depression

What is The Link Between Depression and Multiple Sclerosis?

When you have a condition like multiple sclerosis, it’s vital to pay close attention to the physical symptoms and limitations of the condition. Things like difficulty walking, changes in vision, and increasing fatigue all have a significant impact on daily life and can provide signals of disease progress. Because patients and doctors alike can be so focused on the physical symptoms, it’s easy to forget about the mental and emotional implications of multiple sclerosis. Mood changes, like depression and anxiety, are just as important as physical changes. Depression has been found to be more common in patients with MS compared to the general population. As a result, it can make other symptoms feel worse, impact relationships, and increase the risk of suicide.  What is Depression? When dealing with symptoms of multiple sclerosis, it’s normal to feel extremely sad from time to time. You may feel especially down or even hopeless after experiencing an exacerbation or relapse. While it is normal to have these moments, there is a difference between feeling extremely sad and being depressed.  Depression is much more than being sad. It’s a serious mental illness marked by commons symptoms like: Depressed mood Loss of interested in activities Changes in appetite and weight Changes …

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What is Clinical Depression?

It’s normal to feel down sometimes. It’s even normal to feel hopeless or in despair about a particular situation or circumstance. These feelings are temporary. They may last anywhere from a few hours to a few days and cause minimal disturbance in your day-to-day activities. But, when these feelings become constant, more intense, and lasts for more than two weeks, you may have major depressive disorder. What is Clinical or Major Depression? Major depressive disorder, or clinical depression, is a serious mental illness that can interfere with daily activities like work, school, sleep, and leisure. You may feel less motivated to spend time with friends or family, and instead choose to spend more time alone. This type of depression is much more severe than other kinds of depression, like acute depression or persistent depressive disorder. It’s a severe mood disorder that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think, and how you act. Because clinical depression impacts feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, also known as the cognitive behavior triangle, it often interferes with everyday functioning. People with clinical depression may start to have poorer hygiene, worse performance at school or work, and less interaction with friends and family. For some, …

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What is Seasonal Depression?

As the weather gets colder and days become shorter, you may notice you have less energy, feel a little less optimistic and spend more time alone. While this may not be a cause for concern, about 5% of the U.S population experience seasonal depression during the fall and winter months.   Seasonal depression, or seasonal affective disorder (SAD), is a subtype of depression that begins and ends around the same time every year. This recurrent pattern generally begins in the fall or early winter months and ends around springtime, lasting about four to five months per year. This is known as winter-pattern SAD or winter depression. For people in the United States, the most difficult months tend to be January and February.  Many people get a mild version of SAD known as the “winter blues.” As much as 20% of the population may get the winter blues, which is usually linked to something specific, such as holiday stress or grief over missing loved ones. The winter blues isn’t a medical diagnosis and usually goes away on its own after a few weeks or months.  Some people might have depressive episodes during the spring and summer. This is known as summer-pattern SAD or summer depression, which affects about 10% of the population.   What causes seasonal depression?  Although the exact cause of SAD is unknown, it has been linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain prompted by shorter daylight hours and …

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3 Suicide Warning Signs to Look Out For

Suicide claims the lives of over 47,500 people every year in the United States. When a person dies by suicide, it affects family, friends, and communities, leaving them lost, confused, and in some cases, feeling responsible for their death.   “Death by suicide” means intentionally ending your own life. It’s often a way for people who are suffering to escape their pain when they feel like there are no solutions to their problems and have lost hope of getting better. Many people think about suicide. In 2019, there was an estimated 1.38 million suicide attempts in the United States. A suicide attempt is when someone harms themselves with the intent to take their life, but they do not die.  Because suicide affects all genders, ages, and ethnicities, knowing the risk factors and being aware of the warning signs can help you identify if someone is having thoughts about suicide and what steps you can take to prevent it.    What Are the Risk Factors for Suicide?  Suicide typically occurs when external stressors, like financial or relationship instability, and health obstacles, like a chronic illness or major surgery, create a sense of hopelessness and despair. Mental health conditions such as depression, eating disorders, …

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How to Treat Major Depressive Disorder

Feeling sad or down is a normal human emotion. It’s natural to feel negative feelings like sadness or depression when facing a life challenge, such as losing a job, the passing of a loved one, or facing a serious illness. These are usually short-lived and don’t interfere with daily living. But when these feelings become persistent, intensify, and interrupt day-to-day life, a mood disorder like major depressive disorder might be present.   Major depressive disorder is a serious mental illness that significantly impairs a person’s ability to function, causing changes in mood, behavior, appetite, and sleep. Depression is the leading cause of disability, affecting nearly 280 million people worldwide.   Treatment For Depression  When you’re struggling with a debilitating mental illness like depression, recovery can seem impossible. You may find yourself wondering if you can or will ever get better. The good news is, you can.   Depression is a treatable condition that is most effective when treatment begins shortly after a diagnosis, however, it’s never too late to seek help. Treatment is individualized based on the severity of symptoms, how long you’ve been experiencing symptoms, physical and mental health history, and co-occurring disorders.   Treatment options for depression will vary but will usually include …

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Am I Depressed? Surprising Signs of Depression

Life gets tough sometimes, and you may start to feel stressed or down. Over the last few weeks, or months, you’ve noticed you’re having more bad days than good – you’re less productive at work, spending more time alone, and haven’t been able to sleep.  Something feels different from the normal ups and downs you’ve experienced before. So you go to the doctor and tell them how you’ve been feeling, and how long you’ve been feeling that way. The doctor says it sounds like you are depressed, and that you might have major depressive disorder.  Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental disorders in the United States, with an estimated 17.3 million adults age 18 or older have at least one major depressive episode in 2017. About 1 in 6 adults will have depression at some point in their life, but anyone at any age can get depressed.  What is major depressive disorder? Also known as clinical depression, major depressive disorder (MDD) is a mood disorder that affects the way people feel, think, and handle daily activities like eating, sleeping, or working.  Depression is a serious mental health condition that needs professional care. Of those who seek …

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women feeling depressed

8 Celebrities Who Struggle With Depression

Celebrities have it all – status, wealth, power, resources, luck – or so we think. From the outside, they don’t appear to struggle with mental or emotional health and seemingly have it all together. But looks can be deceiving. Celebrities have real feelings and mental health issues that interfere with daily living. On the inside, celebrities are just like everyone else.  Until recently, it was taboo for anyone to speak up about personal mental health issues for fear of judgement and ridicule. But the stigma of depression has slowly lifted as celebrities have bravely opened up about their stories and use their platform as a means to advocate for mental health.  The truth is depression doesn’t discriminate. More than 264 million people suffer from depression worldwide, ranking it as the leading cause of disability in the world.  Major depressive disorder is described as experiencing a depressed mood or loss of interest in daily activities, coupled with problems sleeping, change in appetite, poor concentration, altered energy levels, isolation, and feelings of low self-worth for at least two weeks.  While there isn’t a simple cure-all for depression, the healing journey begins when we start to honestly and openly share about our battles …

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Team of Advisors member Laura takes over the PatientsLikeMe Instagram for World Mental Health Day

In honor of World Mental Health Day, we asked PatientsLikeMe member Laura (thisdiva99) to take over our Instagram feed for the day. Laura is a professional opera singer, Massachusetts native, a member of the PatientslikeMe Team of Advisors, and is living with bipolar disorder. She gave us a glimpse into a day in her life, Check out the images and captions below to see what she shared. Hello my Instagram compatriots! Laura here. Some people start the day with hearty oatmeals, or eggs fortified with kale. I start my day with a champion #bipolar breakfast of vitamin supplements and mood stabilizers… then I can eat my own breakfast 30 minutes after. For me, supplements are super important to incorporate with my meds. Talk to your doc about it to see if they could work for you!   AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA With my trusty steed Corolla, I conquer the day’s doctor’s appointments. On a good day, I can keep my ride in the driveway; on other days I travel to multiple towns/cities to see psychiatrists, therapists, endocrinologists, and the like. I also incorporate a yoga class or visit to the gym as I can. For me, treating the body as a whole is the key …

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The “chicken-and-egg” relationship between pain and depression

Fifty percent of people with chronic pain also have depression, pain management experts say. And more than 75 percent of patients with depression report pain-related symptoms (such as headaches, stomach pain, neck and back pain), according to the World Health Organization. The pain/depression connection raises a lot of questions for some people who experience both: Which came first: pain or depression? Does one cause the other? How can they be treated? We’re exploring the link between mental and physical health and what your community has reported on PatientsLikeMe. “Completely intertwined” Chelsey Engel, a writer for The Mighty, says the vicious pain/depression cycle is a mystery that she’s not sure how to solve. Chronic migraines, neck and shoulder pain caused her to stop doing yoga, which she previously practiced to help manage her mental health. “So not only are you missing the things that once gave you life, you’re also missing yourself,” she says. “You also now have two conditions to treat – pain and depression – that are separate in one way but completely intertwined in another. The New York Times also recently shed light on the overlap of mental and physical health, and found that modern medicine often falls …

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Living with depression? Grab your mat: 5-minute yoga video with Jamie from PatientsLikeMe

Studies have shown that practicing yoga can have positive effects on people with depression. So we tapped Jamie – a PatientsLikeMe research assistant who is also a certified yoga instructor – to show us some poses with mental health in mind. She put together a 5-minute, beginner-level flow that you can try at home. (As always, check with your doctor before trying a new type of exercise.) “I practice yoga to manage my mental and physical health, and to bring mindfulness to my day,” Jamie says. Don’t speak yogi? Here’s a breakdown of the poses (and phrases) featured in the video, plus some of their perks: Pranayama – The practice of purposefully controlling or regulating your breath. Benefits: Settles the mind and body in preparation to practice yoga. Dirga (pronounced “deerga”) – A form of pranayama, this three-part breath involves inhaling into your lower belly (with your right hand on your belly), then into your diaphragm or midsection of the lungs, and finally into the chest (with your left hand on your chest) – and reversing this flow when you exhale. Benefits: Helps increase oxygen to the heart and lung to counteract shallow breathing – which can occur with depression …

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