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Depression can be more prevalent in the winter time. Dark dreary days can hinder our moods. There are some simple things to be done in order to handle feelings of depression. In no particular order here are a few simple tips in handling feelings for depression.Depression

1. Turn to trusted friends and relatives. Sharing what you are going through is helpful because you do not feel like you are carrying the load on your own.

2. Challenge negative thinking. Think outside yourself, are these thoughts rational? Try to adopt the positive thinking of those in your life who tend to see the bright side.

3. Take care of yourself. Live a healthy lifestyle, get the appropriate amount of sleep, eat in a healthy way and get exercise.

4. Be open to professional help. Sometimes we just need someone to walk with us for a little while. This does not mean we are any less of a person.

We have plenty of training and experience in treating those dealing with depressive thoughts and feelings at Christian Counseling Center. We are able to provide in depth help for depression. If you need someone to support you for a time feel free to call us (270) 442-5738.

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Depression has become more prominent in our mobile society.  Depression is common to us all in life’s course; however, some individuals suffer from this affliction due to a chemical imbalance.  The best counseling efforts without medication would only add futility to an already troubled life.

Antidepressants are quite numerous and have to be prescribed according to one’s specific needs.  The determinants are varied as are the descriptions of depression.

Depression is an evolving “buzz  word” for similar descriptions of despair.  The following are symptoms common with depression:

  1. Feeling tired most of the time, despite adequate rest
  2. Disturbance in sleeping habits (too much or too little)
  3. Disturbances in eating habits (too much or too little)
  4. Irritable, upset over little things
  5. Sadness for no apparent reason
  6. Breaking into tears without any known cause
  7. Loss of sex drive (often complete)
  8. Headaches, often present but not severe
  9. Chronic back pain, stomach complaints
  10. Lack of enthusiasm or feeling of enjoyment
  11. Inability to concentrate
  12. Inability to make decisions
  13. Worried, fearful
  14. Feeling unwanted, unworthy, guilty
  15. Feeling life is not worth living (suicidal thoughts or gestures)
  16. Indigestion, chronic constipation, chronic diarrhea

Many Christians are reluctant to get help for depression because they fear it might reflect on their lack of faith or sins.  There are many hymns which advocate that you can be drawn from the darkest of depression by enriching ones faith.  Whether spiritual problems are prevalent or not, in the midst of depression is not the time to sort it out.  It makes sense to not work on marital problems while someone is drunk, so it is with depression.  Remember that guilt is often just a symptom of depression.

If you are feeling any of the above mentioned symptoms, it might be advisable to contact the ChristianCounselingCenter, your regular physician, or your minister.

As the sun begins to shine less and cold weather becomes the norm 5-10% of the population will struggle from a type of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) displays most of the same symptoms as a typical Depression diagnosis (feeling down, low energy, lack of desire to do anything) but instead of eating less a person with SAD eats more, instead of losing sleep they often sleep more.

Women are much more likely to suffer from SAD. Statistics have shown that up to four times as many women suffer from this than men. White women in their mid 30s are the most prominent demographic.

Common treatments are the same as other types of depression. These include counseling and anti-depressant medication. An additional treatment for SAD is light exposure treatment. Preventative treatment could include starting counseling in the mid fall months before the symptoms set in.

If you feel depressive symptoms during this time of year regularly you may struggle with this. Please call a therapist or talk to your doctor.

Learn about your medicine

To get the best results from an antidepressant medicine, you need to take it just as prescribed. Be sure you know:

  • The name and dose of your medicine.
  • How often you need to take it.
  • How to take it. For example, should you take it with a meal or just with a glass of water?
  • What to do if you miss a dose. Should you take it when you remember, or should you wait for the next dose?

When you pick up your medicine at the drugstore, read the information sheet that comes with it. This will list the side effects and other important facts. If there is anything you don’t understand, ask the pharmacist to explain it.

Take it as prescribed

  • Try to take your medicine at the same time each day so you get in the habit.
  • Use a pillbox that holds a week’s worth of pills. This can help prevent overdose.
  • If you have not improved at all after taking your medicine for 3 weeks, tell your doctor. You may need to try a different antidepressant.
  • Take your medicine for as long as your doctor says to. Don’t stop taking it just because you start to feel better.
  • When it is time to quit taking antidepressants, work closely with your doctor. You will need to slowly reduce the dose over a period of a few weeks. Quitting suddenly can cause withdrawal symptoms or cause depression to return.

Know what to avoid

  • Do not take any new medicines without talking to your doctor first. Even common medicines such as aspirin and some vitamins and herbs can cause problems if you use them while you are taking antidepressants.
  • Do not drink alcohol. It can make the side effects worse.

Know about the side effects

Do not stop taking your medicine if you have mild side effects. They will most likely go away after you take the medicine for a few weeks.

If the side effects bother you, talk with your doctor. He or she may prescribe a different medicine or suggest ways to manage your side effects.

Call your doctor right away if you or anyone who takes antidepressants has any serious side effects, such as:

  • Chest pain.
  • Hives, shortness of breath, trouble swallowing, swollen lips, or other signs of a serious allergic reaction.
  • Warning signs of suicide, such as talking or writing about death, giving away belongings, or withdrawing from family and friends.
  • Manic behavior, such as having very high energy, sleeping less than normal, being impulsive, or being grouchy or restless.

Antidepressants are very good at treating depression. Keep the following in mind when you take antidepressants:

  • If you take your medicine as prescribed and give it time to work, you may begin to feel much better.
  • If you don’t take your medicine as prescribed, it is less likely to help you.
  • If you don’t keep taking it for at least 6 months after you feel better, it is more likely that depression will return. At least half of people with depression have a relapse.

Antidepressants help restore the normal balance of brain chemicals. When these brain chemicals are in balance, your depression gets better.

Be sure your doctor knows about any other health conditions you have and any medicines you take regularly. This information can affect which antidepressant your doctor prescribes for you.

There are many antidepressant medicines, and they affect brain chemistry in different ways. The first medicine you take may help you feel better. Or you might need to try a few medicines before you find the one that works best for you.

You may start to feel better within 1 to 3 weeks after you start to take an antidepressant. But it can take as many as 6 to 8 weeks to see more improvement. If you have not improved at all after taking an antidepressant for 3 weeks, talk to your doctor. You may need to try a different medicine.

Taking an antidepressant for at least 6 months after you feel better can help keep you from getting depressed again. If this is not the first time you have been depressed, your doctor may want you to take the medicine even longer.

Side effects

Side effects may vary depending on the medicine you take, but common ones include stomach upset, loss of appetite, diarrhea, feeling anxious or on edge, sleep problems, drowsiness, loss of sexual desire, and headaches.

Most side effects are mild and will go away after you take the medicine for a few weeks.

Risks

If your child is taking antidepressants, make sure to tell your child’s doctor about any family history of bipolar disorder and to watch your child closely for signs of manicbehavior. Some people who are first diagnosed with depression turn out to have bipolar disorder, which causes mood swings from depression to mania. A first episode of mania can happen on its own, but it can also be triggered by certain medicines, including antidepressants.

Women who take an SSRI during pregnancy have a slightly higher chance of having a baby with birth defects. But not treating depression can also cause problems during pregnancy and birth. If you are pregnant, you and your doctor must weight the risks of taking an SSRI against the risks of not treating depression.

FDA Advisory. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued anadvisory on antidepressant medicines and the risk of suicide. The FDA does not recommend that people stop using these medicines. Instead, a person taking antidepressants should be watched for warning signs of suicide. This is especially important at the beginning of treatment or when the doses are changed.

Still, for people who are depressed, the benefits of antidepressants are probably greater than the risks. By relieving depression, antidepressants may actually reduce the risk of suicide in the long run.

If you’re depressed, you may not want to do anything or see anybody. But isolation and inactivity only make depression worse. The more active you are—physically, mentally, and socially—the better you’ll feel.

Some ways to combat and prevent depression include:

  • Getting out in to the world – Try not to stay cooped up at home all day. Go to the park, take a trip to the hairdresser, or have lunch with a friend.
  • Connecting to others – Limit the time you’re alone. If you can’t get out to socialize, invite loved ones to visit you, or keep in touch over the phone or email.
  • Participating in activities you enjoy – Pursue whatever hobbies or pastimes bring or used to bring you joy.
  • Volunteering your time – Helping others is one of the best ways to feel better about yourself and regain perspective.
  • Taking care of a pet – Get a pet to keep you company.
  • Learning a new skill – Pick something that you’ve always wanted to learn, or that sparks your imagination and creativity.
  • Enjoying jokes and stories – Laughter provides a mood boost, so swap humurous stories and jokes with your loved ones, watch a comedy, or read a funny book.
  • Maintaining a healthy diet – Avoid eating too much sugar and junk food. Choose healthy foods that provide nourishment and energy, and take a daily multivitamin.
  • Exercising – Even if you’re ill, frail, or disabled, there are many safe exercises you can do to build your strength and boost your mood—even from a chair or wheelchair.

Fear: Antidepressants increase the risk of suicide.

Fact: Studies in recent years have raised concerns that antidepressants may raise the risk of suicide among children, adolescents, and young adults. For example, a 2009 review in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) analyzed 372 studies involving nearly 100,000 people who were taking antidepressants. It found that compared to placebo, use of antidepressant drugs was associated with a small increased risk for suicidal thoughts in some children and young adults, have no effect on suicide risk among those 25 to 64, and reduce risk in those 65 and older.

In 2004, the FDA required manufacturers of antidepressants to revise their labels to include a black box warning statement about these risks.

Other studies paint a different picture. A 2006 study published in PLoS Medicine suggests that the use of antidepressants has saved thousands of lives. Data show that the U.S. suicide rate held fairly steady for 15 years prior to the introduction of the widely used antidepressant fluoxetine (Prozac) and then dropped steadily over 14 years while sales of Prozac rose. The research team found the strongest effect among women.

The bottom line: Regardless of your age or sex, it’s important to see a doctor immediately if you have suicidal tendencies or witness them in others.

Fear: Taking an antidepressant is a sign of weakness.

Fact: Like medical conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol, major depression is a condition that often responds to medication.When depression interferes with your ability to function normally, seeking treatment is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of good self-care.

Fear: If I start taking antidepressants, I’ll have to take them for the rest of my life.

Fact: Most people who take antidepressants need to take them continuously for six to nine months – not necessarily a lifetime. Once an antidepressant gets depression under control, you should work with your doctor to decide when to stop your medication and then decrease your dose gradually. Discontinuing them suddenly may cause problems such as headaches, dizziness, and nausea.

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