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depression

  • Depression

    Know The Signs – Teen Suicide

    Teen Suicide

    Know The Signs

    Teen Suicide Symptoms and Causes

    What causes suicide?

    Research shows that approximately 90% of people who have died by suicide were suffering from a mental illness at the time. The most common mental illness reported was depression. Impulsivity and substance use, including alcohol and drugs, also warning signs for elevated suicide risk. It is important to remember that suicidal thoughts and behaviors are not the natural consequence of serious life stresses. People who experience a stressful life event may feel intense sadness or loss, anxiety, anger, or hopelessness, and may occasionally have the thought that they would be better off dead. In most people, however, experiences of stressful life events do not trigger recurring thoughts of death, creation of a suicide plan, or intent to die. If any of these are present, it suggests that the person is suffering from depression or another psychiatric disorder and should seek professional treatment.

    Who is affected by suicide?

    Unfortunately, suicide crosses all age, racial, and socioeconomic groups in the US and around the world. In the US, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among children and adolescents ages 10-24, and the 3rd leading cause of death among 12 year olds. Nearly one of every eight children between the ages 6 and 12 has suicidal thoughts. The suicide rate is approximately 4 times higher among males than among females, but females attempt suicide 3 times as often as males. When a suicide occurs, everyone is affected, including the people who are left behind.

    What are the symptoms of suicide?

    The primary symptom of suicide is talking about suicide or doing something to try to harm oneself. If your child expresses suicidal thoughts or exhibits self-harming behaviors, seek professional help.

    There are many warning signs and risk factors for suicide. The list below is not exhaustive, but is intended to provide insight into what factors might elevate a child or adolescent’s level of suicide risk. This does not mean that if your child or adolescent has some of these risk factors, then s/he will automatically take his/her own life. Suicide risk takes into account many factors and needs to be continuously monitored by a mental health professional. Remember that many factors combine to lead to a suicidal crisis and may include some of those that are listed below.

    Risk Factors:

    • Mental illness/psychiatric diagnosis
    • Family history of suicide and/or exposure to suicide Family history of mental illness
    • Physical/sexual abuse
    • Losses
    • Aggressive behavior/impulsivity
    • Lack of social support/social isolation
    • Poor coping skills
    • Access to ways of harming oneself, like guns, knives, etc.
    • Difficulties in dealing with sexual orientation
    • Physical illness
    • Family disruptions (divorce or problems with the law)
    • Traumatic event

    Warning Signs:

    • Preoccupation with death (e.g., recurring themes of death or self-destruction in artwork or written assignments
    • Intense sadness and/or hopelessness
    • Not caring about activities that used to matter
    • Social withdrawal from family, friends, sports, social activities
    • Substance abuse
    • Sleep disturbance (either not sleeping or staying awake all night)
    • Giving away possessions
    • Risky behavior
    • Lack of energy
    • Inability to think clearly/concentration problems
    • Declining school performance/increased absences from school
    • Increased irritability
    • Changes in appetite

    How common is suicide?

    Suicide is the second leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States. In 2012 (the most recent year for which data are available), over 40,000 suicide deaths were reported in the United States. During that year, someone living in the U.S. died by suicide every 12.9 minutes.

    How can I tell if my child is suicidal?

    You can start by asking your child if he or she is thinking about suicide. Be sure to ask them in clear, straight-forward language like, “I’m worried about you. Have you been having thoughts about wanting to die or killing yourself?” People who attempt or complete suicide often exhibit a number of warning signs, either through what they say or by what they do. The more warning signs a teenager exhibits, the higher the risk of completing suicide. If you think your child might be at risk for suicide, you should have him/her evaluated by a professional. You could call your primary care physician, your child’s therapist or psychiatrist, your local mobile crisis team, or visit the closest emergency department. In an emergency, you should call 911.

    What is the difference between suicide in children and suicide in adults?

    Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in young people between the ages of 10 and 24, but it is the 10th leading cause of death for the overall population. Although firearms are the most frequently used method for death by suicide in the United States, the most frequent methods used by teenagers are hanging, jumping from high places, and overdosing on pills or other poisons.

    How can I prevent suicide?

    You can prevent suicide by being on the lookout for the warning signs mentioned above. You can also prevent suicide by asking about it. Studies show that people do not start thinking about suicide just because someone asks them about it. If you suspect your child or adolescent is suicidal, tell them that you are worried and want to help them. Remember, sometimes children or adolescents who are thinking about suicide won’t tell you because they are worried how you will react. Your direct, non-judgmental questions can encourage them to share their thoughts and feelings with you. Regardless of their response, if you suspect that the person may be suicidal, get them help immediately.

    What is the long-term outlook for a child who is suicidal?

    With the right help, a child who is suicidal can make a full recovery and live a fully productive life.

    Where can I go to learn more?
  • Depression

    Understanding Depression and How to Overcome

    Understanding Depression and How To Overcome

    Understanding Depression and How to Overcome

    Today’s society often overlooks mental health, the main component of everyday life. Being mentally healthy is often taken for granted. There are many mental illnesses affecting millions of people, and depression is a major type. Depression acts as a prison, holding one’s mind hostage with its chains. Although depression has various causes and harmful effects, many effective coping mechanisms exist.

    Depression stems from many causes. First, genetics and hereditary factors often play a role in the causes of depression. People with immediate family members suffering from major depression are three times more likely to have the disorder themselves. Also, major life changes can cause depression, such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or a miscarriage. Chronic medical problems or loss of a job can also result in a form of depression.

    In the article “Causes of Major Depression,” Stubbeman states that “Childhood trauma can cause an individual to be depressed for a prolonged period of time. Examples of such traumas are severe illness; isolation; physical, sexual, or mental abuse; witnessing a traumatic event; and neglect. The exact causes of depression remain uncertain, but the effects are clear.”

    The effects of depression range from mild to severe.

    For example, many physical symptoms accompany depression. Headaches, back pain, and muscle aches are all fairly common. Chest pain and digestive problems can also occur. Other physical symptoms of depression include exhaustion, fatigue, and sleeping difficulties. Furthermore, depression affects people mentally and emotionally. Persistent, sad or anxious feelings of hopelessness exist as part of depression. Pessimism and irritability remain common.

    Those affected by depression lose interest in activities they once found enjoyable. Thoughts of death and/or suicide plague them. However, not all people with depression have every symptom. In “Depression: A Family Matter”, Hana Marano writes that “Depression is not just a medical matter. It’s a family one, too.” The behaviors and mood of a depressed person affect the whole family. Constant irritability causes conflicts and derails family dynamics. Negative thought patterns become a prism of pessimism for everyone. This withdrawal literally disrupts relationships and breeds wholesale feelings of rejection. These damaging effects can have lasting impacts on a person’s life.

    Fortunately, there are numerous coping mechanisms available for those affected by depression.

    First, learning about depression and its condition can be motivating and empowering. Also, paying attention to trigger symptoms helps. Avoid recreational drugs and alcohol, as they will generally worsen symptoms. Lastly, taking care of one’s physical and mental well-being by eating healthy, staying physically active, and getting plenty of sleep. By following numerous guidelines and suggestions, those harmed by depression can eventually overcome it. Additionally, if affected with depression, one can use medication to relieve the symptoms.

    Numerous types of medicine and antidepressants exist that can be prescribed by a psychiatrist or primary care doctor. Patients may need to try several different types or combinations of medications in order to find one that is effective. In the article “Depression”, Belinda Rowland affirms that “Patient education in the form of therapy or self-help groups is crucial for training patients with depressive disorders to recognize early symptoms of depression and to take an active part in their treatment program.”

    For those afflicted with depression, therapy and other similar coping mechanisms are highly beneficial.

    Although depression can have detrimental effects, using coping mechanisms assists with the return to stable mental health. Because of depression’s recurrent nature, various solutions exist that have the ability to repair one’s mind, body, and family. Eventually, with effective treatment, one can break free from the chains of depression.

  • Photography

    Surviving Grief as a Teen

    Surviving Grief as a Teen

    The Holmes-Rahe Inventory, a world-renowned tool that documents life’s most stressful events, lists the death of someone close to you as one of the Top 5 most difficult life events. If you lose a parent, it can be particularly tough because your main support system may be lost as well. Recent studies have shown that when a parent dies suddenly, most teens experience grief that subsides over time. However, some teens find it difficult to survive the loss and may experience an increased risk of depression or inability to function normally.

    Why is getting help important?
    If you have very persistent grief, it is important to seek professional help. As mentioned above, strong grief can lead to psychiatric problems. Researchers warn that after two to nine months, if intense grief continues, it is a sign that a teen is not surviving grief well. The findings are also a wake-up call to the importance of preventing severe grief from taking over a teen. Even though grief can make us feel powerless, this time is also one in which we are often required to remain strong or think clearly. You may notice your surviving parent making financial arrangements or discussing changes for the family, which may include downsizing your home, changing your residence, etc. During this time, your input counts so the more mentally clear and strong you are, the better you can express yourself and handle the changes that the loss of a loved one may bring to your family.

    The right of teens to grieve
    Receiving help does not mean eradicating your right to grieve. The Mourner’s Bill of Rights for Children and Teens, created by The Bereavement Team at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Notes that youths have fundamental grieving rights that should be respected by others. These include: the right to be sad and cry even if other people think you shouldn’t; the right to make some decisions for yourself; the right to be angry because of the death of a loved one; the right to ask for help from teachers, friends, or other adults; and the right to be a teacher. If you feel like living, laughing, or playing, do so. You are only a teen once and you should take advantage of the beautiful moments of inspiration you may have during this tough time.

    Understanding that grief involves different stages
    Grief can be complicated because you may feel so differently from one day to the next. You may start to feel stronger, only to feel totally down in the dumps the following day. Try and do a little reading, in particular into the work of Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, one of the most famous thinkers and writers on the subject of grief. Kübler-Ross said that there were five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Her research showed her that human beings do not necessarily go through these stages chronologically. Sometimes, we can spend a long time in one stage then go through others quickly, or go back, for instance, to feeling depressed after we have already felt acceptance. It is important for teen girls to understand that all these emotions are normal.

    Lowering your stress
    To enable you to withstand grief, try to instill as calm a state of mind as possible by adopting stress busting methods such as meditation, yoga, or even breathing. Studies have shown that these holistic practices can help teens with anxiety and depression. Research has also shown that social support is very important. In addition to finding support from friends and family, try to take part in community activities – anything from sports to worship. These activities will open your circles and help you feel less alone when the pain feels like more than you can handle.

    The loss of a loved one can make you feel like the rug has been pulled out from under your feet. As a teen, you are at a crossroads in life in which parents in particular play such an important role, though the loss of a sibling, grandparent, or good friend can be devastating as well. Realize that grief is a cyclical thing, get help if you need it, and rely on other loved ones to help you feel like you aren’t alone at one of the toughest times in life.

  • Health

    How to Handle Seasonal Depression

    How to Handle Seasonal Depression

    As my freshmen year of college was coming to an end, and my summer of returning back to my hometown was there in front of my face, I felt an immediate shift of sadness for the things that were to come of my life. I felt that I had made so many great strides in self discovery, while away from home. I had felt that all of the self reflection wouldn’t be worth living up to because of how trapped and isolated I was post the first college experience that I had been given. On the ride back home, I thought of all of my friends that I would miss and the experiences that I would miss out on simply because of distance. I was stricken with grief and longing for how my life had been on my own.

    That same summer I had dealt with serious bouts of anxiety that put me in the hospital. I could not stop overthinking. I could not stop thinking less of myself, or stop myself from being high strung on the things that weren’t even real. However, after a visit with my doctor where I was diagnosed with anxiety disorder, I decided to take my depression and anxiety into my own hands.

    In order to prevent the constant, never ending thought cycle I started to read books and allow my imagination to wander through that realm instead of focusing on things that I could not control. Books gave me the opportunity and outlet to feel free again. I liked that words created that type of safe space for me in order to express myself in the way that I wanted to do it.

    Music was another aspect of my life that gifted me with the outlet to allow myself to be as imaginative and free spirited as I wanted to be. On my favorite episode of Steven Universe, Garnet and Connie perform a song called “Mindful Education” that touches on surrendering to our fears. Also, in a way to deal with my environment, it was the only thing that created a sense of healthy boundaries.

    Whenever I feel my seasonal depression approaching, I make sure to pay close attention to my immune system since it is closely associated to our emotions. Nutrition is an important part of who we are and not many people know or understand that. According to the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, “individuals experiencing depression are also not necessarily getting the carbohydrates, proteins, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that they need.” Before anything else, make sure to include a balanced meal in order to take on the day and be the best person that you know that you can be for yourself.

    Tackling depression is an ongoing cycle and something that we all have to experience one way or the other. An important part of my growth and development in this area was understanding that I was not alone. And in order to feel like I was not allow, I needed to take proper steps to make sure that I was taking care of myself in the way that I needed to be doing.

  • Articles

    What is Depression?

    What is Depression?

    Depression is categorized as a mood disorder. In some cases, it can cause teenagers to have suicidal thoughts. What’s even sadder is that it is the third leading cause, in terms of deaths, amongst teenagers as well. And to make things even worse, there is a lot of stigmas surrounding the idea that young kids simply do not experience these types of emotions or feelings (which is far from the truth). According to psychcentral.com, the average onset of depression is 14 years old and 80 percent of teens do not receive help regarding this issue either. This is mainly due to the various ways in which depressive symptoms tend to show up.

    If depressive symptoms last for at least two weeks or more, then the signs you are seeing could be parallel to something that is not just regular teenage moodiness. Loss of energy, changes in appetite, fluctuating weight, frequent complaints about headaches or any physical pain, or a sudden change in grades are a few things to pay attention to when things do not feel right inside of you. According to heysigmund.com, mood and pain share the same pathways in the brain and they are regulated by the same brain chemicals (serotonin and norepinephrine). It can also make people oversleep, hypersomnia, and often times it causes them to have trouble falling back asleep. It is important to find healthy outlets to channel the transitions that you may be experiencing in life or the complex emotions that you may feel as you are growing up. Grounding yourself is important especially since depression is a worldwide issue and is even more common in families since it is a biological condition.

    Medication can be used to treat this mental disorder and often times, cognitive therapy can aid in making healthy choices and decisions. Exercise coupled with sunshine can help you recharge your energy and ground you. Practice healthy communication and always remind yourself that this something that you are not alone on and that everyone, at some point in time, experiences thoughts and emotions that causes them to be sad. Psychotherapy is a good practice of mindfulness to take up since it could have more long lasting positive effects rather than medication that could cause some negative side effects. Focus on creating positive affirmations and thoughts on yourself because sometimes depression makes us feel less than what we are. If you have any friends that are experiencing these types of feelings or you are concerned about, make yourself available and know that you cannot change them and that this is something that they also have to work on inside of themselves. Again, depression is often a complex and misunderstood mental illness so it operates from numerous planes.

    Embrace that being young brings about a lot of changes both physically and mentally. This is a time of pure growth. Explore all of your emotions and do not let anyone hold you back from that. Work on healing and strengthening these quarks and remember that if something does not feel right inside of you, reach out to people that care about you. You do not have to suffer in silence.

  • Articles

    What are the Different Types of Depression?

    What are the Different Types of Depression?

    Depression can come in a variety of ways. It is not a binary mental disorder. The condition has many faces and many avenues that it can cross that plays into its complexities. In the same respect that symptoms can vary among different people, there are different types of diagnoses as well. Sadness is something that we all feel and know, but depression is a completely different ballpark. However, no matter the severity of the condition, there is a treatment for it. Below are a few common versions of it, along with a few traits that are carried along with it: According to majorhealth.com, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is the most common variant of depression. You often feel and see symptoms of extreme sadness, feeling guilt for no reason, changes in eating habits, and tends to recur throughout the entirety of a person’s life. Dysthymia, which is another type of depression that causes a low mood that lasts for over a year. On the bright side of the spectrum, around 80 to 90 percent of patients respond well to the antidepressants offered to them by their doctor. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is coupled with anxiety, an increase in irritability, fatigue during the sunlight hours, and weight gain. This most often occurs when the weather changes from warm to cold. This is mostly due to the lack of sunlight. Symptoms for this type of disorder can be mild but have been severe in some cases. SAD usually lifts during the springtime and can be cured with artificial light therapy. Psychotic depression, which is a mental state coupled with disorganized thoughts, behaviors, irregular thought patterns, false sights or sounds, hallucinations, etc. Sometimes it is hard for people in these positions to even leave their beds. Treatment for this includes: antidepressants and anti psychotic medication. Taking both of these together has more of a useful effect than taking them individually. Because there are so many variations of depression, it is important to be diagnosed by a mental health professional. In the meantime, focus on grounding yourself and try to identify the negativity that is overtaking you and reflect on it, in order to move forward in your life. With this idea of reframing the way one may look at their depression, and educating themselves on the different types of depression, someone could recover from the warped perception of themselves that they may have and work on gaping the bridge between their successes and failures. Focus on activities that you may enjoy and base your outlook on taking care of yourself because self care is an important and imperative part of being a human being. Reward yourself for the efforts that you take to make sure you are okay and if something seems too difficult to break down, then break it down in order to make it easier for you. Remember that this life is what you make it, essentially, and that everything will work out for the greater benefit of you.

  • Depression

    My Story On Living With Anxiety and Depression

    My Story On Living With Anxiety and Depression

    Living with anxiety and depression is exhausting. You swerve between being unable to sleep because you fear everyone you love is going to die, to feeling absolutely nothing when someone actually ends up in the hospital. You spend hours fighting the thoughts in your head that tell you that people would be better off without you. You can’t stop clenching your fist to stop your hand from shaking, as your heartbeat paces uncontrollably. Depression and anxiety can take up so much of your headspace, that you can no longer keep up with day-to-day activities, like eating nutritious meals, maintaining a work schedule, or sometimes even being able to get out of bed. The worst part is, you may dismiss your feelings as unimportant: but this dismissal is as much a symptom of needing to consult with a mental health professional.

     

    When I was dealing with anxiety and depression, I was scared that I would have to rely on medicines forever. My doctorwas quick to assure me that mental health recovery, like all disease management, was not that unmanageable. He told me that while counselling and (when needed) medication were primary to recovery, there were small lifestyle changes I could make to ease out, quicken and sustain the recovery process. Just hearing this reminded me that I had control over my life. It made me feel less anxious and more hopeful. If you are living with anxiety and depression; besides getting trained help, here are some small lifestyle changes I made that can be beneficial for you too:

     

    Food

    When I began experiencing the symptoms of depression, I was in college. Living away from the home for the first time gave me the independence to eat and drink what I want. I ended up drinking alcohol and eating junk food a lot, due to stress and the party culture in colleges. This took an instant toll on my mental health because I would feel guilty and hateful towards myself the whole week. So the first lifestyle change I made was in my diet.

     My doctor suggested to have healthy foodsand to incorporate vitamins in my diet, especially Vitamin C and Vitamin E into my food as studieshad found Vitamin C and E can help reverse the neurochemical imbalances that cause anxiety.

     I added fruits containing Vitamin Clike guavas, blackcurrants, and peppers, and Vitamin E-rich food like almonds and kiwis to my meals. Not only did I feel mentally and physically better, I even felt I had regained control over my diet and body.

     

    Fitness

    I was an ardent swimmer when I was younger, but I had stopped swimming as I grew up. During a depressive spell, I had beaten myself up this and felt as though could never return to being a good swimmer. My psychologist alleviate my fears and told me to simply plunge into the pool and keep at it for a week. At the end of the end of the week, not only was I feeling happier because I had conquered my irrational fears; the exercise also boosted my endorphins, which made me feel happier. While researching, I also found that another factor could have helped me feel better: the sun. I found out that Vitamin D deficiency can cause depressive feelings, and eating foods rich in Vitamin D and exercising in the open can be the best way to lap up this vitamin.

     

    Perspective

    Dealing with anxiety can be debilitating because your irrational thoughts often conquer you. If my parents wouldn’t pick up the phone, I would keep ringing them till they did, because I irrational thought the worst had happened. My friend (who was also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder) would lose sleep if her desk was not arranged in a certain way. We both found that a few perspective changes would actually help stop these thoughts. If I felt as though I couldn’t stop thinking about my loved ones dying, I would force myself to focus on my sensory abilities. Sometimes, I slowly chewed a raisin and tried to mentally describe its texture, taste and shape. Other times, I would walk on wet grass and focus on its sensations on my feet. This usually distracted me from my thoughts and curb their power over me. If this did not work, I would write down whatever I was fearing, and tear up the sheet. This helped me feel unburdened. 

     

    Supplements

    However, when my anxiety or depression really acted up, I resorted to a few supplements besides my standard medication. As these supplements were primarily plant-based, they had no side effects and did not cause any issues. I tried fish oil supplements, filled with healthy Omega-3 acids, which has been foundto help counter the effects of depression. I also took CBD Oil for anxiety, as it helped me de-stress and relax. I also added saffron to my tea. Not only did it add a wonderful flavour, but it helped in healing my depression.

     

    Now that I have recovered, and my mental health is much better, I find, that in fact, it is these small lifestyle changes that helped me get healthy quickly. It is by incorporating these changes that I can now sustain my mental health and live happily and healthily.