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January blues or depression?

January 14, 2013
By CATHY BROWNFIELD - Family Recovery Center Publicist , Salem News

LISBON - Motivation. Melody wished she could find some. Her very name bespoke it, didn't it? And when she was a child, didn't her mother state regularly that she exuded all things positive? Didn't Mom once say that although Melody had the blues now and then, she always managed to pull herself out of a funk and not become depressed?

Depression. There wasn't enough money coming in to cover all the bills. There weren't enough jobs to go around for too long a time. The face of the neighborhood constantly changed. People came and went-mostly went now-in the family. The roof was leaking where it had been sealed two months ago. She hated to count problems, but she was having a little trouble finding blessings to count right now because there were so many problems demanding attention. Immediate attention.

Melody felt herself slipping. No. She would not slide into the black, bottomless pit of depression. She didn't want despair as a companion. She did not want to waste one minute of her life lost, alone, isolated, feeling worthless. There must be solutions somewhere. She would hold on to optimism for her family, for herself.

Depression interferes with daily life and normal functioning. It is common with both men and women, but women experience it more often than men. Many women never seek treatment. But with treatment even the most severe depression can get better, advises the NIMH (National Institute of Mental Health.)

There are various forms of depression, major and minor, and may recur in a person's lifetime.

Some people develop SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in the winter when daylight hours are short, but lift in spring and summer. Everyone does not respond to light therapy, though.

Every woman who copes with depression does not have the exact same symptoms. Symptoms of depression include:

Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings.

Hopelessness, pessimism.

Irritable, restless

Guilt, worthlessness, helplessness.

Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, including sex.

Fatigue and decreased energy.

Difficulty concentrating, remembering things and making decisions.

Insomnia, waking up during the night, excessive sleeping.

Overeating or loss of appetite.

Thoughts or attempts of suicide.

Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that don't go away, even with treatment.

Why do people become depressed?

Science is studying factors including environment, genetics, chemicals and hormones, physiological changes expected over a lifetime such as peri-menopause, menopause, post-partum agter giving birth. Stress also has a high impact. Loss of a loved one, marital problems, increased responsibilities on the job and at home, raising children, caring for elderly family members, abuse and poverty can trigger depression.

Women, advises NIMH, respond differently than men to such events.

"...research indicates that women respond in such a way that prolongs their feelings of stress more so than men, increasing the risk for depression."

Can it be that women have so much responsibility they struggle to take care of everything and everyone and have little time to take care of themselves?

For more information about women and depression, contact Family Recovery Center at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, FRC promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs addressing substance abuse and other mental health issues.



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