Saturday, July 6, 2013

Clinical Depression

Depression is common and can strike any one of us at any time. According to the Mental Health Foundation 10% of the population in the UK and USA will experience some form of depression every year. There are several different types of depression ranging from mild to severe, and within each type, the symptoms, their intensity and duration, will all vary from person to person. Milder forms of depression may have little impact on someone's life and will often spontaneously disappear after a relatively short period of time, Bipolar Depression is characterised by intense fluctuations between mania and depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is a type of depression occurring during the winter months and is believed to be related to a lack of sunlight, Post Natal Depression can affect a woman after the birth of a baby, but the most common form of depression is Clinical Depression, sometimes called Unipolar depression or major depression.

Clinical depression can be defined as a depression so severe as to require the intervention of a health professional. It is much more than feeling down, or fed up, something that all of us experience at times. Someone who is clinically depressed can't just escape from it, and can't switch it off so if the symptoms of depression persist for more than a couple of weeks and they interfere with a person's normal routines on a daily basis, perhaps affecting their eating and sleeping patterns, their work, relationships or their ability to take pleasure in activities they once enjoyed, and it cannot be attributed to an obvious cause such as bereavement, or alcohol or substance abuse, then clinical depression could be diagnosed. Intervention is necessary in order to help someone with clinical depression get back to normal as without treatment, it could go on indefinitely.

Symptoms of clinical depression

There are numerous symptoms associated with clinical depression but the most common include:

o Low moods and sadness for most of the time

o Disinterest and lack of pleasure in most activities including sex

o Weight gain or loss with associated increased or diminished appetite

o Sleep disturbances - both insomnia and hypersomnia

o Feeling exhausted when waking up

o Irritability, agitation and restlessness

o Feeling guilty, worthless and/or helpless

o Inability to concentrate and focus

o Indecisiveness

o Fatigue and loss of energy

o Physical aches and pains or digestive problems

o Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Symptoms can range from mild to severe and they will vary with each individual. In other words, there is not a single identifiable set of symptoms that indicate clinical depression and the only way to ensure a correct diagnosis is to seek the expert help of a GP or other health professional who will ask about the symptoms, their duration and severity, personal circumstances and medical history, and any cases of depression recurring in the family. The most appropriate treatment options can then be considered.

Treatment Options

Clinical depression will normally require the use of anti-depressants for a period of time, usually for six months or so and sometimes longer. It can take several weeks for any medication to take effect so it is important to persevere with them even if there is no initial improvement. There are several different types of antidepressants and the effect of any medication, both positive and negative, will vary but as a general guideline, if there is no improvement after six weeks or so, or if there are significant side effects, then the GP may prescribe another medication until one is found that suits the individual. Antidepressants should never be stopped suddenly as this can be harmful, it is necessary to reduce the dose slowly over a period of time under the guidance of a qualified physician.

Talking therapies and counselling may also be an option for mild to moderate depression. These types of therapies can be helpful in changing negative thinking patterns and behaviours that contribute to the state of depression. Talking through problems and looking at issues in more depth can offer new insights and possible coping strategies.

For extremely severe and persistent depression that hasn't responded to other treatments, ECT is a possibility, which involves giving short electrical shocks to the brain.


There is no one single cause of clinical depression and no way of knowing who will develop it. Certainly, some groups of people appear more at risk of becoming clinically depressed than others, such as the socially isolated, the long term sick and disabled, single parents, and the unemployed. Low levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and essential fatty acids are found in people who are depressed suggesting biological factors can be involved and depressive disorders appear to run in families indicating that genetics could play a part. Sometimes, even the way we view the world or how we think about ourselves can cloud our perception and trigger depression. The important thing is to seek advice if it begins to affect your daily life because regardless of its cause, help is available, depression can be treated and life can return to normal.

Scientific Study Proves Law of Attraction!

Let me start off by saying that I am a skeptic. There - it is out. Or perhaps I should say "My name is Shaya and I am a skeptic". I have been hearing about the law of attraction in various forms for almost 10 years. And while I believe it is true, I am skeptical. Now a portion of the law of attraction has been proven through a scientific study.

Barbara Fredrickson and Thomas Joiner did a study to see if college students who were happier would remain happier and if they would think more novel and creative thoughts. The students did! Basically, the study says that if you are happy, you will think more creative and novel thoughts, which will give you more opportunity to be happy and get happy and then you will think more creative and novel thoughts, etc., etc. It creates what they call an "upward spiral" so rather than "the rich get richer", it is "the happy get happier". But wait, since the "happier" think more novel and creative thoughts, they will also have the opportunity to act on those ideas and create wealth and abundance. So perhaps the rich do get richer?!
The researchers even have an idea about why this happens. Our ancestors lived in a world in which their survival depended on making good decisions quickly. When they felt fear, they usually chose one of two reactions - either fight or flight. They would either fight the tiger that was attacking or run like the dickens to get away. Those of our ancestors who spent 10 minutes considering options or perhaps even hesitated for 10 seconds did not get to pass on their genes and, therefore, are not really our ancestors. This, of course, is Darwin's idea of "Survival of the Fittest". This whole "fight or flight" thinking did not exactly lead to really broad thinking and did not lend itself to building an array of problem solving skills.
So what exactly happened? The researchers - Fredrickson and Joiner - had college students fill out a survey about whether they had felt positive or negative emotions during the previous two weeks. This gave the researchers an idea about how positive each student was. The researchers then asked the students how they had solved their most important problem during the past year. They took those answers and rated them on what kind of thinking the students used. So, for example, if the student wrote that they stepped back and looked at options, they were considered to be using "broad-minded", creative thinking.
And the results? - Well, sure enough, those students who showed more positive emotions also used broader, more creative thinking. And the researchers also showed that it worked the other way around. Those students who used more broad-minded thinking also had more positive emotions. This proves their idea of an "upward spiral". The happy get happier and the creative get more creative.

So how can you get happy? Well, Fredrickson, in a 2003 article, wrote that she just showed the students short movies with joyful scenes of penguins waddling around or serene scenes of nature. People who watched these short movies were more likely to see the "big picture" and have more broad-minded thinking.
What can you do? What simple steps can you take to get this effect? You can have joyful and serene images on your screensaver or quotes that make you think happy, joyful thoughts. Another idea would be to have fun, upbeat music playing in the background. You can also avoid negative and fearful thoughts. You might do this by avoiding the news when they are showing scenes of war or crime. You can also avoid movies with gory or violent scenes.
Will these steps help? Well, they certainly can't hurt. And if they helped students think more creatively, there is no reason it wouldn't work for you as well.

What Are the First Signs of Depression?


Feeling low from time to time is an everyday part of normal life. We all experience various emotions - some good, some not so. It is when these low moods become part of your everyday life that may mean you are suffering from clinical depression. It is when the feelings of "greyness" take over and make everyday decisions and actions seem much more difficult than they used to, that you need to sit up and take notice.This is when you need to ask "What are the first signs of depression?"

In short, if you have constant low mood, have little interest in the things that once filled your day, and you are struggling to cope with all that you once coped with, then I would suggest that you read on.


Life will always have its highs and lows. It is normal. People will always have periods of happiness and sadness - they are normal human emotions in response to everyday situations. Some people, when feeling a little low, will often tell you "I'm depressed". Loosely, they can be, we can allow them this indulgence. This is more likely to be termed situation depression, or a normal reaction to events unfolding around us. Clinical Depression, however, is something totally different. It is a totally consuming condition which effects the way in which we live our lives. With Clinical Depression, it is difficult to sleep, eat, concentrate of even to enjoy life as you once did, and, whats more, there seems little escape from it.


If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed below, and they just seem never to go away, you may be suffering from Clinical Depression.

  • You can't get to sleep, wake up in the middle of the night or have too much sleep

  • Tasks that were once easy now seem difficult

  • Inability to concentrate

  • Low self esteem - feeling worthless, ugly or useless

  • Loss of appetite or over eating - comfort eating

  • Experience anger or irritability at the slightest mishap

  • Crying at things which, to others, seem trivial

  • Loss of sex drive

  • Lack of energy

  • Unable to have "fun" or find amusement in the things that you once did

  • Dark Thoughts that you cannot push out of your mind

  • Suicidal thoughts (In this case you MUST seek emergency help

If you can answer YES to 2 or more of these symptoms you may well be on the road to having your life blighted by depression, and it is time to take action.

It is not the end of the world however. Many people have managed to pull themselves out of the grip of depression, including myself, and there are various ways of doing so. For some, medication is the answer. Whilst I am not suggesting for one minute that this should not be the way forward, its not for everyone, and certainly wasn't for me. I did not want to be on anti depressants for months or even years as I had seen in some cases.

With the Internet at out fingertips there is whole world of self help guides for anyone asking the same question as you: "What are the First Signs of Depression?"

Getting Anxiety Panic Attacks Over Anxiety Depression?


Many people simply do not relax enough. They exhaust not only their physical strength when multitasking, they also become mentally exhausted. For many people this can lead to all sorts of mental disorders, one of which is termed Anxiety Depression. One symptom is the incidence of anxiety panic attacks. If you are unable to de-stress and are constantly worried and fussing over things, however small, there are available cures and treatments for handling anxiety panic attacks.

Does the problem exist:

Sometimes it takes an unexpected anxiety panic attack to happen before there is a realization that a problem exists. Closely related are nervous breakdowns and major depressive disorders.

Signs of an anxiety panic attack can include undue jitters and other stressful behavior, such as erratic and irrational outbursts and constricted breathing. These signs can be triggered off when facing difficult and stress-prone activities. It may be easy to say that all you need is a strong will to cope with these stress triggers but this could be the worst advice. Failing to buck up and keep a stiff upper-lip are stress triggers in themselves.

How to manage the problem:

To effectively manage anxiety panic attacks you have to acknowledge that you have the problem in the first place. This does require that you be honest with yourself with a realization that if you did nothing about it then nothing will change. This may mean visiting a reputable psychiatrist to get diagnosed correctly as your stress triggers may emanate from different psychoses.

Some types of depression:

Here are various types of depression that may be the underlying cause of your anxiety panic attacks.

1 Manic or Bipolar Depression:

This is characterized by extreme and sudden mood swings wherein you are in an elevated state of euphoria while the next minute, day or week you suddenly feel that you have descended into Dante's seventh level of hell.

2 Postpartum depression -

This is experienced by some new mothers wherein the physical stress during childbirth, characterized by a prolonged sadness, and a feeling of emptiness, together with an uncertain sense of responsibility towards the new born baby, prevail.

3 Dysthimia

This has a slight similarity with depression though it's a loss less severe. However, if diagnosed, it should be treated.

4 Cyclothemia

This has a slight similarity with Bipolar or Manic depression whereby severe mood swings occur.

5 Seasonal Affective Disorder

This is where you may fall into a rut during Winter and Fall and your mood changes from being happy to sad to angry in a short period of time, without any rational explanation.

6 Anxiety Depression:

This has proven to be more common and is characterized by being overly anxious. Anxiety in itself serves a useful purpose as it causes you to adjust and prepare better to certain stressful activities like a forthcoming grueling exam or job interview.

Anxiety Depression is a different animal - not good at all. It just cannot be dismissed as a case of the nerves. It is an illness that can be caused by a variety reasons including your biological make-up through hereditary factors.

It is outside the scope of this article to explore the various types of Anxiety Depression except to mention that you should seek professional help should you feel more paranoid than usual, suffer anxiety panic attacks more frequently - particularly over absurd trivialities, and feel anxious for no apparent reason. Symptoms include lack of sleep, being unable to relax at all, getting fatigued easily and lacking concentration.

It really goes without saying that when these symptoms occur you should seek professional help. This may include some form of cognitive behavior therapy and medication.


It does not matter if a "cure" is not found - what is important is that your anxiety is controlled then managed so that you can calm down, relax and not suffer further anxiety panic attacks - and live life normally.

Online Help For Depression - 3 Tips to Help You Choose the Best Online Help For Depression

If you are looking for online help for depression, you will know there are many different resources available to you. But with so many choices it can be bewildering to know what the best option is.

So here are 3 tips to look for when seeking the best help for depression online.

1. Avoid the use of pills and medication
If you find a resource online that recommends using certain medication, it is worth avoiding. Any recommendations for medication to treat depression should come from someone properly qualified to do so. When the recommendation comes from someone online, it is very difficult to be certain that it is coming from someone qualified to give this advice.

2. Look for proven methods
There are certain methods which will have successfully cured depression and have the stats to prove it. For example, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is known to work successfully because of the evidence gathered showing the successful treatment of depression.

3. Seek Strategies that will work again and again
Definitely worth investing in a strategy that can be used again and again to cure depression rather than one that you can only use once. So if there is a technique that once you have learned, you can call upon again if you find yourself going through depression in the future, then that technique is worth its weight in gold!

If you are looking for Online Help for Depression make sure you consider the above 3 tips to help you make an informative decision.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Benefits Of Car Insurance Quotes

The main advantages of car insurance quotes are giving the economic safety for people. Unluckily car accidents are the kind of urgent situation that can easily draw in a bank account. The assurance policy is contracting between an individual person and the assurance company. The insured person pays the certain premium amount in the cover company. The car any losses mean gives. The various insurance premium coverage is available in the assurance corporation.

Benefit of auto insurance offers low rates on an auto insurance and auto cover generally. The companies we represent have continually earned the Highest rating from in beat leading self over auto assurance rating right. Health check coverage in this easy for many consumed to mark the car insurance policy.

Anything payment coverage assists in paying medical expenses that ensure a person. The auto insurances' policies allow premium discounts for theft devices or for more than one policy with the same insurer. Car indemnity quotes compare the top ten insurance companies in the internet available more information compulsory Requirements of having auto insurance. It all has to do with economic security.

When you buy auto assurance it is a generally covers the vehicle and the other party. Most Automobile dealers insist on including auto insurances in the deal before you buy the vehicles. Some country illegal to own vehicles and do not have covered for that insurance company.

Many auto cover companies some provide 10 % of discount allowed in the cover company. The getting insurance policy amounts day by day increase in the world. It also amounts to increase the economy are going into depression and chances of theft of the car in these conditions may rise..You get any accident means within one month you collect your car policy amount. The compare assurance rates in online. Many companies provide you with the best insurance coverage at the lowest price.

Progressive Auto Insurance Company

The Progressive Auto Insurance Company was founded in 1937. Just like most of the insurance companies and just generally all of the firms that started operating during great depression, they were quite small. In order to progress and grow they mainly targeted low-risk customers. Since that time the firm grew into one of the major auto insurance firms. They were one of the most innovative companies, introducing new and exclusive options and services that are used by all auto insurance providers even today.

Progressive company offers one of the most affordable insurance packages. They have extremely wide range of coverage's for a price that will not be too hard on your wallet. For example they have an option to suggest your own price that you are comfortable paying. After their agents are going to sort you out, by putting together the policy plan that will fit into the price range that you have indicated or at least will get as close to it as possible.

Progressive is famous for its ability to handle the claims. According to the information collected, they have the most hassle and stress free claim services. They can provide you with a body shop, allowing you to follow the progress straight from the website, offer rental cars in case the damaged vehicle is not suitable for driving yet and get all the calculations right there in front of you so you can know what goes where and why. Customer service is friendly and helpful, although there are some feedback informing us that they often refer clients to their website.

Progressive auto insurance company has extremely easy website to use. For one thing you don't have to go to any other party website to compare the quotes as you can do that with them for free as well. Even if other companies' rates are lower, you will be recommended to check with their competitors. Not only that but pretty much everything is automated, which means that you can even build your own policy yourself, without the help of the agent.

As mentioned before they have rather large choice of the coverage plans and specials available. Obviously it is very dependent in which state you are located, as in some states rates might be extremely high with Progressive and in some they are rock-bottom cheap. For purchasing policies online you get a discount, for paying upfront, having multiple cars insured or just getting life and house insurance, it will all reduce the premiums for you. They do have accident forgiveness for three years of safe driving. They also have nice bonuses like insuring your pet up to $1000 for the veterinary charges in case of the accident for free.

One can say that Progressive auto insurance company is a smart choice. The premiums are decent and it is perfectly suitable for those who would rather deal with the auto insurance company via internet. They are affordable, convenient and are famed for their excellent history of dealing with claims.

Khalil Gibran Quotes: Manifesting Your Dreams With Desire!

"All that spirits desire, spirits attain." - Khalil Gibran

What is your dream? Has it come true? Are you manifesting your dreams? Are you manifesting your desires? If your answer is "No", then why not?

You want to manifest your dreams and you absolutely will, but only when you understand the nature of desire and the energy you are made from.

In this universe energy takes all forms. Everything you know in your physical life is energy. A tree is made from elements, that are formed by atoms, that are formed by protons, neutrons and electrons. Protons and neutrons are formed by quarks. Electrons are formed by quasi-particles which are basically light energy. If you break any object down far enough it is all made of the same stuff! So the energy that pervades a tree, a dog, a rock or you and I, is all the same! So why all the diverse creations? The answer is intelligent! Energy has desire. Every particle smaller that we can fathom has intelligence and we are composed of this intelligent, loving, abundant and creative energy! All of that intelligent energy creates everything we know of in the cosmos.

People these days hardly understand their own desires. People shape their desires based on television ads, internet ads, radio ads, the opinions of peers, trends, objects which offer superficial fulfillment and the basest of animal cravings. The sad part is very few even understand themselves. Very few listen to the desire of the energy that they are created from. This intelligent energy, that combined to make you, is who you are. This energy has combined with a purpose to fulfill. When you align your dreams with the desire of this energy that is when you are the happiest, the most energetic, the most creative and the most powerful.

When you feel melancholy, depressed, angry, or just plain bad you are suffering from a lack of energy. To some, this is obvious. What is not obvious is that these feelings are telling you that you are not in alignment with your creative intelligent energy. Your emotions and energy levels are telling you whether or not you are in alignment with your desires. This is never more apparent than when we lose someone we love. We feel tired, we are sad and miserable. This is because our desire is to have those we love here where we can experience life together. When they pass on they leave our desire unfulfilled. Thus our energy is not aligned with what is and we are left energetically depressed.

Manifesting Your Dreams:

So search for your best feelings, find your passions in life, seek out beauty and focus on these things. The process of you searching for your best and healthiest feelings is how you understand what you were meant to do with your life. You will naturally align with what will fulfill you the most. If it does not bring you joy it is not your calling. Listen to yourself. Know yourself. When you do this you will be unstoppable in the manifesting of your dreams with desire!

When Khalil stated that, "All spirits desire, spirits attain." He was absolutely correct. Spirit never waivers nor does the intelligent energy waiver. It is only the vacillating and fickle mind of man, that bounces from desire to desire. Thus leaving us to suffer without manifesting our dreams. By aligning with the energy of who we are we become fixed on our true desire and begin manifesting our dreams with our desire!

How to Improve Depression Symptoms - 5 Super Easy Ways

Depression is an inglorious state of mind that leads to various complications, but beating depression can be simple if proper measures are taken. Depression has immensely negative effects on the victim. Depression leads to weariness, declivity regarding general matters of society. Depression can be a chief reason for mental turmoil along with physical disorders as well. If you have been able to figure out depression symptoms within you, we can be of some help in telling you how to improve them. Here are five ways of curing depression naturally by improving depression symptoms. Here are five methods for doing the same.

1) Exercising can be a great way for fighting depression naturally and improving your symptoms. Though it is a fact that while you are going through a phase of depression you won't have an urge for hardcore exercise. However physical activities in form like swimming, or basic walking can be of great help. You would find a relative change in your mood after you continue exercising for a while. It would not only make your mood better but it would also enhance your confidence because you would start looking better and feeling great.

2) Reducing alcohol consumption or smoking can also be helpful in improving the symptoms of depression and fighting depression at home. Smoking or drinking alcohol might seem temporary stress buster but actually it has adverse effects. This would give depression victims one solid reason to quit smoking.

3) Having a nutritious diet can be of great help. Consumption of green vegetables with antidepressant characteristics would be a great tool in fighting depression naturally. Depression has an adverse effect on the diet and health of the person suffering from it. It's very important to stick to a proper diet and a systematic lifestyle because that is a major reason in leading to the symptoms of depression.

4) You should try to look at the brighter side of a particular aspect. You should try to see life from a different point of view. Success and failures are relative factors and every success has its share of darkness and even failures have their share of bright part. If you learn the trick of doing that you would find that there would be no symptoms of depression left.

5) Depression leads to the blockage of your expressions. Depression makes you feel lot crammed and uneasy while talking or adopting other mediums of expressions. You must try to express. You must talk with close people or even with yourself. This will lead you to understand what can be the problem for your depression. This will lead you to the understanding of the reasons and eventually get rid of them.

These were five ways of improving your symptoms for depression and curing depression naturally.

Debt Free Advice

Thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people each month search the Internet for terms such as "debt free advice."

It is obvious that we are a country with too many people who lack restraint in their spending habits, have bad money-management skills or have perhaps fallen on hard times.

For the most part, though, debts free advice is requested because people live a lifestyle that promotes the spending of money you don't have!

One only has to see the airwaves and newspapers flooded with advertisements offering nothing down, 0% interest, don't pay for one year etc. Some people are buying things simply because they get a free gadget of which they already have several of. The best debt free advice for people, who are impulsive buyers, is to put away the credit cards when you go shopping. Hand them over to a trusted family member, leave them in a safety deposit box, hide them or simply tear them up!

Serious spending problems require serious solutions and action on the part of the person looking for debt free advice.

If you are beyond the point of prevention and need some immediate solutions, there is debt consolidation.

There are many companies that will offer a free assessment of your situation and give you a free quote as well, to help consolidate your debts into one manageable monthly payment.

Indeed, it is a good idea to get several free quotes so that you can determine which company has the best terms and suits your needs!

Debt consolidation loans are available very easily these days because there is tremendous competition in the lending industry. This is good news for borrowers not only looking for debt free advice, but real debt relief!

Stop the suffering of stress, frustration and depression when you are unable to make your loan payments in time, getting debt free advice input can turn things around.

A debt consolidation loan is a service that is indispensable for people whose finances are out-of-control and can't find the right solutions. Usually, for a small fee the endless routine of living in debt can come to an end.

Debt consolidation can either be secured or unsecured debt consolidation. Upon getting some free consolidation quotes you can decide which is the most suitable loan consolidation plan for you to handle.

Stop the escalating stress and worry. Don't put off the opportunity to resolve your debt problems. Start doing something about it today and you'll feel that relief is just around the corner! free advice is requested because people live a lifestyle that promotes the spending of money you don't have!

One only has to see the airwaves and newspapers flooded with advertisements offering nothing down, 0% interest, don't pay for one year etc. Some people are buying things simply because they get a free gadget of which they already have several of. The best debt free advice for people, who are impulsive buyers, is to put away the credit cards when you go shopping. Hand them over to a trusted family member, leave them in a safety deposit box, hide them or simply tear them up!

Serious spending problems require serious solutions and action on the part of the person looking for debt free advice.

If you are beyond the point of prevention and need some immediate solutions, there is debt consolidation.

There are many companies that will offer a free assessment of your situation and give you a free quote as well, to help consolidate your debts into one manageable monthly payment.

Indeed, it is a good idea to get several free quotes so that you can determine which company has the best terms and suits your needs!

Debt consolidation loans are available very easily these days because there is tremendous competition in the lending industry. This is good news for borrowers not only looking for debt free advice, but real debt relief!

Stop the suffering of stress, frustration and depression when you are unable to make your loan payments in time, getting debt free advice input can turn things around.

A debt consolidation loan is a service that is indispensable for people whose finances are out-of-control and can't find the right solutions. Usually, for a small fee the endless routine of living in debt can come to an end.

Debt consolidation can either be secured or unsecured debt consolidation. Upon getting some free consolidation quotes you can decide which is the most suitable loan consolidation plan for you to handle.

Stop the escalating stress and worry. Don't put off the opportunity to resolve your debt problems. Start doing something about it today and you'll feel that relief is just around the corner!

Paintings of Modern Art - The Scream

If any single painting exemplified the concepts of modernism, and how the philosophy influenced art, it's "The Scream" by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch. The painting, which depicts an agonized figure against a blood red sky. There are those that say that the painting depicts the hopelessness inherent in modernism. Others call "The Scream" a symbol of modern man overtaken by an attack of existential angst, the moment in which the existential crisis occurs.

As a matter of fact, some people believe that the painting depicts some kind of mental illness, supported by the fact that Munch's own sister was hospitalized with what was probably manic depression at the time. Others insist that the painting depicts some kind of dissociative disorder, in which there's a feeling of distortion of the environment and one's self.

There have been all kinds of attempts to explain different aspects of the painting. The red sky, for example, could've been inspired by the weather conditions in Oslo during the time that Munch created it. There was a powerful volcanic eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, and the ash that was ejected from the volcano left the sky tinted red in much of the eastern United States and most of Europe and Asia from the end of November 1883 to February 1884. Some scholars dispute this theory, however, stating that Munch wasn't a descriptive painter and tended to not depict things literally.

Another theory that advances the depiction of mental illness in this painting is the setting of the painting itself. The landscape in the background of "The Scream" is Osloford, viewed from the hill of Ekeberg, near what's now Oslo, Norway. The bridge the subject is standing on happens to be nearby both a slaughterhouse and a mental institution. Munch very well could've gotten some existential vibes from both buildings.

At any rate, "The Scream" seems to be one of those modernist paintings that have captured the public, to the point that by the late twentieth century, it held almost iconic stature. In 1983 and 1984, pop artist Andy Warhol created a series of silk prints of Munch's works, including "The Scream," making it into a mass-reproducible object. It's now one of the most recognizable pieces of art, and has been used in cartoons, movies, and advertisement.

Munch created at least four versions of "The Scream," held by various individuals and museums all over the world. Two of them have been stolen. The first was in 1994, from the National Gallery in Oslo, the same day as the Opening Ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer. The four thieves left a note to replace the painting they stole: "Thanks for the poor security." It was recovered in 1994 in a sting operation. Another version, along with another of Munch's paintings ("Madonna"), was stolen in 2004, from the Munch Museum in Oslo. It was damaged, but was able to be restored after the police recovered it after a huge investigation.

"The Scream" by Edvard Munch, is an important piece of modern art. Many believe that it has garnered so much attention because it depicts not only the spirit of modernism, both as a philosophy and an art movement, but the angst and detachment of the modern world.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Symptoms of the Depressive Disorder

Depressive disorder is a state of low mood and aversion to activity. A depressed person is having feelings of sadness, helplessness and hopelessness. Feeling "depressed" is often similar to feeling "sad", but both clinical depressive disorder and non-clinical depressive disorder can also refer to a conglomeration of more than one feeling.

What are the major symptoms of the depressive disorder?

- Psychological or physiological wear out and loss of vitality
- Feelings of guilt, hopelessness, anxiety, dread, or weakness
- Reduced amount of involvement or joy in all, or almost all, daily activities mostly every day
- Altering appetite and detectable weight loss or gain
- Psychomotor agitation or deceleration almost daily
- Feelings of overwhelming sadness or fear or the apparent inability to experience emotion
- trouble focusing or making decisions or a generalized retardation and obtunding of cognition including memory
- unbalanced sleeping patterns such as excessive sleep or hypersomnia, insomnia, or deprivation of paradoxical sleep
- continual thoughts of death, not just fear of dying, haunting suicide ideation with precise plan, or a particular plan of committing suicide or suicide attempt.

Additional clinical depression symptoms occasionally accounted for but not typically taken into account in diagnosis include:

- Lack of attention to personal hygiene
- Concern of "becoming mad"
- Diminishing self-esteem
- Alteration in perception of time
- Sensitivity to noise
- Physiological pains and achings with the impression that they may constitute signs of grave sickness

The depressive has pervasive and uninterrupted depressive thoughts and conducts. They manifest themselves in every area of life and never pass away. The patient is gloomy, dejected, pessimistic, overly serious, lacks a sense of humor, cheerless, joyless, and constantly unhappy. This dark mood is not influenced by changing circumstances.

His self-image is distorted: he appreciates himself to be un-needed, incapable, a failure. His sense of self-worth and his dignity are invariably and unrealistically low. This borders on self-disgust and self-denial. The Depressive corrects himself unnecessarily. His interior dialog (occasionally spoken) is derogatory towards himself, blaming and self-critical. Freud called this inner judge the Superego. The Depressive's Superego is sadistic, grim, relentless, self-denigrating, and, ultimate hatefully suicidal. Dimly aware of this semi-suicidal streak, Depressives are by nature anxious and inclined towards excessive worrying and pondering.

The Depressive extends this leaning to humiliate and punish to his closest and beloved. His masochism is complemented by equally exigent sadism. He's negativistic, passive-aggressive, discriminative, faultfinding, and correctional towards other people. Such repeated outbursts are accompanied by feelings of remorse and guilt, frequently coupled with maudlin and flat apologies.

It seems that the Depressive fails to shift perspectives, focusing almost always on the "what is", never even giving a chance to "what could be". He is lost in the past, wandering through a forest of self-failures with the Superego as his only companion. Trying to cope with his failures, the depressive often chooses to view the dark side of those around him, judging and blaming like there`s no tomorrow, continuing to fail to see the beauty in the world, thus feeding his inner sadness further.

Can Depression Kill

O LORD God of my salvation, I have cried day and night before thee: Let my prayer come before thee: incline thine ear unto my cry; For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength: Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand. Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy waves. Selah. Thou hast put away mine acquaintance far from me; thou hast made me an abomination unto them: I am shut up, and I cannot come forth.

Mine eye mourneth by reason of affliction: LORD, I have called daily upon thee, I have stretched out my hands unto thee. Wilt thou shew wonders to the dead? shall the dead arise and praise thee? Selah. Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction? Shall thy wonders be known in the dark? and thy righteousness in the land of forgetfulness? But unto thee have I cried, O LORD; and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee. LORD, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me? I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted. Thy fierce wrath goeth over me; thy terrors have cut me off. They came round about me daily like water; they compassed me about together.

Lover and friend hast thou put far from me, and mine acquaintance into darkness. (King David, Ps 88:1-18 KJV)

Depression can take the light out of person's eye and rob a person of the pleasure involved in relationship but can it actually kill a person. King David, the great King of all Israel suffered from deep depression and his words certainly depict a man trapped in depression. Depression is real and it does kill. Is there a viable solution?

First, let me give you just a few facts on depression. It is a fact Clinical depression affects 15% of the population, and a third of all women. One of the reasons twice as many women as men suffer depression and anxiety, according to researchers at University College, London, is that women's traditional roles (taking care of the household, family finances and children) are under-valued. Men are also under pressure in an effort to balance family life with an increasingly competitive workplace, and are particularly vulnerable to depressive episodes after redundancy and retirement. The burden on the, often isolated, nuclear family is enormous, with little time left for the kids or relationships with friends and even extended family.

It is no secret, depression is the second biggest killer behind heart disease (itself a contributory factor in depression), and is increasing a staggering 23% per year in children, according to one Harvard University study.

The real catastrophe is the lack of effective available treatments, with many people led to believe that pills, or herbs or diet will do the trick. The truth is that antidepressants work for less than 50% of depressed people, and are about as effective as sugar pills. The FDA only recommends taking them for short periods. (This does not mean you should stop taking them abruptly, certainly not without medical supervision.) Even natural remedies, such as St. John's Wort, while they may not have nasty side effects, don't offer a long-term cure.

Psychiatrics suggest therapy along with medication, but the primary form of psychotherapy for depression, cognitive behavioral therapy, has a relapse rate of up to 80%, according to University of Washington researchers.

What is the solution to depression?

Is there a solution? Does an individual have to suffer this deadly disorder for the rest of their life? I firmly do not believe the "complete" answer to depression exists neither in a bottle of pills nor in cognitive therapy. I believe these treatments help and I am not saying stop taking pills with out your doctor's advice. God forbid that I usurp the authority of a medical doctor. In addition, I believe rational thinking helps if a person has the capacity to practice the principles of the therapy. Yet, these approaches are only slightly affective. How can we rid ourselves of these horrible feelings of worthlessness created by depressive episodes? How can we get out of the proverbial, "Dark Hole"?

I wish there was an easy answer to the above questions. It would be nice if taking a doze of Prozac, Zoloft, or other anti-depressants would work all the time every time but the sad truth is they don't. There is no easy answer, nor simply solution to depression. Many of the bible characters suffered from deep and lasting depression. David, Solomon, Jonah, and many others prayed to God to deliver them out of the darkness of depression and God did but God did it in His time not theirs.
Romans 15: 13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.

I have suffered from deep, major depression and today I am free from depression. I do have my bad days but nothing like those "dark days" of deep feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and pain. I believe medicine can help but it is a temporary fix and I believe truth therapy (not rational therapy) is essential but I think the biggest factor that helped me was faith.

During the days of deep depression, suicide attempts, and self-mutilation, I developed a faith in God. In fact, I came to trust in Him during the hardest days of my life. Looking back, I realize it was during the dark days, when I could not care for myself, He was actually carrying me through it all. Remember the poem, "foot prints in the sand." He was there all the time. If I had never had the problem with depression I would have never learned how I needed a relationship with my Creator. After many years of depression, I finally came out of the dark. However, it was in the pain that I discover my real need for a power, God, who could raise me out of the deep deadly pit of depression. I don't care to return to the dark hole so I do my best to turn my life over to His power and control on a daily basis. This has worked for a few years now and as long as this plan works and I will work the plan.

How to Beat Depression - The Foolproof, Guaranteed Method

You might already know someone in your family or in your circle of friends who have experienced some type of depression at one point or another. As a matter of fact, you may even have also wondered whether the feeling of being down and low that you have been experiencing lately is depression. What exactly is depression - more specifically, clinical depression?

Clinical depression is actually a serious illness which affects millions of people yearly. It would be best that you understand how clinical depression is diagnosed and what symptoms it has. This would be the first steps towards proper treatment.

Feeling sad or low from time to time is normal. All people feel his way every now and then, depending on the situations they are in. However, when these feelings of sadness start to become the only emotions that you are capable of having or experiencing or when a phase of being blue transforms into a black cloud that constantly hovers above your head, then you may already be suffering from depression.

Depression is essentially an illness, specifically, a type of mental disorder which could take over your mind and your body. It is normally not a mood which passes after a short period of time. People who experience depression are usually unable to get rid of their feelings of sadness easily. Depression could greatly influence the way an individual thinks and feels. It could also alter that individual's personality and his or her way of interacting with other people.

However, how can you distinguish clinical depression from normal feelings of sadness? It is all about the intensity of the feelings of sadness and how long the feelings have been experienced by the individual. Generally, the feelings which are associated with depression are a lot more intense compared to the regular moments of sadness that everyone feels every now and then. Depression can easily alter your character as well as your ability to handle reality. It could make it impossible for you to function properly.

The period of time which could determine that it is depression that is being experienced by an individual would be two weeks. Usually, normal feelings of sadness and being withdrawn would go away after a couple of days or around a week's time. However, if these feelings linger for longer than two weeks and progress to something much worse, then it could already be depression. Without proper treatment, depression could easily last for weeks, months and even years.

Fortunately, though, depression can be treated. With the use of the proper medication and therapy, almost 80 percent or more of those who experience depression get better. However, treatment could take time and usually involves some amount of trial and error, and so, patience is a must.

Everyone has a tendency to experience depression, to a point. Remember, though, that depression is not a sign of failure or weakness. If you think that you or possibly someone you know might be suffering from depression, then it would be very important to seek professional help at the soonest possible time.

Boost Self-Esteem, Banish Depression

Do you know someone who is always pessimistic and negative? Always looking at the glass as half empty? Maybe it's you. It's time to think about turning those negative thoughts into positive thoughts, because one's thoughts are the basic building blocks that over time create one's attitude-and the more negative your attitude, the more numerous will be the negative things that you will attract-which will only reinforce your negative attitude. But, fortunately, the opposite is also true: the more positive you are, the more positive your life will be.

Do you ever find that if you start the day with something frustrating happening, the rest of your day turns out badly? That's because you held on to the negative nature of whatever happened. The way you hold on to it is by speaking of it to others or keeping it in your thoughts. By saying things like, "It's been one of those mornings," your mind is set in a direction which will-if not corrected-ensure that you do have "one of those days," when in fact it was just a few bad moments.

The longer you hold on to a negative thought, the more nasty relatives it gathers to set up shop in your mind. It's like the proverbial snowball that keeps getting bigger and bigger. Or a weed which seeds the ground with more weeds.

Are you telling yourself that you are just not talented enough to make your dreams come true? Banish those thoughts immediately and begin to tell a new story: think thoughts that are empowering, uplifting, and energizing. Believe in yourself and believe in your dreams. Go for it and give it everything you got because you CAN make it happen!

Frank Lloyd Wright said it well: "The thing always happens that you really believe in: and the belief in a thing makes it happen." You must believe you can do it, or you will not, and you must see it happening in your mind, or you will not see it happen in your life.

Don't let thoughts of destruction enter your mind. If you let thoughts of doubt and fear in, they will plant more seeds of an undesirable nature which will end up tearing you down. You must not let this happen!

At all times picture yourself healthy, speak of yourself as strong, refer to yourself as capable. Believe in yourself. Have faith in your ability. You really can achieve anything you set out to do. Go forward with a 'can do' attitude. Picture yourself succeeding and get fired up! Get excited about your future! There are great things in store for you if you believe.

When negative thoughts come into your mind, shoot them down by canceling them out. Think of something positive as quickly as possible and don't carry on in the direction of where the previous thought was trying to take you. Do not allow negativity to dwell in your mind. These thoughts are, quite simply, not welcome.

Stay focused on your goal and do not lose sight of it. Every step you take in the right direction will cause the level of belief you have within yourself to surge. Re-program your mind by talking to yourself using kind words. The truth is, you are talented and bright, and you DO have what it takes to succeed in anything, and everything that you undertake.

So go for it. Start believing in yourself and don't let anything hold you back: especially not yourself. I believe in you?

Psychological Testing: What It Is, How It Works

Psychological testing is a measurement procedure used to describe or predict behavioral, cognitive, emotional, or symptomatic characteristics of the person taking the tests, or the person to which the tests refer (some tests are given to people who know the person of interest, but most are taken by the person of interest).

To stay within the area of clinical psychology (mental health psychology), there are several kinds of tests often used. According to my simple classification scheme developed for educating the public, there are personality, cognitive, behavioral, diagnostic, and achievement tests. Sub-specialty tests, like forensic psychology or neuropsychology tests would actually fall under one or more of these broad categories but with a more specialized focus. Also, some tests incorporate elements of more than one classification.

Please note that my scheme is simply convenient; there are research-based classifications of tests based upon what they do and how they do it. My discussion of other test aspects is also based upon research but does not always use the 'official' terms or terms typical in my field, as I wanted to write a simpler overview. Note also that in counseling psychology, industrial-organizational psychology, and other fields there are other kinds of tests, such as 'interest' tests designed to detect interests in different professions, or even in-vivo (live) behavioral tests such as sessions designed to replicate a 'rough day at the office' for important, stressful, and expensive executive positions.

I am not going to give away any test secrets, but what I will present is a brief overview of each category of test, some examples by title only, and some basic information on how tests are generally interpreted. You will not learn from this post any useful secrets of the tests themselves. This is intended only to inform the public of the value of psychological testing.

'Types' of Tests

Personality tests can sometimes overlap with diagnostic or symptom-related tests. Broadly, a personality test is designed to describe or predict usual attitudes, behaviors, or traits related to the examinee's interpersonal perception (how they see others) and intra-personal perception (how they see themselves). Famous examples include the MMPI-2 (which is structured and taken with paper and pencil) and the Rorschach (which is less structured and involves interviewing the examinee about their perceptions of inkblots).

Cognitive tests are used to describe or predict a person's mental abilities. For instance, two persons may each have reasonable ability to creatively solve problems, but which one can do so more quickly or more flexibly? How strong is a person's concentration and memory? Is the person better at solving problems verbally, structurally, nonverbally, holistically? The list of cognitive ('thinking') abilities that can be tested is very long and detailed. Cognitive tests include IQ tests, neuropsychological tests, and specialized instruments used in research, to name only three types. Famous examples include the WAIS-IV, WMS-IV, Stanford-Binet V, Bender-Gestalt-II, and many, many individual neuropsychological tests and test batteries.

Behavioral inventories are based upon the report of people who know the person in question, or upon direct examiner observation of the person in question. One good example of when these measures are used is in cases of ADHD diagnosis or determination of a given person's ability to function in their day (for example, used together with an IQ test to determine the possibility of mental retardation or developmental disability). Examples include behavior checklists or the Vineland-II Adaptive Behavior Scales. Behavioral assessment is also common among practitioners of applied behavioral analysis, which is used for treating very serious behavior problems in the developmentally disabled or with the extremely severely mentally ill.

Diagnostic tests frequently use an interview format, though some of them are given with paper and pencil like a personality test. Some interviews are highly structured (and are thus more reliable), but they tend to be less flexible, may alienate or bore the examinee, and may not be as adaptable to a given case. Some interviews are not very structured (and are thus less reliable), but are more flexible and interactive. Usually a good assessment will somehow manage to include parts of both types of interview style. An example would be the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID, a comprehensive structured interview) or the Beck Depression Inventory (paper and pencil, but focused only on depression).

Achievement tests measure how well the examinee does on academic measures of reading, writing, and mathematics (to name three broad categories). Other measures that test mainly knowledge could probably be categorized as achievement tests as well. It is important to understand that the results of these tests will be partly associated with the person's cognitive abilities, for example because knowledge tests usually involve some reasoning ability and some consideration of speed, exactitude, or both. Examples include the Wide Range Achievement Test - 4 or the high school SAT.

Interpretation of Tests

Tests are often interpreted according to whether they use or do not use some 'standard' or 'reference point,' and according to what that reference point (if any) is.

Rater-based reference point--in this interpretation, the test being used usually only refers to categories--diagnosis, for example. Structured interviews often fall in this category, and the only purpose of the test is to tell whether the person has a diagnosis or not. Comparison along a continuous line of percentiles or scores is not a part of this referencing. Here, the main concern is the reliability of the agreement between two or more examiners and the validity of the categories between which they choose.

No reference point (other than the examinee)--this can tell us a lot about the qualities of an examinee, but there is no way to measure those qualities against the same qualities of other persons. However, some tests that can measure against other people also include elements of this 'qualitative' description. This type of interpretation simply interprets 'type' of content and 'amount of X relative to Y for this examinee,' but not 'amount of X or Y relative to others.'

For example, one could note that the examinee did better on measures of concentration than on measures of reasoning, but could not compare these statements to the performance of other persons. Of course, here we are assuming that the number of questions or items for reasoning and for concentration are equal and that each reasoning item is of the same difficulty ('hardness') as each corresponding concentration item. Being able to evaluate difficulty is difficult without some outside reference point, and this brings us to norms...

Norm-based reference point--in this interpretation used by many psychological tests, the score of the examinee is compared to the scores of other test-takers (usually hundreds to thousands of other examinees). This allows the scores to be interpreted in terms of their distance from the average (usually the 'mean') and in terms of percentiles. For example, a person whose score on a measure of extraversion (outgoingness) is 'one standard deviation above the mean' is at approximately the 84th percentile relative to his or her peers in regard to that one characteristic.

Criterion-based reference--in this interpretation, also used in many tests and often used in conjunction with norm-referencing, certain score levels on the test are known to be highly associated with certain behaviors or outcomes (criteria) with some degree of probability. Usually this knowledge is acquired through research done in developing or confirming the results of the test. For example, a test could help one decide which person to hire for a job; a particular score on a test designed to measure organizational ability (the ability to prioritize and sort) might be highly correlated with success in a particular executive position. Other test results might be highly predictive of suicide or another more clinical concern.

Often norm-referencing is used to give some idea of how an examinee compares to peers, while at the same time criterion-referencing research is used to tell the interpreter of the test what the score means in terms of imporant associated outcomes. For example, a high IQ score is not just 'higher cognitive ability than most of her peers,' it is also usually predictive of high academic achievement and high-level professional employment. Of course, these predictions are not perfect, and neither are norm-based interpretations (or any interpretation for that matter).

For this reason, all good tests have information about their 'reliability.' Reliability gives knowledge about:
The usual error rates of a test
The amount of expected error in any score
The degree to which portions of the test agree with or are sensibly related to other portions
The degree to which separate raters agree, and/or
The degree to which one examinee's scores on a test at one time agree with their scores at another time).

Good tests also should have information available about their 'validity':
The extent to which the test actually measures what it is supposed to
The degree to which the test adequately measures a specific type of content
The degree to which the test is sensibly associated or non-associated with other similar and dissimilar tests and/or
The degree to which the test actually has a reliable association with important outcomes

Hopefully this overview will be helpful for anyone curious about psychological tests!

Connecting With Your Spiritual Source

In the Western world we have moved further and further away from the examination of mental processes and how they impact upon the way in which our lives unfold. This can be seen in many areas of our lives; we abrogate responsibility for how we feel to circumstances, other people - anything and everything other than ourselves and how we think.

Take health, for example. We constantly look for a physical cause and not a mental one, when in fact both physical and mental forces are likely to be working together to effect a physical symptom. Depression can be caused just as easily by how you think about things as by a chemical trigger in your brain. The two causes tend to be intertwined. But it is less painful to go to the doctor for pills than it is to take the time to introspect and examine ones thoughts and feelings or to face the reality of one's circumstances; or is it less painful? In the short term perhaps this is the case, but in the long term I very much doubt it.

And if we ignore the mental, we completely bury the spiritual. We all too easily close our minds off to this seemingly intangible aspect of the universe in which we reside. And yet, we do pay some lip service to spiritual wisdom. Most of us accept the truth in the quotes from the ancient Greeks, Buddha or other sages. Even those who are "non-believers" are happy to listen to such pearls of wisdom and accept them as the truth, whilst closing their minds to the real source of such wisdom.

In the Eastern world spirituality has been preserved throughout the centuries. And in the West, there is clearly a gradual return of spiritual awareness which can be seen in the volume of contemporary books being written on the subject and also the content of numerous television documentaries. I myself notice it in the growing number of people who purchase hypnosis downloads and hypnosis recordings relating to matters of spirituality.

Why is it so important that we grow in spiritual awareness? We are all multidimensional beings. We are mind, body and spirit. Everything in life is made up of energy and has its own energy frequency. Everything and everyone has their own electromagnetic field. We send out electrical frequencies through our very thoughts and we correspondingly magnetize electrical frequencies into our lives.

You can choose to add more power to your thoughts as you tap into the power of the universe. Some people refer to this as the collective unconscious, others think of it more in terms of a higher being. This is not at cross purposes with any religion or faith you may have. Every religion agrees that there is a higher being, a source of all things, and you can approach spirituality in the light of your particular faith. If you are not of any particular religion you can apply spirituality in a manner which is comfortable to you - be it thinking in terms of the collective unconscious, or a higher being.

Most of us are very set in our beliefs and do not question things enough. People are far more comfortable seeking a physical cause as opposed to a psychological one - let alone a spiritual one. Yet to ignore your spirit being, you ignore the real you. Your spirit is where your inner wisdom comes from. It is your higher self. You can easily tap into your spiritual side, and in so doing you will become more aligned and in tune with source, with the higher you.

There are certain laws of the universe which, once you are aware of them, you can choose to consciously apply. Sometimes this is called cosmic ordering. From a scientific viewpoint, your thoughts have energy, and as you focus on something and energize that thought with a lot of emotion and are consistent in your thoughts, you will magnetize what you want into your reality. From a spiritual perspective, as you ask the universe, the collective unconscious, the higher source for something, and believe that it will be provided, and are again consistent in your thoughts, the universe will make it happen.

A journey into spirituality will allow you to feel more in tune with your higher self, to feel aligned with source. You will feel that you can open your mind more to your inner wisdom and to the wisdom of the universe; you will find your true self, and your purpose and inspiration in life. As you pay attention to your spirit self and acknowledge who you really are you will experience an incredible feeling of freedom, inspiration and purpose in your life.

As you allow yourself to entertain the realms of spirituality you will feel that you have moved from damp darkness into warm bright sunlight.

Roseanna Leaton, specialist in hypnosis mp3 downloads and hypnosis recordings.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Depression: How to Recognize It in Seniors

Depression in older adults is relatively common. Yet, the causes and symptoms in this population tend to be misunderstood and too often overlooked. Medication interactions, life circumstances, and simple aging can make depression hard to recognize. Even though depression is never normal, older people tend to suffer from the condition in disproportionately high amounts and are a segment of the population least likely to get treatment.

More than seven million elderly adults suffer from depression. But, these huge numbers are in stark contrast to the fact that only about ten percent of these individuals ever receive treatment for the disorder. As a matter of fact, about five million older adults have what is called subsyndromal depression which is depression that is so "mild" as to not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of depression. Subsyndromal depression is common in the elderly, and may indicate an increased risk of developing major depression. Recognizing and treating depression in older adults becomes especially important as the "Baby Boomer" generation ages and places unheard of pressures on healthcare in this country.

Depression is not "just part of getting old"
On average, from one to five percent of older people may suffer from depression. However, those numbers drastically increase to a whopping 13.5 percent for individuals who reside in a home or institutional healthcare setting. These numbers appear to indicate that older individuals needing more care may suffer from depression either because of the lack of control they feel they have over their own lives or because of existing medical conditions.

Depression occurs for a number of reasons. Like the rest of the population, senior citizens may experience depression for many of the same reasons. However, seniors also have a host of other issues that complicate things.

Factors that influence depression in the elderly
Several factors - including psychological factors, environmental factors, and physical factors - contribute to depression in the elderly. Any one or a combination of several of the following factors may be responsible for depression in older people.

Psychological factors include:
• Life events - either traumatic or unresolved
• A previous or family history of depression
• Body image issues. As we age, we often experience discomfort with physical changes such as surgeries, heart attacks and stroke, amputations, etc.
• Frustrations that may be the result of memory loss (caused by aging or disease)
• Dealing with the loss of friends, family members, spouse.
• Dealing with changes in living conditions or situations such as moving in with family, housing in an extended care facility, or moving into a nursing home
• Loss of independence. Allowing a caregiver access to the home can make older people especially anxious. They may also feel that their independence is being diminished if they need help.
• Existing psychological conditions such as low self-esteem, anxiety disorders, etc.

Environmental factors include:
• Social isolation. A reduced ability to get around and the loss of close friends and family members (including a spouse) may contribute to depression.
• Retirement.
• Decreased mobility including the loss of driving privileges.

Physical factors include:
• A family and personal history of depression
• Existing medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, heart attack and stroke, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's.
• Medication interactions and side effects. Certain pain medications, high blood pressure drugs, hormones, heart meds, arthritis treatments, chemotherapy treatments, and drugs prescribed for psychological disorders may contribute to depression.
• Chemical imbalances and other changes in brain function.
• Chronic and/or severe pain.
• Previous or ongoing substance abuse.

Caregiver assistance in identifying the signs of depression
Caregivers may be the most important asset in identifying signs of depression in the elderly. Caregivers, whether they are relatives or professionals, are important because they interact with the elderly person daily. This daily contact may enable a caregiver to pinpoint problems before anyone else, even the older person's physician.

One of the interesting differences between older adults who suffer from depression and younger people is that older adults often have difficulty understanding that they are depressed. Medical professionals and family members often ask "are you depressed?" The answer is almost always "no." This is because older adults don't often associate what they are feeling with depression. They may also feel that admitting to depression signifies weakness.

Older people may experience more "sad" events than the rest of the population. They may also interpret these events far differently than younger people. For instance, the loss of a close friend can not only be viewed as a sad event, it may also remind the older person of his/her own mortality. On top of that, older people may have fewer friends, making the loss of one especially heart wrenching. But, it's often hard to tell the difference between sadness, grief, and actual depression. The primary difference is that sadness and grief are temporary. An elderly person that is "sad" for an extended period of time after such an event may be depressed. Caregivers are in a unique position to identify small changes in behavior that may signal the onset of something serious.

The symptoms of depression in older adults may include:
• memory problems
• confusion
• social withdrawal
• loss of appetite
• weight loss
• vague complaints of pain
• inability to sleep
• irritability
• delusions (fixed false beliefs)
• hallucinations
• persistent and vague complaints
• help-seeking
• moving in a more slow manner
• demanding behavior

The difference between depression and dementia
There are several symptoms common to both depression and dementia that make one hard to distinguish from the other. These two disorders may also be comorbid, meaning that it is possible to have both at the same time. Some of these shared symptoms may include loss of interest in once-favored activities and pastimes, social withdrawal, memory loss, sleep problems, and difficulty concentrating.

The Mayo Clinic has identified three factors that differentiate depression and dementia. These factors may be key in identifying depression in the elderly. In general, elderly adults who have dementia as opposed to depression:
• May have symptoms of depression that are less severe
• May experience episodes of depression that don't last as long or recur as often
• Talk of suicide and attempt suicide less often

Diagnosing depression in the elderly correctly is imperative to administering the correct treatment plan. Treatment for senior depression may include:

• Antidepressants. SSRIs (Celexa, Zoloft, Effexor, and Wellbutrin) are often prescribed for older people who have depression and dementia. These medications have a lower risk of side effects and drug interactions than other antidepressants.
• Exercise. The symptoms of depression can be alleviated with regular physical activity. Researchers believe that exercising in the morning may be most helpful.
• Emotional and mental support. Counseling services and support groups are available for elderly individuals suffering from depression.
• Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Especially when depression and dementia are diagnosed together, ECT may be the most effective form of treatment. Some elderly individuals with severe depression respond best to ECT and this treatment offers fewer side effects for the elderly.

Although elderly women are twice as likely as older men to suffer from depression, men, as in the general population, are subject to the highest rate of suicide in the United States. Untreated depression is serious. Elderly people with untreated depression may experience a decreased quality of life and may be at increased risk of suicide. Understanding the causes and recognizing the signs is crucial in helping seniors live happy and healthy lives.

Brain Trauma Induces Depression

More than two percent of the United States population is reported to have sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI); within one year of injury, approximately 25-50% of the survivors experience a certain degree of depression (Gualtri & Cox, 1993). When a person is depressed, he or she is imprisoned in a morose mood, and it feels as if there is no escape. However, there are strategies for alleviating the suffering that results from the imprisoning grasp of post-traumatic brain injury depression.

Post-traumatic brain injury disturbances tend to bring about uneasiness, apprehension, extreme sadness, dejection, and hopelessness in survivors. Some are affected for a short period, and others over a longer term (i.e. transient and prolonged). Transient depression lasts up to three months, it presents itself as a depressive syndrome without anxiety. Prolonged depression lasts for more than six months and is accompanied by an anxiety disorder (Jorge, et al., 1993; Jorge, Starkstein, Robinson, & Arndt, 1994).


Since post-TBI depression often seems to occur immediately following neurological injury and is accompanied by psychosocial impairments, researchers believe that TBI and depression are correlated (Jorge et al., 1994). As mentioned in a study by Lehr, "so-called organic symptoms of TBI" are those that are directly linked to damaged cerebral tissue, thereby resulting in altered behavior. These direct effects of brain injury often include behavioral and social-emotional changes, such as an increase inappropriateness, aggressiveness, or frequent mood changes" (as cited in Savage and Wolcott, 1994, p. 240). Some of the psychosocial impairments may include deficits in self-awareness, self-regulation, self-esteem, fluency of expression of thoughts and feelings, the ability to interpret emotions and the subtle non-verbal cues of others, and the ability to initiate activities or function in relationships (Armstrong, 1991). Any of these psychosocial impairments can lead to depression. It is common for depression to emerge as a result of such uncontrollable and sudden changes in one's life. For example, post-injury patients often find themselves unable to express their thoughts and feelings clearly. They isolate themselves by being uncommunicative and this can lead to loneliness, frustration, and ultimately depression.

Emotional difficulties are often interrelated with neurological and/or cognitive deficits. Cerebral dysfunction affects a person's reasoning, judgment, personal relationships and outlook (Armstrong, 1991). Jimmy, an adolescent who has sustained a closed head injury, has a rash of symptoms; he can be used as an example. He has difficulty reading other people's emotions and often misunderstands the underlying meaning of what is said to him. He already tends to detach himself from others and deficits such as this cause him to be further distanced from friends and family. Jimmy's family should respect his need to spend time by himself, yet they should be aware that one of the most devastating and depressing effects of a TBI is social isolation (Armstrong, 1991). For more information on unmasking concealed chronic illness and pain, see Author Carol Sveilich, is working on a second book on the topic of depression and mood disorders.

Emotional trauma is hard to read. So many influences transition a survivor, we cannot assume that one symptom leads to another. Simply the trauma itself or just neurological interference may lead to a depressive state; there are additionally the resulting complications.

Many Faces of Depression

Depression has many influences or causes and is manifested in many forms of behavior. Being depressed is not always easy to detect - it is a camouflaged illness that is manifest by symptoms of varying severity.
In a study conducted by Jorge and associates, symptoms were grouped in two categories, psychological, and vegetative. The less severe category of depressive symptoms, the psychological, consists of worrying, brooding, loss of interest, hopelessness, suicidal plans, social withdrawal, self-depreciation, lack of self confidence, simple ideas of reference, guilty ideas of reference, pathological guilt, and irritability. The more severe symptoms of depression, the vegetative, include autonomic anxiety, anxious foreboding, morning depression, weight loss or gain, delayed sleep, subjective anergia, early morning awakening, and loss of libido (1993). In a study by Prigatano (1991), it was mentioned that certain TBI patients might deny the presence of a depressed mood as a part of a general unawareness deficit or a denial syndrome. A brain injury results in psychological and social difficulties. Symptoms such as these can be a result or cause of a depressive condition.

Modifying Depression

Apart from medical interventions (i.e. anti-depressants, mood stabilizers, etc.), a depressive state can be modified through physical, emotional, or psychosocial interventions. An example of a physical approach to intervene into a depressive state of mind is the use of pharmaceutical methods. Emotional relief is obtainable through participation in activities such as the expressive arts; psychosocial rehabilitation can occur by attending brain injury support groups. For brain injury survivors, some or all of these methods can be used, and the support, encouragement, and involvement of peers and family is crucial. For more information regarding personal rehabilitation, see - Rehab Services.

Emotional Rehabilitation

The expressive arts can be used in rehabilitation to help the individual with TBI come to release pent up energies and to better understand him or herself. The arts can help reduce a person's general level of stress and can help him or her creatively compensate for deficits. Painting and dance are two methods of artistic expression, which can help promote self-understanding, emotional self- expression, and the reduction of stress (i.e. many other artistic modalities may be used to help a student learn to cope with trauma and personal changes).


Writing poetry is a literary tool that facilitates recognition, expression and acceptance for a survivor. It is a unique intervention for brain injury rehabilitation because it facilitates psychological, emotional and cognitive development. The author of this article has written a book of poetry about brain injury titled Gray Matters (see description at the end of the article). This poem on depression, "Melt Down", is taken from a chapter about the symptoms of brain injury.

Melt Down


Deflates me,

Frustrates me,

Invalidates me,

I fluctuate,

Wander into self-hate,

Tend to isolate,


I usually underrate,

I need someone to...




I am real,

and I feel,

But don't see the beauty

that is within me.

I am an infidel to myself.

I'm smoked,

I can't see through my fog,

I'm being charbroiled,


Melted down.

It's like...

I tore my flesh out of my ribcage,

I'm scarred,


I wallow inside,

Watching my heart pulse and quiver -

Want to reach in,

Pull out my fear,

Only I clutch hold of the meds,

I confess,

I am a bit afraid

of where my depression has led.

It wraps into the subconscious

like a snake,

Even my strongholds

I let it take.

I avoid everything that makes me feel good,

Then there's no chance

of feeling like I could.

I'm simmering,

I walk my path alone.

I've yet to find someone

that harmonizes with my tone.

I want to tell you -

Self-esteem can be hard to inflate

all on your own.

I tell myself -

My attitude is my ammunition.

Good or bad,

It's my decision.

I swing from that moody tree,

But I'm losing grasp of the vine.

Personal importance stabilizes,

But mine is waning.

My strength of self is draining.

I'm liquifying,

Simmering, frying,

I ruminate about dying,

I'm melting down.


Expression through painting, allows emotions and attitudes to be expressed either directly or symbolically. The intensity of feeling can be expressed through exaggeration or focus on particular parts within a painting. Such distortions such as the flexible use of color and the exaggeration of form can also develop the emotional impact of the painting (Lowenfield, Brittain, 1987), and should be encouraged. The painting also serves as a reminder feelings, thus the act of painting can serve in familiarizing a person with his or her current or past emotions and allows for the touching over, redefining or healing of harsh memories.


Dance is a means of emotional and imaginative expression. It helps the individual learn how s/he moves, how her/his body language is perceived by others and to create her/his own form of self-expression. Expressive movement can also serve as an act of claiming independence (Talbott, M., 1996).

Dance can help to alleviate the impact of life's stresses and also exercises certain processes of the brain that may have been disturbed in a brain injury. Dancing applies the functions of the cerebellum, basal ganglia, and the pons, which control balance, coordination, movement, and the alignment of thought and movement.

Creative compensation is a self-inspired process of adapting. A survivor can utilize this inspiration in adjusting to psychosocial or other type of problems in new and innovative ways. In dance class, Susie, a TBI survivor, noticed that certain movements she made caused people to smile, even to laugh. Susie is a woman who is usually very self-conscious when people notice her impairments. The next time her slowness and forgetfulness attracted a group of people's attention, Susie tapped her hand up in the air, as if to music, and spun around. The faces of five curious onlookers turned to laughter. This relieved Susie of the stress of everyone's attention and was her means of creatively compensating.

Psychosocial Rehabilitation

Support groups are strongly recommended for the survivors and their families. Support groups can provide survivors and their families with a setting in which each member can be understood and supported; additionally, families can find information they need at the meetings. For the person who has sustained an injury, the support group supplies peer relations, feedback, modeling and an environment for strategizing about methods of compensating. It enables the individual to utilize the modeling of others with the same concerns, to feel less isolated, to demonstrate competencies, and to help others, thereby increasing his or her own self esteem. The meetings can also help a person improve communication and social skills, and become more aware of injury related deficits and residual assets (Armstrong, 1991).

An individual with post-traumatic depression can be greatly affected by the attitudes of friends, family, therapists, teachers, and associates. Some standpoints serve to discourage a survivor's rehabilitation (e.g. a protective attitude may shun a person's participating in activities that may be necessary for the individual in order to learn to better get by). It is important not to address a depressed person with a sentiment of wanting to cure him from his or her life's woes; better approach a survivor with an empowering, "you are more than your injury" approach. A survivor can always use encouragement and guidance from friends, family or therapists; nevertheless, recovering individuals can learn to apply strategies that can help to free them from the imprisoning grasp of depression.

A brain injury survivor wrote this article whilst pursuing her Masters degree in Special Education specifically for brain injury survivors. She investigated on the Internet the relationship between head trauma and depression and found only a remnant of research, yet she personally knew there was a direct relationship. She sees it as "neurological traffic" and thinks that bundled up nerves can be redirected and depressive congestion can be alleviated, with a conscious effort in place of or to supplement pharmaceutical interventions. Research in the field is still under development, there is a definite need to know the "inside perspective" of brain injury.

Gray Matters

Ms. Lerner has published a book of poetry about brain injury titled Gray Matters, Brain Injury: The Inside Perspective. Her book's aim is to give readers a feel for what it is like to walk in the shoes of a brain injury survivor. In the book, she gives her experiential insight, as well as a professional understanding of what brain injury entails. Many books about brain injury are clinical and unapproachable by the lay public; Gray Matters serve as an entertaining and understandable resource of knowledge about brain injury. The website, is a wonderful resource to learn more about brain injury and the book can be purchased on the site.

Manic Depressive Disorder Can Control a Number of Lives If It Is Allowed Too

Manic depressive disorder can control lives. If it is not properly managed it most definitely controls the life of some-one so afflicted. If it does then there is also a strong potential for it to control the lives of the friends and loved ones of the afflicted person as well. People close to someone with manic depressive disorder frequently suffer as well when an afflicted person experiences a manic episode, hypomania or a major depressive episode. However, there is definitely hope available all round.

Left to run its course manic depression can be a horrible experience. To an afflicted person hypomania often appears to be a great place to be. However, the question must be asked "In fact is this really the case?" Left untreated it generally leads onto depression or to a manic episode. Neither of these are a good place to be. This is particularly so if they are left untreated or the prescribed treatment regime is not working. Either way the afflicted person is left experiencing an extremely unpleasant mental state. Either of these states can take full control of a person's mind.

What of the friends and loved ones? They can be left watching a person they care about cruelly suffering. They are in a position which makes them feel totally helpless and without hope. They may have to stand by and watch some-one they are close to do things which they are totally unable to accept. Such actions can lead to the break-up of the relationship. Once again this does not have to be the case. There are options which can prevent this happening.

There can even be problems all round when a manic depressive person is normal. These periods of normality vary in length. They can last for a year or more. For others they almost don't exist. With ultra-rapid cycling bipolar disorder a full cycle can be experienced in a day or less. Even periods of normality can leave a number of lives being controlled by the disorder. When will the next horrible episode strike? This question can leave the afflicted one, their friends and loved ones deeply troubled by the sleeping disorder.

As indicated above there are a number of situations which can lead to a manic depressive person and their friends and loved ones lives being totally controlled by the disorder. In fact there is a way out of this situation. It is to learn to manage the disorder. This leads to you regaining control of your life. Even friends and loved ones can learn to assist you manage the disorder. Working together gives far greater ability to manage the disorder. All parties benefit if such action is taken. Obviously this is a win/win situation all round.

Depression And Its Symptoms

Depression is a mood disorder and can affect a person's ability to function in normal society. It is commonly known to be associated with chemical substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain that are imbalanced. These chemical substances are seratonin, dopamine and norepinephrine.

The levels of these substances can be affected by and among other things than, genetics, medication, social circumstances, injuries, aging, genetics and sometimes seasonal changes. It is important to make an assessment of the cause of depression if possible. Some symptoms of depression are sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, anxiety, guilt, restlessness and irritability. There can be a loss of appetite, pleasure, concentration, decision making abilities and may experience aches and pains with no real cause, excessive sleeping and the exact opposite, insomnia. Depression can make one contemplate suicide which is the real concern in today's culture.

Today, with the stress of living the fast paced and competitive lifestyle that is present in our society, many people experience mood altering situations, sometimes described simply as emotions. Stress is a result of high emotions and is the largest culprit, throwing off the chemical balance in our brains without even recognizing it is happening and repeated stress, which we all live, complicates the process, sometimes throwing a person into a mood altering disease or personality disorder. Other causes can include metabolic disturbance, hypothyroidism, systemic infection or chronic disease and often reactions to or misuse of medications or alcohol. This is why It is important to have a good assessment as to the origin of the depression that one may be experiencing.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) - Dark Gloomy Weather Slows Brain

Dreary, dismal days without the sun may do more than dampen our spirits. They might just impact the cognitive skills of those who battle depression, according to some new work that appears in the July 28 online issue of Environmental Health.

This is the first research to try and link light exposure and cognition, though earlier studies have shown that our mood can depend on the amount of sun we see (Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD)

The work involved a team of American researchers led by Shia Kent of the University of Alabama at Birmingham who used cross-sectional data for 14,474 people over 45 years old participating in a project investigating stroke incidence and risk factors, to look for links between depression, cognitive function and sunlight.

The team employed NASA weather data for the United States to check for match-ups between the days of bright sunlight and levels of cognitive functioning in those with, and without, depression.

The cognitive function of the subjects was measured using a validated questionnaire; an accepted depression scale assessed depression. Once the data was collected, advanced statistics were used to assess any link between average sun exposure and cognitive function.

Kent summarized the findings of the team, "We found that among participants with depression, low exposure to sunlight was associated with a significantly higher predicted probability of cognitive impairment. This relationship remained significant after adjustment for season. This new finding that weather may not only affect mood, but also cognition, has significant implications for the treatment of depression, particularly seasonal affective disorder".

Seasonal affective disorder, SAD, is a relative newcomer to the scene, first referenced in print back in 1985, and is known to bring depressive symptoms as the days grow shorter in the fall and winter, with symptom improvement as spring returns.

At higher latitudes more people are diagnosed with as they are exposed to less sunlight and colder and harsher winters.

Women are more often diagnosed with this form of depression than men. For symptoms to receive an official diagnosis of SAD, they must repeat for two years in a row, without depression at other times of the year.

The researchers speculate that cognitive impairment brought on by depression and lack of sunlight might improve using the same light therapy as with SAD.

Earlier work has shown a strong link between SAD and other lingering forms of depression. It's also accepted that depression often becomes more pronounced during the darker months of the year.

The study also confirmed melatonin and serotonin, both already implicated in depression, as being involved in cognitive function issues.

These two brain chemicals have been named as factors in serious brain diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, as well as sleeping disorders. Cerebral blood flow has also been implicated in cognitive functioning; earlier work confirming that such blood flow is affected by light.

Also of note, the relationship between sunlight and cognitive function didn't hold true for those who weren't depressed, according to the research. This suggests that it may be that the same mechanisms involved in depression might also be involved in cognitive functions.

If you are depressed, or deal with SAD, trying to spend some time in the sun (safely, of course) is a simple way to put the findings of this intriguing research to the test for yourself. You might also consider learning more about light therapy, which would have you sitting comfortably under a full spectrum light for a few hours a day all through the winter months.

Also good is a walk outdoors, even in the cold, as it can be a refreshing, invigorating source of natural sunlight and keep Seasonal Affective Disorder SAD at bay.

Can Food Allergies Be The Cause Of Your Depression?

Millions of patients in the U.S. alone are on all sorts of medications for depression and anxiety. If you are such a person, have you ever thought of being tested for food allergies?

The question arises because although it has long been recognized in the scientific literature that food allergy can impact moods, mental states, and so on - hardly ever does a doctor prescribe a food allergy test for someone suffering from depression.

If your doctor has not done so, it may be advantageous for you to arrange one for yourself. Reputable food allergy tests can be found at many places online and they are not that expensive.

One of the earliest studies showing the relationship between food allergies and mood states was performed by Dr. Joseph Egger in the mid 1980's. The study took place at the University of Munich in Germany and involved thirty patients who had a history of anxiety and depression. The test was a double blind, placebo controlled test so that no patient was sure of what they were being given to eat at various times.

The patients were first tested for allergies. Once the test began, they were given either small quantities of foods that they were allergic to or placebos. But they never knew what they were being given. The outcome of the test was eye-opening to say the least.

The clear result showed that the allergens alone were able to induce feelings of depression and anxiety. And even though most of the foods that the people in the study were allergic to where wheat, milk, sugar, and eggs - the result would no doubt be similar to those who are allergic to other foods. The common term coined for these types of allergies are brain allergies.

Other studies since then have shown that many people are allergic to many of the preservatives that are put into modern processed foods. It doesn't take much of a leap to notice the startling increases in the number of people suffering from all sorts of mental problems to make the link between these problems and the food choices that we make.

In reality, even though it is easy to find out, very few people today have any idea of what foods they are allergic to. And, if you are suffering from any type of mental problems, your doctor or psychiatrist should ultimately be the person whom you listen to. But, you have to take some responsibility for your health as well. And a start would be to at least pinpoint your own food allergies to determine if going on an allergy free diet could also improve your mental health.