Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Thinking Girl Tuesday-Depression!

Basic Guidelines to help diagnose the possibility of Depression:

Although there is no blood test to diagnose depression, there are well developed clinical guidelines used by health care professionals to diagnose major depressive disorder. One of these guidelines, developed by the American Psychiatric Association, is called the DSM-IV®. Your health care professional may ask you questions based on this established diagnostic guideline.

According to the DSM-IV, major depressive disorder (or "depression") is diagnosed when five or more of the following symptoms of depression are present for most of the day, nearly every day for at least 2 weeks. At least one of the symptoms must be either persistent sad or "empty" feelings or loss of interest in activities.

  • Constant sadness
  • Irritability
  • Hopelessness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Feeling worthless or guilty for no reason
  • Significant weight change
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities

Be sure to tell your health care professional if you're experiencing any of these symptoms as described by the DSM-IV. Also, tell your health care professional if your symptoms are affecting your ability to function at home, at work, or with family, friends, or colleagues.

The DSM is what is used as a guideline to see if the possibility of a mood disorder could be going on. Personally, I think you need to look at it from 2 ways....How YOU feel and/or watching those around you that you know and love. Most of us I would hope would be able to tell if we think something just isnt quite right--perhaps we've been "down" for just to long a time or we find ourselves just not feeling as chipper as we normally do. Those around us, hopefully would let us know in a loving way that "is it possible we could be depressed". Times to really take notice would be--After having a child, a divorce, job loss, death of loved ones, and other serious life changing episodes. Menopause and Peri-Menopause are other times that could trigger depression in women, and some men to. I know for me personally, I've noticed I did go into depression as I got older. I was put on Paxil during my divorce several years ago--but I found myself so complacent that I went off of it. Recently, within the last 6 months I went back onPaxil but on a much lower dose...10 mg and I'm finding it is making a difference in how I feel and handle stresses in my life and its also NOT affecting my sex life. Medications for Depression are one of the main complaints among women as affecting the quality of their sex life. If you find that for you personally this was true--dont give up--tell your doctor you want to go on a lower dose. And of course give it at least 2 months before you can expect to feel a difference.

Depression dosnt always trigger sadness or complacency....I think in men you need to watch for signs of anything out of the ordinary for that person. Men exhibit sometimes different signs when they are going thru depression. Some will go purchase that shiny new red car, the behavior going on isnt a match for what is really happenning!

What I've seen way to often in my work....is scary to me. Its actually forced me to truly watch over myself--my loved ones and even go to my husband and ask him to watch over me. I've seen so many women become over medicated--to the point they become zombies, almost unable to function at a daily level. Their speech is impaired, their skin takes on a different appearance, they cant make minor decisions...most of the time they end up on SSI because they truly cannot function. To me, that is scary. I have literally sitten down with women and their husbands and counted out how many prescriptions their wives were on--and then did research and came back and showed them how meds were conflicting with others and how dangerous it was. Some husbands were so "fed up" with the wives, they didnt care...some were shocked and did as I asked them and began accompanying their wives to the doctor visits. Some women will go to various doctors to get different meds because in time--you do get hooked. Its very very scary to me. I truly wonder how many people end up in worse shape because of this overload of meds. Truly if your thinking you have a mood-disorder and you may try out a medicine--alert someone you love and trust to watch over you. My husband knows my fear and he knows to watch for things in my behavior that maybe I would not know is going on.

Depression can be situational, genetic, brought on my other illnesses...but it can be treated and very successfully treated. The key I think is to manage it, alert those around you to watch over you while being treated and dont be afraid to talk about it. Make it a point to watch those you love also--for the same reasons that I've asked you to ask someone to watch over you.

One more key thing I've noticed amongst women....some Christian wome for some reason will avoid these types of discussions. Alot of women will feel unheard, or mis-understood. They will be told "give it to God", he cures everything...or pray about it...etc. Depression is real--for each of us--lets remember that God gave certain people skills to treat and disagnose mood disorders and they are there to help us. Being depressed is NEVER a lack of faith or beleif, and no one ever should be minmized for having depression. Depression hurts, it can kill, it can maime....BUT it also can be helped and should be. No one should ever have to be chastized for going thru life illnesses by those who think "faith" is all you need. As Christians we need to listen, believe, help and watch over our fellow people...I say this because I've seen this way to often in our Christian sector of life--and it really really bothers me. Way to many women end up feeling alone, hiding and even go into deeper depression because they dont find compassion, true love and care amongst their fellow believers. This needs to stop.

Anyhow, to end this really long post...I'm a sufferer of depression...mild but i have it. I do take a Medication for it and it does help. I've alerted someone close to me to watch me...on the medication. I also watch those around me that I know and love--for signs that they could be suffering from depression. Educate yourself on Depression, signs of it--possible triggers to bring it on and meds that could be used to treat it. Really educate yourself once you or your loved one has been given meds....really watch this. Sad as it is,,,many doctors are prescription happy and to many people are walking zombies because of that. AND last but not least...dont ever minimize someones feelings if they are claiming they are depressed...and always support that person...remember at some point in life--it could be YOU that needs the support!

10 Thanks for your comments!:

Bridget said...

Absolutely excellent post Dawn! We need to talk more about mental health. There is still that stigma attached to it and there shouldn't be.
I took an anti-depressant for a while when I first started having symptoms of peri-menopause and it sure did help. I was able to wean myself off and have been doing fine since.
The right medication can make such a difference and it is not a weakness to admit that something is not right and get treatment.

Shellmo said...

Very informative post! Very helpful to me as my mom recently went on Paxil (she became severely depressed after a break up) and I will be sure to monitor her. Thank you!!

Nancy said...

Great Post, Dawn. This is something that we all need to know.

squawmama said...

Very interesting post... All though I have never been on any people I love have been...So this was a helpful post... They are nothing to be ashamed of... They help... Have a great day...


Raggedy Girl said...

Thank you so much for the really informative, nonjudgmental post.
Roberta Anne

Anonymous said...

Getting help is important and your right about it being a huge non subject in the Christian world. Great post!

laurie said...

What a great post. I know it takes courage to talk about this, and I so admire that. I have also heard people say, "give it to God". To me, that remark implies that we have control over our depression, and would be happier if we just gave it to God. Since the medical community tells us that many depressions are caused by chemical embalances, we DO NOT have control over it any more than we have control over getting the flu. Thank you for your courageous post. laurie

Ginger said...

Great post, Dawn. I've suffered off and on for years with depression. Thankgoodness, it's not ever been very deep, just sometimes a feeling of being down. Sometimes I think loneliness or boredum causes some of mine. I had post partum depression after the birth of my kids, there again, a light case. I took paxil once, but didn't really notice it helping all that much, so I just stopped. Some people really suffer though and it can reek havoc on their lives.
They say this time of year is the worst for depression.


Truly a great post and very informative. Thanks for sharing the subject.

Winter blessings,

Lilly's Life said...

I read this days ago and wanted to come back and give a comment. I thought the post was excellent. Truly. I suffer depression too from a certain episode in my life -episodic depression they call it. Long story. I took antidepressants for a little while but just didnt like what they were doing to me. Not sure that was a wise move. Its a horrible feeling though and its so important that we are there for others going through this. Its also great that these days people talk about it more than they did. You are a really wise person I think and I love your honesty and your straightforward approach. Just know that this post had an impact for a few of us I think. Thank you.