Women with depression do not all experience the same symptoms. However, women with depression typically have symptoms of sadness, worthlessness, and guilt. Depression is more common among women than among men. Biological, lifecycle, hormonal, and psychosocial factors that are unique to women may be linked to their higher depression rate.
For example, women are especially vulnerable to developing postpartum depression after giving birth, when hormonal and physical changes and the new responsibility of caring for a newborn can be overwhelming.
You have to deal with it. Men often experience depression differently than women. While women with depression are more likely to have feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and excessive guilt, men are more likely to be very tired, irritable, lose interest in once-pleasurable activities, and have difficulty sleeping. Men may turn to alcohol or drugs when they are depressed. They also may become frustrated, discouraged, irritable, angry, and sometimes abusive. Some men may throw themselves into their work to avoid talking about their depression with family or friends, or behave recklessly.
And although more women attempt suicide, many more men die by suicide in the United States. My son Timothy used to be an outgoing 9-year-old who loved school. Now he frequently complains of stomachaches and refuses to go to school. He yells at his younger sister a lot. He quit the soccer team and instead has stayed in his room playing video games.
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Before puberty, girls and boys are equally likely to develop depression. A child with depression may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die.
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Most chronic mood disorders, such as depression, begin as high levels of anxiety in children. I was constantly bullied, my heart was in the midst of being broken, and my grades were falling. The pain I suffered day after day, night after night was unbearable. I felt as if I was drowning.
I hated myself. My mom was worried and took me to the doctor. My doctor diagnosed me with depression at the end of my junior year in high school. I needed help. The teen years can be tough. Teens are forming an identity apart from their parents, grappling with gender issues and emerging sexuality, and making independent decisions for the first time in their lives.
Occasional bad moods are to be expected, but depression is different. Older children and teens with depression may sulk, get into trouble at school, be negative and irritable, and feel misunderstood. Teens with depression may also have other disorders such as anxiety, eating disorders, or substance abuse.
They may also be at higher risk for suicide. Children and teenagers usually rely on parents, teachers, or other caregivers to recognize their suffering and get them the treatment they need. Some teens worry what other people will think if they seek mental health care. Depression often persists, recurs, and continues into adulthood, especially if left untreated. If you suspect a child or teenager in your life is suffering from depression, speak up right away.
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She has trouble sleeping at night and snaps at the grandchildren more than usual. She used to be pretty outgoing, but now she keeps to herself a lot. Having depression for a long period of time is not a normal part of growing older. Most older adults feel satisfied with their lives, despite having more illnesses or physical problems. But depression in older adults may be difficult to recognize because they may show different, less obvious symptoms. Sometimes older people who are depressed appear to feel tired, have trouble sleeping, or seem grumpy and irritable.
Older adults also may have more medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, or cancer, which may cause depressive symptoms. Or they may be taking medications with side effects that contribute to depression. Some older adults may experience what doctors call vascular depression, also called arteriosclerotic depression or subcortical ischemic depression.
Vascular depression may result when blood vessels become less flexible and harden over time, becoming constricted. Those with vascular depression may have or be at risk for heart disease or stroke. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish grief from major depression. Grief after loss of a loved one is a normal reaction and generally does not require professional mental health treatment.
However, grief that is complicated and lasts for a very long time following a loss may require treatment. Older adults who had depression when they were younger are more at risk for developing depression in late life than those who did not have the illness earlier in life.
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My daily routine was shot. I got up because the dog had to be walked and my wife needed to go to work. I wanted to get back to normal. I just wanted to be myself again. I talked to him about the time he had been really depressed and had gotten help from his doctor. Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. The earlier treatment begins, the more effective it is. Most adults see an improvement in their symptoms when treated with antidepressant drugs, talk therapy psychotherapy , or a combination of both. 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 doctor or a health provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions psychologist or psychiatrist. Certain medications, and some medical conditions, such as viruses or a thyroid disorder, can cause the same symptoms as depression. A doctor can rule out these possibilities by doing a physical exam, interview, and lab tests. If the doctor can find no medical condition that may be causing the depression, the next step is a psychological evaluation. How well you and your doctor talk to each other is one of the most important parts of getting good health care.
Whether you just moved to a new city, changed insurance providers, or had a bad experience with your doctor or medical staff, it is worthwhile to spend time finding a doctor you can trust. Your doctor or health care provider will examine you and talk to you at the appointment.
Your doctor may do a physical exam and ask questions about your health and symptoms. There are no lab tests that can specifically diagnose depression, but your doctor may also order some lab tests to rule out other conditions.
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Your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker, or mental health counselor, who should discuss with you any family history of depression or other mental disorder, and get a complete history of your symptoms. The mental health professional may also ask if you are using alcohol or drugs, and if you are thinking about death or suicide.
If your doctor does not refer you to a mental health professional or you feel your concerns were not adequately addressed, call or visit the website for your health insurance provider, Medicare www. Remember: No two people are affected the same way by depression. It may take some trial and error to find the treatment that works best for you.
I called my doctor and talked about how I was feeling. She had me come in for a checkup and gave me the name of a specialist who is an expert in treating depression. Because information about medications is always changing, the following section may not list all the types of medications available to treat depression.
Antidepressants are medicines that treat depression. They may help improve the way your brain uses certain chemicals that control mood or stress. Although all antidepressants can cause side effects, some are more likely to cause certain side effects than others. You may need to try several different antidepressant medicines before finding the one that improves your symptoms and has side effects that you can manage.
Most antidepressants are generally safe, but the U. Food and Drug Administration FDA requires that all antidepressants carry black box warnings, the strictest warnings for prescriptions. In some cases, children, teenagers, and young adults under age 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.
The warning also says that patients of all ages taking antidepressants should be watched closely, especially during the first few weeks of treatment. Other more serious but much less common side effects listed by the FDA for antidepressant medicines can include seizures, heart problems, and an imbalance of salt in your blood, liver damage, suicidal thoughts, or serotonin syndrome a life-threatening reaction where your body makes too much serotonin.
Serotonin syndrome can cause shivering, diarrhea, fever, seizures, and stiff or rigid muscles. Your doctor may have you see a talk therapist in addition to taking medicine. Ask your doctor about the benefits and risks of adding talk therapy to your treatment.
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Sometimes talk therapy alone may be the best treatment for you. If you are having suicidal thoughts or other serious side effects like seizures or heart problems while taking antidepressant medicines, contact your doctor immediately.
The medication should be taken in the right dose for the right amount of time.
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