Tag: depression

Depression goes far beyond the occasional feelings of sadness. The depression definition that mental health experts use is a persistently down mood and loss of interest that affects a person?s day-to-day life, and can even lead to thoughts of suicide. The condition is also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, and it affects nearly 15 million Americans. Although depression typically starts in the 20s or 30s, it can affect people of all ages. Older adults are particularly vulnerable to depression because of illness and the loss of loved ones.

Many different types of depression exist. Postpartum depression is a sad mood that begins in the weeks or months after a woman gives birth. Bipolar disorder alternates periods of depression with unusually high moods. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that emerges during the winter months, when sunlight is in short supply.

Identifying depression is the first step toward treating it. Depression symptoms include: feeling sad, anxious, hopeless, guilty, or anxious; fatigue or decreased energy; loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed; trouble concentrating or remembering; trouble sleeping or sleeping too much; loss of appetite, or eating too much; irritability; vague physical symptoms, such as a headache or stomachache; and thoughts of death, or wanting to end your life.

Doctors typically diagnose depression by first ruling out medical conditions that can cause the same symptoms, such as a thyroid disorder. Then the doctor will likely do a depression test, asking questions about feelings, sleep, energy level, and other common indicators of the disease.

Treatment for depression depends on the type, but typically involves antidepressant medication and talk therapy (psychotherapy). Both of these treatments may be combined to improve the odds of success.

Address Sleep Problems to Feel Better and Improve Your Health

Sleep deficiency—not getting enough restful sleep—is associated with many serious health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, obesity, and depression. Some people are able to correct a sleep deficiency by improving their sleep habits and environment, but for those who continue to have sleep problems, a sleep

Ask the Doctor: Mixed Dementia; Sleep Apnea; Masked Hypertension

Q: My father has mixed dementia. What is mixed dementia? Can it be treated?

A: The term mixed dementia is often used to describe a combination of vascular dementia (caused by reduced blood flow to the brain) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). It had been thought that about one in five Americans

Aging Diseases that Affect the Brain

Many diseases that grow more common with age are associated with deterioration in brain health and cognitive decline, warns Deborah Blacker, MD, ScD, director of the Gerontology Research Unit in the Department of Psychiatry at MGH and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

“That’s why it’s important to get

Four Brain Exercises to Increase Processing Speed

Just a few hours spent engaging in exercises that teach the aging brain to increase processing speed—the ability to attend to and respond to incoming information—appear to dramatically reduce an older adult’s vulnerability to dementia, new research suggests. A slowing of processing speed often accounts for age-related brain decline.

Scientists recruited

Easing the Burden of Living with Depression

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a serious challenge that requires professional treatment (see What You Can Do). It often takes time and patience to overcome. However, while there are no simple cures for this mood disorder, an MGH expert points out that there are commonsense steps you can take that

Get Plenty of These Vitamins to Boost Memory

Study after study has provided evidence of the importance of vitamins in ensuring mental acuity, especially in older adults who may be affected by physiological changes that impair the body’s ability to metabolize these nutrients. A deficiency of certain key vitamins has been linked to cognitive decline in older people,

Newsbriefs: Low-Calorie Sweeteners; Depression Diet; Obesity

Use of Low-Calorie Sweeteners Has Grown
A recent study reports that 41 percent of American adults consume at least one low-calorie sweetener (LCS) on a regular basis, a 54 percent increase compared to findings from 1999-2000. LCSs are used in place of added sugars, such as high-fructose corn syrup, in food and

The Value of Hospital Volunteerism

We tend to think of a hospital as a place to get help. But a hospital or other medical setting also provides an opportunity to assist others, even if you’re not a healthcare professional.

There are lots of places in a healthcare setting where volunteers can make a difference: People who

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