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Depression

Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being.

Depression and Women

Does women suffer from depression more often than men?

Depressed ManBoth men and women suffer from depression, but studies have shown that women suffer from depression twice as much as men do. Over the decades, many things have been blamed on a woman’s biological function, and a great deal of research has been put into this.

While a woman’s biological function does play a role in depression, other factors come into play as well. Several decades ago, women had very little control over their lives. It was standard that the man of the house — whether that was a woman’s father, husband or a grown son — made the decisions and had all of the control.

This lack of control can lead to depression, both in men and women. But since it was women who were the ones without any control, it was more often they that had to deal with the depression that this causes. Today, however, women are more in control. But there are still factors that affect them, as much as men, that lead to depression, such as relationship problems, the loss of a loved one, and financial changes.Depression, sadness and lonelyness

Furthermore, society shows us images of what women are “expected” to be, and these are things that few women in the world can live up to. This in turn affects the self-esteem, which in turn can lead to depression. Women see men’s reactions to those unrealistic images, and think that this is what they are supposed to be.

Women, who were children in the sixties, are in a real quandary today. Then, the world was changing for women. Depressed Woman - All AloneThose women were raised in homes where the old standards still applied, and then tossed into the world where all of the rules, standards, and social expectations had changed. This has contributed to even more self-esteem issues. The question “Who am I, and who am I supposed to be?” becomes very hard to answer.

So, yes, women do suffer from depression more often than men, and while hormones do play a role, there are many other aspects of life that also contribute to depression for women.

Never assume that a female is just suffering from PMS and that everything will be better in a few days!

Differences between male and female depression:
Women tend to: Men tend to:
Blame themselves Blame others
Feel sad, apathetic, and worthless Feel angry, irritable, and ego inflated
Feel anxious and scared Feel suspicious and guarded
Avoid conflicts at all costs Create conflicts
Feel slowed down and nervous Feel restless and agitated
Have trouble setting boundaries Need to feel in control at all costs
Find it easy to talk about self-doubt and despair Find it “weak” to admit self-doubt or despair
Use food, friends, and “love” to self-medicate Use alcohol, TV, sports, and sex to self-medicate
Adapted from: Male Menopause by Jed Diamond

Aromatherapy as Treatment of Depression

We are all affected by sights, sounds, and smells.

That is why aromatherapy is effective for so many different things that we may experience in our lives. It includes physical illnesses as well as mental setbacks, such as depression. In fact, aromatherapy is highly effective in easing the symptoms of depression.

LavenderLavender is one of the most effective scents for the treatment of depression. This scent increases the instance of waves in the back of the head, which promotes relaxation. Jasmine is also another well-known scent, as it increases the example of waves in the front of the head.

However, the waves increased in the back of the head with lavender are alpha waves — for relaxation — while the waves increased in the front of the head are beta waves — for alertness.

Aside from lavender and jasmine, other scents are also useful for various aspects of depression symptoms. These include clary sage (insomnia), basil (fatigue), rose (nervous system), and sandalwood (tension). Other prominent scents that may ease symptoms of depression include chamomile, patchouli, bergamot, rosemary, and geranium.

Essential OilWhile you can use candles for aromatherapy, the ideal method is to use essential oils of the herb scent that you require. Essential oils can be used as diffusers, in baths, massages, or even as perfume or body splashes.

Again, when using scents for aromatherapy, the oils are more effective than candles. These oils can be purchased from health food stores and online sources. In many cases, you will receive a small break on the cost when ordering larger quantities.

While aromatherapy will ease symptoms of depression, it should not replace therapy that is needed to treat depression, and it may not even replace medications used for treatment of depression.

Be sure to discuss treatment options with your doctor.

When aromatherapy is used as treatment of depression, oils are more effective than candles

What Type of Bipolar Disorder Is It?

Each bipolar disorder illness is unique!

Uniqueness of Bipolar DisorderWhen nearly anyone thinks about bipolar disorder, they think of the symptoms of “regular” bipolar disorder.  Not that any person with bipolar disorder is “regular” (and most would not want to be), but there are several different subtypes of bipolar disorder.

One big problem with bipolar disorder is that each illness is unique.  Psychiatrists may classify them into categories – but they don’t always fit.  Here are some case scenarios: (bipolar episodesbipolar groups)

•    Jennifer has episodes where she is extremely agitated and unhappy and never seems to sleep very much.  These periods seem to last for a long period of time – but can alternate with months where she is simply unhappy and doesn’t feel like doing anything.
•    Max has had periods of depression before.  A lot of times, they go away after a couple of months and then he seems normal but recently he “disappeared” for a couple of weeks after some really bizarre behavior.  His friends never knew that he was any kind of bipolar until he told them he had been at the hospital.
•    Ben has periods of depression that can last for several months but when he is not depressed, he is productive and seems quite outgoing.
•    Sandra’s mood state can switch erratically.  One day she is all about shopping and the next time you call her, she is still in bed at noon.   This is a constant issue – and you never know what you are going to get.

These are three examples of bipolar disorder that don’t seem to fit the “normal” pattern.  None of these patients seems to be “regular” bipolar.

Bipolar disorder is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) as:

Bipolar Disorder TypeBipolar I Disorder: manic or mixed episodes that last at least 7 days – or if manic symptoms are severe enough to need hospitalization.  This, usually, includes periods of depression that last at least two weeks.
Jennifer and Max both fit into this category.  Even though Max never had a severe manic episode, having a bipolar episode that warrants medical attention, he qualifies for the Bipolar I category.  Jennifer has mixed episodes – rather than euphoria or traditional mania – she has periods of “dysphoria” where she is agitated, irritable and irrational but with an excess of energy.

Bipolar II Disorder: depressive and hypomanic episodes in a pattern – but manic episodes are not severe.
Ben has Bipolar II disorder.  He has periods of depression that are debilitating, but his non-depressed periods are quite productive, and he doesn’t exhibit manic behavior.

Bipolar Disorder Not Otherwise Specified: (Bipolar Disorder NOS) symptoms of illness don’t meet any other group, but the symptoms are clearly not within the standard range.
Sandra has BP-NOS.  She is what is commonly called a “rapid cycler,” meaning that she switches back and forth from mania to depression much faster than other people with bipolar disorder.

There is also a very mild form of bipolar disorder known as cyclothymia.  It is a cyclical pattern of hypomania alternating with periods of mild depression.  Many people would not even realize this is a problem.

Bipolar disorder is hard to classify.  It may be easy to determine that someone has a problem – but the uniqueness of each bipolar case makes it more difficult for even a patient to identify with the diagnosis.  Each type of bipolar disorder is, usually, treated the same medically. With an anti-manic agent (Lithium), anti-epileptic (Lamictal, Depakote) or atypical antipsychotic (Abilify, Zyprexa) – and sometimes with an antidepressant.

Melissa Lind

Depression and Exercise

Exercise can, in some cases, eliminate the symptoms associated with depression.

The energy creates more energy – a statement that is proved by science a long time ago.

Take a walk when you start to feel drowsy will perk you up and helps you get through the day without a nap. While this is a significant benefit of exercise, there are, of course, other benefits.

Naturally, you think that exercise is important for weight control, muscle tone, and even bone strength. But, did you know that exercise can also aid in the treatment of depression?

Exercise Improve MoodsWhen we exercise, endorphins are released in the brain. Those endorphins make us feel happy. Note that exercise is not in any way a cure for depression — the depression still needs to be treated by a doctor, and possibly with the help of a therapist, but exercise can lessen, and in some cases eliminate the symptoms associated with depression.

For the relief of depression symptoms, doctors recommend regular exercise for approximately 30 minutes, three to five times a week. You don’t have to go to the gym for a complete workout. Again, just taking a 30-minute walk will do wonders. The important thing is to get the blood flowing through your body.

Naturally, when one is depressed, they don’t feel like exercising, and 30 minutes of exercise may be asking a bit much — at first.
However, even 10 minutes of exercise will improve your mood, although you won’t feel any long-term effects from such a small amount of exercise.

Despite this, if you can’t muster 30 minutes of exercise right out of the gate, start with smaller amounts of exercise time and slowly work your way up to a full 30 minutes.

Not only will exercise improve depression symptoms by releasing endorphins, it will also help you to sleep better at night, which also helps with the treatment of depression.

Depression needs to be treated by a therapist, or with the help of a doctor

Teenager Depression and Moodiness

Don`t confuse moodiness with depression

These days, we recognize more and more that the pressures put on our children do indeed bring on depression. There was a time that if a teenager — or an adult for that matter — suffered from depression, it was kept silent, and only certain members of the family were aware of the problem (if they were aware at all).

Today, that is no longer the case. There has been so much research done in the area of depression that it is now an “open” topic. Thankfully, teenagers are more aware that they are not alone with their feelings or problems and that help is available.

Depressed Young Girl with HangoverTeenagers are often moody. That is a natural part of being a teenager, and it is caused by the chemical changes in the brain as they go through puberty. However, moodiness should not be confused with depression — and vice versa.

The symptoms of depression in teenagers include:

•    Irritability anger or hostility
•    Tearfulness
•    Crying
•    Withdrawal from friends, family, and usual activities
•    Sadness or hopelessness
•    Changes in sleeping patterns
•    Changes in appetite
•    Agitation
•    Restlessness
•    Lack of motivation
•    Fatigue
•    Difficulty focusing
•    Difficulty making decisions
•    Thoughts of suicide and increased thoughts of death in general

Teenager Depression SpecialistAside from these general symptoms of depression, one must be aware that teenagers express their feelings in ways that are different than most adults. For example, your child may start experiencing problems at school, run away from home, start experimenting with and abusing drugs or alcohol, develop an eating disorder, become addicted to the Internet, injure themselves on purpose, become violent, have a general reckless behavior, or attempt suicide.

Treatment for a depressed teen starts at home, where the parents need to discover whether the child is depressed or not or whether something else may be causing the problem.

It is important that your teen understands that he or she is loved and accepted and that you are there for them. An appointment with a family doctor is needed, and he or she will most likely point you to a specialist that is qualified to deal with teenagers depression.

A specialist is best-qualified to deal with teenager depression

Depression and Sex life

Depression can affect every aspect of one’s life — including sex

Most people believe that the depression causes one to not be interested in sex, but this is not entirely correct. Depression can actually have the opposite effect as well. It can cause one to become abnormally interested in sex.

Depression and Sex lifeWith that said, however, in most cases, depression does cause one to lose interest in sex. The other partner in a relationship may feel that the person lost interest in sex with them if they do not understand depression. They may even start to feel resentment towards the depressed partner, even if they do understand depression.

Sex requires energy, coordination, and even spontaneity. Unfortunately, because depression does tend to slow down the mind and the body systems, these are things that it is very hard for a depressed person to do or feel. Normally things like that is the reason there is a diminished interest in sex when one is depressed. They may also feel unloved or unworthy of love.

There is a physical aspect to these things as well. Men who are often depressed have difficulty attaining or maintaining an erection.

Women who are often depressed have trouble reaching orgasm. These physical problems make the depressed person want sex even less — and may even serve to deepen the overall depression.

People who were interested in sex before they were treated for depression may suddenly become uninterested in sex again, as well. This because many of the antidepressants used for depression will have an adverse affect on one’s sexual drive. Often, however, this will pass as the body adjusts itself to the medication. For others, these feelings may not pass until the medication is discontinued.

The important thing to realize is that as depression is treated, these problems and feelings also diminish, and the person does indeed become interested in sex once again.

Abnormally interested in sex (PowerPoint)