Browsing: Depression

What Causes Depression and How It Can Be Cured?

All of us feel low and sad once in a while, but we often confuse depression with sadness. It is very important to understand the difference between the general sadness and long-lasting depression. If you discover that your sadness is lasting for more than two weeks, particularly without a reason, in that case, prospects are high that you are suffering from depression. It is a serious problem which affects you in both ways, physically and mentally. Feeling irritated, anxious, persistent sadness, fatigue, lack of interest in hobbies and other day-to-day activities are some of the signs of depression.

There are various forms of depressions depending on the duration it lasts:

1. Dysthymia or Persistent depressive disorder – Dysthymia is a condition when a person feels regularly depressed for at least two years. The good thing about dysthymia is that it is curable. Dysthymia develops the feeling of double depression inside the person.

2. Psychotic disorder – It is a type of depression, which occurs when a person is suffering from some psychosis in addition with depression. A person may notice symptoms of delusion and hallucination in many cases.

3. Perinatal disorder – This disorder is often observed in pregnant women and women who gives birth. A woman tends to feel mild to major anxiety, sadness and depression, which makes really tough for her to perform regular activities or to take care of herself or the baby.

4. SAD (Seasonal affective disorder) – SAD generally occurs due to shortage of sunlight or less access to natural light. This disorder generally disturbs the person in winters. You will automatically notice the changes in your behavior in the summer and springs. Your mood will naturally uplift to see more sunlight around you.

Life events play an important role in causing depression. Heartbreak, living with an abusive partner, loneliness, work stress, long-term unemployment, losing a job could be some of the factors that cause depression. It has been observed that under confident people and people who take tensions and possess low self-esteem also ends up suffering with depression at some point in life. It can also happen due to Chemical imbalance in the brain.

There are plenty of options available to fight depression. But it is not necessary that everything works for everyone, so make sure that you analyze the symptoms carefully and picking only the right option to cure depression. It is a well-known that making changes in our lifestyle can help us beat depression easily.

  • Include exercises to your daily routine and do not forget to get proper sleep.
  • Practice meditation and various relaxation tips available.
  • Seek help of family and friends. Discuss your problems with them and try to figure out the solution together.
  • Stay away from all negative thoughts and pay attention to all positive things present around you.
  • Appreciate others and yourself. Boost your confidence and believe in yourself.
  • Eat foods like dark chocolate, celery, almond which boosts your mood and make you feel better and happy.

Just remember that nothing lasts forever and every problem comes with a solution. All you need to do is to believe in yourself. Say to yourself that 'I can' and 'I will', no matter what there is nothing that you can not do or have in life.

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Defy Your Depression

Many medical professionals make a skilled out of treating depression. I am not a trained medical professional. But, I am a sufferer of depression. I have suffered from childhood up to this day, and I am sixty-years-old now. So, I can boast to have had experience with being depressed. Also, I am still here, so I can say that depression has not defeated me. I would like to suggest to you that you can control your depression. Likely you can not defeat (banish) it from your life.

Some of us are wired to be depressed. It is in our DNA. I think that I must be one of those people, because I know that members of my extended family, both before and after my birth, also struggle with depression. Did you know that there are valuable qualities within the malady of depression? Depressed people worry. People who worry become watchful. They can spot danger while there is time to escape from the consequences of danger. Many folks who worry become planners. A planner can devise a way to safety. So, if you are already to see the glass half empty, to absorb the worst possible exit, or to sense danger when there is no sign that it is actually there, then take heart. You are in fact a valuable member of your tribe (or family).

Depression is harmful to you and to all those around you if you allow your tendency to pay more attention to your negative feelings to become obsessive. One example of obsessive depression is when you are greeted by family, friends, and even strangers, you seize the opportunity to launch into your well-rehearsed tales of enduring woe and self-pity. This hurts; that hurts; I have no money; everything I own breaks; someone was mean to me today … and someone will be mean to me tomorrow! You are smart enough to know that every person on the planet has problems. Why do you think your problems are special, and merit repeating to others as if you had crafted art on the same scale as an ancient Greek tragedy? OK, that was harsh. But, I would do wrong by you if I gave you the tiniest belief that you have a right to have that way. Keep that up and your friends will drift away. Your family will shun you. Strangers will observe the downer attitude in your countenance, and they will cross a busy street in order to avoid contact with you. Do you understand that you must be happy, independent of the things that depress you?

You must determine how to go about elevating the happy things in your life in order to defy your depression. Some of you may need a trained medical professional to help you. But, a great number of you can do this on your own. Start by getting enough sleep. Change your diet to healthy foods. Begin and stick to an exercise program. Discipline yourself to say something hopeful to people. If you feel compelled to follow that up with depressed talk, excuse yourself and get out of there before you do it. I found that a few Christian Biblical stories helped me with my depression.

A good one is found in the Biblical book of Philippians, Chapter 4, verse 10. In it, the person who has every right to be depressed is Paul, once a great sinner, who was changed to take up “The Great Commission” ( Matthew 28: 16-20) as a missionary. The verse is his letter to the Philippian Church that has sent him money. Paul is in a Roman prison. He has been falsely accused, almost killed in two riots, was stoned almost to death, and has suffered numerous beats. He is expecting the Romans to send him to death. Justifiably he could succumb to depression. Yet, his writing is hopeful, such as: “I have learned to be content, whatever my circumstances.” Content means happy. Your life is a gift of grace. Celebrate the gift that you received by being happy. Do that, and you will defy your depression.

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Depression: Is Self-Awareness An Important Part Of Dealing With Depression?

Everyone on this planet will have experienced physical pain at one point or another, and there is also the chance that they have suffered mentally and emotionally. And though it could be said that there is a greater awareness around the former than the latter, it does not mean that this is because what is taking place within can simply be overlooked.

One Outlook

As based on how today's world is, it would be easy to say that what is taking place at a mental and emotional level is not as important as what is taking place at a physical level. There is then no reason for each area to receive the same amount of attention and everything should stay as it is.

If one has suffered on the inside, they will know that physical pain is not something that is more important. They could find it hard to understand why the world is the way it is, and this is to be expected.

Another View

At the same time, if one has not suffered in the same way, they might find it hard to understand why someone would have this outlook. In their eyes, it could be seen as something that does not have much of an effect on how someone experiences life.

In this case, if they were to come across someone who is suffering internally, they might wonder why they can not just 'get over it', for instance. They could believe that these kinds of people are weak.


Therefore, if they were to come across someone who is suffering, they may tell them that they need to toughen up. And that if they were to start taking action or to simply change their life, they would soon feel better.

Still, it would be inaccurate to say this outlook will apply to everyone that has not suffered, as there will be people that have good understanding of what it is like. This could be a sign that they have friends and / or family who have a mental and emotional problem.

In The Past

Along with this, one may also have suffered in one way or another in the past, and this then gives them a defect understanding of what it is like. Either way, they will have the ability to empathize with people who are suffering as opposed to dismissing their experience.

As when one looks down on people who suffer in this way or wonders why they can not just 'get it together', it can be a sign that they find it hard to empathise. But if they do have this ability, then it shows that something is replacing them from putting themselves in these people's shoes.


One of the reasons why physical pain receives more attention than mental and emotional pain is due to a number of reasons. For so long, having mental and emotional problems has been seen as something to be accused of.

This has then stopped people from reaching out for the support that they need and it then sets them up to suffer in silence. Fortunately, as time has passed, this is starting to change; however, there are still plenty of people who are still unable to reach out for the support they needily need.

Part of Life

Having a mental and emotional problem can then become a life sentence and not something that one can gradually move beyond. It then will not matter what kind of condition their body is in, as they will not be able to enjoy the life that they have been given.

And one of the most common mental and emotional problems that someone can suffer from is depression. This can be a something that is fairly mild, or it can be something that is far more extreme.


Through experience this, one can feel down and lose interest in life; each day will then be a struggle. This is not to say that everyone experiences depression in the same, as there can be a difference in how if affects people.

At the same time, this is how many people experience life when they are depressed. And when one ends up feeling depressed, they can end up suffering in silence or they can go and see their doctor, for instance.

The Second Option

If one was to go and see their doctor, they might end up being referred to a therapist and / or end up being put on antidepressants. It could be said that it would be better for them to work with a therapist than to simply take something.

The reason for this is that it will give them the chance to look into why they are experiencing life in this way; whereas if they were to simply take something, they would not be able to gain a better understanding of themselves. There is also the chance that it might be better for them to avoid taking anything, but this can all depend on the circumstances.


Through working with a therapist, it will give them the chance to bring their attention within them and to take a deer look into why they are experience life in this way. Yet this does not mean that one needs to work with a therapist in order to do this, as they can do this by themselves.

This can be a time where one can think about when they first started to experience life in this way and what was taking place for them at this time. Or if this in an experience that comes and goes; they can look into what takes place when it comes and what takes place when it goes.

A Process

When one's point of focus is on what is taking place within them, they will be observing their thoughts, emotions and sensations. The feelings that arise inside then could relate to something that has occurred during their adult life or what took place during their childhood.

This can then mean that one is carrying trapped emotions in their body, and this will have an effect on what is taking place in their head. But like most things in life, it can take a while before one is able to observe what is taking place within them.

Different Factors

At the same time, this does not mean that depression is also caused by what is taking place within them, as it can be due to what they eat, the kind of environment they live in and what has been passing down from their ancestors. When their experience is not their own and it has been passed down, they will be suffering out of their need to be loyal.


Through developing self-awareness one will be able to get the ball moving and from here, they can begin to see what why they are experiencing life as they are. The alternative would be for one to have absolutely no awareness of what is taking place within them and it would then be a lot harder for them to change their life.

If one wants to develop self-awareness, they can do this through working with a therapist and by meditating. Reading books on self-development can also help.

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4 Things to Know About Postpartum Depression

The feeling of giving birth to a baby and the joy of experiencing motherhood is probably the best phase for a woman. However, amid all the happiness and celebrations lie a hidden truth that most people seem to ignore: the probability of postpartum depression (PPD). PPD is real and can affect a mother within the first month of delivery, but the risk can persist longer.

According to a research review published in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry in May 2016, approximately 14.5 percent women generally experience an episode of depression during pregnancy or in the initial months of delivery. However, many seem to overlook the symptoms of PPD and do not seek treatment. PPD may even impact the child as it significantly hampers the child's behavioral and emotional development.

Dr. Erin Smith of the Western Psychiatric Institute and the Clinic of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and colleges said, “Postpartum depression remains vastly under-diagnosed and under-treated, despite widespread consensus regarding itsvalence and potentially devastating consequences.”

Some of the important things to know about PPD are listed here:

  1. Do not confuse between hormonal changes and PPD : PPD can haunt anyone, be it a first-time mother or any other woman. Due to hormonal changes, feeling low in an instant and normal soon is a part of motherhood. But in case of continuous depressive episodes, when restlessness and misery become a regular affair, voraciously taking a toll on the woman, she might be suffering from PPD and probably needs medical help.
  2. PPD does not define you as a bad mother : Becoming a mother does not come without challenges. PPD can occur in most cases and is not rare. It does not define one as a bad mother, however. If it would have, then there would have been so many bad mothers around the world. The cycle of pregnancy and motherhood comes with its own challenges. A woman has to go through the terrible labor pain and after the delivery she has to be involved in nursing and feeding for hours. She has to attend to the child and her own needs. Mothers are bound to suffer from depression with varying degrees of severity. Some suffer from mild symptoms that can be ignored, but some others experience persistent episodes of depression.
  3. It can occur anytime between the first month and a year : Typically, PPD occurs within the first month of delivery, though there are risks of its occurrence even after a couple of months. Hollywood actor Courtney Cox suffered from PPD after six months of her baby's birth. While speaking about her delayed PPD to the USA Today , she said, “I could not sleep. My heart was racing. And I got really depressed.” PPD can last for more than a year, so it is important to seek treatment as soon as your body starts showing certain instabilities.
  4. Do not indulge in alcohol : Alcohol is definitely bad. The entire concept of drawing comfort from alcohol is nothing but a short-lived euphoria that can be detrimental to the mother's health. There is no point in taming the depressing thoughts through alcohol because they are bound to recur. A better solution is to sit with a friend or a family member and talk over a cup of coffee, may be.

Dealing with PPD

PPD is treatable with the right kind of treatment. Psychotherapy, coupled with some medications, can be a reasonable option to tackle depressive episodes based on one's condition.

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Things to Do to Fight Back Depression

Depression does not happen by choice; it is a malady that can come unannounced. It is like walking in a dark corridor without any clue about light on the other end. Depression makes one feel helpless, sad, tired and miserable without any reason. But it is not a sign of weakness of the human mind; it is, in fact, a severe mental disorder caused due to a change in the neurotransmitters of the brain. It affects moods, thoughts, sleep and even energy levels.

However, depression is a battle that can be won by adopting the right strategies. One can successfully overcome the agonies of this debilitating mental condition and lead a better life. Few steps that one can follow to fight depression and stay happy are:

1. Getting treated: Depression is an illness, like any other physical illness, which requires professional help. Medical experts are capable of diagnosing the intensity of the disorder and suggesting the best treatment. They will not judge the patient, but will patiently hear his / her woes without jumping to conclusions. Psychotherapies, coupled with medications, can help a person get back on track and lead a happy life. So, if one sees any symptoms of depression, he / she should seek treatment immediately.

2. Committing to recovery process: The process of achieving something is never too easy. One should commit to getting better, no matter how tough the process is. Recovery is not a one-day affair; it takes time and patience to recover from depression.

3. Believing in oneself: Depression can make a person lose confidence, but that will only aggravate the condition. Believing in oneself, especially in one's abilities, to overcome hardships is the best way to keep going.

4. Involving in interesting activities: Instead of laming over the situation, involving oneself in interesting activities can help manage depression effectively. Exercise, for example, produces endorphins that work as an antidepressant. So, regular exercise can help the body fight negative tendencies and feel refreshed. Meditation and yoga can help ward off negative thoughts and bring in positive energies.

After depression, joy can be a part of life

It is essential to seek treatment to overcome depression and lead a healthy life. Developing stronger ties with people with whom one banners connected can help beat the chronic blues. A recent study by the University of Toronto found that more than 40 percent of the surveyed people who previously had depression reported feelings of happiness or satisfaction almost daily, which is a healthy sign.

Lead author, Esme Fuller-Thomson said that the duration of depression did not have any impact on the recovery. “Our findings provide a hopeful message for both clients and clinicians: It is within the grasp of many individuals who have previously succumbed to depression to fully flourish and achieve complete mental health,” she added.

Today, the focus on mental health has moved beyond “just survival” to “recovery.” Patrick Corrigan, a professor of psychology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, said that initially it was about stealing hope away from people, but the recovery movement has reintroduced hope to the diagnoses.

Way to a depression-free future

Recovery from depression is attainable only if a person embraces the process of reclaiming a normal life. Today, medical science offers ample therapies and treatments that cater to a person's overall condition other than certain fragments of the disease.

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Why It Is Important to Take Medication for Depression

You may feel like your chest is being constrained because of all the thoughts you have. There are reasons for medication to be available, especially for depression. Here are the reasons why you should take medication even though you do not think it will work.

Depression is a serious and increasing condition. Although there are many situations that have been caused because of it, people will not take it seriously. Why? Because of the rates that it has increased. It goes around in a loop to a point that no one knows where to turn anymore. This reason is why people start to isolate themselves from everyone else. Anti-depressants are there so you can avoid certain scenarios and thoughts such as this one.

First of all, what are anti-depressants? The main purpose of these little pills is so that they can balance the chemicals in your brain to keep your mood at a neutral point. They do not needarily make you happy, known from experience, but rather keep you at an “in-between” state.

Many depression sufferers have the unfortunate condition of insomnia. The medication helps the sufferer to sleep better which is also a way of improving moods. So instead of feeling tired and sad, which causes you to feel even worse, you now only feel sad. It does not sound like much but believe that it does do a great favor.

According to learned psychology, the constrictiveness felt in your chest is because of the feelings you have towards your thoughts. Many have the hate towards their bodies, their position in life such as their jobs or the younger, less known sibling, and even just because they have never been happy (it is possible). This is another important reason to take the anti-depressant. Chances are that people have such hate towards themselves is because once-upon-a-time some person decided that you have to have the label of “stupid” or “fat”. If you can move, get up and walk you are not fat. Unfortunately, it is not simple getting people to believe that because of the comment they heard before this one. First impressions are important and a negative comment sticks longer than the first positive comment.

Many times you tell yourself that there is no point in taking what the doctor prescribed. That, in fact, is another reason why taking it is so important. The indecisiveness is a symptom of depression and can cause even more problems for you. That feeling of not being able to make a decision is another cause for the constrictive feeling in your chest.

Depression is a continuous loop in your brain. Make sure that when you take the medication that you have a change in your mood. It may not happen in the first few days but something is bound to happen. Never think that nothing will help. Someone is always there to listen to you.

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How to Come Out From Depression

Depression is a prolonged feeling of sadness, fear, hopelessness, anxiety, anger, guilt, helplessness and emptiness. The person suffering from depression may lose interest in the activities that once used to excite him. They may have problems in making decisions, remembering details and face relationship difficulties. They may even attempt or commit suicide.

The person going through depression may be suffering from insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, digestive problems, loss of energy and enthusiasm.

There is a wide spectrum of the things or events which can cause depressions. Some serious hardships during childhood like loss of a loved one, sexual or physical abuse can lead to depression in the later stages of life. Certain changes in human body like the menopause, childbirth, certain medical diagnosis (cancer, HIV), certain medication can be the cause of a depressed mood.

Chronic use of certain drugs of abuse including alcohol, sedatives, and opioids like heroin could aggravate the problem. Financial problems, job related issues, bullying, jealousy, and separation, social isolations are among the other reasons which make people vulnerable to depression.

When you're depressed, it can feel as if you will never be able to get out of this trap.
However even the most severe depressions are treatable.

If your depression is not allowing you to lead a normal life, do not hesitate to seek help. There are many effective treatments from therapy to medication to healthy lifestyle changes that can help you get better.

Here are a few depression treatment tips that can be of great help but keep in mind that there is no “one size fits all” treatment. What is beneficial for one person might not work for the other, so plan accordingly. Remember there is no hard and fast rule to treat depression.

– Try to find the root cause of your depression: It is important to know whether your depression is due to an underlying medical condition or some personal problem and then try to find the treatment accordingly.

– Do not rely on medication alone: ​​it can help you treat the symptoms of depression for short or moderate term, but usually not suitable for long term use. You can ask for professional help.

– Get social support: start sharing your problem with your friends, family or you can even join some support groups. Joining a support group is a great idea because all the members there can easily refer to your problem and can help you get better by sharing their personal experiences.

– Exercise: lifestyle changes like doing regular exercise can be as effective as medication. During exercising a number of chemicals like endorphins, serotonins are released inside the brains which help you feel good. Even a 30-60 minutes workout can do wonders. Going for a walk in nature, spending time among the plants and trees have also benefitted people suffering from depression.

– Nutrition: Eating a healthy and balanced diet will help you stay energetic the whole day and would avoid frequent mood swings. People who are constantly on a diet are usually very irritable and tend to look at things negatively, that is because we need a certain amount of good fat for our brain cells to function properly and when we are devoid of the same our whole system goes into low energy leading to a depressive frame of mind.

– Sleep: Sleep directly affects your mood. Sleep deprivation amplifies irritability, moodiness, sadness, and fatigue. Make it very sure that you take at least seven hours of sleep a day.

An estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression globally. Half of the people suffering from this disorder do not seek any medical or professional help because of the societal stigma associated with it. Our society need to be a little open minded and should accept them the way they are.

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Identifying Common Signs of Depression

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States, as per the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). It is a serious mental condition that needs immediate attention because neglecting or delaying treatment would only exacerbate the condition.

Love and care from the near and dear ones are crucial to a long-term recovery, apart from conventional treatment procedures. So, it becomes imperative to be aware of symptoms and behaviors which are indicative of depression in a person.

Although, at times, signs of depression could be hard to read, there are a few most common ones which can easily be identified and are telltale signs of the disease. Here, we look at some of the most common and obvious symptoms of depression:

Calling in sick frequently to workplace

The most common excuse of a depressed person is to call in sick frequently and avoid attaching work. It could have due to his or her relationship to interact with others and run away from situations. At times, a person could actually be unwell because of bodily aches and sleeplessness caused by depression. But whatever the reasons, the attendance in the office of a depressed person is significantly lower than his / her colleagues. They may also lack consistency in job performance and appear to be lost and incoherent.

Cutting ties with family and friends

This is an ominous sign when an otherwise friendly and lively person suddenly cuts all ties with family members and close friends. A depressed person stops socializing and enjoys being a recluse. There is complete abhorrence for activities once he or she enjoyed. This isolation may further worsen the symptoms and aggravate other hidden mental conditions in a person. So, family members should shoulder the responsibility and seek immediate help from clinicians and psychiatrists.

Frequenting doctor for vague and imaginary problems

A depressed person may be regularly plagued by imaginary fears and tend to experience unexplained body aches and pains. They may become hypochondriac and frequently visit the doctor for no apparent reasons. It explains how troubled they are from deep within. Staying away from treatment for long would not help the cause but deteriorate the condition. Antidepressants help in alleviating both the mental and physical pains in a patient.

Problem sleeping

Almost 80 percent of the depressed people have problem in sleeping. They may be crying in beds for a longer period than others, but they hardly manage a sound sleep. For most of it, they would only toss and turn on their beds, but devoid of any sleep. Inadequate and problem sleeping is the earliest sign of depression. A person losing sleep at home needs immediate attention and treatment should be taken right away.

Eating less than usual

Depression is invariably linked to poor eating and loss of appetite. A depressed person will not eat properly and tend to lose interests in food he / she enjoyed earlier. A possible fallout of this could be weight loss and the person would appear frail and thin. Not eating properly is an indication that the depressed person is losing interests in the necessities and pleasures of life, including food and sleep.

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5 Tips to Beat Seasonal Depression

Many people experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) that causes depressive episodes during different seasons. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) says that around 4 to 10 percent people in the United States suffer from SAD. However, some studies suggest that nearly 20 percent people may be affected by this disorder. Although more people are affected by SAD during winter season, one can exhibit depressive symptoms even during summer season.

When summer is marked by rainy days, things tend to worsen. Rainy days mean less light, which makes a person sleepy and gloomy with the bodies signaling that it is time to rest. If you do not like summer and feel that depression engulfs you in this weather, here are five summer depression busters that you can adopt:

  1. Plan something to lift the mood: To beat the summer blues, one does not have to plan an exotic holiday that might create a hole in the pocket. Going to a quiet café for lunch with a friend, or going on a long drive might just help beat the low mood. Planning something interesting through the entire summer can boost the mood and cut down depressed episodes.
  2. Do not dehydrate : Summer is the time when dehydration can catch you unawares. Have adequate water, citrus fruits, or refreshing juices to keep yourself hydrated. According to the studies conducted by the University of Connecticut's Human Performance Laboratory, even mild dehydration can significantly alter a person's mood, energy levels and his ability to think clearly. Researchers recommend that individuals should drink eight glasses or 8 ounce water a day, which is approximately equivalent to about 2 liters.
  3. Be near people: Being in isolation can make one more depressed than ever. One of the best things to do when depressed is to catch hold of a few friends and spend time with them. One can chat near a pool or just watch TV together. Even picking up a phone and calling up someone can help beat summer blues.
  4. Involve yourself in something new: Summer is a great time to take part in new activities. Break the monotony and try new things. For example, getting up early in the morning and taking a jog at a park will refresh the mind. Learning a new sport can also help better the mood and distract from depressive thoughts.
  5. Eat foods that help boost moods : When depressed, a person is honest to eat more. Moreover, during the summers, diet soda, ice cream, sweets, etc., usually become integral part of our daily food. But it must be remembered that sugar can aggravate depressive symptoms. Once the sugary flavor wears out, one might just feel worse than ever. Thus, it is recommended to consume healthy foods that boost the moods, like walnuts, blueberries, yogurt, chocolates, turkey, greasy fish, etc.

Battling summer depression

Just when baking the heat was a task in itself, depression stepped in to add to the problems. However, with little efforts from our own self, we can fight depression this summer and feel new and refreshing. But if depression persists and there is no relief from the terrible mood swings, opt for a depression help .

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A Supportive Family Environment Can Reduce Depression in Teens: Study

“May be I can not stop the downpour, but I will always, always join you for a walk in the rain,” these words by philosopher and author Albert Camus invariably support to be change agent in one's life.

A person may be going through a rough patch in life, but a little support from family and friends can help him keep going. A recent study by the University of Cambridge suggests that support from friends and family can lower the depression risk in teenagers. The research, published in the open access journal PLOS ONE in May 2016, revealed that a supportive family environment can be an important social factor in preventing teenage depression.

The study also stated that exposure to a negative environment in the family during childhood can make a teenager a prelude to bullying, in comparison to his peers.

Chance of developing depression more during adolescence

Adolescence is the time of key developments and increases the risks of mental illnesses, like depression and anxiety disorders. It can increase considering with initial signs and symptoms visible during this period. Childhood family adversities, like negative parenting, family loss, financial constraints, lack of affection from a loved one, sexual abuse, etc., can play a key role in causing depression. Moreover, such situations make a teen subject to bullying in school. The combination of both can invariably affect a child's life, making him prone to severe depression.

The researchers at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge analyzed 771 teenagers, including 322 boys and 449 girls. They examined the relationship between childhood family adversities and bullying before the age of 11, impact of friendships and family support at age 14 and appearance of depressive symptoms at age 17.

The researchers found that support from family and friends during early adolescence can help reduce depressive symptoms in teenage years. Moreover, such support can help children cope with early stress by improving their self-esteem which helps them sail through difficult situations. Such a positive environment assists children in building effective interpersonal skills that help them manage adverse situations. However, the study did not reflect on how social support can influence or affect mental health later in life.

The researchers also said that boys who have been bullied are less likely to develop strong friendship during adolescence in comparison to girls. But the study suggested that the difference exists because the boys suffered from severe bullying or were more sensitive to bullying that left an impact on their lives.

First author of the study Dr. Anne-Laura van Harmelen said, “Adolescents who had experienced negative family environments are more likely to be bullied at school, and less likely to receive family support in adolescence. We also found that children who were bullied in primary school were less likely to have supporting friendships in adolescence. ”

The researchers also found a strong relationship between having a negative family environment and being bullied in school. Thus, a teen tends to get severe depression as he suffers from two odds of life.

Building positive relationships can help reduce depression

Senior author of the study Professor Ian Goodyer said, “Our work really shows how important it is that children and teenagers have strong support from their family and friends, particularly if their childhood has been a difficult one.”

The researchers recommended that targeted interventions should be endeavored to develop strong social relationships among adolescents with stressful childhood. Moreover, school-based mental health programs can play an important role in strengthening friendships through active facilitation of social skills.

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Ways to Deal With Teen Depression

Teenage is a phase of major changes in a child's life; it is a period of transition from childhood to adulthood, both mentally and physically. Here, the term teenage trauma is a reality as many adolescents feel the blues during this period. But the situation becomes alarming when it triggers the onset of actual depression in them which qualifies for intervention.

According to a “Mental Health Surveillance among Children” report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a total of 13-20 percent children living in the United States experience some kind of mental disorder in a given year.

The CDC said that for some children these mental disorders might lead to serious complications at home, school, and in interpersonal relationships with peers and could possibly lead to substance use, criminal behavior, and other risk-taking behaviors.

Unrealistic academic expectations, peer pressure, parental and societal pressures and a host of other contributing factors may lead to depression in teenagers. When the situation goes out of control and develops into full-blown depression, the treatment becomes unavoidable. Parents, guardians and elders in the family have to shoulder the responsibility under such a circumstance to save their children from the muck.

Recognizing symptoms of teenage depression

Depression in teens can lead to other serious complications, such as bipolar disorder, which has symptoms that alternate between periods of euphoria and depression. Recent surveys indicate that as many as 20 percent teens suffer from clinical depression which calls for a prompt action from parents in the form of immediate treatment for their wards. Here, recognizing the symptoms of depression in teens is of utmost importance.

Signs of depression in teens

It's a matter of concern when teens exhibit the following symptoms for more than two weeks:

  • Poor academic performance in school
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Feeling of melancholy and hopelessness
  • Severe lack of enthusiasm, energy or motivation
  • Anger and temper
  • Severe reaction to criticism
  • Too much of perfectionism
  • Low self-esteem or guilt
  • Indecision, lack of concentration or forgetfulness
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Substance use
  • Run-ins with authority
  • Suicidal thoughts or actions

Treatment of teen depression

Immediate medical intervention is very important for depressed teenagers so that it can be contained at the earliest. For, depression can exacerbate over time and could be life-threatening. Effective treatment procedures for depression in teens include:

Psychotherapy : It helps teens by providing an opportunity to explore events and feelings that are painful or troubling. Psychotherapy also improves coping skills to them.

Medication : It alleviates some symptoms of depression and is often prescribed in conjuction with a behavioral therapy.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy : It helps teens in changing negative thinking patterns and behavior into positive and constructive ones.

Interpersonal therapy : It is more or less like counseling in schools. Interpersonal therapy fosters and maintains healthy relationships at home and school.

There are a plethora of treatment centers spread across the country which can help teens and parents tide over such a predicament.

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Experiencing the Hour of Darkness

A young person I know very well told me recently that they do not live a day at a time, but mostly it's an hour at a time. The concept has gravity. There was weight to the words, for it was the case of a real and present danger, a darkness lurking, where what was spoken of implied the potential that the very next moment could take all sense of hope and rationality; a darkness descended.

I know of such hours. I recall times when one hour felt like a whole day. On other occasions, I remember, within one hour, feeling fine, then only to sink into a menacing spiral.

“What happened?” I'd think. “How could my hour / day be hijacked so instantly?”

The thing is, until this happens to you, until you're overwhelmed in a panic attack, you do not believe it's possible – for someone else, maybe, but not for you. Then you experience it for the first time, and a worst type of reality is born into existence. But such an horrendous reality is not the end of the story; it's really a beginning of something far better, if we embark on a learning journey, though I do not want to halt necessary descriptions of darkness just yet.

Experiencing the hour of darkness teachers us something about the weight of life.

It teaches us about the gravity indwelt in reality. It opens the eyes of our mind, penetrating the heart to fathoms, and makes us serious, wiser, more compassionate persons overnight. It grabs our attention, making us ever more empathic to myriad plights in the world.


Experiencing the hour of darkness, as a swarm of spiritual heaviness hovers with fleeting swiftness, is best done still. Nothing can be added just like nothing can be taken away. Stay still, silent in your mind, hold the key of the moment, and do nothing silly.

For all those who've lived in this hourly frame, you're not alone. The seconds are arduous, the minutes contemplous, the hour's pitch darkness.

Experiencing the hour of darkness reminds us to be grateful for the return of the hour of light.

Anxiety and depression, however atrophic they are, expand our empathy, and deepen our compassion.

© 2016 SJ Wickham.

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4 Things to Know If You Are Battling Depression

Depression can be the shackles of pain that prevails the rays of hope from reaching the affected person. It can dominate the mind with such suppressive thoughts that they would threaten to blow up the very existence of the sufferer. In fact, depression just bends anyone under its increasing pressure of distress and anguish. But it can be overcome with proper therapies and treatments.

Millions of people across the world are fighting depression. However, at times, they tend to overlook or are ignorant about certain facts that hold true for this mental condition. People should understand depression in depth to cope with the instabilities of the mind. Given below is a list of key truths, adapted from the Huffington Post website, which a person struggling with depression should know:

1. Not everything you think might be real: More than the situations, it is our thoughts that make us depressed. For example, if a woman is struggling with weight gain, she would tend to see only lean and thin women and would forget the fact that many women are out there fighting weight gain. The mind tends to come up with certain thoughts that would make the person believe that everyone else else than him or her is happy in the world.

Depression makes a person believe what one thinks. Everything that is backed by rationality vanishes into thin air and irrationality becomes the norm. So, it is important for a person to debunk such thoughts and try to think only about pleasant things.

2. Deflate negativity, upgrade for the better: Typically, a depressed person has thoughts like: “Things are never going to get better”; “I can never come out of this”; “My life is ruined”, and so on. But such thoughts will do no good and only aggravate the problem. With a little support and willpower, a person can transform such negativity into some positive outlook towards life like: “Things can be better”; “I can overcome my situation”; “I am worthy enough to succeed”.

3. Do the opposite of what “the voice” suggests : During a depressive episode, the inner voice will give life advices, which should not be followed. For example, if it suggests to stay at home during a weekend and sulk for all the mishaps of life, one should do just the opposite – Visit a friend's home, go out for shopping, watch a movie with a loved one, etc. Learning to have in contrast to the voice will help one kill negative thoughts and move out of the painful grip.

4. No one is fighting depression alone: When depression sets in, one tends to believe that he or she is the worst sufferer. But that is not the case. There are people who have felt depressed and have gone through worst of phases, while there are some who have never had depression in their lives. One has to realize that the world is a home to all kinds of people, some battle mental issues and some not.

Way to a depression-free life

Depression is treatable with the right kind of treatments. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, is an effective treatment for depression. However, seeking professional treatment with a specialized depression treatment plan is the best way to conquer this mental illness.

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5 Myths About Depression Debunked

Each year, millions of Americans are affected by depression. Despite this, people have their own mythical perceptions about depression and its occurrence. Very few people seem to understand the suffering of going through an entire period of numbness, where sadness becomes the norm and suicidal thoughts hover in the mind incessantly.

It is time to learn that depression is not “just a sad day” due to “some terrible occurrence” or “just experiencing Monday blues”. Depression is beyond any kind of stereotypical myths; it is serious and needs treatment. Here is a list of five common myths about depression:

  1. Depression is synonymous to sadness: Sadness is a symptom of depression and not the same thing. Sadness is momentary, mostly caused by some tragic events or stressful memories. Depression, on the other hand, is chronic and can be life-threatening. Depressed people have feelings beyond sadness, in the form of anxiousness, uneasiness, tension, nervousness, etc.
  2. Depression emerges from tough situations: Traumatic or tough situations can trigger depression, such as the death of a loved one, a bad relationship, loss of a job, etc. It does not require any particular situation after which it will surface. Depression can be diagnosed by prolonged episodes of hopelessness, agitation, apathy or emptiness with no specific cause.
  3. Depression is all in the head: Of course not! Depression is beyond emotional upheavals and can have physical manifestations too. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has listed some of the physical symptoms of depression, including loss of energy, fatigue, headache, indigestion, breathlessness, stomach aches, etc. People generally tend to overlook these symptoms thinking that depression can be diagnosed only with emotional signs.
  4. Antidepressants are the best treatment for depression: It is not about popping a pill today and getting better tomorrow. Prescription of antidepressants are done on a case-by-case basis and it depends on the condition of a patient. If a person is suffering from a mild to moderate depression, he may get better through psychotherapies. However, if a person is suffering from a major depression, a doctor may prescribe antidepressants, or both. Everything depends on what suits the patient best and helps to curb the depressive symptoms.
  5. One can not “snap out” of depression: As physical ailments need treatment, people with depression also can not “snap out of it” as it is a serious mental condition requiring proper diagnostic treatment. Depression can make people feel utterly helpless and telling them “to start feeling happy” will only make things worse. What they need is medical attention, and not remorseful comments.

Depression-free future is achievable

People with depression can certainly come out of their mental woes if they seek proper treatment. A comprehensive treatment procedure consisting of psychotherapy and pharmacological treatments can help a person get better. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a useful tool in treating depression. A therapist helps a patient solve current problems and deal with mental insurances during counseling sessions.

The irony is that most sufferers do not realize that they are suffering from depression and abstain from discussing their mental issues with family and friends, mainly because of the prevailing prejudices. However, it is extremely important to seek medical assistance if there are any signs of depressive symptoms. One should not wait for it engulf one's life.

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Depression Is Treatable

Depression is common and treatable. It can strike anyone at any age. Consulting with your physician or a licensed mental health provider is the best way to find out if you suffer from depression and the type of depression you might be having.

A person with depression can experience a few or many of the following:

Feelings of sadness and emptiness

Feelings of anxiety

Experiencing restlessness or irritability

Losing interest in all or most activities

Problems with appetite that can lead to weight gain or weight loss

Sleeping problems

Loss of interest in sex

Low energy that can include feeling tired much of the time

Difficulty with concentration or making decisions

Feeling negative toward oneself including worthlessness or excessive guilt

Feeling hopeless or helplessness

Crying spills

Increased use of alcohol or drug use in order to cope with depressed mood

Thoughts of death / Suicidal Ideations

Many people may not have the awareness that the underlying cause of the many above mentioned symptoms is depression; therefore, they will not get the treatment they need. It is difficult to treat something that one has not identified it yet. Over time, serious levels of depression that are not attained get worse and can lead to other health-related issues. It can even lead to suicide.

There are different kinds of depression; therefore, one person's treatment needs will differ from someone else. The most common treatments for clinical depression involve a combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy (talk therapy). Many experts in the field believe that depression can involve imbalances in neurotransmitters, the chemicals in the brain that affect nerve-cell communication. Antidepressants are often prescribed in order to correct these chemical imbalances. Psychotherapy can help with resolving or coping with issues that may contribute to the patient's depression. Some patients who fail to respond to standard treatments for depression might need additional resources.

In my counseling work with people who suffer from depression I often notice that they have an inner critic which constantly makes them feel discouraged, inadequate and in many cases worthless. When the inner critic is the dominant voice inside a person, depression is likely to be present. Identifying the internal critic can be done by encouraging patients to pay attention to their inner dialogues. Inner dialogue involves the way a person talks to itself or himself and the quality of this dialogue can affect a person's mood. For example negative exchanges that take place inside a person's mind such as, “I can never do anything right,” or “I know I am going to lose my job” can make the person feel obligated and anxious.

Helping people to become aware of the emotional impact of their inner dialogues can help them to have greater emotional awareness. There are many ways to work with negative inner dialogues and painful emotions that accompanies them. As a psychotherapist, I find it helpful to explore different treatment options in partnership with my clients. A collaborative approach helps people in therapy to feel in control of their recovery from depression.

Working with a licensed mental health therapist to explore treatment options for depression is an important step towards healing. I hope anyone who is suffering from depression reaches out and gets the help they need.

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