Be mindful of devastating effects of depression - Camp Lejeune Globe: Raising Healthy Minds

Be mindful of devastating effects of depression

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Posted: Monday, October 22, 2018 8:00 am

October is Depression Awareness Month. I have talked about this mood disorder before, but thought it was necessary to revisit the issue. Depression has been making headlines as celebrities such as Dwayne Johnson and Selena Gomez step forward with their own personal struggles with it. Depression can affect people from all walks of life, with no one being totally shielded from its influence.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) as of 2016, approximately 16.2 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode.

This figure represents 6.7 percent of all U.S. adults. These 16.2 million people could be your family members, friends or co-workers. Thankfully, hope and help for depression are available.

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It is also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression.

Depression can affect how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a number of psychological and biological complications. It interferes with one’s ability to function in routine daily tasks. In addition, mayoclinic.org lists these other symptoms of which to be aware:

• Prolonged feelings of sadness, emptiness or hopelessness

• Outbursts of anger, irritability or frustration

• Loss of interest in normal activities

• Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much

• Fatigue

• Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain

• Anxiety, agitation or restlessness

• Slowed thinking, or speaking

• Fixating on past failures or self-blame

• Difficulty thinking, concentrating, making decisions

• Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide

• Unexplained physical symptoms, such as back pain or headaches

Depression has several potential causes including changes in brain structure, neurochemical and/or hormonal imbalances and genetics.

If you have undergone a traumatic or stressful event, been diagnosed with a serious illness or have a past history of mental health issues, your risk for developing depression can increase.

If you or someone you know is displaying these symptoms or has these risk factors, take careful notice and go to a licensed mental health practitioner.

Antidepressants and counseling therapies are some of the ways depression can be successfully treated. Keeping a routine sleep/wake cycle, healthy diet and regular exercise regimen can also help to treat and prevent depression. Unchecked, depression can wreak havoc on individuals and those close to them. Do not remain silent. Seek available resources and do not suffer in silence.

For more information on depression, visit www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007. For local depression resources, visit www.mccslejeune-newriver.com/counseling.

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