Depression Special Report

Understanding Depression

Although depression affects nearly 19 million American adults each year, this common disease is often Look Younger MDmisunderstood or stigmatized. While depression can’t simply be willed away by “shaking off” your blues, there are many effective treatments that can bring joy back into your life.

This report offers in-depth information on the causes of depression and the different treatments and medications that can lift your mood. This valuable resource also features sections on getting help or helping a loved one seek treatment, suicide, overcoming common treatment barriers, and St. John’s wort.

Here’s an Excerpt from this Special Health Report

Although depression has been stigmatized in the past as a personal weakness, new techniques in brain imaging, as well a greater understanding of brain chemistry, reveal that there are changes in nerve pathways and chemicals that can affect your moods and thoughts. Genetic studies show that while no single gene prompts depression, a combination of genetic variations may heighten your vulnerability to certain forms of this disease.

Nerve pathways, chemistry, and genetics aren’t the whole story, though. Depression could be described as a lake fed by many streams. Psychological and personal issues, such as resounding losses in early childhood, a generally pessimistic outlook on life, or a din of self-critical messages, also flow into it. So do traumatic and stressful life events like the death of a loved one, a serious illness, or early sexual abuse. While high water from one or two directions may not cause the lake to overflow, the confluence of several streams or a surge from a particularly powerful tributary could do so.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, during a given year, about 19 million American adults will suffer from some form of depression. Each episode usually affects a chain of people. It can fray bonds between you and your friends, family, coworkers, and partner. It crushes intimacy, saps emotional resources, and steals the joy of shared pleasures.

Thankfully, years of research and a wealth of recent breakthroughs have made this serious illness easier to treat. Early recognition of the signs of depression is more common than in the past. New directions in treatment can cut short otherwise crippling episodes. Drugs targeted at increasingly specific changes in brain chemistry are now available. A variety of drugs and therapies can be combined to boost the likelihood of a full remission. Promising new avenues of treatment, such as a pacemaker-like device for a nerve that connects with areas of the brain involved in mood or supplements that may ward off mood disorders, are also under investigation.

Reading this report and sharing it with those closest to you might help improve your life or the life of someone close to you. And, because depression remains a leading cause of suicide, the information might even be a lifesaver.