Controlling and Managing Depression for a Fulfilling Life

In Crisis?

Depression is a mental disorder that makes people experience loss of interest or pleasure, low self-worth, low energy, poor concentration, and feelings of guilt. Oftentimes, people confuse depression with feelings of sadness and unhappiness which occur to everyone at one point or the other. People experiencing depression tend to have intense emotions of hopelessness, anxiety, negativity, and helplessness. These feelings stay with them for much longer times thus aggravating the situation.

Depression can affect anyone even the successful and famous people who have everything going on well for them. Some people suffer depression once and never again while to some it tends to recur.

 

Depressed Lone Woman

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Depression shares a number of signs and symptoms with other conditions, however, below are some of those that are commonly associated with the mental disorder.

  • Loss of energy and tiredness
  • Persistent sadness
  • Loss of self-esteem and confidence
  • Poor concentration
  • Loss of meaning in things that are interesting and pleasurable
  • Feelings of anxiety
  • Avoiding people even family and close friends
  • Loss of appetite
  • Helplessness and hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts and self-harm

What Causes Depression

Depression may happen all of a sudden due to physical illnesses or childhood experiences as well as other issues such as unemployment, family problems, bereavement, and other life changing events. Chronic illnesses such as cardiac diseases, cancer, back pains, pituitary damage among others can also cause depression. At times, identifying the cause of depression may not be easy because at times the reason is not clear.

The Various Types of Depression

Below are some of the various forms of depression that commonly affect people and have been categorized by medics.

Mild Depression

This type of depression has a limited effect on your day to day life. You may experience difficulties in concentrating at work or even in motivating yourself to do some of the things which you normally enjoy.

Major Depression

This depression interferes with your daily life. It may affect your sleeping, eating, and other every day activities. Some people experience a single episode of major depression while others experience recurring episodes throughput their lifetime. This form of depression can lead to hospitalization.

Bipolar Disorder

 This is commonly characterized by mood swings which can be extreme. On one end, the person may feel indestructible and elated while on the other they may experience desperation and suicidal feelings. Bipolar disorder symptoms can be very severe to the extent that the affected people lose sense of their world and start doing things that are odd and illogical.

Other types of depression include postpartum depression which is also called “baby blues” and seasonal affective disorder which is commonly associated with the beginning of winter and may last until spring.

Getting Help with Depression

Counseling, psychotherapy work, and talking therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy can help you with depression. Counseling gives you a chance with a specialist to talk out the everyday issues in a bid to help eliminate depressive factors. Cognitive therapy addresses your thought patterns and teaches you to identify and reverse negative thoughts. The general practitioner may also recommend antidepressants and other medication particularly in instances where your depression is mild.

How Depression Affects Your Marriage

When a person is suffering from depression, it affects his mind, body and the people around him. You may not notice that one of the affected factors in your life when you do not fight depression as soon as you can, it will damage your marriage.

Here are the ways to determine whether your marriage is suffering from your depression:

  1.    You Lose Purpose In Life

Going through depression, you started to question your purpose in life. You keep on asking yourself if this is the life you really wanted in the first place, depression can make you feel unwanted and empty at some point. In this way, it’s not only you who suffer from it, your spouse can feel the pain too by simply seeing you everyday, not in your best.

  1.    Too Much Sensitivity

When your spouse is trying to reach out and sharing stories with you and suddenly there is a certain word he mentioned that triggers your mood swings. This is actually one of the common effects how does depression kills your relationship, it tends to make you be too sensitive in every word you hear. You only listen to the things you only want to hear.

  1.    Self- Doubt

You started to feel that you are worthless and you have tons of flaws, thinking that no one can ever understand you even your spouse, when in fact, your spouse is the only person who’s willing to help you immediately, but you keep on pushing him away. Depression drives you to think that there is no hope at all.

  1.    You Are No Longer Productive

Depression kills your time and it can make you unproductive all day, leaving your spouse to do the rest of the household chores and the things you used to do for him. A great example would be, cooking breakfast and prepare his clothes before he goes to the office.

 

When To Know If Depression Is Killing Your Marriage Already?

The easiest ways on how to measure how does depression is killing your marriage, check these warning signs.

  1.    You no longer have the sex drive you’ve used to have before.
  2.    It’s been days since the last time you talk to your spouse happily and you seem both enjoy the time talking to each other.
  3.    You tend to sleep all day as an excuse because you are depressed, yet you let your spouse do all the household chores alone.
  4.    You’d like to eat on a solo flight.
  5.    If you’ve noticed that your spouse has no longer the attention he used to spend for you, because it’s been a long time you are suffering from depression.
  6.    Your spouse keeps on telling you that he needs you, and you’re the only person that he would like to see smiling first thing in the morning.
  7.    You isolate yourself from your spouse, even if he wants to just give you a hug after a long tiring day.

If these signs show up and you feel that you’re about to lose the love of your life, keep on fighting the depression within you, help yourself, embrace your flaws and take the time to reflect.

 

 

 

How To Cope Up With Depression

Depression is a serious mood disorder that leads you to be sleepy, grumpy or feeling empty at times. If you have tried to consult a doctor that you think can help you lessen depression within you, but it still does not work, you may do these helpful ways on how to cope up with depression.

  1.    Visit Your Family

You may have too many on your plate right now and no time to visit your family at their home. This is the best way to cope up with depression, to see your family who are more than willing to accept you either you’re at your best or worst. The only group in your circle that can understand you no matter what it takes.

Take this time to heal your wounds and let them pamper you in the best way possible; feeling love can help you to ease the depression.

  1.    Listen To Relaxing Songs While You Meditate

You need to pause for a while, stop everything you’re doing and listen to relaxing and anti-depressant songs online. This would be the best time to stop playing sentimental and heartbreaking songs, this will definitely rack you.

  1.    Meet Your Best Friend

Anyone of us has his own best friend he can rely anytime and anywhere, this is the person you always run to when everything seems to fall apart. Laugh with them and share different stories that will uplift your mood. It does not necessarily to spend the whole day with them, just a few hours will do and see the results afterwards. Spending time with your best friend can light up the burden you feel.

  1.    Pray

In our modern days, we unintentionally forgot to pray to God and ask for guidance from him. Attend a mass and hear the word of God, you have to have a faith in Him. ]

 

  1.    Stop Drinking Alcohol And Coffee

As these beverages will trigger panic attacks and aggravate more your anxiety. Instead, you may opt to drink tea for the mean time to bring out the toxics in your body.

  1.    Get Some Sleep

You cannot learn on how to cope up with depression if you don’t get enough sleep that your body needs. Overthinking will give you trouble and worries so might as well fight with it.

  1.    Read Self-Help Books

Take time to read self-help and inspiring books to appreciate the meaning of life and the great moments that you are missing due to depression. These books will help you to get along and eradicate your depression as these have insights that will bring out the creativity in you and teach you the self-acceptance you are in direly need as of the moment.

  1.    Refrain From Social Media Sites

When depression strikes do not get online to any social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. These sites will just tend to give you anxiety due to several politics and social issues in your area. Communicate with real people personally, forget the world of digital.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Increased Suicide Risk


When an individual goes through traumatic events such as assault, combat or disaster,
chances of them developing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are higher. Research studies indicate the existence of a correlation between suicidal behaviors and some types of trauma. For instance, evidence exists, that traumatic events like childhood abuse and military sexual trauma can enhance the risk for suicide and self-harm. With this in mind, it is important to screen for suicide risk.

PTSD and Suicide

There is considerable debate on the issue of heightened risk of suicide in trauma survivors. Some studies suggest suicide risk is higher in people who experience trauma due to PTSD symptoms while othePTSDrs indicate that suicide risk is higher in PTSD individuals due to related psychiatric conditions. Data analyzed by the National Comorbidity Survey showed that singlehandedly, PTSD can significantly influence suicidal attempts or ideation.

Another data analytical study using information gathered by the Canadian Community Health Survey also found that respondents with PTSD displayed a higher risk for suicidal attempts even after mental disorders and physical illness were put under control.

Anger, impulsivity, and intrusive memories are among the behaviors that predict suicide risk. Also, cognitive styles of coping like the use of suppression to deal with stress can additionally be predictive of suicidal risk especially in individuals suffering from PTSD.

PTSD Treatment

As pointed above, the risk of suicide for a person who has gone through trauma is very high. In order to ensure such past traumatic events do not precipitate suicidal attempts, it is important that the individuals concerned are identified in time for treatment. Therapy is the best treatment approach for those suffering from PTSD. In particular, cognitive behavioral treatments can significantly reduce both PTSD symptoms and suicidal thoughts.

Research has established that cognitive behavioral treatments tend to have an effect that lasts anything between 5 and 10 years after the treatment is completed. Having a good relationship with mental health providers is therefore a commendable approach if you are to make the best out of your treatment decisions.

Due to the link between suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and PTSD, there needs to be regular assessments during the mental health treatment exercise. Where the provider has a reason to believe that the immediate risk for suicide is high in his or her patient based on his assessment, he can then make appropriate treatment decisions to ensure that the patient is safe. In the event the immediate suicide risk is not as high, the patient can be managed on an outpatient basis.

What to Do if you or Someone You Know is Suicidal

From time to time, each one of us feels down. However, if you find yourself having thoughts of hurting yourself, consider seeking professional help. Many people with suicidal thoughts also tend to struggle with drinking, drug, or depression problems. Therefore, watch out for these.

In the event you come in contact with a friend, family member or coworker contemplating suicide, start by calming them and advising them on mentor health options available in your area. Connecting with such a person with a mental health provider is often the best approach because these professionals are in a much better position to decide the extent of danger there is.

Someone You Know Has Died Through Suicide

It can be very upsetting when a person you are related or you know very well dies by suicide. Depending on how close you are to them, feelings of shock and distress can engulf you particularly if you saw them committing the act. If you find it hard to cope with the incident even after months have elapsed, contacting a mental health provider can help you overcome the traumatic grief.

Preventing Suicide through Treatment of Depression

Screenshot 2016-06-25 at 6.44.09 PMInasmuch as data shows that most people suffering from depression never kill themselves, when left untreated, depression can enhance chances of possible suicide. Depressed individuals can harbor suicidal thoughts whether or not they intend to turn these thoughts into action. When severely depressed, people lack sufficient energy to harm themselves, but when their depression lifts, chances of them attempting suicide are high because of the regained energy.

The good news is that depression and its related symptoms can respond to proper treatment and where early intervention is sought, the depressive illness can be nipped in the bud. Any concerns of suicidal risk should be taken seriously and a qualified professional should be notified to help evaluate the condition.

Statistics on Depression and Suicide

It is estimated that close to 15% of clinically depressed people commit suicide.

In 1997, suicide was recognized as the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S. Slightly over 30,500 people died through suicide in that year alone.

In 1996, the number of suicide attempts was estimated at 500,000.

Research also reveals that for every 8 to 25 attempted suicides, there is one completion. The ratio of attempted suicide is higher in youth and women while lower in men and the elderly.

In light of the above grave statistics, treatment should be prioritized in depressed individuals as a way to curb both attempted and successful suicides. The point at which you should seek treatment for depression is when you notice that your depression case is preventing you from living the life you desire.

Exploring Depression Treatment Options

Unlike other medical conditions, depression doesn’t affect two people in the exact same way. What this means is that treatment needs to be customized because there is no one-size-fits-all. The medical practitioner first of all examines you to learn as much as he possibly can about your depression case and whether your symptoms are rooted in an underlying medical condition. Where this is the case, the underlying condition is prioritized in treatment. The severity of your depression is also an important factor and the more severe the condition is, the more intensive the treatment ought to be.

Finding the right treatment may take quite some time with instances of trial and error. Treatment is most often than not a multipronged approach which doesn’t just rely on medication, but also other treatments such as exercise and therapy. Among the other non-medical treatments for depression include:

Social Support – This is not necessarily a treatment, but cultivating positive social connections can protect you from sliding into depression. Family members and friends are the first line of defense in this.

Good Nutrition Eating well is critical not only to your physical, but also mental health. Having a balanced diet can boost your energy and minimize mood swings. Sugar crashes can drain and push you towards depression.

Stress Reduction Excessive amounts of stress can exacerbate depression and increase your risk for future depression. To stop this, initiate changes in your life that help you to identify, manage, and reduce stress.

Therapy for Depression Treatment

Where the underlying cause for your depression symptoms is not medical, you need to find a mental health specialist for further examination. There are various types of therapy you can undergo depending on the areas being addressed. There is psychotherapy which is an effective treatment that gives you skill and insight on how to identify and prevent depression in future. There is also cognitive behavioral therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and interpersonal therapy. For the best results, medical practitioners combine one or two approaches in addressing depression conditions.

Remember it is possible to pull through depression and live a normal life again.

When Dealing With Survivors

Happy winners reaching life goal - success people at summit. BusThe reason why supporting suicide attempt survivors can at times seem scary is because these are people who life has pushed them to the extreme edge and uncertainties still exists on whether they may decide to take their lives again. However, in the midst of this uncertainty lies a greater need to establish a support system that can play a leading role in helping attempts survivors to steer down the road to healing and normalcy.

What you need to remember is that suicide attempt survivors are individuals who have laboriously fought their way back from the edge of death and are now making the choice to live. The best support you can give them is by acknowledging they want to be here and they are asking for external support to help them come back to their normal self. Below are a few things to consider when addressing a suicide attempt survivor.

Talk Openly Concerning Suicide

Suicide is not a shameful and bad word. It is something that happens and the reason why you are having the conversion with a suicide attempt survivor is because it happened to them. Being open about suicide is very important as you put in place a support mechanism for the survivors. This open sharing provides a welcoming and honest space where suicide is no longer considered a taboo and makes it easier for the survivors to open up and share their experience and feeling. There is need for compassionate and healthy conversations about suicide so as to encourage survivors to seek support.

Exercise Patience

One of the most critical factors to bear in mind when supporting suicide attempt survivors is patience. These survivors may have needs that vary with time for instance, at one moment they may want to be surrounded by people and in the next they want to stay alone. In order to manage this transformation in needs, you have to be patient with them. It may sound confusing, but you should note that the survivors are doing the best they can and every moment matters to them. Learn to respect their decisions and always check in to see if they are in need of help. Also, you need to be vigilant for warning signs of suicide especially for vulnerable survivors.

Listen Attentively

When you are offering support to attempt survivors, you do not have to offer solutions or try to analyze the reason behind the suicide attempt. What these survivors need is unconditional support and not interrogation. You have to accept that you do not fully understand what goes on in the mind of the survivor and accept them the way they are. Just be there and when they choose to open up, be the listening partner. It is by hearing their story that you can gain a deeper understanding of what they have been or they are going through. Each survivor has a different story and there is no formula when it comes to offering them support.

Stop the Stigma

One of the reasons and in fact the biggest challenge suicide attempt survivors face is the stigma they have to wade through as they seek help. When a survivor hears people discussing about him and how selfish it was to attempt taking their life, it becomes increasingly difficult for them to open up.

Survivors need compassion and not judgment. They require support as they navigate through the abyss of shame, stereotypes, guilt, and stigma that surrounds their world. The decision to take one’s life is neither a light one nor an indicator of character flaw, but rather a sign of deep immense pain that the victim has carried for far too long.

The Middle-Aged Men as a High Risk Suicide Group

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 33,000 people commit suicide in the United States every year. Also, an estimated 25 attempted suicides occur for each successful suicide death. Those who survive attempted suicides live to nurse serious physical injuries in addition to mental problems including depression. Suicide is by far one of the major preventable health problems that has widespread impact in medical and labor costs to a tune of $30 billion per year. This is figure does not take into account the emotional toll on friends and families which is certainly enormous.

While more women attempt suicide than men, men are much more likely to actually commit suicide.

The Hidden Epidemic

Suicide cases among the middle-aged men are considered a hidden epidemic. Previously, younger men were the ones who were at a higher risk compared to older ones, but this is changing fast with men in the prime life being the biggest area of concern as in suicide prevention and management. According to research, the particular category of middle-aged men prone to suicide is that comprising people in the lower socio-economic strata. This is probably due to feelings of underachievement and worthlessness. The middle-aged men have for long been excluded in the suicide public awareness campaigns and screening programs and as such have grown to be vulnerable.

Midlife Introspection and Assessment

Image of depressed man listening his therapist advice

Most middle-aged men are keen in assessing their own achievements, position, and general life welfare relative to their career, social relationships and family. This heightened awareness of self-progression has been linked with lots of problems including depression, mental health problems, alcoholism, and suicide. This is particularly the case where such assessments are subjectively found to be negative.

Masculinity

Masculinity is a social construct that tends to impede mental and physical health growth for men particularly those in the middle age. Although masculinity has a cultural, historical, and gender connotation, it is continuously being constructed and deconstructed relative to life events, ethnicity, social context, class, and age. One form of masculinity known as hegemonic masculinity carries the aspiration of men against which they measure themselves in relation to other masculine and feminine characteristics. People subscribing to this kind of masculinity strive for power, are aggressive, dominant, independent, and competitive. A higher engagement in risk behavior and decreased help-seeking are the two crucial health damaging manifestations that are likely to propel men towards suicidal behavior.

Another type of masculinity which has also been associated with a fair share of suicidal behaviors is marginalized masculinity. This type of masculinity is linked with gender relations experienced by middle-aged men in the lower socio-economic strata.

Masculinity endorses and fosters power and emotional control. Depression on the other hand is closely associated with a sense of powerlessness and lack of emotional control. Because men are reluctant in expressing their emotions, they may deny or conceal distress thereby not seeking and getting the help they need. Most of the middle-aged men conceptualize suicide as a pathway to regaining control when confronted with a sense of powerlessness.

Identity and Coping Skills

Most middle-aged men are constantly bombarded by cultural changes, societal transformations, and socio-economic factors that largely influence and shape their experiences, identities, emotions, relationships. These transformations have been seen to contribute significantly to the context of suicidal behavior seen in middle-aged men.

The society seems to have moved on as far as the traditional masculinity role is concerned but the middle-aged men are not as prepared to deal with the changes happening to their roles in society. They are literally part of a buffer generation which is caught in between two generations; the post-war generation (me) and the pre-war (silent) generation. As a result of this, they feel trapped and the best way to reclaim their own masculinity is by committing suicide.

Are You Depressed? Here Are Some Therapies That May Help

Are you anxious or depressed and unable to undertake your day to day activities? Well, there are good news because therapy has been found to work as effectively and in some cases more effective than medication. The only challenge you have to surmount is in getting the right therapist who will understand your condition and craft a proper solution for it. Depression is an age old disorder that affects the mind and disrupts your normal functioning. The following are some of the therapy solutions you can seek to help stem this disorder.

Working with a therapist can bring lasting relief.

Working with a therapist can bring lasting relief.

Psychoanalysis

Developed by Sigmund Freud, psychoanalysis is often referred to as the mother of all therapies. This therapy involves probing the psyche of the patient with an aim to resurface unconscious impulses and behavioral patterns. The treatment may last for a number of weeks or even years depending on how well you cope with it.

Psychodynamic Therapy

This is more or less of a reduced form of psychoanalysis in that the sessions are not as frequent and the treatment is briefer lasting for a year or less. The treatment here focuses on personal development, the unconscious, as well as the relationship between the patient and the therapist. The techniques applied are different to those of psychoanalysis and the targeted goals are much more limited.

Cognitive Therapy

Depression and anxiety can be caused or contributed by negative thought patterns. Cognitive therapy comes into the picture to turn around negative thinking and thought patterns. When undergoing treatment, you will learn the formation of irrational thoughts and how to replace them with constructive thinking. The focus in cognitive therapy is in solving immediate problems and it lasts for about four months or less. It also comes with homework where the therapist may ask the patients to track their moods and practice new ways of thinking.

Behavioral Therapy

This therapy helps you to change your behavior and thereby overcome problems. For instance, you may be exposed gradually to anxiety inducing situations through a process known as desensitization so that you can become comfortable with these situations. In most instances, therapists pair behavioral therapy with cognitive therapy so as to address both the behavior and thought patterns. This results into a therapy known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

 Interpersonal Therapy

Depression may at times be caused by lack of social support and interpersonal conflicts. In these instances, interpersonal therapy may be the solution for you. This therapy just like cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy is brief and focused. As the patient, you are asked to closely examine your relationships with your family, co-workers, friends, and other key people in your life. This will help you to resolve any interpersonal conflict as well as improve communication and build a solid support network. As part of the treatment, the therapist may ask you to create an inventory of vital relationships and role play.

In addition to the above therapies, there are other treatments such as experiential therapy which helps you to distinguish between healthy and unhealthy emotional responses as well as online therapy which is simply a therapy offered through an online platform.

Understanding and Addressing Anxiety & Panic Disorders

Anxiety and Stress and its Destructive Qualities

Anxiety and Stress and its Destructive Qualities

 

Feelings of anxiety are common and they affect every one of us at one time or the other. It is considered a normal emotion and a majority of people experience nervousness and anxiety at work, before taking tests or when making important decisions in their lives. However, you must be careful not to confuse nervousness with anxiety disorders because the latter can cause distress and interfere with your normal life functions. Anxiety disorder is a mental illness characterized by fear and worry, which can be overwhelming and at times disabling. Learning how to manage these feelings through treatment can enable you to live a fulfilling life.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

There are a number of anxiety disorders some of which include:

Panic Disorder – People suffering from this condition experience feelings of terror that tend to strike repeatedly and suddenly without a preamble. Other symptoms include sweating, palpitations, chest pains, and feelings of choking.

Social Anxiety Disorder – This is also referred to as social phobia and involves overwhelming instances of self-consciousness and worry about day to day situations. The worry is often centered around the fear of being judged by other people or behaving in a manner likely to cause embarrassment or ridicule.

Specific Phobias – This refers to intense fears of a particular situation or object such as fear of heights or flying. The level of fear is normally inappropriate to the situation and when it persists, can cause you to avoid every day situations.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

Just as there are different types of anxiety disorders, so are the symptoms. That being said, there are general symptoms that can indicate the existence or risk of anxiety disorders. Some of these signs include:

Sleeping problems

Sweaty feet and hands

Shortness of breath

Palpitations

Dry mouth

Muscle tension

Dizziness

Nausea

Tingling or numbness in the hands and feet

The Causes of Anxiety Disorders

The main cause of anxiety disorders is largely unknown, but scientists are still doing research to determine the combination of factors that result into anxiety disorders. Up until now, we know that anxiety disorders are linked to environmental stress and changes in the brain. The mind contains circuits that regulate emotions including fear. Where these circuits are interfered with, anxiety may result.

For instance, severe or long lasting stress can change the manner in which nerve cells transmit information from one part of the brain to the other and this can cause anxiety. A few studies have managed to trace anxiety disorders along family lines which have brought into the open the possibility of genetic transmission and inheritance.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Anxiety Disorders

When you exhibit symptoms of anxiety disorders, the doctor may evaluate your situation by asking questions touching on your medical history as well as perform a physical examination. There are various tests other than lab tests that specialists resort to in a bid to diagnose anxiety disorders.

Psychiatrists and psychologists are better placed to evaluate your condition using assessment tools and interviews. The intensity of your condition and the duration of the symptoms are a pointer upon which the medical practitioner basis his or her diagnosis.

The treatment approach to be used for anxiety disorders depends on the type of disorder you are suffering from. The practitioner may recommend therapies such as psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, or even drugs. Psychotherapy is a type of counseling which helps in addressing the emotional response to mental conditions. The health professionals will take you through a number of strategies that will help you understand and deal with your disorder.

Though anxiety disorders cannot be prevented, there are things you can do to lessen or control the symptoms such as reduction in consumption of certain foods and drinks such as chocolate, energy drinks, coffee, cola, and tea. Ensure you seek counseling and support if you have any reason to believe your anxiety is overboard.

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