1. Is Peer Pressure Causing Teens to Become Depressed?

    May 8, 2014

    Is Peer Pressure Causing Teens to Become Depressed?

    Teen depression is becoming more and more common all around the world. Teens are known to have a hard time becoming their own person. Their pasts’ and the present affect how well-adjusted they become. If signs of depression are presenting themselves, they should be treated right away.  However, most teenagers who come down with depression aren’t sure how to handle it or where to turn for help. If signs of depression are presenting themselves, they should be treated right away.

    There are many causes of depression in teens, way too many to list but here are some of them:

    Stress Academically: School can cause a lot of stress for teens including the pressure to get good grades, make friends, be popular, get in with the “cool” crowd, what classes to choose, what sports to be a part of, and all of the homework that they are required to do. Other stresses include the pressure of drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. Each factor listed above is a major cause for depression in teenagers.

    Peer Pressure: Everyone, especially teens, want to be liked by their peers. When children become teenagers, they are still trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be. Most teenagers are looking to be popular in their group of peers. Some of the ways they attempt to reach their popularity is often through trying drugs and risky behaviors. They may also change who they are to become who the popular crowd would like them to be. This can lower the teenager’s self-esteem quite a lot. This type of peer pressure often claims many teens mental state which causes depression.

    Relationship Break-Ups: Teenagers aren’t usually ready for serious relationships. However, there are many teens that are dating and falling in love prematurely. This is not saying that teenage relationships can’t last forever but the honest truth is that most of them don’t last past high school. However, this fact doesn’t make a break-up any easier. When a break-up occurs, it will often leave the teen feeling helpless and depressed. This is one of the most common causes of teenage depression.

    Divorced Parents: In another regard to relationships, when a teenager has to deal with their parents getting divorced, they can become very confused. They may also feel guilty as well. It is important to note that parental divorces are never the child’s fault. However, the guilt that the teenager feels often manifests itself as depression. If this is the case, the teen should see a therapist or a counselor right away.

    Genes: There are many illnesses that are linked to heredity. Many studies have linked depression to genetic traits. If a teen has a family member who has had or is suffering from depression, they are more likely to have depression themselves.

    Having Low Self-Esteem: Unfortunately, there are many teenagers who suffer from low self-esteem. There are many reasons for this including acne, not having what they consider enough friends, and sometimes even the parents aren’t supportive enough.

    If a teenager is dealing with any of the above mentioned factors and they are feeling depressed they should talk to a therapist or a counselor as soon as possible. If they are dealing with any of the above issues and they aren’t depressed, it still may also be a good idea for them to see a therapist or a counselor to talk their feelings through before depression takes over.

    The first step in battling depression for teens is coming to an understanding of what is happening to their lives and their own bodies. Once they can grasp these understandings, they will be more likely to get out of and stay out of depression. While therapy or counseling is the first recommended treatment for depression in teens, some cases of depression do require anti-depressant medications. It is not a bad thing if a teenager has to be put on these medications; it just means they are getting their depression under control. If you are a teenager and you are feeling signs of depression please contact someone right away. Also, if you are a friend or a parent of someone who has signs of depression ask for help as well.


    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/merfam/71578640/


  2. Depression – When the Initial Treatment Doesn’t Work

    January 31, 2014

    Depression - When the Initial Treatment Doesn’t Work

    Depression is a condition that stems from a variety of different factors, and this makes it difficult to treat effectively.  Upon diagnosis and development of a treatment plan, there is no guarantee it will be effective. While this can be quite discouraging, it is important to consider why things didn’t work. If you are someone who suffers from depression, consider the following points of view as an explanation for why, and see if it applies to you in any given way.

    Wrong Diagnosis

    It can be uncommon, but sometimes the diagnosis of depression can be wrong all together. There are various mental illnesses that have the patterns that depression follows, and if this is the case, then the treatment of depression isn’t going to be the answer. An example would be something like hypothyroidism, which is a condition that produces consistent fatigue, a lack of overall motivation, and problems with concentration. While these all sound like depression, and the similarity is significant without question, a treatment for depression will not cure hypothyroidism.

    Substance Abuse

    When there is a plan put together to help resolve depression symptoms, the use of alcohol or other drugs can hinder the effect of the medication. Something as simple as a beer or a glass of wine can interfere with the medicine being absorbed properly, and the intended effect will not take place.

    Living Situation

    Sometimes the individual diagnosed with depression is in a living situation with many different stressors that need to be addressed. Without successfully dealing with the stressors, the depression will be very hard to treat. If there is a lot of tension at home, work, or other areas of the person’s life, then the effective treatment of depression will be very hard to achieve.

    Unhealthy Sleep Patterns

    While depression medication is geared to help the mind deal with any chemical imbalances, it isn’t necessarily designed to cure insomnia. If an individual is not sleeping properly, the lack of rest can prevent the mood from improving.  Lack of sleep can prevent someone from getting better all together. The likelihood for heightened anxiety is more likely from someone who doesn’t get the proper amount of rest, as well.

    Stopping a medication too soon

    When a person is prescribed anti-depressants, the concern for dependence might cause fear, and in some cases, this will stop the person from using the medication. This will prevent the medication from developing its optimal effects. Medication has to be taken as prescribed for a period of at least 2 weeks to see any improvement, and for several months to gain the desired effect.  Coming off of the medication too quickly can cause side effects or even withdrawal symptoms, and the positive developments will have to be started all over again.  This can take longer each time the person starts and stops his/her medication.

    Depression is something that can be very difficult to understand, and it’s even more of a challenge when you are the individual with the condition. While discouragement is something that may occur during your first attempts at treatment, it’s essential to consider the reasons as to why it didn’t work, and to continue pushing forward for other solutions. Depression is a very intense feeling to manage, but as long as there is a will there, then a way will be available in due time.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidmican/260122970/

     


  3. The “Tomato Effect” in Treating Depression

    January 29, 2014

    The Tomato Effect in Treating Depression

    The “tomato effect” is something that happens when you attempt to treat a condition, and your mind has already reserved a view or opinion on just how successful that treatment is going to be. It’s an assessment based on the way an individual believes the treatment is going to affect him or her, and this supposed mental awareness can have an impact on the success or failure of treatment.

    The “tomato effect” is often associated with a joke commonly seen on doctor-oriented TV sitcoms. The patient claims to have some type of illness, the doctor prescribes them “medication” (aka, sugar pills), and magically, they are cured. The idea of convincing a person that a particular treatment is going to be effective and can work is often half the battle; belief has a lot of power over the effect of a particular treatment. People’s minds are complex, and the association of an idea, a strong will, and the pre-conceived notion toward how a treatment is going to work has a lot more power than some might think.

     

    Medicinal Approach Versus Nutritional Balance

     

    There is a lot of talk surrounding the treatment of depression with medicinal approaches versus adjustments made with regards to basic nutrition. The medicinal treatment comes with the risk of certain side effects, which in some cases, can’t be reversed. The change in nutritional intake, however, is something that can be adjusted without the risk of long-term change in various bodily functions. For individuals that are hesitant toward trying a medicinal approach, research has shown that the proper increase in certain B-Vitamins, which have a lot to do with energy and focus, can lead to increased cognitive behavior and more energy and productivity. The avoidance of unhealthy substances, such as trans fats, also leads to a positive outcome, both in physical development and mental processing.

    One problem with the medicinal approach is previously held opinions about the success or failure of a certain medication. If the patient believes that medicine is a bad idea, then the likelihood of recognizing any kind of positive change could be compromised, whether the changes are happening or not. People may fear side effects, or simply not trust in the success of a particular medication. When treating depression, if the mind doesn’t want to believe it’s being helped, then the treatment may be less successful.  The alternative treatment of making nutritional changes is sometimes the more acceptable approach for certain people, and there really is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’; as long as the individual believes that it can work for them, then it is a step in the right direction.

     

    Belief has more Power than Treatment

     

    Some treatments used to manage a mental condition are going to be viewed as a possibility for success or as a negative option.  This is before the patient even begins using it on a regular basis. It is human nature to develop opinions and to view something as a good or bad idea; these views and the ability to keep an open mind can have an impact on just how successful treatment is going to be. Human beings and their mental psyche are incredibly complex; by grasping an understanding of exactly what the mind can do, it has a great influence toward how effective treatment can be. It is important to factor in the opinions of a person toward any treatment solution; the ignorance toward something that crucial can be the very platform that defines a successful treatment attempt, or a waste of time all together.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pistoletty/3651313640/


  4. Depression Treatment and Relapse

    January 17, 2014

    Depression Treatment and Relapse

    Depression, much like any other mental illness, responds well to certain treatments and not so well to others.  This is true for both: therapy and medications, an anti-depression or anti-anxiety medication may work for one person but fail for another. There is also the possibility of a relapse to the negative feelings, especially if the treatment plan is not followed.   There has been a recent study that discusses adolescents and the likelihood for a relapse with “depressive” feelings, and it discusses various approaches as a means of intervention. Among the examples are:

    1. Switching to another medication, such as anti-depressants Paxil, Celexa, Effexor, or Prozac
    2. A cognitive behavior therapy approach, which places emphasis on problem solving and behavioral change management.
    3. A switch to Venlafaxine as well as engaging in CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy)

    The variations of treatment approaches for depression fall under the criteria of therapy and medicine essentially. More importantly, the common symptoms that are addressed happen to be the management of stress and strengthening of problem-solving skills.  The challenge of depression isn’t so much treating it, but how long it has to be treated, and that is something that is vastly misunderstood by many.

    To consider depression a temporary problem is to lack a true understanding to the condition. To claim that the feelings diminish and gradually become easier to control is a realistic observation, but depression never fully goes away, at least for some.  Individuals learn to have a better grasp of control over it, and this control allows them to manage the symptoms of their condition.  When an individual learns exactly what depression is for them, and learns how to manage it, the effect it can have on their life is a sense of control and renewed happiness.

    Relapses with Depression are not Relapses

     

    As mentioned above, a relapse with depression isn’t necessarily a relapse. It is usually inefficient management of stress, and the need to realign with proper coping techniques. When you think of the word relapse, you think of an addiction or a habit that is put to rest, and then resurfaces during a difficult time. Depression is a feeling, not a habit, and the due to this classification it has to be handled as such.

    The approach of chemical balance through various medicine techniques is one way of trying to balance the feeling from a scientific point of view, and there is nothing wrong with that.  But from the perspective of thought and problem solving, depression is learning the most effective way to manage stress and deal with the stressors that drive the feeling of despair.

    Depression is something that needs to be constantly monitored in regard to situations or circumstances that create the feeling of depression. It is a life-long challenge that is never essentially “perfected”, but it is managed in a strategic way that keeps the discomfort at a minimum. To fall back into a feeling of depression is simply a situation that needs to be revised in regard to coping skills.  An effective approach toward managing depression understands that it is a lifelong condition, not something that falls under the confines of resurfacing as what science labels a “relapse”.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dskley/9484448937/


  5. Prescribing Brain Surgery for Depression

    January 14, 2014

    Brain Surgery for Depression

    Depression is a condition that is sometimes impossible to fully cure, and it can be quite difficult to manage. Some individuals are very treatment-resistant; among patients with depression, it has been reported that 10-20% of them will not get better with standard therapy/medications treatments.

    With a rate of failure reaching into the 20th percentile, the scientists are looking for ways to help improve the quality of life for those individuals who are treatment-resistant. This has led to a procedure that involves surgery on the brain. Medical researchers from the University of Toronto reported the surgery on the brain as having a 60% rate of success, and it is considered the equivalent of a process that is used to treat Parkinson’s disease. The procedure is known as DBS, or deep brain stimulation, and it targets the area of the brain that stimulates neural activity. The surgery involves drilling into the brain and placing the equivalent of a pacemaker within (this allows electrodes to be activated in the given area of the brain). The stimulation is meant to cause relief and tame negative feelings. The surgery is done while the patient is conscious to make sure that no brain damage is being inflicted during the procedure.

    While in theory the success rate is fair, the surgery is something that will likely have quite a bit of controversy towards it. People who have suffered with severe depression for all of their lives may be at a point where they are willing to try anything, but people who are still confident in being able to handle the condition on their own may feel the idea of surgery as extreme and unnecessary. For the individual that has given up hope on their condition, this may very well be a viable option, but otherwise the idea of surgery is something the typical individual wants to avoid. The idea of someone drilling into the skull and stimulating areas with electric current isn’t something that should be viewed with a sense of calm; it usually generates an awkward and fearful emotion.

    While the process itself has been proven to help up to 60% of the individuals, it is likely going to be something that takes time to be accepted.  This is on account of the sensitivity held toward surgery and processes of such severe nature in general. An individual being treated for depression is going to be in a position of wanting to feel control; they want to believe they are doing all they can to beat this mental ailment. When an individual is led to take the approach of surgery, the moment can be defined as a moment when all internal hope has been abandoned, and they simply want to see if a possible resolution exists for them.

    Surgery may have complications and side effects, and for that reason, it is a solution that unfortunately has a lot of discomfort surrounding it. Surgery and the concept of uncomfortable doubt tend to be two ideas that go together. While improving the feelings that coordinate with depression are showing positive strides from the perspective of numbers, it’s hard to sell many people to the idea of complex surgery.  The important thing to consider is that if the surgical approach continues to deliver positive outcomes, the feeling of it becoming a more acceptable solution will develop on its own time. The important thing to consider is that if the surgical process is delivering results that an individual was otherwise unable to acquire, then the amount of good that is coming out of it will lead it to being viewed in a more positive light over time.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/faceleg/2538479224/


  6. How To Detect If You Are Headed For A Mental Breakdown?

    January 10, 2014

    Are Headed For A Mental Breakdown?

    Do you feel so stressed and full of anxiety that you think you are headed for a mental breakdown? Have you gone through a horrific situation lately and due to this you are extremely fatigued, emotional, worn down, and ready to break down?

     

    If so, you are probably on your way to a breakdown.  Those that experience a mental breakdown don’t normally get there quickly. It is usually a process of stress induced situations and negative emotions that tend to take over one’s life.

     

    The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that among 26.2 percent of American adults, who are diagnosed with mental health disorders, almost 70% suffer from an anxiety disorder. They actually wonder if perhaps a vast majority of Americans are on the verge of a nation-wide breakdown.

     

    People respond to stressors differently, so while one person may have a lot of stress and tend to manage it, others may not be able to handle it as well and it can put them on a path to a breakdown. For example, sales is a demanding career field and can throw a lot of stress one’s way.  One person may be well able to let go of that stress on a daily basis. Maybe this person is doing daily meditation and yoga or other exercises to relieve the stress buildup.  Another person may not be able to handle it as well and as that stress load builds up, he may begin to feel extreme anxiety, agitation, fear, and have mood changes.  The stress build up can lead him to become confused, angry, withdrawn, act out, or a host of other symptoms can occur.  In the worst case scenario, the latter may tend to display psychotic behaviors, thus detaching somewhat from reality and having a complete breakdown.

     

    Mental breakdown symptoms

     

    If you are experiencing more than three out the following symptoms, you may be headed for a mental breakdown and ought to consider seeing a counselor for professional help.

     

    Mood changes. If you are experiencing mood changes frequently, you could be headed for a breakdown. If you are normally happy go lucky, but are not miserable many days, there is something underneath the surface causing the mood changes, which very well could be stress or emotional distress.

     

    Many tears. If you find yourself crying a lot and that is not like you, you may be struggling with some heavy emotions and stress. Crying is actually a good way to relieve stress and negative emotions, but if you are crying a lot more than normal, you could be on your way to a mental breakdown.

     

    Using alcohol/drugs. If you have been feeling a lot of pain, stress, frustration, etc. and opt to use alcohol and/or drugs to cope, you could be on the road to a mental breakdown. All such substances do is stuff all of that negativity deeper down into your consciousness, which will not heal or cure it.  Not only could you be headed for a breakdown, but also a life of addiction and negative consequences.

     

    Apathetic. If you were once full of life and vitality and lately you just don’t care about anything or anyone, your mental state is suffering.  If you don’t enjoy the things you used to or simply can’t focus on anything, you could be headed for a mental breakdown.

     

    Dietary changes. Those that are headed for a mental breakdown could either be eating way too much or not eating enough.  Stress and racing thoughts can cause a person to not feel hungry and cause digestive problems even when he or she eats.

     

    Shaking. When the nerves are on high alert, the body reacts physically.  If your hands are shaking or your body feels shaky in general, your thoughts and mind could be anxiously controlling your life.

     

    Sick all the time. Hypochondriacs always feel like something is attacking their bodies or they imagine they have come down with every sort of illness.  Chronic stress can certainly wear the body down and illness can become a result. If you feel sick all the time, see someone in regards to whether or not you are headed for a breakdown.

     

    Depression. Chances are if you are majorly depressed most of the time, you are headed for a mental breakdown. You could be ridden with guilt, shame, or chronic grief that continues to bring you down and down. If you feel as such, please seek professional help.

     

    If you can resonate with some of these symptoms, it may be time to seek a healthcare provider that can help you, as you may need to navigate through this time with someone who has experience helping others with the same issue.  Understand that mental breakdowns are not necessarily a bad thing; they are simply stepping stones to dealing with some unresolved issues in your life and making some necessary changes in order for you to live a happy and healthy life.

     Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mbg_photos/2768320831/


  7. The Impact of Diet on Mental Health

    January 2, 2014

    The Impact of Diet on Mental Health

    There have been many studies that have linked mental health, and most notably depression, with the food that we eat. Researchers studied a variety of “favorites”, such as:

    • Doughnuts
    • Fairy Cakes
    • Croissants
    • Hot dogs
    • Hamburgers
    • Pizza

     

    Essentially, commercial baked goods and fast food have been found to have a negative impact on the mental psyche, leading to the possibility of depression. Much of this is linked to a lack of physical behavior, which leads to negative physical growth, as well as the development of poor self-esteem.

    The studies also conclude that the consumption of B vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and olive oil play a preventative role when it comes to depression. B vitamins, especially, play an active role toward maintaining increased energy levels and living a healthy lifestyle.

    Poor diet comes combined with unhealthy lifestyle habits (such as lounging around, watching too much television, or lacking in physical activity) leads to feeling negative.  Most people know that eating fast food and commercial bakery goods is unhealthy, yet the reason people indulge is often associated with convenience and the fact that it tastes good.  It provides comfort for many people (aka, stress eating), but it leads to a vicious cycle of feeling good (temporarily), only to be let down by guilt after the indulgence is over.

    Recognition of the real problems

    The real underlying problems associated with poor dietary choices and the subsequent low self-esteem needs to be addressed, and rather than truly address the epidemic, it is simply becoming more and more acceptable. The idea of living casual and non-eventful days is much more acceptable in today’s society; there isn’t enough pressure or consideration put toward where the problems truly begin.

    An effective way to address this problem isn’t necessarily to make a public service announcement, as people are aware of the problems. It’s about educating the youth who don’t fully have an understanding of just how serious the problem is. When one looks at the obesity epidemic (most notably recognized in America), then the proper resolve should be to put more effort into the education that schools deliver to our youth. In addition to education, there should be more action put forward in what the schools offer for meals; there should be healthier options made available rather than high-sugar and high-fat snacks that currently pollute the common school cafeteria.

    It is easy to point the finger at society and blame marketing on today’s poor diet choices, but the ability to deliver a solution to the widespread problems is an entirely separate matter. When people eat poorly and are inactive, then of course depression can become an issue. Whether it is unhappiness around the way we physically look, unhappiness because of the amount we get done in a day, or whatever the case may be, it’s easier to claim and remain stuck.  Solutions are right there, but the cloud of depression tends to keep us from utilizing them.  It might be a hard first step, but once you take that first step, each subsequent step becomes a little bit easier.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marketing-deluxe/8260087763


  8. A Life Time With Depression

    December 24, 2013

    A Life Time With Depression

    By Laura Copeland

    When I think about how hard my life has been it still cuts me up sometimes. I wonder what a depression free life would have been like, if my childhood was happy and fun, if I hadn’t had this dark cloud overshadowing my whole life, if I hadn’t spent most of my life being my own worst enemy.

    I can’t even remember when it all began, when I first started feeling like this. I’ve always been this way for as long as I can remember. Even when I think back as far as I can, I remember how hard my life felt and how I just didn’t want to exists.

    I didn’t even know I was depressed until after I was diagnosed when I had my daughter at the age of 23, I just always thought, this is how life is. I look at how happy and confident my daughter is now and it makes me realise it was not normal at all.

    It makes me think how did no one notice, how could I go through my whole childhood being that depressed. I mean I couldn’t tell anyone because I didn’t realise there was anything to tell, but how didn’t anyone else see?

    Even the social workers didn’t see what was going on and tried to pin it on abuse, which there was none. I always felt like I was a trouble maker and a lot of the time I was made to feel like I chose to be like this, like it was my fault. All I wanted was the love and understanding I needed and the help to get better.

    When you’re a child with depression and you don’t know what’s going on, it’s like you have no control because you can’t just go to the doctors for help. I remember wishing so many times for someone to help me, for someone to see that I didn’t want to be like this and I wasn’t just trying to cause trouble.

    This has been the case for most of my adult life as well and I have only recently been able to get my depression under control, although I have had a recent lapse. It seems to me that I can achieve a period of time where I feel like I live my life without depression but the challenge is the maintenance. And I have only had two of these depression free periods, which isn’t many in a total of 30 years.

    Does all this make me want to give up though?

    No way, I’ve tasted freedom and it makes me more determined to find this permanently. There are so many things I’ve tried and some of them work very well for me and it’s about commitment.

    I know exercise and mediation work wonders for me but it doesn’t mean I always have the motivation to fit them into my life. Even though I know they will make me feel so much better I still have some resistance.

    I mean I’ve been this way for nearly the whole of my life and it’s so scary making that change for good. It’s a learning process and I the older I get the easier it is. There are now so many things I just don’t see the point in getting upset about, like I used to.

    There is one thing I know for sure and it’s that a lot of how I am is down to not thinking I’m good enough and at my worst times I would literally bully myself in my head. I had no chance, constantly telling myself how no one cared and how I was no good and when I say constantly I mean every minute of every day!

    Talk about living in hell but that is the one thing that I have managed to control. I can’t even imagine doing that to myself on a daily basis, to that extent anymore. Of course I still put myself down now and again but it’s mostly specific to something I’ve done, instead of a running commentary in my head.

    Being able to stop this habit has transformed my life and it has given me hope of full recovery. It has shown me that I can change, even something that I’ve done for the whole of my life, something that is so embedded in me it felt like it was a part of me.

    My life may have been hard up until this point, well it still is but I am so close to coming out on the other side. And when I do it will be my soul goal to help others break free too.

    I mean, I just have to, otherwise what was it all for? Knowing that I can use all the heartache I’ve been through to help so many others, makes it all worth it. It has also made me who I am and I slowly love that person more and more every day.

    We all have a purpose and we all can make a difference in the world and I hope to make beating depression mine.

    Not only for myself but for everyone I have the privilege to inspire.

    Author Bio: Laura Copeland is the founder of Female Worth, empowering women to accept the best, attract the best because they deserve the best. Female Worth is a site dedicated to helping women live the lives of their dreams by enabling them to believe in themselves and grow strong self-worth.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sophiadphotography/10597799035/


  9. Iceland Tops Worldwide Antidepressant Consumption

    December 20, 2013

    Iceland Tops Worldwide Antidepressant Consumption

    by Niall McCarthy

     

    Over the course of the past ten years, the consumption of anti-depressants has skyrocketed across much of the developed world. According to the OECD, rich countries are consuming at least 10 percent more antidepressants than they were a decade ago.

    Even though rates of depression have not risen globally, more people are being diagnosed with the illness all over the world. Awareness levels about depression have proven an important factor when it comes to greater drug consumption – greater awareness leads to greater social acceptance of medication.

    The OECD also stated that the financial crisis may have been a factor in recent spikes in antidepressant prescriptions. In Spain and Portugal, consumption has increased by a whopping 20 percent over the past five years. What country is actually on top when it comes to taking this type of medication?

     

    Iceland is way ahead at almost twice the OECD average. An early casualty of the global financial crisis, it has the highest prescribing rate at 105.8 doses per day per 1,000 inhabitants. In 2000, this figure was 70.9 per 1,000.  Back in 1989, it was just 14.9. These consumption levels can be attributed to the catastrophic failure of Iceland’s three primary banks, as well as the fact that alternative treatments for depression, such as psychotherapy, are deeply unpopular.

    When compared with those alternative treatments, antidepressant drugs were viewed as being more effective by the Icelandic population. However, research suggests that the prescription of this medication has still had little impact on depression levels in the country. On the contrary, percentage of people seeking psychiatric consultations have actually increased.

    After Iceland, Australia, Canada, Denmark and Sweden round off the top five countries for the consumption of antidepressant medication. Drugs are now being used in milder cases and this is heightening concerns about their appropriateness as a first resort for sufferers. The majority of psychiatrists agree that medication works well on people suffering from severe cases of depression – they should not be used in milder instances.

    More than one in 10 people in developing nations are taking antidepressant medication. In the United States for instance, 10 percent of adults take antidepressants. In China, the market has grown by 20 percent for each of the past three years. This begs the question. Why are doctors freely prescribing these drugs to so many people?

    Though there have been cases of people trying to commit suicide, antidepressants are not addictive and side-effects are kept to a minimum. As it stands antidepressants are overprescribed in a desperate attempt to combat growing life dissatisfaction and unhappiness. It seems like they are the “quick and easy solution”.

    There are depression treatments that can be administered non-pharmacologically – psychotherapy methods (e.g. cognitive behaviour therapy) are widely regarded as being as effective as antidepressants in the long term. Doctors need to start correctly identifying the symptoms of milder depression and start realising that drugs are not always the answer.

     

    Image Credit: Jeff Schmaltz/Wikimedia

     


  10. Teenage Depression – A Short Guide for Parents

    December 18, 2013

    Teenage Depression

    Just about every teenager has bouts of sadness, as the teen years can be somewhat difficult and confusing at times.  Sad moods are one thing, but depression is another. Teenage depression is much more than sadness and can become a problem if not recognized or treated.  It can certainly lead toward problems like substance abuse, self-mutilation, aggression, and suicide.  As a parent, you probably think that your teen would not struggle with depression, but a high number of teens do, so it is important to recognize the signs.
     

    Signs and symptoms

     
    The teen years can be challenging, as teens have to face all sorts of pressures, hormones, challenges, and so on.  Many teens wrestle with questions about who they are and how they fit in.  They also can have issues with parents resulting in conflict.  As teens embark on their journey to independence, they certainly hit some bumpy spots on the road, and sometimes they can enter a period of sadness. This state of sadness is common and usually does not pose a problem or last too long. It is when the sadness intensifies and lasts for weeks and months that the teen enters into a state of depression.

    Here are the most common characteristics of teenage depression:

    • Extreme sadness
    • Lethargy
    • Frequent crying
    • Irritability
    • Fatigue
    • Problems getting to sleep or sleeping all the time
    • Restlessness
    • Hopelessness
    • Suicidal thoughts
    • Aggression
    • Change in eating habits

     

    How depression affects teens

     
    If a teenager is struggling with depression, he or she will most likely have some problems in various areas of life.  Though some teens may be able to keep problems to a minimum, others will act out their depression at home and/or at school.

    At school the teen’s grades could drop, he may skip classes or days, be aggressive toward peers or teachers, or drop out. At home the teen can withdrawal from family and friends, be rebellious, act out, turn to alcohol or drugs to self-medicate, get addicted to the internet, and engage in high-risk behaviors like substance abuse addiction, unsafe sex, or crazy driving behaviors.
     

    What to do if you think your teenager is suicidal

     
    If your teen is talking about suicide or if you think he or she is suicidal for any reason, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.  You will be given assistance as to what you can do to help your teenager.

    Here are some signs that your teen may be suicidal:

    • Kidding around about suicide
    • Making comments like, “I feel like crashing into a tree,” or “I just wish I could disappear,” or “I’d be better off dead for sure.”
    • Romanticizing dying
    • Drawing pictures or writing stories about death or suicide
    • Reckless behavior
    • Getting a weapon or a bunch of pills

     

    Talking with your teen

     
    If you think that your teen is struggling with depression, sit down and have a talk with him or her right away. Tell him that you have been observing particular signs of depression. Let him know that you are concerned and that you want to help. Encourage him to own up to his depression if that be the case and give a good dose of support and unconditional love as he does.

    Many teens will deny that they are struggling out of feeling ashamed or afraid.  Let him know that you are there for them, that you understand about depression, and that there is help available.  Be gentle with him and let him open up on his time.  Do not judge or patronize him. He needs open arms.
     

    Treatment

     
    There are various treatments available for depression.  Call your doctor to set up an appointment for a depression screening or go directly to a psychologist.  Encourage your teen to go to therapy and be open and honest with the counselor. Oftentimes all it takes is a series of therapy sessions for your teen to minimize or eliminate the depression.  He may simply need to learn some coping skills or vent many feelings to a person who can offer insight and advice.

    Sometimes depression is due to a chemical imbalance, so there are anti-anxiety medications available for such cases.  Your teen would have to visit a psychiatrist for an assessment and evaluation.  Many teens do not need medication, but for those that do, it has been known to help minimize and alleviate many depressive symptoms.

    Your teen can get help for depression.  As a parent, you can play a part in that, so do your best to be alert to depressive signs and offer the help that you can.

    Image Credit: Alexis Tejeda @ http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexonrails/5701764082