Column: Signs of stress and depression

Published 9:36 am Tuesday, December 13, 2005

By Staff
Question of the week: This seems to be the time of year when many people are depressed and stressed out. Could you please explain what depression and stress are defined as and give some examples of what to look for in each case.
Depression can come in many forms. This time of the year when the winter blues set in is a high time for depression and stress. It can be a temporary mood or in many cases last many years.
Depression can occur for many reasons, a chemical imbalance in the brain, loss of a loved one, fears, loneliness, unsatisfied with self, tragic occurrence in life (divorce, separation, illness), etca General definition: emotional state in which there are extreme feelings of sadness, dejection, worthlessness, and emptiness.
Depression (statistics):
1 in 5 Americans develop some form of depression.
2/3 of all cases are not treated
17.6 million people in the United States suffer from depression
Women (20%) experience depression approx. twice as much as men (10%).
In the United States 1.8% of preteen children and 4.7% of teenagers (14-17 yrs old) have some form of depression.
The most common time of onset for depression is middle-age and is particularly high among elderly (deaths, worries about aging, loss of loved one, loneliness).
10-20% of women experience effects of post partum depression after giving birth.
Signs of major depression – you may experience five or more of these lasting for two weeks:
"Down" mood
Change in appetite, weight, sleep patterns
Low energy
Feeling of hopelessness, worthlessness, loss or guilt
Thoughts or attempts of death or suicide
Inability to think, concentrate, or remember things
Loss of interest in everything
Persistent sadness, pessimism
Insomnia or oversleeping
Slow speech; slow movement
Headache, stomachache, and digestive problems
Stress is a feeling of tension that is both emotional and physical. Stress can occur in many different situations. Sometimes the level of stress is little. Maybe you have been putting off something and now it needs to be done so you feel a little "stressed out" to finish it on time. Sometimes stress can lead to much bigger problems.
Many people are very high stressed. These are usually more of the type "A", constantly on the go, never have a minute to rest type of people where almost every situation tends to stress them out. Too much stress can lead to many health problems and is something that needs to be controlled.
Possible Signs of Stress
Teeth grinding and clenching
Stomach problems
Poor communication
Lashing out "mood swings"
Pain in the chest
Hard time breathing
Anxiety attacks, hyperventilation
Headaches, backaches, muscle spasms, pain in jaw
How to Cope With Stress
Be realistic
Meditate (try a yoga class)
Take one thing at a time
Take deep breaths
Incorporate a healthy lifestyle
Take part in hobbies
Communicate to people
Have flexibility in your schedule
Take and give criticism lightly
Make time for just yourself
Read a book
Hopefully this information will give an insight to depression and stress and help loved ones and ourselves be aware and prevent this from occurring especially this time of the year.
Thought of the week: The great omission in American life is solitude; that zone of time and space, free from the outside pressures, which incinerate the spirit. - Marya Mannes
References: (depression – stress)