Tag Archives: depression

About depression: supporting people with depression

Depression is a medical illness that affects the mind and body. It can affect how a person feels, acts and thinks on a daily basis.

Friends and family members of a person with depression may also feel the impact of the disease. If someone in your life is depressed, you may worry about his or her well-being, or you may notice its effect on your relationship. You may feel sad or helpless about how the illness robs your loved one of enjoying life or engaging in everyday activities.

When a friend or family member experiences depression, you can help the person seek appropriate care, develop coping skills and create a low-stress environment. You can offer emotional support and compassion. And you can learn to take care of yourself and manage the impact of the disorder on your own life.

Educate yourself about depression

You can help a loved one with depression by educating yourself about the disease. Read about it. Talk to other people you know who have been treated for depression or have helped someone else cope with it. The more you understand about what causes depression, how it affects people and how it can be treated, the better equipped you will be to talk to and help a friend or family member with signs of depression.

You can begin by learning to recognize signs and symptoms of depression: Continue reading About depression: supporting people with depression

If antidepressant doesn’t work For depressed teen

If a depressed teen doesn’t respond to treatment with commonly prescribed antidepressants the first time around, new research suggests there’s still hope.

Switching medications and adding behavioral talk therapy turned out to be the most effective alternative, although just switching medications also helped many individuals.

“On average, these kids were ill for two years and no matter which treatment they got, at least 40 percent responded within 12 weeks,” said study author. “I really think the take-home message to families is if you don’t respond to the first treatment, don’t give up.”

The issue of whether depressed or troubled children should even take antidepressants has been at the center of an intense public debate in recent years.

Some research has turned up evidence that kids on antidepressants have a higher rate of suicide ideation, meaning suicidal thoughts and behavior.

Heeding this data, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2004 asked manufacturers of antidepressants to add a black-box warning to their labels warning about the increased suicide risk.

Recent research, however, has found that the benefits of antidepressants outweigh the risks for children and teens under the age of 19.

About 60 percent of adolescents with depression respond to treatment with antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Guidelines recommend prescribing SSRI medications, psychotherapy or both as a first-line treatment for this younger population. (The only SSRI approved by the FDA for use in pediatric patients is Prozac, but others are prescribed on an off-label basis).

Unfortunately, 40 percent do not respond to the first therapy they try, and there’s little guidance on what to do next.

There’s just not that much research in kids, period

For this latest study, the researchers chose 334 patients aged 12 to 18 years, all of whom had major depressive disorder and had not responded to two months of SSRI treatment. They were randomly selected to receive one of four treatment possibilities for 12 weeks: a second, different SSRI; a different SSRI plus cognitive behavioral therapy; Effexor (a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, or SNRI); or Effexor plus cognitive behavioral therapy.

While the drugs were taken for 12 weeks; therapy lasted nine sessions.

There was a 54.8 percent response rate among those teens who switched to talk therapy plus either medication, compared to 40.5 percent for a medication switch alone.

There was no difference in response rates between Effexor and a second SSRI. However, there was a greater increase in blood pressure and pulse and more frequent skin problems with Effexor than the other drugs.

About Depression

Depression isn’t a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply “snap out of.” Depression, formally called major depression, major depressive disorder or clinical depression, is a medical illness that involves the mind and body. It affects how you think and behave and can cause a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may not be able to go about your usual daily activities, and depression may make you feel as if life just isn’t worth living anymore.

Effective diagnosis and treatment can help reduce even severe depression symptoms. And with effective treatment, most people with depression feel better, often within weeks, and can return to the daily activities they previously enjoyed.

Signs and symptoms of depression

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Loss of interest in normal daily activities
  • Feeling sad or down
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Crying spells for no apparent reason
  • Problems sleeping
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Unintentional weight gain or loss
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Being easily annoyed
  • Feeling fatigued or weak
  • Feeling worthless
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicidal behavior
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

Depression symptoms can vary greatly because different people experience depression in different ways. A 25-year-old man with depression may not have the same symptoms as a 70-year-old man, for instance. For some people, depression symptoms are so severe that it’s obvious something isn’t right. Others may feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.

Continue reading About Depression