to socialize with, you’re obviously not going to improve your social skills. So take a breath and dive in.
Step number two, put down the electronics. If you’ve put yourself in a social situation, you may be tempted to fiddle with your phone to avoid the awkwardness of just standing there, but when you’re around people, turn the phone off. You shouldn’t be disrupted, you can’t be distracted, and you can’t be checking email, messages, notifications, etc. Those things will get you to exactly nowhere. When you’re distracted, you won’t pay proper attention to the social setting you’re in, and since that’s kind of the whole point, put it away and keep it there.
So you’re in a room with plenty of folks to socialize with, your phone is tucked away, so what’s next? Well, if you want to interact with people, socialize with people, you have to look like it. You can’t put yourself in a corner with your arms crossed and a disinterested look on your face. Step three is to demonstrate an open, friendly posture. You need to be inviting to others who may want to talk to you. Put on a friendly face – you’ll be surprised at how many people approach you when you look approachable.
As they say, the eyes are the entries to the mind. Step four is to always maintain good eye contact. This is hugely important when conversing, but fleeting eye contact also comes in handy when you’re just circulating in a room or looking for someone to strike up a conversation with. Eyes can entirely change a facial expression and easily convey mood and interest. Without eye contact, there is limited communication, and social skills are compromised without appropriate eye contact. Eye contact is so integral to communication that some people say they can tell if someone they’re talking to is being honest or lying by their eye contact, or the lack thereof.
To communicate well, you must pay attention to your equipment…your speech. So step five is remember your speech: the tone, the pitch, the volume, the tempo, the accent. Right or wrong, people will judge and label you by your voice. A man’s voice that’s too loud is a turnoff, he comes off as a blowhard. A woman’s voice that’s too soft is annoying because people have to try too hard to hear her, and people may say she’s a sexpot, a la Marilyn Monroe. If she speaks at too high a pitch, she’s a bimbo. To some, a southern accent means you’re dumb and a northern accent means you’re a hustler. Speaking too slowly or too fast is annoying, too monotone and you’ll put people to sleep. On the flip side, a singer or actor with perfect pitch or an especially unusual or dulcet tone can build a legacy based just on their voice, a voice that will be instantly recognized for all time. When it comes to the way you speak, be aware and make alterations to be distinct and easily understood. Remember voice inflection, because monotone is a tune-out and turnoff. Speech should be like a story, with highs and lows, ups and downs to hold people’s interest.
After reading step five above, you might think that developing good social skills hinges on everything you say, but that leaves out a key factor…listening. Step six on the path to developing good social skills is to be a good listener. Just listen. Eazy peazy lemon squeazy. Now, if you’ve ever in your entire life enjoyed speaking to someone who clearly wasn’t listening to anything you said, raise your hand. Any takers? Anyone? I thought not. It is annoying AF when it’s so obvious that someone’s not listening to you speak. And you don’t want to be annoying AF, do you? I thought not. Social skills aren’t just about what comes out of a person’s mouth, so listen.
A great way to deal with nerves that may accompany you when you put yourself in a social situation and talk to people is to find commonality, so this is step seven. When you first meet someone, a sense of commonality is a great way to establish a quick rapport with them. Commonality is something you share. It could be something as simple as going to the same school, a shared interest in sports, same places where you’ve lived or hobbies in common. Step seven is to find commonality with someone; something simple to break the ice and establish a conversation.
Once you’ve begun a conversation with someone and you want to further it, you need to go beyond just commonalities. You need to relate to the person on a deeper level. How do you do that? Through step eight, empathy. Empathy is the ability to relate to someone by putting yourself in their position in order to understand them better. If someone has a dying parent, has just lost their job, if someone is lonely, has ended a relationship, didn’t get a promotion, or experiences anything that elicits an emotional response, being empathetic is the ultimate understanding of their pain, their sorrow, or their disappointment. Step eight in improving social skills is the ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes in order to have genuine empathy for that person. A key word here is genuine. As a general rule, good social skills are genuine. Lip service is not part of good social skills.
Step nine is a pretty simple concept, though not so much in practice. Respect. In order to learn good social skills (and have anyone to practice them on) you must respect what other people say. I did not say agree. You can completely disagree with their opinion, but step nine is that you must respect their right to have it and include it in the conversation.
While in theory you have the right to say anything you want in your social circle, you should watch what you say. Step ten is to consider the content of your conversation. There are certain things that shouldn’t be brought up in some situations. As they say, religion and politics are big no no’s for sure. Gossiping is also on the no list, because it’s really toxic to a conversation and leaves people scratching their heads. If you’re talking about Mary to Connie, Connie’s bound to wonder what you say about her when you’re speaking to Shelly. So it’s best to just not talk about people. But I think it was First Lady Dolly Madison who said “If you don’t have anything nice to say, sit next to me” Some people do like gossip, the jucier the better. But you have to be prepared to pay the piper. A conversation can be like a minefield, with certain subjects as the mines. You have to navigate through the whole conversation without blowing yourself to smithereens.
In order to have appropriate social skills, you must consider the non-conversational parts of social interaction. If you’re so drunk that you can’t speak or no one can understand what you’re saying, obviously you can’t use good social skills. Same goes for drugs. If you take a Xanax to calm your nerves before the company mixer, you will not have appropriate social skills. You may not think people can tell, but you’d be wrong. Step eleven is about intoxicants like alcohol, marijuana, benzodiazepines, and Adderall… they all make you act weird and affect your social interactions, and people pick it up right away. They may not know what drug you’re on, but they’ll know you’re on something for sure, because your social interactions will be inappropriate. Rule eleven: you cannot interact appropriately when using drugs or alcohol, so cut both out if you want to have good social skills.
If you follow these steps, you’ll definitely learn better social skills. And a breath mint wouldn’t hurt. Like with anything else, practice makes perfect when it comes to social graces. Be positive, open, honest, empathetic, clear, respectful and sober, and you’ll never be at a loss for people to talk to. You’ll navigate the waters of conversation deftly with give and take, and all included will come out feeling positive about the interaction.Learn More
Marianne asks “how can I get off klonopin’’
A woman named Marianne messaged me wanting to know how to get off of Klonopin, which is a benzodiazepine, or benzo for short. She has been taking them regularly for more than twenty years, which is a very long time to be on a benzo. That will certainly complicate things. Before I go into how to stop taking benzos, I want to tell you what they are and what they do.
What are they?
Benzos are medications designed to treat anxiety, panic disorders, seizures, muscle tension, and insomnia. Some of the most commonly prescribed benzos include: Xanax (alprazolam), Klonopin (clonazepam),Valium (diazepam), Restoril (temazepam),
Librium (chlordiazepoxide), and Ativan (lorazepam). A 2013 survey found that Xanax and its generic form alprazolam is one of the most prescribed psychiatric drugs in the United States, with approximately 50 million prescriptions written that year. Unfortunately, this class of drug is also highly abused. Another 2013 survey found that 1.7 million Americans aged 12 and older were considered current abusers of tranquilizer medications like benzos. When abused, benzos produce a high in addition to the calm and relaxed sensations individuals feel when they take them.
How do they work?
Benzos increase the levels of a chemical in the brain called GABA. Meaningless trivia: GABA stands for gamma amino-butyric acid. GABA works as a kind of naturally occurring tranquilizer, and it calms down the nerve firings related to stress and the stress reaction. Benzos also work to enhance levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the feel good chemical, the chemical messenger involved in reward and pleasure in the brain. In simple terms, benzos slow down nerve activity in the brain and central nervous system, which decreases stress and its physical and emotional side effects.
Why can using them be problematic?
Benzos have multiple side effects that are both physical and psychological in nature, and these can cause harm with both short-term and extended usage. Some potential short-term side effects of benzos include, but are not limited to: drowsiness, mental confusion, trouble concentrating, short-term memory loss, blurred vision, slurred speech, lack of motor control, slow breathing, and muscle weakness. Long-term use of benzos also causes all of the above, but can also cause changes to the brain as well as mental health symptoms like mood swings, hallucinations, and depression. Fortunately, some of the changes made by benzos to the different regions of the brain after prolonged use may be reversible after being free from benzos for an extended period of time. On the scarier flip side of that coin, benzos may in fact predispose you to memory and cognitive disorders like dementia and Alzheimer’s. They’re many studies currently focusing on these predispositions. A recent study published by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) found a definitive link between benzo usage and Alzheimer’s disease. People taking benzos for more than six months had an 84% higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s dementia, versus those who didn’t take benzos. Long-acting benzos like Valium were more likely to increase these risks than shorter-acting benzos like Ativan or Xanax. Further, they found that these changes may not be reversible, and that the risk increased with age. Speaking of age, there are increased concerns in the elderly population when it comes to benzo usage. Benzos are increasingly being prescribed to the elderly population, many of which are used long-term, which increases the potential for cognitive and memory deficits. As people age, metabolism slows down. Since benzos are stored in fat cells, they remain active in an older person’s body for longer than in a younger person’s body, which increases the drug effects and risks due to the higher drug concentrations, like falls and car accidents. For all of these reasons, benzos should be used with caution in the elderly population.
A big problem with taking benzos for an extended period is tolerance and dependency. Benzos are widely considered to be highly addictive. Remember that benzos work by increasing GABA and dopamine in the central nervous system, calming and pleasing the brain, giving it the feel goods. After even just a few weeks of taking benzos regularly, the brain may learn to expect the regular dose of benzos and stop working to produce these feel good chemicals on its own without them. Your brain figures, “why do the work if it’s done for me?” You really can’t blame the brain for that! It has become dependent on the benzo. But as you continue to use benzos, you develop higher and higher tolerance, meaning that it takes more and more of the drug to produce the regular desired effect. This tolerance and dependence stuff really ticks off your brain. It’s screaming “why aren’t these pills working anymore?!” The answer is that it has become dependent and tolerant, so it needs more. Just to prove its point, it makes you feel anxious, restless, and irritable as it screams “gimme gimme more more more!!!” The problem is that the body is metabolizing the benzo more quickly, essentially causing withdrawl symptoms, and a higher dose is needed. The longer you’re on a benzo, the more you’ll need. It’s a vicious cycle and it’s sometimes tough to manage clinically.
The most severe form of physical harm caused by benzos is overdose. This occurs when a person takes too much of the drug at once and overloads the brain and body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) cites drug overdose as the number one cause of injury death in the United States. A 2013 survey reported that nearly 7,000 people died from a benzo overdose in that year. Since benzos are tranquilizers and sedatives, they depress the central nervous system, lowering heart rate, core body temperature, blood pressure, and respiration. Generally, in the case of an overdose, these vital life functions simply get too low.
When combining other drugs with benzos, obviously the risk of overdose or other negative outcome increases exponentially. But mixing benzos with alcohol is a special case, deserving of a strong warning as it is life-threatening. BENZOS + ALCOHOL = DEAD. One of the most common and successful unintentional and intentional suicide acts in my patient population is mixing benzos with alcohol. The combo is lethal, plain and simple. The body actually forgets to breathe. People pass out and just never wake up. If you’re reading this and you take benzos with alcohol and you’re thinking that you don’t know what the big deal is, you do it all the time and have never had a problem, then my response to you is that you’re living on borrowed time, and I strongly suggest you stop one of the two, the booze or the benzos, take your pick.
What about withdrawl from benzos?
Benzo withdrawal can be notoriously difficult. It is actually about the hardest group of drugs to get off of. The level of difficulty is based on what benzo you’ve been taking, how much you’ve been taking, and how long you’ve been taking it. Obviously, if you’ve been on benzos for 25 years, it’s not going to be a walk in the park. To be honest, it’s going to be a rough road. Sorry Marianne. But it can be done. The first and most important thing is that you should never just stop benzos on your own, as it can be very dangerous and can include long or multiple grand mal seizures. Withdrawal from benzos should be done slowly through medical detox with a professional. It is best done with an addiction specialist like myself, because a specialist has the most current knowledge and experience. This is the safest way to purge the drugs from the brain and body while decreasing and managing withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. As for the symptoms of withdrawl, these can include mood swings, short-term memory loss, seizure, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, depression, suppressed appetite, hallucinations, and cognitive difficulties. Stopping benzos after dependency may also lead to a rebound effect. This is a sort of overexcitement of the nerves that have been suppressed for so long by the benzos, and symptoms can include an elevated heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. There may also be a return of the issues that lead you to take the benzos in the first place, insomnia, anxiety, and panic symptoms, and they can possibly be even worse than before.
I’m sure that just about everyone currently taking benzos is thinking “I’m NEVER stopping!” right about now. It is not easy to do, but there is a way to manage all of this, to come off of the benzo and deal with all of the physical and cognitive aspects of withdrawl. I do it everyday. I set up a tapering schedule to lessen the specific benzo dosage over time, sometimes over a period of months. I will also often add or switch to a long acting benzo, which can be very helpful. I use several drugs to deal with the withdrawl symptoms: clonidine for tremor and high blood pressure, neurontin for pain and to help prevent seizures, anti-psychotic like seroquel for sleep, and an anti-depressant for depression, thank you Captain Obvious. The drug regimen varies from patient to patient. I also utilize psychotherapy to help work out the psychological kinks associated with withdrawl and rebound effect symptoms. Another trick I strongly recommend to many of my patients, not just those withdrawing from alcohol or any drugs, is transcranial magnetic stimulation or TMS. This is a non-invasive procedure done in the office that uses magnetic fields to stimulate nerve cells in the brain to improve symptoms of depression and anxiety, and I’ve found that it seems to calm the nerves and offer relief to some people in withdrawl. Electrodes are placed on the forehead and behind the ears and painless stimuli are passed into certain regions of the brain for 40 minutes in each daily session for about a month. Many patients say it’s the best 40 minutes of their day.
I’d like to wish Marianne good luck. Please feel free to call me at the office at 561-842-9950 if you have any questions.
To everyone else: If you can avoid ever having to take benzos, I strongly suggest that you do. If you’re currently taking them, give some serious thought to finding an alternative medication. I can help with that. For more information and stories about benzos, other drugs, and the process of medical detox, check out my book Tales from the Couch on Amazon.com.Learn More
Depression…What can you do to help yourself?
Let’s talk about depression. First, understand that like most things in life, depression is a spectrum; it is not black and white. Some people have situational depression or very mild depression and do really well with therapy and making some simple life changes. Others might need medication to assist them. Some unfortunately suffer from major depression and find it hard to cope with life.Learn More
Depression – What Can You do to Help Yourself?
Let’s talk about depression. First, understand that like most things in life, depression is a spectrum; it is not black and white. Some people have situational depression or very mild depression and do really well with therapy and making some simple life changes. Others might need medication to assist them. Some unfortunately suffer from major depression and find it hard to cope with life. No matter where on the spectrum people fall, the following information is helpful to anyone who has experienced depression.Learn More
Handling Clinical Depression Symptoms
Individuals often speak of feeling depressed. Indeed, it is common to feel periodic sadness due to life’s
disappointments. Clinical depression, on the other hand, is quite different from those times when we experience
unhappiness or despair.
Clinical depression is a serious disease caused by a brain disorder, and its effects on the individual’s ability
to perform in daily situations is profound. The condition can impact moods, thoughts, habits, and physical
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), depression strikes about 17 million American adults
every year. This is more than the amount of cases related to cancer, AIDS, or coronary heart disease. What makes
it even worse is that an estimated 15 percent of people dealing with depression ends in suicide.
Dealing with depression could appear like a daunting task. Some people don’t even comprehend the real nature of
the disease. “Many people still believe that depression is a character defect, or caused by bad parenting”, says
Mary Rappaport, a spokeswoman for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill. It needs to be noted that taking
care of depression does not merely involve willpower. It requires proper medical attention.
The good news is that depression is treatable. In fact, among the initial steps of taking care of depression,
consists of making use of either of the two major treatment options available; medication or therapy. First, a
proper medical diagnosis must be obtained before one can go on with dealing with depression.
When identifying and dealing with depression, it is necessary to keep in mind that that there are three primary
classifications of the condition. These are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar depression (otherwise known
as manic depression).
The symptoms for each category of depression can differ, depending upon the person. And there are numerous
factors that serve to increase the risk of depression. According to the American Psychiatric Association’s
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, the following are the typical symptoms of depression as noted in the DSM-IV:
depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities, changes in appetite or weight,
interrupted sleeping patterns, slowed or restless movements, fatigue, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness
or extreme guilt, difficulty thinking, focusing, or making decisions, and even recurrent thoughts of death or
Antidepressant medicines are often prescribed as a step in dealing with depression. These medicines, such as
tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, and selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, work by
modifying particular chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin. This leads to improved symptoms of depression,
and can assist in taking care of depression.
Alternatively, persons dealing with severe depressive episodes may not be responsive to medication alone. In
order to offer long term relief, psychiatric therapy is required.
Managing A Depressive Disorder
At some point in our lives we might experience depression. Depression is described as a feeling of unhappiness,
dissatisfaction, loneliness, or having negative thoughts towards oneself or to other people. Nonetheless, if the
feelings become overwhelming and continue to appear, which can substantially impact your health and your
everyday routine, immediate care and attention needs to be sought.
In fact, the level of depression that every person experiences might range from mild, moderate, to serious,
depending upon the symptoms related with each condition and the degree the condition disrupts everyday
activities. Managing depression is also, like the level of depression, different from one person to another.
Some individuals might realize the condition to be really disabling, and that they cannot seem to overcome it,
while others manage to undergo effective treatment. It is very difficult to comprehend exactly how extreme the
feelings of a depression sufferer.
We may be able to understand if we know what the possible causes are, and the symptoms of the depression.
Dealing with depression might not be as easy as you think, but, we can offer help to depressive individuals by
letting them know that we always have an ear to listen to their problems. Loss of something or somebody
essential. Loss of control over your own life or things around you.
Most likely, the person who feels this, in some way, senses that nothing can be done to alter the undesirable
events in life, and that handling depression is an impossible job. I should state this one is a great factor why
an individual feels depressed in the first place, as a negative attitude can cause self-defeat.
Here are some of the typical symptoms of depression, mostly grumbled by depression victims. A person with
depression might feel a strong sense of unhappiness, anxiety, guilt, anger, hopelessness, mood swings, and
An individual having depression might commonly sleep too much or too little, experience loss of hunger or
overeating, constipation, irregular monthly period, lose interest in sex, and experience weight loss or gain.
Considering that a depressive person deals with down feelings, crying without reason can occur. Also, withdrawal
from other people or the world in general, irritability, loss of interest in activities, and loss of interest in
physical appearance, no set objectives, and resorting to abuse via drugs and alcohol are simply some of the
things you’ll notice with a depressive person.
Clinical Depression, Mood Disorder Symptoms
Depression is a mood disorder that manipulates every part of daily life. The illness impacts all sectors of the
population in each socio-economic group, from kids, adults, and the elderly. This frustrating illness controls
the mind, behavior, body, emotional state, and can even conclude the ability to maintain relationships. Clinical
depression is a medical finding, and is different from the common connotation of being depressed. According to
the DSM-IV-TR criterion for identifying a major depressive disorder or clinical depression, two aspects need to
be present, which is depressed mood or anhedonia.
It is satisfactory to have either of these clinical depression symptoms in combination with five other clinical
depression signs over a two-week period, which includes; mental or physical fatigue and loss of energy feelings
of guilt, hopelessness, stress and anxiety, fear, or helplessness, decreased amount of interest or enjoyment in
all, or almost all, day-to-day activities practically every day, changing appetite and visible weight-loss or
gain, psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day, feelings of overwhelming sadness, or the seeming
inability to feel emotion.
Other symptoms include difficulty concentrating or making decisions, or a generalized slowing of cognition
consisting of memory, disrupted sleeping patterns such as excessive sleep or hypersomia, insomnia, or loss of
REM sleep. Repeated thoughts of death, not simply the fear of dying, but persistent suicide ideation with a
specific plan, or a specific plan of committing suicide or suicide attempt.
Various other clinical depression symptoms sometimes reported but not usually taken into account in medical
diagnosis consist of inattention to personal hygiene, fear of going mad, decrease in self-esteem, change in
perception of time, sensitivity to noise, physical pains and aches with the belief that these may be indications
of a severe illness.
Clinical depression symptoms in youngsters are not as apparent as in grownups. Some of the signs that children
may reveal are irritability, loss of appetite, learning or memory problems where none existed in the past, sleep
problems such as reoccurring nightmares, and substantial behavioral changes such as social isolation,
aggression, and withdrawal.
An additional indicator could be the excessive use of alcohol or drugs, where depressed teenagers are at a
particular risk of further critssical behavior such as eating disorders and self-harm.
Among the most extensively used instruments for measuring the extent of depression is the Beck Depression
Inventory, which has twenty-one multiple-choice questions. For people who have not experienced clinical
depression, either personally or by regular exposure to individuals who struggle with it is hard for them to
comprehend the emotional impact and seriousness. It could be similar to as having the blues or feeling down.
Sorts of Depression Medicine
There are a bunch of different sorts of depression medicines which are now available for the treatment of
depression. More recent depression medicines have become accessible that are safer and more effective than the
older depression medicines, and have fewer adverse effects. It is essential to take note though, that all types
of depression medicines, even the newest and most well-known, present specific risks, and can still trigger
unpleasant negative effects. It is smart to educate oneself in order to find suitable alternatives such as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI).
These sorts of depression medicines are the newest and most popular, and works by increasing the levels of a
mood-related neurotransmitter called serotonin, in the brain. These medications normally present a lesser risk
of side effects than other types of depression medications, but it does not imply that they are completely safe
or free of negative effects.
The most difficult adverse effects caused by SSRI depression medications are sexual dysfunction and weight gain.
It is not unusual for men taking this medication to end up being nearly impotent, and females to gain thirty
pounds. A lot of people look to natural options to prescription depression medicine in order to eliminate these
nasty negative effects. The first SSRI medicine introduced in the United States in 1988 was Prozac (fluoxetine),
since then, numerous SSRI medications have been released, including Paxil (paroxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram),
Luvox (fluvoxamine), Celexa (citalopram), Zoloft (sertraline) and Tricyclic Antidepressants (TCA).
These types of depression medicines are the older group, and due to the fact that they can cause adverse effects
such as constipation, dry mouth, bladder issues, blurred vision, sexual dysfunction, drowsiness, and
lightheadedness. They are no longer frequently prescribed, and have fallen out of favor. Some TCAs consist of
Tofranil (imipramine), Anafranil (clomipramine), Elavil (amitriptyline) and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI).
These depression medications are currently the rarest sorts of depression medications, due to the fact that they
pose serious safety risks, can cause extreme side effects, and require a restricted diet plan.
Because of the expensive cost and negative effects of depression medicines, people in the United States are
increasingly more turning to natural depression medicines. Nonetheless, numerous natural supplements are of poor
quality, and do not work as well as prescription medicine. Some high-quality natural depression supplements do
exist though, and the best natural depression supplements include ingredients that have actually been proven to
work as well as depression medication, but with fewer side effects.
In a natural antidepressant medication called Amoryn, the major ingredient is hyperforin, which is an effective
treatment for anxiety and depression. Scientific research reveals that it eases depression as successfully as a
great deal of prescription medicine, but the good thing is, it has fewer negative effects.
Treatments for Depression
Among the most common mental issues impacting almost everyone, whether on a personal basis or through a family
member dealing with the condition, depression is an illness identified by bouts of melancholia, despair, or
feeling emotionally down in such a way that disrupts the normal functioning of a person. Individuals with
depression might experience problems with work, social and family adjustment. If left without treatment,
depression can be a strong risk factor for suicide.
Luckily, therapies for depression are offered, and the majority of them work in dealing with the condition,
along with its symptoms. The treatments for depression are likewise extremely varied, so to list them all here
would be almost impossible. Suffice to say, that therapies for depression are generally divided into two
significant classifications; medications and therapy. Some individuals with depression respond to therapy
better, while others can go on normally with their lives by routinely taking antidepressant medicine.
Nonetheless, there are also others that can only respond to treatment after taking antidepressants. Hence, the
two methods of treatment for depression may be utilized alternatively or in combination with some health
specialists, depending on the individual response of the patient.
The first thing to remember about depression medicines is that they do not treat depression. Just as aspirin can
lower a fever but without clearing up the infection that causes it, antidepressants only help control the
symptoms, but do not treat the condition itself.
Furthermore, depression medications do not produce the same effect in everybody. Some individuals might
experience side effects, and factors such as age, sex, body size, body chemistry, and so on, can impact exactly
how the drug works on a patient. Many people do however respond well to antidepressants as treatment for
depression. How long the person should take antidepressants depends upon the kind and severity of the
A different approach to providing treatment for depression is therapy. Therapy is where the depressed individual
is given support in lots of different ways, consisting of supportive counseling, cognitive therapy, and
This sort of intervention helps alleviate the pain of depression. Among the most common symptoms of depression
is the sensation of hopelessness that a depressed individual experiences. The function of supportive therapy is
to directly address this feeling of hopelessness and despair.
All pessimistic ideas, unrealistic expectations, and overly critical self-evaluations that create depression are
taken care of in this phase of intervention. The key right here is to help the depressed individual recognize
which life problems are important and which are minor. In understanding this, the individual can now develop
more positive life goals.
Depression may be created because of certain troublesome areas in an individual’s life. The purpose of problem-
solving therapy is to directly address these crucial areas that create considerable stress.
Each year, about 9.9 American adults deal with it. That is roughly five percent of the overall adult population,
give or take a few. Extreme depression is unlike the normal feelings of sadness, loss, or passing mood states
that many people have.
The condition is more persistent, and because of that persistence, it might significantly disrupt your thoughts,
habits, mood, activity, and even physical health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), extreme
depression is set to become the second leading cause of disability in the world, after heart disease. The onset
of severe depression might be gradual, so the symptoms are not obvious right away.
Nonetheless, a few of the indications to keep an eye out for to identify whether you are suffering from severe
depression or not consist of the following: persistently sad state of mind or high irritability,
marked shifts in regular routines, consisting of sleep and appetite. Noticable changes in energy such as
frequently low energy practically daily. Feelings of being slowed down or agitation such as loss of interest in
previously pleasant activities. Relentless sensations of shame, unimportance, hopelessness, and emptiness may
Other symptoms that are brought on by depression are reoccurring ideas of death or suicide, consistent physical
signs like headaches, intestinal disorders, and persistent pain without any known cause, and do not respond to
therapy. If you experience a number of of these symptoms of major depression, and they happen at the same time
for approximately longer than two weeks, and in such a way that they interfere with normal functioning, then do
not think twice to ask for expert treatment.
The reasons for severe depression are different, and the events that led to the development of the condition,
are in some cases too numerous to determine a single one as the clear-cut cause. There are typically lots of
aspects involved such as physical, biological, and even environmental aspects that all play a role.
According to scientific research, however, extreme depression is mainly a brain disorder. The problem could be
traced back to three chemicals or neurotransmitters, which function as messengers that transfer electric signals
between brain cells. These are norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine.
A person suffering from major depression often exhibits a chemical imbalance between these three
neurotransmitters, thus, producing a clinical state where depression takes place. In order to make up for the
imbalance, antidepressant drugs are introduced. These drugs work by increasing the availability of
neurotransmitters, or by changing the level of sensitivity of the receptors for these chemical messengers.
It is not enough however, to deal with major depression with psychotherapeutic drugs alone. Some individuals may
respond better to cognitive therapy, wherein they are given assistance in managing the problem areas of their
lives that add to depression. Additionally, individuals with severe depression may react to treatment
incorporating both approaches of medication and therapy.
Everyone feels down at some time. It’s common to feel sad. If you are feeling sad most of the time, and the
feeling is starting to impact your grades, relationships, and your behavior in many ways, then the issue might
be more than just the blues. It might be teen depression, a major health problem that approximately four out of
a hundred teenagers suffer with each year.
The signs of depression are many, so there is typically no hard and fast guideline to identifying all the
symptoms of teen depression. However, the most vital thing to keep in mind is that there are typically two sorts
of teen depression.
Under the first kind, you will discover two other sorts of depression which differ only in their intensity, as
major depression or clinical depression (severe) and dysthymia or chronic depression (moderate, but lasts for a
The second type of teen depression is referred to as bipolar depression, the depressive state of manic-
depressive disorder, a condition wherein the subject suffers periodic bouts of mania or elevated mood and
depression, where the subject is commonly too low in energy that he would not have the ability to move. It would
take a health specialist to distinguish the sort of teen depression.
It is a good idea that you speak with expert assistance when you see any of the following indications of teen
depression. Consistent feelings of sadness or crying a lot for no evident reason is an indication of teen
depression. Consistent feelings of guilt, once again, for no actual reason and the feeling like you are no good
or are worthless are also indications.
Symptoms of depression can include loss of confidence or low self-esteem, you feel as though life is
meaningless, and that absolutely nothing good will ever come out of it. You constantly appear to be tired, and
you do not feel like doing things that you used to take pleasure in a lot, like music, sports, being with pals,
or going out. Most of the time, you simply want to be left alone.
Other symptons consist of you continually getting sidetracked and you can’t seem to focus. You likewise forget
things, or you do things without any recollection of doing them. Little things make you lose your temper. You
get aggravated very easily, or you overreact. Your sleep pattern changes. Either you sleep more or you sleep
less, or you cannot seem to fall asleep or remain asleep. You get up too early most mornings, and have problems
falling back to sleep.
Insomnia (inadequate sleep) or hyposomnia (too much sleep) sets in. Your eating routines likewise change. You
have lost your appetite or you eat a lot more. Weight gain or weight-loss is extreme. You think about death, or
feel like you are dying, or you have thoughts committing suicide, whether or not you have the energy to actually
Signs of Depression
A very typical condition, depression is believed by numerous professionals to be the leading cause of disability
in the world. In the United States alone, studies show that 17 % of the population will experience the symptoms
of depression eventually in their lives. Currently, there is an estimated 19 million people experiencing
depression in the United States. Additionally, research shows that females are more vulnerable to struggle with
the symptoms of depression than males.
Often classed as a mental condition, depression is as much an illness of the body as it is of the mind. You
cannot wish it away and you can not simply snap out of it. Neither is it a sign of weak character. The good news
about depression is that virtually everyone experiencing the symptoms of depression can be helped with
appropriate therapy. That is why it is essential to identify the signs and symptoms of depression as early as
possible in order to prevent the condition from worsening.
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, or NIMH, has developed a list of the primary signs and symptoms of
depression. The following symptoms can be seen on the list; persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, or
emptiness, feelings of hopelessness, despair, and pessimism, feelings of shame, worthlessness, and helplessness,
loss of interest, even in basic pleasures such as hobbies or activities that were once enjoyed, consisting of
sex, decreased energy, tiredness, being slowed down, difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions,
sleeplessness, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping, appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight
gain, thoughts of death or suicide, suicide efforts, restlessness, irritability, consistent physical symptoms
that do not respond to therapy, such as headaches, intestinal disorders, and chronic pain.
If you have any of these symptoms of depression, and have been struggling with them for a number of weeks, and
to a degree that they have actually hindered or impacted your life, have a talk with your doctor. She or he can
help you find out whether you are dealing with depression or not, and then help you create a treatment and
The symptoms of depression can differ from person to person. In addition, an individual’s response to various
medicines may also vary. That is why it is rather possible that you may have to check out a number of different
drugs in order to find out which one works best for you.
Your physician can recommend you some anti-depressant medicines. These drugs are relatively quick-acting, so you
may begin to feel better after just a few weeks of taking them. Nonetheless, unless your physician says so, do
not stop taking the drugs. It might be that you are only experiencing the initial impact of the drugs, but the
complete results have yet to take place.
Signs of Depression in Children
If depression is considered a severe condition to adults, exactly how would you think about depression in kids?
Actually, depression in kids is the same as in adults with just a few exceptions. Therefore, this only suggests
one thing, depression in children must be given immediate attention and care, particularly if they can’t make
out the precise words to express their condition. This is why you have to always keep a closer look on the
possible indicators of depression in children in order for you to take specific action about the problem.
To say that children have clinical depression, they need to have five of the 9 most common symptoms of
depression, which can cause disturbance of their functioning or behavior, for a duration of at least two weeks.
Below is a list of some of the symptoms that could be possible signs of depression in children. These signs may
be helpful to you if you sense your youngster or some children you know are dealing with depression.
Irritable mood most of the day, virtually everyday, having problems sleeping or sleeping too much practically
daily, tiredness or loss of energy, decreased ability to think or concentrate, significant loss of appetite
causing loss or gain of weight, loss of interest in things once enjoyed, restlessness, or slowness.
Various other physical symptoms, such as serious headaches, which may not be really common, have actually been
experienced by children for at least once a month. There are actually many other warning signs of depression in
children that you need to know and be aware of. Early indicators of depression in children can easily be missed,
due to the fact that it is typically associated with various other behaviors. Abrupt changes in behavior,
aggressiveness, angry or agitated behavior, increased interest in risk-taking, lower self-confidence, resulting
in withdrawal from other people.
When you hear young people discussing hurting themselves, or even suicide, don’t let it go by. In case you have
no idea, hurting one’s self or suicide is not new to depressive individuals. They have the tendency to commit
suicide because of the many aspects such as feelings of unimportance, unhappiness, helplessness, and many more.
Anyhow, none of the signs of depression in kids should be taken lightly. As soon as indicators of depression in
youngsters are observed, see to it to talk to your child and have him or her talk about what they are feeling.
It’s no use to comfort your kid, so don’t try and seek professional assistance immediately, as physicians are
the only ones who can identify depression. Fortunately, depression is treatable, and can be treated only with
psychotherapy and medicine. Except for depression, you and the whole family, and good friends can still show
your support to other emotional and physical difficulties of your children.
Victims of depression describe it as a black curtain of despair coming down over their lives. In truth, lots of
people diagnosed with depression have perpetual spells of apathy, where they feel like they have no energy to do
anything, or they can’t concentrate. Others might experience sensations of irritation, although there seems to
be no reason for feeling so.
The symptoms of depression vary from person to person. So, occasionally, it is challenging to diagnose. However,
if you have been feeling down for more than two weeks already, and these emotions are starting to interfere with
your life, it is time for you to see a physician who specializes in mood disorders to identify if you have what
they call clinical depression.
It has been observed that people who have gone through depression have the tendency to experience another
episode sooner or later. It is possible that you have one episode today, and the next few weeks, and then you
experience some of the symptoms once again before the next full-blown episode. If you learn to spot these very
early causes or symptoms, then you might be able to keep the depression from worsening.
Working with your doctor can help you learn how to manage depression. There are lots of medications used to
treat this mood disorder, and you may need to try a few different ones to discover which works best for you. In
addition to that, your doctor may also suggest a specialist for you, and suggest that you make a couple of
Whatever medication you select in the end, always the initial step to improving and remaining better is taking
your medicine precisely as prescribed by your physicians. It might also help if you remember the following
It takes some time for anti-depressants to work, so do not be impatient. Some antidepressants may start to make
you feel much better in just a few weeks. Nonetheless, the full anti-depressant impact of the drug might not be
seen until the passage of numerous weeks.
Even if you feel much better, keep taking your anti-depressant for as long as your physician tells you to. Your
doctor may suggest that you continue using the anti-depressant in order to help lower your chances of becoming
depressed once again.
There are some individuals who only become depressed once. However, there are others who have actually been
depressed before, or have a number of risk factors, in which case, they might need long-term treatment with
Depression – Part 6 – Medical Treatment
Dr. Mark Agresti discusses the medical treatment options to help those suffering from depression.
Dr. Mark Agresti, West Palm Beach Drug & Alcohol Detox Specialist, Psychiatrist
Call (561) 842-9550 or email: email@example.com Dr. Agresti today to get psychiatric help today.Learn More
Depression – Part 5 – Treatment of Depression
Dr. Mark Agresti talks about the treatment options available for depression.
Dr. Mark Agresti, West Palm Beach Drug & Alcohol Detox Specialist, Psychiatrist
Call (561) 842-9550 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Agresti today to get psychiatric help.Learn More
Depression – Part 4 – How to Diagnose
Dr. Mark Agresti discusses ways of diagnosing depression and why it is important to get a proper diagnosis.
Dr. Mark Agresti, West Palm Beach Drug & Alcohol Detox Specialist, Psychiatrist
Call (561) 842-9550 or email: email@example.com Dr. Agresti today to get psychiatric help.Learn More
Depression – Part 3 – Causes of Depression
Dr. Mark Agresti talks about the different causes of depression.
Dr. Mark Agresti, West Palm Beach Drug & Alcohol Detox Specialist, Psychiatrist
Call (561) 842-9550 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Dr. Agresti today to get psychiatric help.Learn More