"Conditions in society which
are not defined as a problem and for which alternatives are
never proposed, never become policy issues. Government does
nothing and conditions remain the same."T.R.Dye,
Policy Analyst (From the book "Understanding Public Policy"
To help us win the fight and to find out more
Symptoms & Types
Do you know the common depression symptoms? Do you know about different
types of depression? Learn more about depression so you can talk openly
with your doctor. Find out the warning signs of more serious depression
problems so you can prevent depression complications.
Symptoms of Depression
Are you depressed? The symptoms of depression may surprise you. Read
more and see if you or a loved one suffers with depression.
Health Check: Are You More Than Just Sad or Down?
The WebMD Depression Health Check explores and evaluates your personal
health and lifestyle history to help you manage your health and your
family’s health better.
All depression types are not the same. Learn about the different types
of depression, the signs and symptoms, and talk to your doctor about
Read about the causes and symptoms of major depression and the available
treatments. Talk openly with your doctor if you have these major
depression symptoms because help is available.
Chronic Depression (Dysthymia)
Chronic depression or dysthymia is a milder form of depression that
affects millions. Find out if you or a loved one has chronic depression.
Many people with depression don't have the typical symptoms. Learn about
the causes and treatment of atypical depression, with symptoms that
include weight gain, sleeping too much, and feeling anxious.
Postpartum depression is increasingly common. Discover the signs and
symptoms of postpartum depression and seek early medical treatment to
keep it from affecting your life.
Bipolar Depression (Manic Depression)
Learn all about the mood swings of bipolar depression (manic depression)
from the elated highs of mania to the major depression lows.
Seasonal Depression (SAD)
Do you get depressed during certain times of the year? Learn when
seasonal affective disorder is most likely to affect people and what
your doctor can do to help you manage the symptoms.
Learn all about psychotic depression -- psychosis, hallucinations, and
other signs -- and know when to call the doctor for a medical
From chronic illnesses such as heart disease to pain perception, sex,
and sleep -- discover how untreated depression can complicate your life.
What does depression have to do with sex? Learn how depression and
depression medicines can affect sexual desire and sexual performance.
Find out how depression disturbs sleep and get some effective tips to
help your sleep problems.
Learn the dangers of untreated depression and how this may lead to
serious and life threatening problems, even suicide.
Depression and Suicide
Learn more about suicide, including who is at risk, warning signs, and
when to call for medical assistance.
How do you know if you have Major
Fluctuations in mood are a normal part of life. Everyone
feels sad and depressed occasionally. MDD is different—it is a common
and serious medical condition that interferes with daily life, causes
significant distress, and impairs normal functioning. Only a healthcare
professional can diagnose MDD. Symptoms of MDD vary but depressed mood
and/or loss of interest or pleasure in most activities are key features
of the disorder. Additional symptoms that may be present include change
in weight or appetite, change in sleep habits, agitation or
restlessness, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, difficulty
concentrating or making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide.
If you are thinking about suicide or feeling suicidal,
please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at
1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact a healthcare professional immediately.
Common symptoms of depression
People who have depression typically experience symptoms
related to mood, behavior, and physical functioning. The diagnosis of
major depressive disorder (MDD) is complicated because the variety,
number, duration, and severity of possible symptoms differ from person
to person. Depressed mood and loss of interest or pleasure in most
activities are considered to be key features of depression. Beyond one
or both of these symptoms, people with depression also experience a wide
range of symptoms such as lack of motivation, feelings of helplessness,
perfectionism, crying spells, outbursts of anger, substance use or
abuse, gastrointestinal upset, headaches, or heart palpitations.
is not the same for everyone
You don't need to experience all of the symptoms listed
above to be diagnosed with depression. Symptoms will also vary from
person to person. For instance, compared with depressed men, depressed
women are more likely to experience guilt, weight gain, anxiety, eating
disorders, or increased sleep. Depressed older adults tend to experience
persistent sadness or "empty" moods.
symptoms may be a sign of Major depressive disorder. Click here to take
a depression self-test.
Only a healthcare professional can diagnose depression.
It is important to remember that depression is a real
medical condition like any other. And, just as there are treatments for
conditions like diabetes or heart disease, there are treatment options
available for depression.
Be sure to seek the assistance of a healthcare
professional so they can determine if you have symptoms of depression.
know that some symptoms of depression and generalized anxiety disorder
(GAD) can overlap, or that a person can experience both conditions at
the same time? Learn more about Depression and Anxiety (GAD).
Suddenly, your life changes in an instant. You are just told
by your Doctor that you have a life threatening disease. He
tells you not to worry, that you still have many options
available to you. You hear the words but your mind is
racing-the doctor continues to talk, but you do not hear any
more of his words.
Your life just stopped. You are thinking about what you had,
what you will lose, what will happen. Everything is changed. The
day that started off like any other day, is now different. While
the Doctor tells you not to worry, that we can beat this. Your
mind is telling you that you are going to die.
The Doctor tells you about the latest treatment options, that we
can bet this and not to worry. You begin the treatment, you are
believing now that there is a chance. The treatment continues,
its hard, it takes its toll both on your body and your head.
Finally, you believe that there is light at the end of the
tunnel and you are going to beat this. Then that light suddenly
turns into a locomotive headed right straight for you.
This is the roller coaster world that you have now entered. But
the bottom line to all of this is that you are still the same
person you were one year, two years ago. Just everything has
changed-but you are still the same person. Just like when you
throw confetti into the air (those pieces are you), there are
still the same pieces when they fall, just arranged differently
when the land on the ground.
While many Doctors believe that they are God, unlike God-they
cannot foretell the future. They may be able to tell you what
MAY happen concerning an illness, they cannot say of any
certainty that this WILL occur exactly as they say.
Do miracles, yes. But the reason they are called miracles is
that they do not always occur. Sometimes, God's answer is NO.
Nothing is promised to anyone in life. Whatever cards you are
dealt, will be the ones that you have to pay with. No re-deals,
no re-shuffle. You play with what you have.
Are you still the same person, YES. You still have the same
talents, skills that you had two days ago. You are that confetti
waiting to fall to the ground.
Many may talk about religion
and how strong their faith is, but when your faith is all that
you have, that is when you find out how strong your faith truly
You are not alone in this fight.
You can contact us (within North America), anytime
have the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite
therapists, Elvira Aletta, Ph.D., on a very important
topic: chronic illness. I say important, because it now
pertains to me (and thus is important), and I need to
learn some coping techniques ASAP before I fall over,
into the Big Black Hole of depression.
Elders account for one-fifth of all suicides, but only
12% of the population. White males over age 85 are at
the highest risk and complete suicide at almost six
times the national average. The suicide rate among
elders is two to three times higher than in younger age
groups. Elder suicide may be under-reported 40% or more
Depression is one of the most common complications of
chronic illness. It is estimated that up to one-third of
individuals with a serious medical condition experience
symptoms of depression. People diagnosed with chronic
illnesses must adjust to the demands of the illness as
well as to its treatment. The illness may affect a
person’s mobility and independence, and change the way a
person lives, sees him- or herself, and/or relates to
others. These requirements can be stressful and cause a
certain amount of despair or sadness that is normal.
Nothing quite assists a spouse in understanding his or
her role of helpmate like a chronic illness. For married
couples, a diagnosis means twice the heartache,
discomfort and worry. If you have a chronic illness, how
do you juggle your needs with the needs of your spouse?
How can you fight feelings of inadequacy and guilt? If
your spouse has a chronic illness, how do you "keep it
together" for him or her? What if you become burned out?
What do you do when you find yourself thinking, "This is
more than I bargained for?"
Traditionally, the experience of serious illness has
been approached in two ways: (1) a gloomy perspective of
resignation, self-denial, and helplessness, or (2) a
Pollyanna approach that denies altogether that there has
been a real trauma. Both of these perspectives distort
and disguise the reality of chronic illness.
Living with a chronic illness is a tremendous challenge.
Periods of grief and sadness are to be expected as you
come to grips with your condition and its implications.
But if you find that your depression persists, it is
important to seek help
HIV/AIDS can have a major impact on many parts of your
life. People with HIV and those close to them are
subject to many things that may affect their mental
people are surprised when they learn that they have been
diagnosed with HIV. Some people feel overwhelmed by the
changes that they will need to make in their lives. It
is normal to have strong reactions when you find out you
are HIV positive, including feelings such as fear,
anger, and a sense of being overwhelmed. Often people
feel helpless, sad, and anxious about the illness.
Depression is often used in everyday language to mean
straightforward and understandable unhappiness. This use
of the term is best avoided. Instead, the word should be
reserved for those who have significant and pervasive
lowering of mood leading to difficulties in leading a
Instances of people committing suicide due to HIV/AIDS
or related issues keep cropping up quite regularly in
the media. Comprehensive information on the number of
HIV-positive people who have committed suicide is hard
continues to be a leading cause of death in the United
States. As of December, 1996, 571,324 people in the U.S.
have been diagnosed with AIDS (Centers for Disease
Control, 1996). Although the number of AIDS related
deaths are beginning to level off, the psychological and
physiological pain for those already infected continues.
life may be turned upside down at times and our coping
abilities pushed to the limit. We are likely to face
crises, loss, pain, grief, conflict, disruption, excess
stress, uncertainty and even questions about identity
and the meaning of life.
with HIV/AIDS in Orissa are ostracised and mistreated by
their families, community and the medical fraternity.
These conditions have prompted the formation of Orissa’s
first registered association of people living with AIDS,
the Kalinga Positive People’s Association.
Everyone who lives with a long-term illness thinks about
suicide at some time during that illness. My hunch is
that these emotions usually come early in the disease,
during the first struggles with the reality of chronic
illness. The second most common occurrence of those
sentiments comes, I think, at times of crisis in the
disease, at times of reversals.
suicide may seem to many to be a quintessentially
individual problem resulting from intensely personal
decisions to end one’s life, empirical evidence over the
past two decades has shifted this view toward one of
suicide as a broader, population-based phenomenon with
discernible common patterns that can be used to help
define generalized risk and protective factors.”
four-year study of people with HIV and AIDS who live in
rural America is painting a picture of isolation,
depression and thoughts of suicide. Early findings from
the project reveal that most participants feel cut off
from support services, have seriously limited access to
health care and are living in poverty – issues
researchers say have led many to consider suicide.
significant percentage of patients who commit suicide
will have seen their primary care clinician in the month
before their suicide. This underscores the importance of
routine mental health screening in the primary care
setting, which can help identify patients who are at
risk for suicide and enable them to receive treatment
for the underlying cause of their suicidal behavior.
HIV/AIDS has devastating effects in terms of personal
and family suffering. The disease is highly stigmatised
and there are many instances of discrimination against
sufferers and their families. This could lead to
suicide, both in infected as well as affected
individuals. The literature lacks clarity and the
subject is traditionally problematic to research as it
is attached with ethical issues. This study has tried to
correlate between the growing number of suicidal deaths
and HIV infection in the region.
Epidemiologic studies in the United
States have estimated that 1.1%–4.3% of the general
population attempt suicide at some time in their lives.
HIV infection and risky behaviors have been associated
with self-harm and suicidal ideation. Diagnosis of HIV
infection and recognizing a lifelong existence as
HIV-positive can be a distressing and traumatic
lifetime challenged by pain, fatigue, surgery, and even
restrictions on one's lifestyle can be devastating and
may result in depression. It is important to understand
that each family member responds to this illness in
different ways. There is no one way to respond or feel
in handling stress (for example, the husband who has
difficulty discussing the disease, the mom who cries
often, the sibling who behaves in an angry manner, the
child who feels guilty for "causing" these problems).
While family members may not see eye to eye at any one
time, they need to persevere with respect for each
other, allowing for open and supportive communication.
studies indicated that the suicides occurred at the
moment of the testing, when people learned that they
were HIV-positive," Bertolote says. "Some people decide
to commit suicide rather than going through the painful
condition of being HIV-positive. Then the introduction
of the treatment, the antiviral therapy, the 'cocktail'
treatment, decreased suicide rates. So when people
learned that there was hope, they didn’t commit
you have tested HIV+ very recently; maybe you've known
for some time, but this is the first time you've reached
out for information or support. You need to know that
you are not alone. There are an estimated 2 million HIV+
people in the United States. Testing positive for HIV
does not mean that you have AIDS, but HIV is probably
the greatest threat to your life you have ever faced.