January 27, 2011

Am I Suffering from Depression?

Most people experience depression at one point in their lives. In the United States alone, approximately 20 million people are suffering from depression. Depression affects people of all ages from children to the elderly. Women, however, are at the highest risk of developing depression.

It can sometimes be difficult to identify depression as it progressively gets worse. If you have gone through the below mentioned depression symptoms for at least two weeks, seek attention immediately.

• Always feeling sad and/or hopeless.
• Constantly crying.
• Not being able to sleep
• Sleeping too much
Mood swings
• Inability to concentrate
• No longer enjoy the things you used to enjoy (ie: hobbies)
• Suicidal thoughts

There is an infinite amount of reasons as to why depression occurs. Here is a general list of what puts you at a greater risk of developing depression in comparison to others.

• Have experienced depression in the past
• Have a family member that is or has gone through depression
• Consumption of too much alcohol
• Use of drugs
• Suffer from one or more chronic medical conditions
• Take prescribed medication
• Stress

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression it is important to contact a health care professional. They can provide help for depression by assessing the situation. There are also many different kinds of medications for depression available.

August 12, 2010

Exposure to Second-Hand Smoke Linked to Mental Disorders

Smoking has been linked to depression and other mental health conditions, but recently it was found that not only smokers are prone to this, but also those exposed to second hand smoke are also at an increased risk.

The study looked at over 5,600 people who do not smoke, and about 2,600 who do smoke. Using a questionnaire the researchers found out that people who do not smoke, but are exposed to second-hand smoke were 1.5 times as likely to suffer from psychological symptoms as non-smokers who were not exposed to second hand smoke. Although people who actually smoke are 4 times more likely to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital than those who have not smoked or been exposed to second hand smoke, it is astonishing to find that those exposed people are also 3 times as likely to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital. It is still unknown whether those who establish mental health problems are more likely to start smoking or if smoking helps cause the mental health problems.

So far it is only known that mental health and smoking are connected, but further research is needed to develop these ideas. Now that these risks have been increased, smoking warnings are becoming increasingly serious. Smoking has been linked to heart disease, lung cancer, cancer of the larynx, cancer of the oral cavity or esophagus, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and most recently, mental conditions. Exposure to second-hand smoke has been linked to causing sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, ear problems, severe asthma, slowing lung growth in children, and mental diseases.

July 12, 2010

Depression and Suicide Awareness

The third leading cause of death in the United States is suicide. Depression is the second most common illness. Depression and suicide are related the majority of the time. There are cases where depressed people aren’t suicidal, and suicidal people aren’t depressed. Suicide comes with various warning signs, some of which are severe symptoms of depression.

Neglecting appearance is a sign that the person no longer cares. This may show in untidy hair, clothing that is mix matched, or looks like it’s been worn for days and there will be other noticeable signs.

Loss in interest is another sign. When it seems the person doesn’t care about the usual things this may be a sign of extreme depression.

Talking about suicide is a cry for help. For every suicide there are 30 to 50 attempts. If someone you love is talking about suicide speak with a professional and take a step in the right direction.

If it looks like things are coming to an end. For example, setting up a will, giving away possessions, and visiting people he/she cares about are possibly signs pointing to a potential suicide.

A decrease in school achievement may be noticeable in adolescents and children. In older people a decrease in work performance may be noticeable. There may be a noticeable lack of interest in general, as well as a lack of interest in his/her usual favorite things.

Alcohol and drug use that doesn’t seem to have a specific reason or onset can be a warning of suicide. Other behavioral problems include changes in friendships, sexual promiscuity, changes in eating and sleeping habits, withdrawal from family and former friends, skipping school, and running away from home.

Since 1970 the suicide rate in teens has tripled. With appropriate healthcare and diagnosis of depression and your help getting the victims the appropriate help they cannot find themselves, out of fear, or other reasons, hopefully we can reduce the number of suicides happening.

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