If you - or someone you know - are having thoughts about suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Calls are connected to a certified crisis center nearest the caller's location. Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you - or someone you know - are having thoughts about suicide, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Calls are connected to a certified crisis center nearest the caller's location. Services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The Depression Forums - A Depression & Mental Health Social Community Support Group
Our mission is to create an atmosphere that is both supportive and informative in a caring, safe environment for our members to talk to their peers about depression, anxiety, mood disorders, medications, therapy and recovery.
Our vision is to advance the public awareness of mental health issues so as to eliminate the stigma that surrounds depression and mood disorders through education and advocacy, as well as striving to obtain quality medical care for mental health patients, as it is no different from any other medical illness.
Holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, but for many people they are anything but.
Depression may occur at any time of the year, but the stress and anxiety of the holiday season—especially during the months of November and December (and, to a lesser extent, just before Valentine's Day)—may cause even those who are usually content to experience loneliness and a lack of fulfillment.
Part of the problem, according to Adam K. Anderson, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at the University of Toronto, is the bombardment of media during the holidays showing images of smiling families and friends.
"[People] may start to question the quality of their own relationships," he says.
According to one 1999 Canadian study of patients treated by emergency psychiatric services during the Christmas season, the most common stressors were feelings of loneliness and "being without a family."
Facts & Statistics: The Truth About the Holiday Suicide Myth
The myth has been repeated so many times, most people consider it common knowledge: more people commit suicide between Thanksgiving and Christmas than at any other time of the year. Although it sounds reasonable, it simply isn't true.
Contrary to popular belief, December actually has the fewest suicide attempts of any month of the year. The facts, while seemingly encouraging, may be more complicated, however.
While it's true that suicide attempts tend to drop off just before and during the holidays, there is a significant uptick in suicide rates following Christmas—a 40 percent uptick, according to one large Danish study. Christmas itself seems to have a protective effect with regard to certain types of psychopathology, say researchers, but there is a significant rebound effect immediately following the holiday.
Although fewer people utilize emergency services or attempt suicide during December, there is an increase in certain other kinds of psychopathology, including mood disorders such as dysphoria and substance abuse.
“Why won’t you just take your medication? I take pills for my cholesterol every night and its no big deal?”
“Every psychiatrist we’ve seen has said you have a mental illness. Why won’t you accept it? Why would the doctors tell you that you’re sick, if it weren’t true?”
“Let’s look at when you were doing well and when you got into trouble. What was the difference? Medication. It was the difference. When you were on your meds, you were fine. And when you weren’t, you got into trouble. Can’t you see that?”
These quotes may sound familiar to you if you are a parent and have a a son or daughter with a severe mental illness. I’ve said everyone of them to my son, Mike.
It often is frustrating for us – parents — to understand why our children will not take anti-psychotic medication or take it only until they get better and then stop. The remedy seems so clear-cut to us, so simple - and watching them experience the mania, depression, and delusions that happen when they become psychotic is heartbreaking and horrific.
Early on, I tried every trick out there to get Mike to take his pills. Those of you who have read my book know that during one of his first breakdowns, I crushed his pills and mixed them into his breakfast cereal only to be caught by him. I snuck into his room and counted his pills too one day and when I discovered that he had stopped taking them, I followed the advice of a therapist who had told me that I needed to practice “tough love.” I told Mike that if he didn’t take his medication, he had to move out of my house. He did – that very same day.
Another time, I offered to pay him to take his medication — a $1 per pill.
It was my friend, Xavier Amador, author of the book, “I’m Not Sick, I Don’t Need Help” who finally convinced me to back off. “I can promise you, Pete,” he said, “your son knows exactly how you feel about medication. You don’t need to ever mention it to him again.”
And since that day, I haven’t. Not a word.
So why do persons with mental illnesses refuse to take their medication or stop taking them as soon as they become stable?
I am asked that question more than any other after I give a speech.
Let’s skip the obvious reasons –that some anti-psychotic medications can dull a person, make them feel physically lousy, kill their sex drive, cause them to gain weight or send them to bed exhausted even though they are already sleeping for 16 hours a day. Let’s ignore the fact that no one really knows the long term health impact that medication can cause on a person’s body.
Instead, let’s dig deeper.
One day, I asked Mike to explain to me in writing why he had struggled so much when it came to taking his medication.
The beginning of the year is a bummer for many — the combination of dark days, no more holidays to look forward to and never-ending bad weather make this time of year ripe for Seasonal Affected Disorder, or clinical depression with a seasonal onset.
The major symptoms of SAD and clinical depression are the same, Dr. Brandon Gibb, a psychology professor at Binghamton University, told weather.com. You’ll experience an enduring sadness most of the day every day for at least two weeks. (It’s this duration that separates true clinical depression from a few sad moods.) You’ll also experience a loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy.
“The other really key thing is [depression] starts to get in the way of things: work, your ability to do your job, your relationships with people,” he said.
But for some people, there are more subtle signs, counterintuitive to traditional depressive symptoms. Even if you’re working hard at work and going out with your friends, you still could be depressed, in fact.
Some people find it hard to accept compliments when they’re depressed or when their depression is starting to return. One explanation: A compliment disrupts a depressed person’s low self-esteem, so he or she refuses to accept it. Feeling self-centered (when’s the last time you complimented someone else?) is also a sign someone is retreating toward depression.
There are many faces to depression: sadness, hopelessness, trouble sleeping, lack of motivation, an inability to experience pleasure.
That last one has a medical name—anhedonia—and people experiencing it often no longer enjoy activities that used to bring happiness. Anhedonia is not found just in depression; it can be an important part of other disorders, including schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and addiction.
In a study published this month in Translational Psychiatry, researchers have found that a drug called ketamine can help quickly reverse anhedonia in patients with treatment-resistant bipolar depression (also known as manic-depression or bipolar disorder).
Ketamine has previously been shown to help rapidly reverse other aspects of depression in a number of studies; doctors use the drug to treat patients at several hospitals around the country, although it remains illegal to possess without a prescription and hasn’t yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for psychiatric purposes. On the party drug circuit it’s sometimes called “Special K” and is abused for its anaesthetic and hallucinogenic effects.
The researchers found that a single injection of ketamine led to a significant improvement in normal pleasure-seeking behavior in as little as 40 minutes, and this dramatic improvement lasted as long as two weeks for some of the 36 participants.
First dates are supposed to be exciting – but when you have a mental illness, the fun of dinner and drinks and the chemistry between the two of you can be dwarfed by worrying over how your date will react when you open up about your condition. If you tell him too soon, you might scare him off. Wait too long, and you run the risk of her feeling misled. So what do you do?
Molly Pohlig, a 36-year-old New Yorker, has depression, anxiety and borderline personality disorder – conditions she says have made dating difficult in the past. "Several people were taken aback," she says, "and I've had some relationships or dates end pretty abruptly because of it."
The issue, says Pohlig, who has written about dating with a mental illness, is that many people have not had any experience interacting with someone with mental illness. "All they’ve seen are TV shows, and they think that if you say, 'I have a mental illness,' it means you’re a psychopath."
Study finds it might be safer alternative to standard antipsychotics
TUESDAY, Feb. 18, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The antidepressant Celexa shows promise in easing the agitation people with Alzheimer's disease often suffer, and may offer a safer alternative to antipsychotic drugs, a new study finds.
"Agitation is one of the worst symptoms for patients and their families: it puts the Alzheimer's patient at risk for other system overloads (cardiac, infection), wears them out physically, and exhausts caregivers and families," noted one expert, Dr. Alan Manevitz, a clinical psychiatrist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.
He said that while antipsychotic drugs are typically used to help ease the agitation, they are also associated with a higher risk of death for Alzheimer's patients, so safer alternatives would be welcome.
The new study was led by Dr. Constantine Lyketsos, director of the Johns Hopkins Memory and Alzheimer's Treatment Center in Baltimore. It included 186 Alzheimer's patients with agitation symptoms such as emotional distress, aggression, irritability, and excessive movem
Estela Villanueva-Whitman, Special to the Register; 11:05 p.m. CDT May 18, 2014
The diagnosis of bipolar disorder in her 20s came as a relief to Hope Richardson. There was finally a name for what she felt and something that could be done, she said. Because mental illness is a lifelong condition, staying well takes effort, and she's mindful of that every day.
Once afraid of others not liking her and unable to stand up for herself, Richardson said she often walked around with her head down and hair covering her face. She went through bouts of depression and struggled with anger, manic episodes and suicidal thoughts.
Early on, she was hesitant to talk about her condition.
"I didn't want people to know. I was kind of embarrassed and ashamed," said Richardson, 44, of Des Moines.
Through therapy and support, she has learned to "live with," rather than "suffer," mental illness and says the only way to end stigma is to educate others.
She's part of a group of trained speakers who open up about their disorders through In Our Own Voice, a public awareness program sponsored by the National Alliance for Mental Illness Greater Des Moines. The local chapter began offering the program last fall.
Sharing their stories serves as a type of ongoing therapy for the speakers and a chance to paint a realistic picture of mental illness, which affects one in four adults — about 61.5 million Americans every year. One in 17, or 13.6 million Americans, live with a serious mental condition such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.
BTW, this forum so far has been a good place for me to express some of my frustrations anonymously as I'd never want to air any of the "dirty laundry" of my marriage to my friends because that seems very inappropriate.. Thanks to all of you. (worried_husband)
My sister's letter......
I am a pathological liar. I lie to everyone around me.
I say I have friends, that I am busy, happy, nice, smart.
The person I lie to the most is me. I tell myself that I'm worth something and that
I prefer not to have anyone who likes me.
Everyone leaves a room I enter.
People stop talking when I get close.
When I say something it is ignored or made fun of.
In less than a day I can go from bouncing off the walls to don't even want to move.
Sometimes I go entire weeks where having no one who wants me around doesn't bother
me at all, then I cry for weeks for being so pathetic that I don't even have one
“That glazed doughnut is calling my name. Oh yes it is! It’s so sweet and pink and full of sprinkles. I long to taste those delicious sweet tidbits melting in my mouth, giving me a rush of pleasure and energy and making everything okay even when it isn’t.” How many of us have had this feeling around mid-afternoon on a particularly grey and miserable day, when nothing seems to be going our way. I know I have!
Longing for the comfort of a sweet treat, a blanket, a cup of coffee and a reality show on the TV. Just wanting to check out for a while when life gets too demanding and difficult. And if we do this occasionally, we can just call it a “Mental Health Day” and leave it at that. We don’t need to buy into those Sugar Nazis foretelling gloom and doom if we eat one doughnut, especially if we turn off the TV for a bit and eat it mindfully.
In a new study, participants who paid attention to their physical and mental feelings showed small but meaningful reductions in anxiety, depression and pain.
Rachael Rettner, LiveScience
Tue, Jan 07 2014 at 9:20 AM
Meditation programs may help reduce anxiety, depression and pain in some patients, but may not lead to a boost in positive feelings or overall health, according to a new review study.
The review analyzed information from 47 previously published studies with a total of 3,515 participants. Each study included a group that participated in meditation (usually for a few weeks or months), as well as a control group that participated in another activity that required similar time and effort, such as learning about nutrition or performing another type of exercise.
Participants who practiced mindfulness meditation for about eight weeks to six months showed small but meaningful reductions in anxiety, depression and pain. Mindfulness meditation is a form of meditation in which people learn to pay attention to what they are feeling physically and mentally from moment to moment.
Most of the improvements in pain occurred among participants who had visceral pain (pain in internal organs).
Meditation programs were not more effective than exercise or cognitive-behavioral group therapy at reducing anxiety, depression and pain, the review said.
Have you given some thought to making any New Year’s resolutions this year? The tradition of setting goals for the New Year goes back about 4,000 years to the Babylonians when once a year people made promises to the gods in hopes of receiving good fortune in return.
January 1 became the first day of the year in 46 B.C. when Julius Caesar developed a new calendar, switching from a lunar one to a solar one. He named the first month of the Julian calendar after the two-faced god Janus. Janus could look back on the past year and look forward to the year ahead at the same time. The Romans exchanged New Year’s gifts that symbolized good fortune, such as branches from sacred trees and, later, coins imprinted with the likeness of Janus.
Although the date for the start of the New Year is not the same in every culture, the day is a time for making promises and for setting goals for the year ahead. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, about half of our population here in the United States makes resolutions each year. Popular New Year’s resolutions for Americans are: losing weight, exercising and giving up smoking.
The approach of a new year is also a good time to set some business resolutions. Think of 2014 as the year you can attain some new heights in your career. Here are six areas to examine. The specifics are up to you.
Forget meditation and yoga: For many stressed-out Americans, the best remedy for a stressful day at work or the sting of a painful breakup is the smell of brand-new clothing, the feel of a silk dress and the sound of a credit card being swiped. If you turn to retail therapy in times of anxiety, you're not alone -- according to a recent survey, nearly one in three recently stressed Americans (which accounts for 91 percent of the general population) shops to deal with stress.
If someone has cancer, heart disease or certain other physical ailments, we have compassion for them. But there is one illness that often elicits shame, not compassion. It is silenced in many families and that silence can add to the burden of those who have it: Mental Illness.
Think about it. If someone in your family suffers from depression, anxiety disorders, bi-polar disorder or schizophrenia, do you share that information as easily as you do other health conditions? Over the centuries, our society has conditioned us to feel as if mental health issues are something to hide – a character flaw.
When we feed into that stereotype, we may inadvertently send a signal to friends and family with mental illness, that they would be judged, unloved or shunned. Research shows that the causes of mental illness are usually a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors.
It is not the fault of the person with the mental illness.