Major Depression and Body Pain
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Depression can be a painful condition, and not just mentally. See how it reveals itself as body aches and pains.
Transcript: The effects of depression aren't all in your head. About 30 percent of those diagnosed with clinical...
The effects of depression aren't all in your head. About 30 percent of those diagnosed with clinical depression also have persistent body pain. And research shows that as painful symptoms get worse, so do psychological complaints. That's because brain functions that let us feel and manage PAIN are closely aligned with brain functions that produce feelings of depression and anxiety. Research shows that both PAIN and DEPRESSION travel along the same neurological pathways and the same neurotransmitters, serotonin and norepinephrine, are responsible for regulating them. When body pain is associated with DEPRESSION, the pain often comes on as ACHES or SHARP SENSATIONS in the head, back, chest, stomach and joints. Some people also experience bouts of fatigue and exhaustion, no matter how much sleep and rest they get. Unfortunately, many doctors aren't aware that pain symptoms can be associated with depression and they search in vain for some other physical source. Some studies suggest that if physicians evaluated all pain patients for mood disorders , they might discover that 60 PERCENT of them had UNdiagnosed depression. If you suffer from undiagnosed chronic pain OR have been diagnosed with depression and pain in combination, treatment may include: *Medication, such as antidepressants *Cognitive-behavioral therapy to ease depression and help you change your pain response * Stress management, including relaxation techniques, hypnosis, or biofeedback * Supportive individual and or family counseling. Keep in mind, it might take some time to find the right treatment or combination of treatments to ease your pain AND manage your depression. But if you work with your doctor, the chances are very good that you will find what works for you.More »
Last Modified: 2013-07-30 | Tags »
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Your lapses in memory may not be coincidental. Learn more about the relationship between memory and major depressive disorder.
Transcript: Major depression is commonly associated with symptoms such as BODY pain, insomnia, FATIGUE, and decreased...
Major depression is commonly associated with symptoms such as BODY pain, insomnia, FATIGUE, and decreased libido. But an even more troubling, and harder to pin down side effect is memory problems. Research has found that chronic depression may damage your HIPPOCAMPUS, an area of the brain mostly responsible for short-term memories and new learning. And the longer you suffer from major depression, the greater your risk for memory loss. The hippocampus contains receptors for the stress hormone CORTISOL. People with major depression are known to have cortisol levels that remain slightly but consistently higher in that region of the brain. Prolonged exposure to cortisol may SHRINK or ATROPHY the hippocampus, causing memory loss and maybe even mild cognitive impairment, which is the stage of memory problems that comes before Alzheimer's disease. A 2010 study performed at Rush University Medical Center even indicates that depression may DOUBLE the risk for Alzheimer's disease. If major depression is TREATED early enough, memory loss MAY be avoidable OR reversible. However, in rare instances, people reported memory problems as a side effect of almost all antidepressants but those problems went away when they stopped taking the medication. If you have major depression and are experiencing memory problems you've never had before, talk to your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Watch other videos in this series to learn more about major depression.More »
Last Modified: 2013-02-01 | Tags »
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Pregnancy is important, but so is your depression treatment. Know your treatment options when dealing with major depression and pregnancy.
Transcript: Becoming pregnant should be a source of great joy, but for a woman who has to deal with major depression,...
Becoming pregnant should be a source of great joy, but for a woman who has to deal with major depression, it can also trigger concern --- for her fetus AND her own mental health. First, and most important, an expectant mother should NOT suddenly stop any depression treatment. That can cause a relapse. If you are on antidepressants, and find out you are pregnant, go talk with your doctor immediately about your next steps. If a woman's major depression is in remission and symptoms such as sadness, fatigue and social isolation have faded, she CAN try to slowly taper off medication, replacing it with more psychotherapy instead. However, there's a real risk that she'll experience a RELAPSE in that situation as well, so this should only be done with a doctor's supervision. So does all this mean a woman should STAY on antidepressants if she's pregnant? While antidepressants DO pass through the placenta, there is NOT solid information on just how much they affect the fetus either pre-or-post birth. A pregnant woman, her psychiatrist and her OB/GYN should review the risks and benefits before making a decision about which medications--and how much of them--to take. To CUT DOWN on your antidepressant dosage, supplement treatment with more psychotherapy, daily exercise, acupuncture and other possibly helpful non-drug methods. To learn more about major depression, watch other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-05-28 | Tags »
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Depression is common, but it's often misunderstood. Learn which myths about depression can be debunked.
Transcript: Even though major depression affects more than 21 million Americans, many people have trouble understanding...
Even though major depression affects more than 21 million Americans, many people have trouble understanding exactly how it affects someone and what causes it. One common misunderstanding is that depression ONLY occurs when something BAD happens to a person, like a death in the family or the loss of a job. While these events can TRIGGER a depressive episode, often times, major depression develops in an individual WITHOUT any preceding specific event. Let's examine the FALSE notion that depression is simply a NASTY case of the blues. Many studies show that depression is caused in part by an IMBALANCE of the neurotransmitters in your brain. These neurotransmitters-namely SEROTONIN, norepinephrine and dopamine-influence our moods and help the brain transmit information, thoughts and feelings. Research also suggests that the neurons in the brains of depressed people don't adapt and grow the same way that they do in non-depressed people. FURTHERMORE, MRIs have revealed that that there are PHYSICAL differences between the brains of depressed and non-depressed people. But there's more research needed to strengthen these theories. These discoveries dispel the myth that depressed people should be able to FORCE themselves to be happy. To correct these neurological and chemical brain glitches and get relief from their symptoms, people with major depression usually need to start-and often STAY with-antidepressants and psychotherapy. That leads me to another myth. Major depression doesn't just GO AWAY on its own. Don't ever wait for this to happen-UNTREATED depression MAY lead to cognitive problems, memory loss, and even physical problems such as headaches and digestive disorder. And, suicide is MORE likely if depression is left untreated. In fact, major depression is the TOP risk factor for suicide in the elderly. Along with psychotherapy, ANTIDEPRESSANTS help depressed people manage their symptoms. But they're also at the center of a common myth-that they somehow erase ESSENTIAL parts of an individual's personality. A 2009 study out of Northwestern University shows that the medications do change personality-but in a GOOD way! In the study, they found that the antidepressant increased the POSITIVE emotions in participants, and DECREASED neuroticism and introversion, which are related to depression. This brings me to another myth. Antidepressants are often erroneously thought of as "happy pills." In reality, these medications aren't "picker-uppers" - they DON'T instantly transform a sad person into a peppy, cheerful one. What they do is normalize chemical imbalances in the brain. Bleak moods, out of proportion to what is going on, can subside and with therapy the person can take on life's ever-changing good and bad events.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-17 | Tags »
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Chronic stress, elevated cholesterol and lack of exercise can fuel both depression and heart disease. Learn about the depression and heart disease link.
Transcript: Heart disease and depression go hand in hand. If you are chronically depressed, you are at increased...
Heart disease and depression go hand in hand. If you are chronically depressed, you are at increased risk for heart disease-and the opposite is true as well. In fact, studies report that anywhere from 17 to 27 percent of hospitalized patients with coronary artery disease ALSO experience major depression. Research also shows that chronic stress, elevated cholesterol and lack of exercise can both FUEL DEPRESSION and heart disease--and INDICATE that you have those conditions. STRESS is a whole body emotion that triggers a complex cascade of hormonal and physical responses. Frequent spikes in adrenaline and cortisol-the stress hormones-can cause rapid heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and increased blood clotting. All of which are bad for the circulatory system.And feeling constantly stressed can cause brain changes that trigger depression. For example, stress can lead to reduced levels of available serotonin, dopamine and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which are linked to mood and depression. CHOLESTEROL is produced in the liver and when you are depressed, biochemical changes in the body can cause the liver to crank out too much, damaging arteries and raising your risk of a heart attack. In addition, research has shown that people with depression are more prone to blood clots and constricted blood vessels, which are known to increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. If you ARE dealing with both depression and heart disease, taking antidepressants called serotonin-reuptake-inhibitors, or SSRIs, may improve the health of your circulatory system as they ease your depression. And physical activity and exercise are proven ways to strengthen your heart and improve your mood. For more information on how to treat depression, see the other videos in this series.More »
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Anger and depression have a volatile relationship. See how they continually fuel each other and what you can do to break the cycle of anger and depression.
Transcript: Anger and depression have a volatile relationship. Depression can fuel anger, and anger can act as an...
Anger and depression have a volatile relationship. Depression can fuel anger, and anger can act as an outlet for uncontrolled depression. And the angrier a depressed person becomes, the more depressed he may feel. According to researchers, anger and depression activate adjacent areas of the brain, share the same neurological pathways and are regulated by the same neurotransmitters, such as serotonin.Numerous risk factors can lead to simultaneous feelings of depression and anger in susceptible individuals. Some of these risk factors include: * Heredity. The tendency towards depression AND uncontrolled anger IS related to genetic predispositions. They don't determine your fate, but can alert you to your risk and make you more vigilant about avoiding potential triggers of both depression and anger.* Poor health. The frustrations and fears associated with poor health, plus the lack of physical activity that often goes along with it, can fuel feelings of anger and depression that may be brewing inside a person. * Environmental factors. This includes loneliness, lack of support system, unemployment and debt. No mystery why these can worsen depression or cause anger.* Drug and alcohol abuse. Artificial stimulants and depressants may affect the part of the brain that triggers feelings of depression and anger. It turns out that what people THINK will provide relief only makes them feel worse in the long run. Fortunately, the cycle of depression and anger can be broken with the right treatment, which may include anti-depressants combined with stress-relief techniques, lifestyle modification and talk therapy. For more information on how to manage depression, check out other videos in this series.More »
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Life becomes challenging when someone you know is depressed. It's tough to know what to say and when someone is depressed what NOT to say.
Transcript: When a loved one has major depressive disorder or MDD it's tough to know what to say - or NOT say. You...
When a loved one has major depressive disorder or MDD it's tough to know what to say - or NOT say. You want to understand what the person is going through, but the truth is you DON'T quite. And you want to offer comfort and consolation-but aren't sure what will help. Well, there are some basic guidelines that will help you navigate the tricky situation. First and foremost, remember that your loved one didn't CHOOSE to be depressed. Depression is caused by a combination of factors: a person's genes and biochemical make up, life experiences and psychological factors. If you understand THAT, it will help you avoid laying BLAME on the person for being depressed. And you won't say things such as "Get over yourself, you're just in a rut." or "Why do you always have to be such a drama queen?" It will ALSO help you understand that a person can't simply SHAKE OFF depression. You do more harm than good by suggesting that they just "Snap out of it!" or "Think some good thoughts." Also, don't belittle the situation. You only hurt the person's feelings by saying:-"What do you have to be depressed about?"- or "You're not the only one who gets sad."While dealing with a loved one's depression may be difficult, don't make the situation about YOU. Telling your loved one that you know how they feel because you were ONCE blue, or relating what YOU DO to get out of a funk, will not ring true, unless you've also had MDD. Instead try saying: -"I can't really understand what you're feeling, but I am here if you need anything any time of the day or night." - and "Maybe seeing a therapist is a good idea." For more information on dealing with depression, check out other videos on this site.More »
Last Modified: 2013-03-01 | Tags »
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It's common to take more than one antidepressant in your depression treatment. Finding the right antidepressant combination is important. See what combos are most common.
Transcript: When a person is FIRST diagnosed with major depression, they're often prescribed an antidepressant called...
When a person is FIRST diagnosed with major depression, they're often prescribed an antidepressant called an SSRI or selective SEROTONIN reuptake inhibitor, which REGULATES the neurotransmitters found in the brain. There are SEVERAL types of FDA-approved SRRIs for the treatment of major depression-examples are citalopram, fluoxetine and sertraline. Unfortunately, after a couple months on the medication, about 30 to 40 percent of patients DON'T find any relief from their depression. That's when a psychiatrist may increase a patient's dose, and/or switch a patient to ANOTHER antidepressant. Sometimes this is another SSRI or a related antidepressant called an SNRI, or a serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor. It affects serotonin AND norepinephrine levels. Common ones include: dduloxetine and venlafaxine. Sometimes the doctor may suggest you try a different form of antidepressant altogether. It may be a tricyclic, one of the OLDEST forms of antidepressants available. They work differently and have stronger side effects than the other, NEWER antidepressants. But when other drugs don't seem to work, they may prove effective. Examples include amitriptyline, desipramine, and doxepin. You might also be prescribed a mono amine oxidase inhibitor. These have more severe side effects and are not commonly prescribed. They cannot be use within 7 to 14 days of TAKING other antidepressants. MAOIs include phenelzine and selegeline. Or you might switch to bupropion, a dopamine reuptake inhibitor that also acts on norepinephrine. It is often favored because it doesn't cause sexual side effects. If these shifts in medication fail to provide relief, your psychiatrist might AUGMENT your prescription with a second ANTIDEPRESSANT. According to a study out of the National Institute of Mental Health, this tactic relieved symptoms in one out of 3 people who didn't get help from an INITIAL antidepressant. In fact, about 14 percent of people on antidepressants take TWO of them, according to a 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But it is potentially risky and controversial. While unremitting major depression is a very serious illness and a combination of drugs may provide remission, there is limited research proving which combinations are SAFE and EFFECTIVE. If you go this route you must work very closely with your doctor to identify all side effects and risks and work together to determine the best choice for your particular circumstances. When it is effective and without serious health risks, it can be life-changing.More »
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Meditation may sound kooky and quaint, but it could improve your depression. Learn about the meditation and depression connection.
Transcript: When you think of "meditation", you probably picture Buddhist monks sitting cross-legged in Tibet. But...
When you think of "meditation", you probably picture Buddhist monks sitting cross-legged in Tibet. But meditation offers benefits to EVERYONE, and it might EVEN help EASE major depression symptoms. Numerous studies have used MINDFULNESS-based COGNITIVE therapy to examine meditation's effects on major depression. Patients practicing mindfulness meditation sit and concentrate on the rhythm of their breathing. It helps them notice their painful thoughts and then let them float away, instead of brooding over them. COGNITIVE behavioral therapy, in the form of gentle questions from a therapist, is done WHILE the patient is practicing mindfulness. THIS therapy is intended to help patients ALTER painful thinking patterns and respond to problems in a more constructive way. Research has validated this approach. In 2008, a study of people with major depression showed that mindfulness-based cognitive therapy prevented relapse more than treatment with antidepressants alone did. The researchers from the University of Exeter in the UK randomly split 123 people into two groups-one group started MINDFULNESS-based COGNITIVE therapy and was allowed to stop taking antidepressants if they wanted to. The other group continued with only antidepressants. Forty seven percent of the MINDFULNESS-based COGNITIVE therapy group relapsed, compared to SIXTY percent of the group on antidepressant treatment alone. The meditators also reported GREATER enjoyment of daily life and BETTER physical health. Another relapse study in 2010 at Ontario's Center for Addiction and Mental Health looked at three groups of people with major depression. One group continued taking antidepressants, one STOPPED them and started mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and the third took placebos. The relapse rates were the SAME for those on medication and those who meditated and received drug therapy. If you're thinking about trying mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, or even traditional mindfulness meditation, make sure you discuss it to your psychiatrist first and never stop antidepressant medication abruptly or without a doctor's supervision. To learn more about major depression, take a look at more videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2014-01-06 | Tags »
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Depression and libido are linked in the brain, your body's greatest sex organ. See how one affects the other, and what you can do about it.
Transcript: Depression is often a vicious cycle-you feel bad, so you are not interested in sex or intimacy. Then...
Depression is often a vicious cycle-you feel bad, so you are not interested in sex or intimacy. Then the lack of sex and intimacy makes you feel more depressed. In one study of depressed people who were NOT taking medication, 70 percent said they had lost the URGE to have sex and that they considered it the WORST symptom of the disease. And many people who are depressed have problems reaching orgasm. Researchers aren't exactly certain why, or how, depression results in loss of libido and other sexual symptoms, but hormones may play a role. Fluctuations in the mood-controlling neurotransmitter serotonin and the stress hormone cortisol can result in depressed moods and loss of libido--as can changes in levels of estrogen and progesterone. Additionally, levels of testosterone that are too low or too high can trigger mood swings ranging from depression to anger. On top of that, many antidepressant MEDICATIONS cause sexual dysfunction and loss of desire. The first antidepressant generally prescribed for depression is an SSRI, such as fluoxetine, citalopram and sertraline- *all of which can lower your sex drive and prevent women from having orgasms and men from attaining an erection. If you or your partner has been diagnosed with depression and is experiencing a Loss of libido or sexual dysfunction, it's best to DISCUSS the situation with both your partner and your doctor. A change in medication or some other treatment can help you both reclaim your full relationship. To learn more about the daily effects of depression, check out other videos in this series.More »
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Treatment that involves combining talk therapy and drugs can be an effective method in dealing with depression. This video provides information on how and why this combination can help you.
Transcript: The most effective way to manage the symptoms of major depression and WORK towards remission is to use...
The most effective way to manage the symptoms of major depression and WORK towards remission is to use TWO treatment approaches simultaneously-psychiatric medication and psychotherapy. Antidepressants work by regulating the neurotransmitters in the brain. Most of the time, a patient's first antidepressant will be an SSRI, or a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor. They affect the levels of available serotonin, one of the most IMPORTANT neurotransmitters. PSYCHOTHERAPY is talk therapy that focuses on YOU, not just your brain's chemicals. There are several types, but patients with major depression often take part in COGNITIVE behavioral therapy. This type of therapy focuses on changing a patient's negative thinking patterns and perceptions of the world. Their thoughts and, consequently, their behavior, contribute to their major depression. Working together, a therapist and patient try to replace the negative thoughts and patterns with positive, productive ones. COMBINING antidepressants and psychotherapy can have a POWERFUL, beneficial effect on major depression. Some studies have shown that the combo results in LOWER treatment drop-out rates and ultimately, a much higher chance of recovery. The American Psychiatric Association suggests using the pair, especially if a patient's symptoms haven't improved from trying only one form of treatment, OR if a patient is having a difficult time ADHERING to treatment. And a major clinical trial called the Treatment for Adolescents with Depression Study showed that, in teens, the combination of antidepressants and psychotherapy was more successful than EITHER component alone. Staying on track with psychotherapy is especially important if you're 25 or younger and starting on a new --or your FIRST --antidepressant. You MAY be prone to more suicidal thoughts the first few months you're taking the medication, so supervision is necessary. So don't hesitate if your psychiatrist decides that you need BOTH antidepressants and psychotherapy. It might just be the key to your recovery! To learn more about major depression, watch other videos in this series!More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-02 | Tags »
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Walking or jogging in the park can boost your mood and help you feel refreshed. Learn more through this video on exercise and depression.
Transcript: When you have major depression, the very LAST thing you may want to do is take a jog around the block....
When you have major depression, the very LAST thing you may want to do is take a jog around the block. But, NUMEROUS studies have shown that a consistent, MONITORED exercise routine can help improve your mood and TREAT major depression symptoms. A 2011 study conducted at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center revealed that 12 weeks of daily aerobic exercise, when combined with antidepressants and psychotherapy, contributed to a REMISSION of symptoms in almost 30 PERCENT of participants. And another TWENTY percent showed obvious improvement. The participants' exercise routine included jogging on a treadmill, cycling on an exercise bike, or speed-walking on the sidewalk. Even more dramatic results came out of a Duke University study. In it, exercise alone proved to be the most effects way to prevent relapse of depression. The group that ONLY exercised had the LOWEST rate of symptom relapse-only EIGHT percent, compared to 38 percent in the antidepressant-only group and 31 percent of the exercise-and-drug group. A few other studies conducted on the subject came up with the same fundamental result - exercise eases depression symptoms! But HOW? Some researchers say that patients may feel better because they're taking an ACTIVE part in their treatment, rather than simply taking a pill. It's also likely that ENDORPHINS play a LARGE role in improving the MOOD of depressed people. These chemicals, released during exercise, are known to change a person's mood for the BETTER. It's also possible that exercise releases norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter that affects mood. Exercise can also help you gain CONFIDENCE by meeting exercise goals, it can distract you from your worries, and HELP you interact with others. If you'd like to incorporate a fitness routine into YOUR treatment plan, speak with your mental healthcare provider right away. And to learn more about major depression, take a look at other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-25 | Tags »
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Is group therapy right for you? Well, it certainly has its advantages. Check out this video to learn more about the benefits of group therapy.
Transcript: Along with antidepressants, INDIVIDUAL, one-on-one psychotherapy is a cornerstone of treatment for anyone...
Along with antidepressants, INDIVIDUAL, one-on-one psychotherapy is a cornerstone of treatment for anyone with major depression. But GROUP psychotherapy is effective in treating major depression as well. The group structure is more affordable than individual therapy. It allows you to practice your new coping skills with others, and it will improve your communication skills because you can interact with the other participants without fear of judgment. Plus, group therapy may help you avoid feelings of loneliness. Your DOCTOR will decide if group therapy will SUPPLEMENT your current treatment or REPLACE individual therapy sessions, but it's NOT something you should start on your own. Also, if you're having suicidal thoughts, you need more than group therapy. You should speak ONE ON ONE to a mental health professional. A typical group therapy session involves several people, usually no more than 12, sitting in a circle. The group is always guided by a mental health professional. Several types of psychotherapy can work in a group format, including cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is most often used for major depression, however. Like individual psychotherapy, cognitive GROUP therapy will help you identify and replace your negative thinking patterns and behaviors for positive ones. Interpersonal therapy is used to treat several types of depression. It focuses on improving the patient's behavior and interaction patterns with others. SUPPORT groups may also help you from feeling lonely, but they're a bit different from group psychotherapy. Support groups are not always led by professional therapists because they exist to help you COPE with symptoms, not to TREAT your unhelpful thoughts and behaviors. You can gain helpful tips from group members on how to MANAGE depression and feel less isolated, but you wouldn't usually begin a support group until AFTER you're on a steady treatment plan for managing your depression. Whichever forum you and your doctor decide may best help you manage your depression, remember that there's NO need to go through this illness alone. To learn more about major depression treatment, take a look at other videos in this series.More »
Last Modified: 2012-11-17 | Tags »
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