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Facts about depression

Did you know that depression affects more than 350 million people worldwide?
Did you know that women suffer from depression twice as often as men?
Did you know that many people suffer with depression but do not seek help?
Did you know that depression is treatable?

Everyone has a bad day or a case of the blues once in a while, but when “the blues” result in experiencing little or no joy in your daily life, it may be an indication of something more serious. Chronic sadness or a depressed mood is something that lingers for quite some time and is difficult to shake off if untreated.

Depression is nothing to be ashamed of, nor is it a sign of weakness. Anyone can be affected by depression and its onset could be due to many things, such as hormonal changes, brain chemical imbalances, medications or life crisis situations.

So how do you know if what you or someone you know is experiencing is much more than just a case of “the blues?” The short mood survey included below may help you understand that feelings of sadness or isolation could be an indication of something more serious. More than 2,000 individuals have taken this survey in our area and it has proven to be a very beneficial tool for many.

To take the Test Your Mood survey, click on the link below:
http://www.mentalhealthscreening.org/screening/NEW Continue Reading »

How to help a teen with depression (guest blog post)


Teens are notorious for being moody, but there’s a difference between typical teenage emotions and depression. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 2.6 million U.S. adolescents ages 12 to 17 had at least one major depressive episode in 2013. Depression in teens can lead to unhealthy coping behaviors, resulting in problems at school, drug and alcohol abuse, violence, self-harm, and reckless behavior. These issues are often a cry for help, and by knowing the signs of depression in teens; parents, teachers and other caregivers can identify teens who would benefit from professional attention.

Signs of depression in teens
Did you know that symptoms of depression can be different in teens than in adults? Be on the lookout for:

  • Irritable or angry mood for most days in a week, for at least two weeks. Outbursts of hostility are often the predominant mood in depressed teens, as opposed to sadness.
  • Unexplainable physical aches and pains. If a teen is complaining of symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches but a physical exam doesn’t show a cause, this could be a sign of depression.
  • Withdrawing and/or changing social groups. Unlike adults, often teens with depression will not isolate themselves completely, but may pull away from those that know them well and begin socializing with peers who don’t question the change in their behavior or mood.

Other signs of depression are more similar in both teens and adults. These include:

  • Lost of interest in things that used to be enjoyable.
  • Change in sleeping or eating habits.
  • Irrational fears or worries.
  • Very low energy and motivation.
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or guilt.
  • Difficulty concentrating.
  • Thoughts of suicide.

If a teen is expressing thoughts of suicide, it is imperative that he or she be evaluated by a mental health professional immediately. If a teen is showing several of these signs, the best thing an adult can do is be supportive in getting him or her medical attention. Continue Reading »

Save a life with three simple letters: QPR


Community-based suicide prevention coalitions work to reduce suicides in our communities. The big question is, “By how much should we reduce our suicide rate?” Should we reduce our rates by 10 percent? Or perhaps 20 percent? The answer that many in this field would tell you is, “By 100 percent!” Our goal is to have a zero suicide community. Others have done it; so can we. But we need your help.

In order to achieve a zero suicide goal we need everyone in the community to realize that each resident can help save a life. Much like many have received CPR training, by exercising what the three letters in QPR stand for, someone in our community can save a life. After all, suicide affects everyone in our community.

QPR stands for Question, Persuade, Refer, and is the best practice training approach for suicide prevention (https://www.qprinstitute.com/). QPR is a program in which any individual can be trained to learn how to recognize signs of suicide and be able to intervene. Anyone can be trained in QPR and potentially save a life.

A free community QPR training (open to any community member age 18 or older) will be held on Monday, Sept. 28, 2015 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Chilton High School in Calumet County. Because space is limited we are asking interested individuals to register. To register, send an email to: registration@preventsuicidefoxcities.org or call (920) 931-2552 with questions. Continue Reading »

More than just feeling down: symptoms and treatment of clinical depression


It’s not unusual to feel sad, lonely or unmotivated at times, especially after a loss or during a difficult time. However, when feelings of sadness become overwhelming and persist over a long period of time, it may be time to speak with your clinician about clinical depression. Many people use the word “depressed” to describe a sad mood, but depression is actually a serious medical condition with both physical and mental symptoms that prevents sufferers from enjoying a normal life. It’s also more common than you may think: up to one in four adults in America suffer from depression. Having depression does not mean you’re weak, crazy or weird. Too many—approximately half the people who suffer from symptoms of depression—do not seek diagnosis or treatment. In these untreated cases, clinical depression may worsen or lead to suicide.

Symptoms of clinical depression
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include:
• Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety or emptiness
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering details/or and making decisions
• Fatigue and decreased energy
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness or hopelessness
• Changes in your sleep pattern including: insomnia, excessive sleeping or early-morning wakefulness
• Irritability
• Restlessness
• Loss of interest in activities or hobbies
• Overeating or appetite loss
• Persistent or worsening of aches or pains
• Digestive problems that resist treatment methods

Any one of these symptoms would make it difficult to function normally, and combined they can be overwhelming and lead to thoughts—or attempts—of suicide. Continue Reading »

Signs and symptoms of menopause


Menopause can be an uncomfortable time, and for some an uncomfortable topic, but this normal, natural process is just one more phase of women’s lives. While it does mean the end of fertility, it certainly does not mean the end of an active, healthy lifestyle as a woman. Signs, which are mainly related to lowered levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, can be both physical and mental.

Menopause begins 12 months after a woman’s final menstrual period, which typically happens during a woman’s 40s or 50s. However, women can begin experiencing signs of menopause while still menstruating; this is called perimenopause and occurs in the months or years before menstruation ends. Signs include:

Irregular periods. Leading up to the end of menstruation, most women do not have a period on a regular monthly schedule, and the periods they do have may be heavier or lighter than usual, with occasional spotting. Since pregnancy is still possible during perimenopause, it is important to test for pregnancy if you are unsure if you’re transitioning into menopause. A missed period without pregnancy may be an indicator of perimenopause, but can also occur with physical or emotional stress, thyroid dysfunction, etc.
Vaginal dryness and more urinary tract infections (UTIs). Signs of vaginal dryness include stinging or burning, itching around the vulva and pain or light bleeding during sexual activity. It can occur at any age, but in perimenopause it is related to the lowered levels of estrogen and progesterone that signal menopause. This dryness can be soothed with a water-based lubricant or physician-approved vaginal moisturizer. Decreased estrogen and progesterone also account for more instances of UTIs due to a lack of hormonal influence on the urethral lining and may be characterized by a persistent urge to urinate or a burning sensation when urinating. Continue Reading »

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