Thursday, October 06, 2005


Are you feeling a little down? Beware! Research shows if you have mild depression, you are six times more likely to fall into major depression.

If you are experiencing some, but not all, of the many symptoms of depression, for even a short period of time, you may have a case of mild depression.

In the medical field, cases of mild depression can be overlooked. Many physicians see depression as a “black or white” issue (you are either depressed or you’re not). Some physicians do not diagnose depression unless you have all/nearly all of the warning signs while others will diagnose mild depression if you have at least two, but no more than 5 of the following symptoms:

-feeling sad/tearful
-drop in interest in activities
-change in weight and/or appetite
-sleeping too much or too little on a daily basis
-feeling restless/sluggish
-feeling worthless/excessively guilty
-trouble concentrating
-fatigue/loss of energy regularly
-suicide thinking/attempts; thinking about death frequently

The term “mild” depression would lead one to believe it almost insignificant. To the contrary, mild depression is actually more common than major depression and can be just as debilitating.

Many factors can cause the transition from mild depression to major depression. A study, done in Baltimore, MD, showed that people who had strokes were much more likely to develop major depression. The same study also revealed a deadly fact: depressed heart attack survivors were at greater risk of dying or developing more heart problems within two years.

There are many things that can increase feelings of depression, or turn mild depression into major depression. Alcohol can have a negative effect on mood, and misuse or abuse of alcohol, tranquillizers and sleeping medications, or narcotics can all play a major role in the length and severity of depression. The link between cannabis abuse (as opposed to use) and depression is also widely documented. Life experiences, such as job loss/financial difficulties have also been proven to bring on depression or further advance one’s feelings of hopelessness.

For those who are not diagnosed until they are suffering from major depression, there is hope. Although major depression can be a devastating illness, it is highly treatable. Between 80 and 90 percent of those suffering from serious depression can be effectively treated and return to their normal daily activities and feelings. Many types of treatment are available, and the type chosen depends on the individual and the severity and patterns of his or her illness. There are three basic types of treatment for depression: medications, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). They may be used singly or in combination. It is becoming very common, for those suffering from depression, to use more natural alternatives in treatment. This includes all natural supplements, self-help techniques, exercising and changing their diet. Studies show a high success rate with these natural alternatives, without the side effects of prescription medication.

Another important fact, with both mild and major depression, is that rate relapse incidents can be very high. Therefore, once diagnosed with depression, a patient and his/her physician will want to watch very closely for recurring symptoms so that, again, treatment can begin immediately.

As with any other illness, depression is treatable and the earlier it is diagnosed, the sooner healing can begin.

No comments: