Depression Newsbytes

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What Is Depression?

With so many people suffering from depression, you would think a simple definition would be easy, but it's not.

Depressed Men With ED at Risk for Heart Problems

New research links erectile dysfunction and depression with an increased risk for cardiovascular problems.

Lead researcher Elisa Bandini and her team from the University of Florence interviewed 2,000 men for sexual dysfunction and depressive symptoms.

It's been understood that both ED and depression independently elevate a man's risk for developing heart disease or experiencing a heart attack, but the study, which appears in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, found that depressive symptoms in men with sexual dysfunction made for the presence of especially likely cardiovascular problems.

Researchers noted that depression is common in men with ED, but results showed that taking antidepressants didn't weaken the relationship between depression symptoms, ED and the potential for heart attacks.

"Recognizing depressive symptoms in subjects with erectile dysfunction is mandatory not only for improving their sexual life, but also for preventing cardiovascular diseases," Bandini said in a statement.

Irwin Goldstein, editor-in-chief of the Journal of Sexual Medicine and director of sexual medicine at Alvarado Hospital in San Diego, said the results of this study should impact the way we perceive sexual dysfunction and its causes.

"What is important about this study is the broader concept of the sexual medicine problem no longer being just about a man's performance in the bedroom, but about his psychological mood and his cardiovascular health," he said. "This is a valid reason for a woman to encourage her partner to seek help for his erectile dysfunction."

Stress & Depression in Men and Women

Please take the 10 minute questionnaire at: . Help with this study on the different ways men and women experience stress and whether symptoms differ between the sexes. We hope this study will help us better prevent depression and other mood disorders in men and women. This data will be used for research purposes and by filling out the questionnaire you give your permission for us to collect, study, and analyze the information.

Medication Side Effects Can Sabatoge Your Sex Life

A Streaming Video on drugs for depression. Need high-speed access.

Quiz: Rate Your Depression

TTC can be stressful. Sex can go from fun to frustrating. Could all the worry be making you depressed? Take this quiz to find out.

Paxil and Your Unborn Baby

Find out why doctors are being alerted about a new study on birth defects and the antidepressant Paxil.

Are Sleepless Nights Getting the Best of You?

People with obstructive sleep apnea often show signs of depression, and treatment that prevents snoring and breathing disruptions may help, new research shows.

Can a Snoring Treatment Ease Depression?

The power of a good night's rest can't be underestimated, especially if you're facing depression. Learn about a new sleep apnea treatment -- one that could help you say goodnight to depression.

Physical Symptoms of Depression

You expect to feel sad. But did you know that depression also causes physical pain? Recognizing all the symptoms of depression is your first step toward getting better.

Creation Of New Neurons Critical To Antidepressant Action In Mice

Blocking the formation of neurons in the hippocampus blocks the behavioral effects of antidepressants in mice, say researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Their finding lends new credence to the proposed role of such neurogenesis in lifting mood. It also helps to explain why antidepressants typically take a few weeks to work, note Rene Hen, Ph.D., Columbia University, and colleagues, who report on their study in the August 8th Science.

Gene Linked To Depression

Researchers have found a gene that influences whether people become depressed when faced with major life stresses such as relationship problems, financial difficulties and illness. The gene by itself does not cause depression, but it does affect how likely people are to get depressed when faced with major life stresses.

Pain Hinders Depression Treatment


New Clues to Treatment-Resistant Depression

At least a third of people suffering from depression get little help from antidepressant treatments. What makes them different?

Big Boys Do Cry

Depression in men is often missed and rarely treated.

Don't Let Depression Rule Your Life!

Feeling low? We can help. Check out our section, "Therapies for Depression," for a host of helpful news.

Male depression and heart disease

Twin study finds possible connection between depression, heart disease.

Family-Focused Program Benefits Kids of Depressed Parents

Although many parents dealing with depression choose to hide their problems from their children, experts say that addressing the problem honestly can help both parents and kids cope.

Depression: A Hidden Childhood Illness

More than 10 percent of kids struggle with the problem.

Depression Can Forewarn of Alzheimer's Disease

Mind-robbing illness can appear years later.

Veteran Journalist Shines Light on Depression's Darkness

Tom Johnson makes it his mission to erase the disease's stigma.


A man's memory lapse may indicate depression.

Football Stars Talk About Downs Off the Gridiron

Bradshaw and Williams go public with depression, anxiety stories

Decoding Depression

Using brain-imaging technology, American researchers have identified certain areas of the brain associated with symptoms of depression.

Fish, Pregnancy And Depression

Eating salmon, sardines or other fish might help pregnant women avoid depression before and after childbirth, a study suggests. Read the story and comments from a Harvard physician.

Fish-Heavy Diet May Prevent Pregnancy Blues

Studies link omega-3 fatty acid deficiency to depression.

Expectant Moms Battle Depression More Than Thought

Depression in pregnant women often missed, study finds.

Recurrent Concussions May Be Linked To Depression

Retired football players who suffered three or four concussions have twice the risk of later developing clinical depression -- a risk that rises with even more injuries, new research says.

Life's Events Can Trigger Depression

Depression can strike any of us at any time. No one is immune. Depression affects people from all walks of life and has little regard for social status, intelligence, or success in the world.

Long-Term Antidepressant Use Cuts Relapse

Most patients treated for depression should remain on medication after their gloom has lifted, new research suggests.

Survey Seeks To ID Depressed Teens

Researchers are offering a computerized screening tool to high schools for free in hopes of identifying teenagers who are suffering from depression.

Both Antidepressant Therapy And Counseling May Help Smokers Achieve Short-Term Abstinence

A study to determine whether counseling increases the efficacy of antidepressants in smoking cessation programs found that such combination therapy did not add benefit to antidepressant therapy. It also found that counseling increased short-term abstinence rates when it was added to medical management, but neither counseling nor antidepressant therapy produced long-term sustained abstinence. Counseling produced higher 7-day abstinence rates than medical management alone, but this improvement was not sustained over the course of the study.

Quitting Smoking Offers Benefits; Unsuccessful Attempts May Change View Of Health Risk

Researchers from Arizona State University and Indiana University found that after a 6-year period, smokers who succeeded in quitting reported less stress and did not experience increases in negative moods, such as depression or nervousness. Successful quitters also came to view smoking as being less beneficial psychologically and more harmful to their health compared to when they were smokers. Quitters who relapsed to smoking did not report additional stress-other than that associated with being a smoker. However, relapsers altered their perceptions of smoking to view it as less harmful to their health, which ultimately may undermine their decision to try again to quit in the future.

Sex-Specific Genes For Depression

For the study, funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Zubenko and his colleagues compared genetic markers from 100 men and women with recurrent, early-onset major depressive disorder (RE-MDD) and 100 people with no history of this disorder, to find out which chromosomal regions were associated with the illness. RE-MDD is a severe form of clinical depression that runs in families and impairs the health and life span of family members.
Source: Molecular Psychiatry,

Panel Pushes Depression Screening

A federal task force recommended that all adults be screened for depression during regular visits with their doctors, saying as many as half of all cases are missed and others are mistreated.

Depression Hurts Heart Bypass Recovery

Men in poor mental state before surgery run into more trouble afterwards

Users' Higher Depression Rates

Chronic cocaine use harms brain circuits that help produce the sense of pleasure, which may help explain why cocaine addicts have a higher rate of depression, a study suggests.

Depression More Dangerous For Elderly Men Than Women

Depression is more dangerous for elderly men than women, with depression starting in old age representing the greatest risk for men, according to a long-term study.
Source: Center for the Advancement of Health ,

Can Caviar Cure Depression?

It might sound a little fishy, but there is growing evidence that caviar can help chase away the blues. Early research suggests that people suffering from depression, bipolar disorder, and other mental health problems can benefit from diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids -- found in abundance in certain types of fish.

In one study, people with bipolar disorder -- previously known as manic depression -- had significantly fewer depressive episodes when their diets were supplemented with omega-3. And earlier research comparing 10 countries found that depression was much lower in areas where fish is a dietary staple.

Omega-3 -- abundant in cold-water fish (such as salmon and mackerel), some nuts, and flaxseed -- has already been shown to protect against heart disease. The evidence is so strong that the American Heart Association now recommends eating salmon or tuna at least twice a week. Studies also indicate that the fatty acid may benefit people with rheumatoid arthritis, stomach or intestinal diseases, and even certain cancers.

"We know that omega-3 is good for your body, and there is certainly enough evidence to suggest there is at least something there to improve mood," says Andrew Stoll, MD, who directs the psychopharmacology research lab at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. "Almost every patient in my practice has tried [fish oil] supplements, and most are still on them."

In a 1999 study, Stoll and colleagues gave 30 patients with bipolar disorder either 10 grams of omega-3-rich fish oil capsules a day (the equivalent of 30 cans of tuna), or placebo capsules containing olive oil. All of the participants had experienced bipolar episodes within the previous year, and all but eight were on medication during the study. People with bipolar disorder have episodes of depression alternating with times of mania -- when their bodies are so revved up and hyper that they can't even sleep.

After four months, half of the patients given placebo capsules had relapsed into depression, compared to just two of the 15 patients taking fish oil supplements. Stoll is now conducting a four-year study involving 120 patients in an effort to confirm the results. And he says several other studies examining fish oil and depression should be published soon.

"Our earliest study used very high doses, but it looks like 1 to 2 grams per day of EPA, which is the active ingredient in fish oil, is all you need," Stoll tells WebMD. "But all fish oil supplements are not equal, so you have to read the labels to find out how much EPA [one type of fish oil] you are getting."

Salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies are the fish with the highest amounts of omega-3, Stoll says.

A serving of salmon contains about a gram of omega-3. Certain brands of eggs are also rich in omega-3, and flaxseed and walnuts are also good dietary sources.

While some heart studies suggest that food sources are more protective than supplements, most people in this country get very little omega-3 in their daily diets. In that case, Stoll favors supplements and recommends that people take vitamin E and C as well. He has written a book on the health benefits of fish oil titled The Omega-3 Connection.

"Omega-3 is not intended to replace other medications for depression," Stoll says. "But the evidence is mounting that it can play a role in treatment. And there is no downside to eating an omega-3-rich diet."
Source: Salynn Boyles,

New Resources Now Available at

A recording of an interview of Terrence Real and Kevin Roth, from WHYY radio. Articles and commentary about depression in men, after the births of their children. A mother's poignant story of the suicide of her son--a college student who suffered from undiagnosed and untreated depression. A multi-lingual site (French, German, and Italian) from Switzerland. A brief commentary about depression in African-American men. Several articles discussing the differences in depression and stress, as experienced by men and women.

St. John's Wort Not Effective In Treating Depression

St. John's wort, a popular herbal supplement touted as a remedy for depression, did no better than dummy pills in a long-awaited government-backed study.

Women And Depression

More than 19 million Americans suffer from depression yearly and women are twice as likely as men to experience a major depressive episode. Depression may occur at any age during a woman's life with certain events like puberty, pregnancy, perimenopause, trauma, substance abuse and quality of relationships increasing the risk, according to the leading authorities on the etiologies and treatments for depression.
Source: American Psychological Association,

Depressed People More Likely To Develop Parkinson's

People with depression are three times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than people who are not depressed, according to a study published in the 5/28/02 issue of Neurology, the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Source: American Academy of Neurology,

Nicotine Shows Anti-Depressant Effects In An Animal Model Of Depression

Investigators at Howard University have recently observed the antidepressant effect of nicotine in Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats, a putative behavioral model of depression. Drs. Youssef Tizabi and K. Y. Tyler will present their findings at the Experimental Biology meeting in New Orleans on April 22, 2002.
Source: Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology ,

Are you depressed?

Use our Depression Assessment interactive tool to find out. Take your time, answer the questions as honestly as you can, and carefully read the report at the end.

The New Depression

Welcome to the New Depression "Gripe Vine": Click here to air your personal frustrations, or ask other men for advice on dealing with covert depressions. Some of the experts quoted in this story will be checking in periodically and lending their wisdom.

David Ramsey just built a new house – 3,100 square feet of custom living space set on an acre of land in the North Carolina woods. He has a pretty young wife with long, brown hair, and the money she makes as an attorney pushes their annual income well into six figures. They travel a lot together, vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, Maui, and the Cayman Islands.

David Ramsey also has two blond sons, ages 7 and 2, who consider Dad their hero. There’s a full-time nanny to take care of them when he and his wife aren’t around. And although he often works long hours, it’s for no one but himself. As the owner of a distributing business, he’s his own boss.

Yes, David Ramsey has it all. Yet in his bedroom, locked in a nightstand, is a black Glock 9 millimeter that he can’t seem to chase from his thoughts. Although he’s never slipped in the magazine and put the barrel to his head, he’s thought about it – more than once.

And David Ramsey has just one question: Why?

From his car phone, Ramsey, 39, calls to ask a question that tens of thousands of men like him are asking: "Why aren’t I happy?"

"From the outside looking in, my life is unbelievably great," he says. "Right now, for instance, I’m driving through Fayetteville, North Carolina, and it’s an absolutely beautiful afternoon. Not one soul has said an unkind word to me all day, and I’m heading home to spend the evening with my family. Yet I’m not happy. I never am. And I can’t understand why."

Ramsey is not alone. After we heard similar complaints from dozens of friends, coworkers, and relatives – and finally were unable to dismiss their grumblings as so many midlife crises – we posted a small ad on the Men’s Health Web site that read, "We’re looking for unhappy guys with perfect lives. If you have a great job, a great family, a great house full of great stuff, but you’re still feeling unfulfilled and, at times, even miserable, then we’d like to hear from you."

It was a tiny baited hook, but the attention it drew was remarkable.

"I’m definitely in a rut," wrote Dennis, 30, a regional vice president, new homeowner, and proud father. "I have every reason to be happy with my life, yet I feel lost."

"I’m an anesthesiologist," wrote Andrew, 39. "Been married for 9 years, couple of houses, dog, snowboard, kayak, just spent 3 weeks vacationing in Australia. But I’d chuck it all to be as happy as I was in medical school. It seems when I had less, I felt better."

The e-mails go on and on, stacks of them. Evidently, there are a lot of dissatisfied men out there, guys who you’d never guess were unhappy, men who would otherwise evoke feelings of admiration and even jealousy. They come forward tentatively, ashamed about complaining. Not all of these men are suicidal, of course, but they can’t see themselves continuing like this indefinitely. Happiness is a reward they’ve earned, and they’re tired of waiting to claim it.

The Problem No One's Treating

Most of us understand the symptoms of depression: the lack of energy, of appetite, of sheer will; the manic moments of confusion; the retreat into drugs, alcohol, or isolation. But that’s overt depression, says Terrence Real, a psychotherapist and author of

I Don’t Want to Talk About It. There’s a second type, one that even many psychologists don’t recognize. It’s called covert depression or, as it’s known clinically, dysthymia.

Overt depression is what we expect from a mood disorder. It’s "a state of profound impairment, utter despair, thorough debilitation," Real explains. "A truly depressed man would lie in bed in the morning, staring at the ceiling, too apathetic to drag himself off to another meaningless day."

First identified in 1974, yet seldom reported on afterward, dysthymia is far less obvious--both to the sufferers and to the people around them. "It’s the life of quiet desperation that Thoreau wrote about," says Real. "Most men don’t view it as a disease but as a weakness. It is a disorder of selfesteem." Its textbook symptoms include at least 2 years of depressed mood, plus at least two of the following: poor appetite or overeating, insomnia or oversleeping, fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration or difficulty making decisions, and hopelessness.

"Any person with a chronic sense of unhappiness or dissatisfaction in spite of the success and happiness in his life almost always has a mood disorder and often has dysthymia," says Richard C. Shelton, M.D., professor of pharmacology and psychiatry at Vanderbilt University. "The condition is grossly underrecognized and undertreated, especially among men."

The reason it has received so little popular attention is because of the shame men feel about it. Not only are we far less likely than women to seek professional help for depression, but for reasons of pride and/or simple embarrassment we won’t even discuss it.

"It’s hard to talk to friends about this, because they don’t understand how I could have anything to complain about," admits Tony, 34, a debt-free, college-educated newlywed with a prestigious job in San Francisco. "In fact, I’ve gone to therapists, and even they just sort of look at me as if to say, ‘What’s your problem?’"

Although men like these may tell themselves they’re just a little down, that nobody can be happy all of the time, such rationalization is inaccurate.

"Humans are, by nature, a happy breed," says David Lykken, Ph.D., a professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Minnesota and author of the book Happiness. "That’s because happiness is protective. Happy people get sick less often and get well sooner than unhappy people. It’s an adaptive trait. The typical person has above-neutral feelings of well-being most of the time."

After extensive research, Lykken has concluded that each of us has a "happiness set point" that is genetically predetermined. Our mood may occasionally rise above or fall below this point, but eventually we all return to it. And in most cases, it’s well above neutral. When someone feels chronically unhappy, there’s something wrong.

What’s perplexing is why so many young, successful men are suddenly noticing their unhappiness.

"Let me give you an analogy," says Stephen Braun, a dysthymia sufferer and author of The Science of Happiness. "Before the invention of eyeglasses, what was considered normal eyesight was probably on the blurry side. But as soon as glasses were invented, normal vision became 20/20. I think we’re at the same stage with happiness. With so many new and effective antidepressants available, any mood that’s the least fuzzy is being viewed as abnormal."

Add to this such social factors as a booming economy, record-low unemployment, and a relatively peaceful world, and the result is less for men to worry about and strive for. When the living is so easy, happiness should be an affordable commodity. Its continued slipperiness is disconcerting.

"I took a psychology class in college in which the professor had us write a letter to ourselves listing all our goals," says Jon, a teacher with two advanced degrees. "He told us to call him in 10 years, and he’d mail the list to us. Well, I did, and I’d nailed every one--the degree, the job, the marriage, the kids, the house, the car. I’m 36. So, now what?"

And there’s another factor: pop culture. "The degree of upbeatness on television, for instance, is incredible," says Steven Treistman, Ph.D., a professor of pharmacology at the University of Massachusetts medical center. "Every other commercial has people singing and dancing, as though that’s the way everyone lives." Against such a yardstick, even mild happiness can seem negative.

"I’ve had a certain level of dissatisfaction for the past 6 years," says Dale, 42, a wealthy insurance agent. "But it has only started getting to me recently. It’s a slow burn of increasing intensity."

A Blurry Gray Zone

Dysthymia isn’t something you can typically conquer on your own. Although it’s relatively easy to treat with the right kind of professional help, it’s very difficult to recognize and manage by yourself. Unlike classic, overt depression, which barges into life and usually lasts between 1 and 2 years, dysthymia sneaks in and lingers for 10 to 20 years, says Dr. Shelton. In some instances, it never goes away. Although it does not always lead to more serious depression, he says that under stressful circumstances it makes depressive episodes more likely to occur. In fact, it’s usually when a person seeks help for one of these episodes that the underlying dysthymia is detected.

Unfortunately, when men do muster the courage to seek help, their trouble isn’t always pinpointed. One study found that 67 percent of overtly and covertly depressed men were misdiagnosed by their doctors. William Pollack, Ph.D., director of the Center for Men and Young Men at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School, blames this on biased assessment criteria that miss common male symptoms ("Women get weepy, men get busy") and on stubborn macho stereotypes that incline physicians to prescribe fortitude rather than psychiatric care.

Real’s theory, drawn from more than 20 years of practicing family therapy, is that men cope with covert depression by masking its symptoms. Typically, they use work, exercise, spending, and drinking. Because it’s considered unmanly to admit sadness, Real says men try to distract themselves from it with behaviors that bolster self-esteem.

"The less time I have to think about how I feel, the better," says Dennis, the regional vice president. "So I keep busy and immerse myself in my work. The more down I feel, the harder I drive myself."

"I go to the gym," says Andrew. "Exercise makes me feel dramatically better and gives me a sense that I can control my mood."

Coping strategies such as these are effective in the short term, but they eventually backfire, says Real. Either the behavior itself becomes addictive and destructive (alcoholism, bankruptcy), or one of the crutches unexpectedly snaps (athletic injury, loss of job). With no support left for the ego, overt depression can result.

The danger of masking persistent feelings of unhappiness is that it can become life-threatening. According to Dr. Shelton, suicide rates for long-term covert depression and short-term overt depression are similar (about 10 percent of untreated cases).

The thought of suicide is what finally prompted Braun, the 43-year-old author, to recognize and treat his dysthymia. "I was driving along one evening, and I had this sudden feeling of pointlessness," he recalls. "I had no reason to be sad. And yet, I had this powerful sense of meaninglessness. And as I eased onto the exit ramp, a black thought bubbled up: I could just kill myself. That’s when I knew something was wrong."

Braun sought psychiatric help, experimented with various antidepressants, and eventually came to an important realization. "Mood disorders are like an eclipse. The center is totally black, then there is a much bigger area, a penumbra, around that black center. If the center is depression, then that surrounding area is dysthymia. The tricky thing is, there’s no sharp boundary between normal and dysthymic. It’s a blurry, gray zone."

This Way Out

If you’ve read this far, you’re probably either nodding your head in self-recognition or thinking of someone you know who has all these symptoms. The problem is, the way out of dysthymia can be just as labyrinthine as the way in. Here’s where to begin:

Take a quick emotional inventory. As we’ve seen, men often cover up their depression by working longer, training harder, or drinking lots of beer. If you find yourself constantly doing one of these and not deriving any pleasure from it, there could be an underlying problem, says Pollack.

Find someone to spill your guts to. If your wife or girlfriend is the supportive type--meaning she’s not the kind who’ll either (a) tell you to grow up, or (b) blame herself – she can probably help. But you should also seek out men whose integrity you trust. You just might find someone who’s feeling exactly the same way. If you don’t have anyone you can talk to, see "The Gripe Vine" for a way to get in touch with other men who feel the way you do.

Define what has real meaning for you. Write down three goals you’d like to realize by this time next year. But here’s the catch. Don’t make them materialistic. Not a higher salary, not a nicer car, not a boob job for the missus. Instead, stay away from fickle, performance-based self-esteem and pick three goals with inherent meaning, such as spending more time with your kids, getting to know your parents better before they die, or developing a closer relationship with your wife.

Get help if you need it. Eighty percent of people who are treated for depression, regardless of type, report substantial relief. "I’ve had men say to me, ‘I can’t believe I lived my whole life that way,’" says Real. "They never knew what being happy felt like." The best treatment, studies show, is a mix of psychotherapy and antidepressants.

Real says men require a different kind of therapy than women--not the sappy, stereotypical, "tell-me-everything-you’re-feeling" brand, but a more dynamic, opinionated style of coaching. To find a therapist like this, he recommends interviewing candidates. Call around and ask two questions: Do you have experience helping men reconnect, and do you have an active or passive style? And demand progress. "If you’re in therapy for 6 months and you feel 5 percent better, that’s not good enough," he says.

Speak to your doctor about St. John’s wort. Some claim that this herb is useful for treating depression. Studies are not conclusive, but side effects are minor, so it may be a good first step for those hesitant to take antidepressants. Frank Dattilio, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania school of medicine, points out that you need to take it for 2 to 4 weeks (300 mg doses three times daily) before you see any improvement.

Don’t be afraid of antidepressants. Most of the men we spoke to were hesitant about resorting to drugs, but Real says they’re worth a shot. "This isn’t heroin," he says. "If you try it and either it doesn’t do much for you or the side effects are awful, then stop. But at least you’ll have given it a try."

Stay challenged. Men are not maintainers, we are builders. (That’s why vacuuming holds no allure for us.) We are happiest when we’re creating something – a career, a home, a family. Make sure there’s always a project on your workbench, something new you’re trying to accomplish.

"Here’s my best advice, as someone who’s been through it," says Braun. "First, do everything you can to eliminate stress and conflict in your life. If you have a bad relationship, try to make it better. Second, if you’re still not feeling very good, then get yourself to a doctor. But don’t just accept the first drug he gives you. Try different ones. Be open to the idea that happiness can have something to do with chemistry."

"Men like these often see themselves as inadequate or as losers," concludes Real. "But I consider them pioneers. Their unhappiness is not a personal failing but a thirst. By their very dissatisfaction, they’re saying the old male roles no longer work. They’re eventually going to help us move beyond those old ideas to healthier values. In that respect, I think they’re heroes."

Welcome to the New Depression "Gripe Vine": Click here to air your personal frustrations, or ask other men for advice on dealing with covert depressions. Some of the experts quoted in this story will be checking in periodically and lending their wisdom.

Drug can help compulsive shoppers

A corporate-funded study said an antidepressant can help compulsive shoppers. People with the disorder who took the drug--a member of the class of antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors--showed marked improvement in their condition, said Dr. Kim Bullock and colleagues at Stanford University in California.

Antidepressants promote brain cell growth in rats

New research may help explain, at least in part, how antidepressant medications work. In a study conducted in rats, regular use of antidepressants promoted the growth of new cells in the hippocampus, an area of the brain where cells are known to waste away in people who are depressed.

Children need help to cope with depression

It may seem like the first 12 years of life are all child's play but for many young people, the world can be a sad and frightening place. A normally happy child can become depressed after a family move or the death of a pet, friend or family member or separation from a birth parent.

Death wish in terminally ill linked to depression

Terminally ill patients with cancer who also show signs of depression or hopelessness are much more likely to wish for an early death than are similar patients who are not depressed or hopeless, researchers report.

Hardened arteries may cause depression

While depression in old age has been linked to the risk of heart disease and stroke, new research suggests there is a role-reversal in some cases--artery disease may trigger depression in some elderly people.

Smaller doses of Prozac just as effective

Patients who take a relatively low dose of Prozac have fewer side effects than those given higher doses of the antidepressant drug, according to an analysis of three studies conducted in the past.

Depression--is medication the only treatment?

Dr. Joseph Glenmullen will explore the reasons why the popular pharmaceutical "solutions" may not be the best choice for every patient.

Do antidepressants affect weight?

"I'm 34 years old, and my children are one and three. I started taking Prozac six years ago and have gained 100 pounds. I never realized there might be a connection. Do all antidepressants cause weight gain?"

Can Zoloft cause weight gain, agitation and high cholesterol?

"My husband has been taking Zoloft and has experienced strange behavior. His doctor says side effects are rare with this drug and does not want to take him off it."

Can a folic acid deficiency cause depression?

"I met someone who told me she'd had no desire to go on living. When she started taking folic acid, there was a complete change in her attitude, mental state and energy. Why isn't this better known?"

Seniors prone to loneliness, depression during holidays

Divorced and with most of his family in England, John Loader is reminded each holiday season how alone he is. His feelings of isolation have deepened since last year, when he suffered a stroke that forced him into a Pasadena retirement home.

How Much Is Stress Or Depression A Factor In Sleep Problems In The Elderly?

These are pretty big factors. Depression at any age can interfere with sleep and there’s a lot of research about changes in sleep structure with depression.

This also occurs in older people who become depressed. Stress is an important cause, particularly for transient or short-term insomnia -- loss of a loved one, for example, or a change in life such as retirement.

In general, life transitions tend to occur more as people get older and these transitions, such as changes in living location, can be stressful. Good stress also can interfere with sleep. It’s not just bad stress.

Job stress can cause depression

If your boss doesn't listen to you and the work keeps piling up, you may be on a collision course with depression, according to a new report from the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Mother's depression impacts child's health

Mothers who are depressed are more likely to smoke around their youngsters and less likely to place their children in car seats or give them vitamins, results of a study indicate.

One in five Americans depressed or unhappy

A surpris!ing number of Americans report high levels of stress, anxiety and sadness, according to new survey results. Even though their symptoms don't meet the definition of clinical depression, they can have a significant negative impact on quality of life, according to Dr. Michael Seidman of the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.

Researchers test implant used to ease depression

Many patients with the kind of depression that sabotages the ability to form relationships or keep a job have long thought that medicines or shock therapy were their only hope. But doctors at 20 research centers around the country are studying how a surgically implanted stopwatch-sized device could offer an alternative treatment for profound depression.

Therapy helps new moms deal with depression

For women who experience major depression after having a baby, psychotherapy can help, according to results of a study. For some women, the demands of taking care of a baby, as well as the changes motherhood can bring to social and work relationships, are enough to cause major depression.

Depression not linked to early signs of heart disease

Even though depression!, anxiety, hostility and stress have been linked to an increased risk of coronary artery disease, these psychological factors do not appear to affect the risk of developing calcium deposits in heart vessels, an early sign of heart disease, according to new study findings.

Preschoolers can be depressed, study says

Not every four year old is a happy-go-lucky youngster - some preschoolers can exhibit signs of depression, according to research presented during the 47th annual meeting of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists.

Anxiety doesn't make the heart grow sicker

If you suffer from stress, anxiety or depression, here is some good news -- your risk of coronary artery disease is not going up. Such emotional attitudes show no correlation with coronary-artery calcification, which can lead to heart problems.

Job stress can bring on the blues

In a finding that probably surprises no one who works, Baltimore researchers have concluded that high levels of stress on the job can results in depressive symptoms. Call it the "Working Man's (or Woman's) Blues."!

How can I beat the winter blues?

If the winter blues have gotten you down, you need to know that you are not alone. Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, affects many people during the winter months with lethargy and depression. Several reasons have been suggested: lack of sunlight, lack of exercise, poor diet and disruption of natural body rhythms. Luckily there are solutions. Have a look at these tips.

Depressed teens at risk for adult depression

Four out of five depressed adolescents do not receive treatment for their depression, according to a new study. This lack of treatment may consequently put these teenagers at risk for recurrence of the condition in their adult years, study findings suggest.

"Almost 70% of adolescents who had experienced an episode of major depressive disorder (MDD) by age 18 suffered another episode of mental disorder between (ages) 19 to 24--that is, in a relatively short period of time," lead author Dr. Peter M. Lewinsohn, a senior research scientist with the Oregon Research Institute in Eugene, told Reuters Health.

In addition, many of the teenagers were diagnosed with other psychiatric problems in their later years, Lewinsohn and his colleagues report in the October issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

A follow-up study of 24-year-olds who were depressed in adolescence revealed that of 274 patients, "21.2%...suffered another episode of ('pure') MDD; 24.5% had another episode of MDD that was associated with another mental disorder; and 22.1% did not have a recurrence of depression, but developed a substance use disorder," Lewinsohn said.

The investigators found that girls who engaged in conflict with their parents were more likely than boys to have recurrent major depression.

A family or personal history of the condition, and borderline personality disorder symptoms were also predictive of major depressive disorder recurrence in young adulthood, the authors point out.

"We think that the findings emphasize the importance of efforts to identify adolescents and young adults who are at high risk for depression, in order to provide treatment to those who are depressed and preventative help to those who are at elevated risk," Lewinsohn stated.

These efforts should be a high public health priority that may involve periodic--perhaps annual--monitoring of such individuals, he suggested.

In a related editorial, Drs. Andres Martin and Donald J. Cohen note that only 20% of the adolescents in the study received some form of treatment. This, they write, "strongly suggests that in community settings, the adolescent window of therapeutic opportunity is, more likely than not, missed.

Further research is needed "to lead toward a sharper definition of that window of opportunity that the timely identification and effective treatment of adolescent depression promises to be," Martin and Cohen conclude.

Smoking may lead to teen depression

Contrary to the notion that depressed teenagers were more likely to take up smoking, a study found that young people who became smokers were more likely to become depressed, researchers said on Monday.

Cigarette smoking was the "strongest predictor" of developing depressive symptoms among a group of 8,704 teenagers who were not depressed a year earlier, said study author Elizabeth Goodman of Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine.

The adolescents who were not depressed at the start of the study--and may or may not have been experimenting with cigarettes--were four times more likely to have depressive symptoms if they were moderate or heavy smokers a year later.

The impact of nicotine or other cigarette additives on certain brain receptors could be to blame for the onset of depressive symptoms, Goodman said.

There has been some success in using anti-depressants to help smokers stop, suggesting a close link between the effects of cigarettes and the brain's chemistry that dictates mood.

Smoking prevalence among American teenagers remained high despite drops in adult smoking rates, Goodman reports in the journal Pediatrics, and researchers have been trying to figure out why.

Previous research has produced conflicting results, and the common belief was that smoking was a sought-after if temporary relief from depression.

"Typically, increased likelihood of smoking initiation and progression have been viewed as consequences of depression," Goodman wrote. But "high depressive symptoms were not predictive of smoking progression in this study."

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Depression is the lid you keep on a geyser of feeling you fear to express. - Don Jones

Twenty percent of Americans will suffer from depression in their lifetime. - Psychology Today, 1202

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