There is a difference between feeling unhappy and suffering from depression. Read on to see if you need to take action
The Mental Health Foundation says mixed anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Britain, affecting around nine percent of the population. By 2020, the World Healh Organization (WHO) predicts depression will be the second largest global disease. That explains why antidepressant use is on the rise. In 2005, UK doctors wrote 29,4 million prescriptions for antidepressants, some four million more than in 2004.
However, while there's no doubt the pressures of modern life are sending depression levels soaring, this crippling condition has been around for hundreds of years. "Depression is common to all cultures and has been around for centuries, but what has changed is our understanding of it," says Sophie Corlett, policy director for Mind, the mental health charity. "The symptoms of depression and anxiety certainly existed in the past, but in the UK these would have been called things like 'nerves' and 'melancholy'." Winston Churchill famously called his depression "black dog".
"Depression" can describe a range of moods from low spirits to severe problems that interfere with everyday life. If you have five or more of the following symptoms that last for more than a few weeks, you should speak to your GP as this could be more than just a touch of the blues:
* Self-harm or suicidal thoughts
* Difficulty sleeping
* No energy and feeling tired
* Feeling anxious or restless
* Not eating properly, losing or gaining weight
* Lack of interest in sex
* Crying a lot
* Lack of confidence feeling nothing is right
* Unexplained aches
There is no single cause, but depression is triggered by different things in different people. Traumatic experiences such as a death, redundancy or a divorce can trigger depression, as can major life changes such as retirement. Some people will be more affected than others, but if you don't tackle your feelings at the time, they can fester and make the depression worse. A poor diet and lack of exercise can also leave us feeling down.
If you're just had a baby and you're feeling blue, it could be post-natal depression (PND). Around one in ten new mums suffers this in the first six months after the birth. If your symptoms get worse in the winter, this could be seasonal affective disorder (SAD). The symptoms are similar to ordinary depression, but you feel particularly drained in the darker months. Very occasionally, depression could be caused by a thyroid problem. An under-active thyroid can make you feel tired, depressed and put on weight, while an over-active thyroid can make you lose weight and feel "maniac". See your doctor if you think you may have any of these conditions.
A leading psychiatrist recently wrote in the British Medical Journal that too many people were diagnosed with depression when they were really just unhappy. Professor Gordon Parker said this led to over-prescribing antidepressants, which may not help the patient as they were not clinically depressed.
"One problem with depression is that everyone experiences it differently, which can make identifying it a tricky issue, It shouldn’t be necessary to secure a medical diagnosis before you get support for your mental well-being, but it can help people het the most appropriate treatment," argues Corlett.
What can help?
Many doctors prescribe antidepressants but you can ask if there are any suitable alternatives. Your GP could arrange for you to have cognitive behavioural therapy or they may even prescribe exercise! Several studies have found exercise raises endorphins in a similar way to antidepressants, giving you a natural boost.
If someone you know is depressed, try not to tell them to "pull themselves together". Depressed people often feel hopeless and worthless and this only reinforces their feelings. Showing them you care and supporting them will be much more effective.
Amitriptyline Amitriptyline is an antidepressant that belongs to the tricylic antidepressant class of drugs. It affects chemical in the brain that may eventually become unbalanced and lead to depression. It is used to alleviate the symptoms of depression which include feelings of worthlessness, sadness, or guilt; tiredness; changes in appetite; loss of interest in daily activities; insomnia; sleeping too much; and though of suicide or death. Amitriptyline is one of the most clinically valuable antidepressant drugs.This drug is also used occasionally to ease certain types of pain. Amitriptyline is the most commonly used tricyclic antidepressant. Aside from decreasing depressive symptoms, it also gives relief to tension headaches, migraines, schizophrenic symptoms, and anxiety attacks. The main side effects of the drug are dry mouth and drowsiness. Other common side effects include changes in appetite, weight gain, muscle stiffness, constipation, nausea, nervousness, blurred vision, dizziness, urinary retention, changes in sexual function, and insomnia.
Coaxil Coaxil (tianeptine), known also as Stablon is an antidepressant from a group of tricyclic derivatives. It accelerates uptake of serotonin by neurons in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus. According to the influence of the drug on mood disorders Coaxil occupies in the intermediate position between sedative and stimulant antidepressants. Taking of Coaxil results in decrease of somatic symptoms (such as pain in the epigastric region, nausea, dizziness, headache, palpitations, hot flashes, muscle aches). Coaxil normalizes the behavior and has positive impact on the behavior of the patients with chronic alcoholism during abstinence. The drug has no negative influence on memory, sleep and ability to concentrate. It also has no anticholinergic effects and is not addictive. Derived from various reasons, depression causes a wide range of symptoms that may leave many undesirable consequences. Continue reading...
Cymbalta Duloxetine (Cymbalta, and generics) is a serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) manufactured and marketed by Eli Lilly. It is prescribed for major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Duloxetine also has approval for use in osteoarthiritis and musculoskeletal pain. It can also relieve the symptoms of painful peripheral neuropathy, particularly diabetic neuropathy, and it is used to control the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Effexor Effexor is basically used for the treatment of major depressive disorder, anxiety and panic disorder. It works by affecting the chemicals in the brain that may become unbalance causing depression. It is recommended not to take this medication if you are allergic to venlafaxine. Effexor may be harmful to unborn baby. Do not take this medication more than prescribed by doctor. It blocks the reuptake of serotonin, noradrenalins and to some extent dopamine. When administered in higher doses it affects serotogernic, doperminergic neurotransmission, due to the combination of the effects on the reuptake mechanism the antidepressant effect of the drug is achieved.
Rhodiola root RHODIOLA ROSEA (Golden root)
This is a perennial plant with red, pink, or yellowish flowers. It is no biological relation of the "common" rose, but due to its similar fragrance it has been used as a substitute for Attar of Roses. One of the greatest things Rhodiola does is enhance mental and physical performance. It has been widely used by Russian athletes to increase energy. Rhodiola is cardio-protective, normalizing the heart-rate immediately after intense exercise. It improves nervous system and mental functions such as memory by increasing blood-supply to the muscles and brain, and also increases protein synthesis. Rhodiola rosea has extraordinary pharmacological properties as an anti-mutagen and anti-depressive agent. In this respect Rhodiola rosea is much more powerful than other adaptogens.
Rhodiola tablets RHODIOLA ROSEA is a powerful immune enhancing and anti-stress herb. Adaptogenic herb elevates mood, alleviates depression. Promotes mental energy and stamina, reduces fatigue. It has superior activity over other phyto-medicines, like St.John's Wort, Ginkgo biloba, and Panax ginseng. Key factors to beat deadly infections in time are enhancing immunity and protection of our body from stress.
Rhodiola rosea is a powerful immune enhancing and anti-stress herb. It has superior activity over other phyto-medicines, like St.John's Wort, Ginkgo biloba, and Panax ginseng. Key factors to beat deadly infections in time are enhancing immunity and protection of our body from stress.
Rhodiola rosea tablets can be a good adjuvant therapy to routine treatment with antibiotics like Cipro and Doxycycline.
See also: Immunostimulators, Isoprinosine
Stablon Tianeptine, sold as Stablon, Coaxil or Tatinol, is a drug used for treating major depressive episodes mild, moderate or severe. It is a neuroprotective antidepressant which reverses the neuronal damage and confusion caused by chronic or uncontrolled stress and it has a definite action in reducing anxiety and can increase the intake and the availability of the calming neurotransmitter: serotonin. Stablon has the ability to relieve anxious symptoms in depressed patients, leading to a dramatic and significant decrease in anxiolytic coprescription, which is a key advantage of this drug. Common serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as Prozac or Paxil try to keep as much existing serotonin as possible in circulation, in contrast with Stablon which does exactly the opposite, with the aim of reducing the body's brain and hormonal response to stress. It is an oral medicine available as tablets and can be taken by mouth with full glass of water before taking any food. Before taking Stablon you should speak to your doctor and let him know about any vitamins, supplemets or minerals. Take Stablon exactly as prescribed by your doctor.
Valdoxan Valdoxan (agomelatine) (trade names Valdoxan, Melitor, Thymanax) is an melatonergic antidepressant developed by the pharmaceutical company Servier. It is marketed for the treatment of major depressive disorder and has been reported to have a reduced level of sexual side effects as well as discontinuation effects compared to some other antidepressants. Agomelatine may also have positive effects on sleep