Blog Articles and Resources
This video was found on YouTube.com on June 29th, 2016. It was published on August 19th, 2014 by ASAPScience. This video talks briefly about what depression actually is and how it works within the body.
The following article was found on the GoodTherapy.org website which is an excellent resource for therapists and clients alike. This article talks about signs of depression in teenagers and was written by Angela Avery, MA, LLPC, NCC.
Kids Get Depressed, Too: 8 Signs of Depression in Teens
March 2, 2015 • By Angela Avery, MA, LLPC, NCC
As parents, the one thing we want to do is protect our children. We baby-proof our houses, snap our kids in car seats, and give them helmets to wear while riding their bikes. As they age, though, we find that protecting them from everything becomes impossible. No matter the level of care we show our children, parents generally cannot protect against mental health issues such as depression.
Depression affects about 11% of adolescents by age 18, according to the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement (NCS-A). The symptoms of depression are sometimes obvious, sometimes not. If you suspect that your child is depressed, schedule an evaluation with a mental health professional. With the help of talk therapy and perhaps other treatments, depression can be managed and teens can flourish.
Depression leaves telltale signs and symptoms along its path. Eight of the most common in teens are:
For teens, management often includes talk therapy with a licensed professional. Often, just the idea of getting help and making an appointment create enough hope that a teen will feel somewhat better quickly. Over time, and with care, the therapist will assess for depression and suicide ideation and provide coping skills and management strategies for dealing with depressive symptoms.
It is not uncommon for parents to wonder about medication for depression. Medication is a private, family decision which should be made with the help of a medical doctor, preferably a psychiatrist who specializes in pediatrics. However, medication is only one part of the puzzle and is not right for every person. That decision should be made on an individual basis and with the help of professionals.
Other tools and management strategies may be helpful in treating depression in teens. In my own work with depressed teens, I often use a strategy of “untangling” problems. This strategy helps us determine what is going well in the teen’s life, what is not going well, and where the weak spots are. After we’ve untangled, we begin to work on tools and skills to handle depressive feelings and dark thoughts. No matter what, the first tool is always exercise. Aside from the physical health benefits, exercise floods the brain with endorphins and feel-good chemicals.
Then we collaborate on behaviors that make the teen feel better. This is an individual preference, but is necessary because teens feel empowered by being part of the process. Once we have a few known “feel-better behaviors,” we start incorporating more and more techniques to manage depressive symptoms.
Often, teens love the creative part of finding what works for them. Does the teen like to bake cupcakes or draw? Does the teen like to watch funny YouTube videos? Enlisting the teen’s preferences gives the teen a sense of control and empowerment over his or her mind.
The process of finding depression coping techniques takes time and effort, but with help, depression can be managed. Teen depression should be taken seriously and cautiously. If your teen has symptoms you believe look like depression, contact a professional for help.
To access the original article on GoodTherapy.org, please click the following link: http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/kids-get-depressed-too-8-signs-of-depression-in-teens-0302154
Avery, Angela. "Kids Get Depressed, Too: 8 Signs of Depression in Teens." GoodTherapy.org. GoodTherapy.org, 2 Mar. 2015. Web. 28 June 2016.
This article talks about the significant effect regular exercise can have on depression. It was written by Kelly Baez and was found on the GoodTherapy.org website, a favorite of mine for articles on a wide range of topics.tO reda this article directly from the Goodtherapy.org website click the following link: http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/depression-exercise-getting-started-in-right-direction-0729134
Depression and Exercise: Getting Started in the Right Direction
July 29, 2013 • Contributed by Kelly Baez, PhD, LPC, NCC
I have heard countless times that depression is anger turned inward. I see the point, but I tend to see it not just as anger turned inward, but energy turned inward. Like everything in life, balance is key. Energy flows in when we sleep, and energy is meant to flow out in balance—to flow into our relationships, our meaningful work, our interests and hobbies. When we have more energy flowing in than out, we get stagnant, frustrated, and ultimately depressed. Fortunately, there is no need for pills for this type of depression.
Depression is a difficult topic to discuss, mainly because the term “depression” is often misunderstood. Depression in the clinical sense is an all-encompassing, overwhelming feeling of sadness and lack of energy to do even the most mundane tasks. I have seen people so deep in an actual clinical depression that they were nearly catatonic. More often—much more often—I see people who are experiencing mild to moderate depression and/or frustration. For these people, exercise is enormously beneficial.
Exercise can protect you from future struggles with depression. Why? Because when you are exercising regularly, you are maintaining the flow of energy outward and maintaining balance. Also, you are building self-esteem from a series of small successes—say, from completing a daily exercise routine. Self-esteem will give you a healthy sense of outrage if your life starts to take another difficult turn.
“But I’m depressed,” you say. “I don’t have the energy for exercise.”
Yeah, you do. Start small—very small—and build slowly but progressively. Celebrate small successes and refrain from comparing your journey to anyone else’s.
Tips on starting an exercise program to help with depression:
Talk to your doctor to make sure you are physically healthy enough to do the exercise you are planning to do.
Choose small, achievable goals where you can build on your success. There are hundreds of free apps where the work is progressive, building on the previous day’s success. If you start out on day one trying to do 100 squats, you’re likely to hurt yourself and your chances of staying with it are zero. By starting with small, simple goals and building progressively, you and your family learn how to incorporate this new routine into your life. This cuts down on a lot of resistance.
Think about what you want from your exercise time: Do you need more time for yourself or do you feel lonely and want a workout buddy? Your exercise time is yours to shape in any way that meets your needs.
Don’t share your plans with your Facebook friends or significant other(s). This is important! In the words of the Nike ad: Just do it. Talking about your plans—what you’re going to do—sets you up for feelings of shame if you happen not to achieve that goal. You don’t need that if you’re treating depression. Exercise is something you do for yourself, not anyone else. Keeping it to yourself keeps your motivation coming from within.
Talk to your significant other(s) about the time you need—which is different from talking about your exercise plans. If your family is used to having your attention at any given moment, this may be hard. Give them advance notice and stick to your schedule as much as possible. Sure, situations may come up where you can’t stick to your plan, but as this will be a learning experience for your family, keep in mind that sticking to the plan will help them adjust to your new routine so that it isn’t a huge amount of emotional energy to get out the door.
Baez, Kelly. "Depression and Exercise: Getting Started in the Right Direction." GoodTherapy.org. GoodTherapy.org, 29 July 13. Web. 28 June 2016.
This article comes from the website PsychCentral.com which has several great articles about stress and managing stress. Many of the articles are written by mental health professionals who specialize in helping clients deal effectively with stress and the resulting complications.
How To Help A Stressed Or Depressed Loved One
By Chris Green
I receive many emails from concerned relatives, partners and friends who are trying to help a loved one suffering the torment of a stressful or depressive episode. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that people who love us are also affected by these illnesses and may find it difficult to understand what’s happening. They want to help, but just don’t know what to do for the best.
Having lived with a depressed partner for 3 years and suffered anxiety and depression for 5 years, I’ve experienced both sides. In this article, I’ll show you exactly what you can do – and, what you shouldn’t do – to help your loved one.
1. Please, however frustrated you feel, please never say to a depressed or stressed person: “Come on, snap out of it. What have you got to be worried or sad about anyway. People have it much worse than you.” Please understand that these illnesses cannot be “snapped out of.” You wouldn’t say this to someone with high blood pressure or pneumonia because you know it isn’t that simple. Stress, depression and anxiety are real illnesses that have specific causes. Asking someone to snap out of it makes that person feel inadequate or that they’re doing something wrong. Absolutely not so. Comparing their circumstances to people who are suffering greater hardship is no use either. I couldn’t have given two hoots about other people when I was ill because their circumstances meant nothing to me. I was struggling to solve my own problems and couldn’t see anything else. Knowing that others are starving, are terminally ill, or suffer in squalor didn’t matter a jot because they didn’t make my problems go away. One more thing about such statements: they confront the sufferer with their illness and they put pressure on them. This will cause sufferers to retreat further and further into their own world. Better is to offer love and support: “I’m always here if you need me or want to talk.” And 3 little words can mean so much: “I love you.” I didn’t hear them for 3 years and believe me, I missed them so very much.
2. As a loved one, it is totally natural to want to understand what is happening. Many loved ones conduct research into these illnesses to develop understanding. Nothing wrong with that whatsoever. However, a problem can arise if you start to impose your knowledge on the sufferer. This happens when you observe certain behaviors and habits performed by sufferers and comment on why they are behaving in such a way. For example, you hear a sufferer put themselves down, so you say “That’s a part of your illness. I’ve been reading about it and self-deprecation is one of the reasons why people become depressed. You need to stop putting yourself down.” Again, this is confrontational and puts the sufferer under pressure. All they’ll do is dismiss your comments and clam up whenever you’re around as they’ll feel they’re being scrutinised. A better way is to challenge them very gently by reminding them of a time when they did something good. For example, you hear a sufferer say: “I’m useless, I never get anything right.” You can say “Sure you do, hey, remember the time when you…”. Do you see the difference in approach? The first is more like a doctor assessing a patient, the second is just a normal, natural conversation and doesn’t mention stress, depression or anxiety. This is very, very helpful as it shifts focus from a bad event: “I’m useless…” to a good one: “remember when.” without exerting pressure.
3. Finally, you may find a resource – a book, a video, a supplement etc. – that you think will help someone to beat their illness. Perfectly natural. But there’s a problem. It confronts the sufferer with their illness and puts them under pressure to do something about it. The result of this will be resentment followed by retreat into their own world. Isolation is a part of these illnesses. Sometimes, you just can’t bear to be around people. My ex-partner used to sleep in a dark room for an entire weekend because she just couldn’t handle anyone being around her. “I bore people, I’ve nothing to say of interest and I don’t want anyone asking me how I’m feeling. I just want to be on my own.” I know, it cuts you to ribbons when you hear such words from someone you care deeply about. But please, you must resist the urge to DIRECTLY give them a resource you think will help them. For someone to emerge from these illnesses, they have to make the decision themselves. A direct offer will more often than not be refused. So, if you find something you think will help, leave it lying around somewhere your loved one will find it. The idea here is for them to CHOOSE by themselves to investigate further. Such an INDIRECT approach is more effective because once again, there is no pressure, no reminder, no confrontation. It is the sufferer who takes a willing first step towards recovery.
It is so hard to understand and reach loved ones when they’re caught up in these illnesses but please believe me, these ideas are very effective and they will help.
Green, Chris. "How To Help A Stressed Or Depressed Loved One." Psych Central. Chris Green by Psych Central, 2015. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.
The following article comes from the Mental Health America website. This site has numerous articles on numerous mental health related subjects and provides resources for helping these issues across the country.
Depression In Teens
It’s not unusual for young people to experience "the blues" or feel "down in the dumps" occasionally. Adolescence is always an unsettling time, with the many physical, emotional, psychological and social changes that accompany this stage of life.
Unrealistic academic, social, or family expectations can create a strong sense of rejection and can lead to deep disappointment. When things go wrong at school or at home, teens often overreact. Many young people feel that life is not fair or that things "never go their way." They feel "stressed out" and confused. To make matters worse, teens are bombarded by conflicting messages from parents, friends and society. Today’s teens see more of what life has to offer — both good and bad — on television, at school, in magazines and on the Internet. They are also forced to learn about the threat of AIDS, even if they are not sexually active or using drugs.
Teens need adult guidance more than ever to understand all the emotional and physical changes they are experiencing. When teens’ moods disrupt their ability to function on a day-to-day basis, it may indicate a serious emotional or mental disorder that needs attention — adolescent depression. Parents or caregivers must take action.
Dealing With Adolescent Pressures
When teens feel down, there are ways they can cope with these feelings to avoid serious depression. All of these suggestions help develop a sense of acceptance and belonging that is so important to adolescents.
The following article was found on the National Institute for Mental Health website which is a government sponsored site. This site offers information and research opportunities to those interested in participating in trials related to treatment of mental health conditions.
Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances, such as:
Signs and Symptoms
If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
Depression can happen at any age, but often begins in adulthood. Depression is now recognized as occurring in children and adolescents, although it sometimes presents with more prominent irritability than low mood. Many chronic mood and anxiety disorders in adults begin as high levels of anxiety in children.
Depression, especially in midlife or older adults, can co-occur with other serious medical illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. These conditions are often worse when depression is present. Sometimes medications taken for these physical illnesses may cause side effects that contribute to depression. A doctor experienced in treating these complicated illnesses can help work out the best treatment strategy.
Risk factors include:
Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. The earlier that treatment can begin, the more effective it is. Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other brain stimulation therapies may be options to explore.
Quick Tip: No two people are affected the same way by depression and there is no "one-size-fits-all" for treatment. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best for you.
Antidepressants are medicines that treat depression. They may help improve the way your brain uses certain chemicals that control mood or stress. You may need to try several different antidepressant medicines before finding the one that improves your symptoms and has manageable side effects. A medication that has helped you or a close family member in the past will often be considered.
Antidepressants take time – usually 2 to 4 weeks – to work, and often, symptoms such as sleep, appetite, and concentration problems improve before mood lifts, so it is important to give medication a chance before reaching a conclusion about its effectiveness. If you begin taking antidepressants, do not stop taking them without the help of a doctor. Sometimes people taking antidepressants feel better and then stop taking the medication on their own, and the depression returns. When you and your doctor have decided it is time to stop the medication, usually after a course of 6 to 12 months, the doctor will help you slowly and safely decrease your dose. Stopping them abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms.
Please Note: In some cases, children, teenagers, and young adults under 25 may experience an increase in suicidal thoughts or behavior when taking antidepressants, especially in the first few weeks after starting or when the dose is changed. This warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also says that patients of all ages taking antidepressants should be watched closely, especially during the first few weeks of treatment.
If you are considering taking an antidepressant and you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor about any increased health risks to you or your unborn or nursing child.
To find the latest information about antidepressants, talk to your doctor and visit www.fda.gov .
You may have heard about an herbal medicine called St. John's wort. Although it is a top-selling botanical product, the FDA has not approved its use as an over-the-counter or prescription medicine for depression, and there are serious concerns about its safety (it should never be combined with a prescription antidepressant) and effectiveness. Do not use St. John’s wort before talking to your health care provider. Other natural products sold as dietary supplements, including omega-3 fatty acids and S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), remain under study but have not yet been proven safe and effective for routine use. For more information on herbal and other complementary approaches and current research, please visit the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website.
Several types of psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy” or, in a less specific form, counseling) can help people with depression. Examples of evidence-based approaches specific to the treatment of depression include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and problem-solving therapy. More information on psychotherapy is available on the NIMH website and in the NIMH publication Depression: What You Need to Know.
Brain Stimulation Therapies
If medications do not reduce the symptoms of depression, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be an option to explore. Based on the latest research:
If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your doctor or health care provider. This could be your primary care practitioner or a health provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. Visit the NIMH Find Help for Mental Illnesses if you are unsure of where to start.
Beyond Treatment: Things You Can Do
Here are other tips that may help you or a loved one during treatment for depression:
"Depression." NIMH RSS. National Institute of Mental Health, Mar. 2016. Web. 13 Apr. 2016.
I write articles based on my experience as a therapist or a training or conference attendee. Many of these articles are written by others who are experts in their field and I share their information as resources for others.