Causes: Lyme disease is a communicable disease caused by bacteria of the Borrelia type. The disease also known as Lyme borreliosis is the result of bites from infected black-legged ticks. These tiny insects of the Ixodes genus are characteristically found in wooded and grassy areas.
Generally, people tend to associate Lyme disease with the east coast of the United States; however, factually speaking, it is found all over the U.S including more than 60 other countries. As per the estimates of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, about 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with the disease every year.
It is a disease that affects people of all ages especially those who spend more time outdoors exposing themselves to the possibility of being bitten by the dreaded tick.
Symptoms: Often the symptoms of Lyme disease are misdiagnosed because the symptoms are similar to that of many other diseases like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, and various psychiatric illnesses, including depression.
The early symptoms of the disease are fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches which can be confused with other diseases. However, the most common symptom one should look for is a “bull’s eye” rash which begins with an expanding area of redness where the person has been bitten by an infected tick. If the disease is left untreated it could lead to some additional and more serious symptoms listed below:
* Severe headaches and neck stiffness
* Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
* Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
* Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
* Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
* Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat (Lyme carditis)
* Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
* Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
* Nerve pain
* Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
* Problems with short-term memory
There are three stages of Lyme disease.
Stage 1 is called early localized Lyme disease. The bacteria have not yet spread throughout the body.
Stage 2 is called early disseminated Lyme disease. The bacteria have begun to spread throughout the body.
Stage 3 is called late disseminated Lyme disease. The bacteria have spread throughout the body.
Treatment: If diagnosed early (Stage 1) it can be treated with a combination of appropriate antibiotics and recovery is usually rapid and complete. Antibiotics like doxycycline, amoxicillin, and cefuroxime can be administered orally to patients afflicted with Lyme disease for 2-3 weeks.
However, if diagnosed at later stage (stage 2 or stage 3) antibiotics injections or aggressive intravenous treatment and proper monitoring may be required.
While stem cell transplant has the capacity to heal the cells damaged by Lyme disease, for example, neurological damage like encephalitis, chronic fatigue or myelitis, it cannot eradicate Borrelia, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.
The launch of World Diabetes Day in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) was with the intent to check the rapid spread of diabetes the world over. Ever since its inception, it has been observed every year on November 14th.
Some of the themes in the recent years have been: * Protect our Future: Diabetes Education and Prevention – 2013 * Go Blue for Breakfast-2014 * Healthy Eating – 2015 * Eyes on Diabetes – 2016
Although the WDD crusade against diabetes continues throughout the entire year, the purpose of having WDD on November 14th every year is to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who was instrumental in the discovery of insulin. Charles Best and John James Rickard Macleod were responsible for the funding of the research.
Frank F Banting was born in Alliston, Ontario, Canada on November 14, 1891. After serving in the First World War, Sir Banting immersed himself in the study of the pancreas and diabetes. He joined the University of Toronto in 1921 for further work on his pet project.
It’s on record that the university gave him 10 dogs to experiment with. He created an injection using the dog’s pancreas. He then injected a dog whose pancreas had been removed to induce diabetes. Cows and pigs were also used in his tests.
His subsequent experiment included injecting a 14-year-old diabetic boy with insulin. Hence, the teenager Leonard Thompson became the first human to benefit from insulin. His condition improved rapidly. Many other diabetics responded well to the new drug.
All of Sir Frank Frederick Banting’s hard work on diabetes had paid off with the discovery of insulin, in 1921. His work on the miracle drug earned him the Nobel Prize, and in 1934 he received Knighthood by King Arthur (V).
Till date, he remains the youngest Nobel Prize winner ever to have won the award in the category of physiology and medicine. It was soon after the discovery that mass production of insulin was started by the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilling.
There are two types of diabetes, type 1 and type 2. To put it simply, type 1 is when there is a total lack of insulin in the body, and type 2 diabetics are those who can’t receive insulin. The common factor between the two types is the potential of creating serious complications for the patient.
However, with regular monitoring, proper eating habits – basically, with proper management of the disease one can reduce the chances of major complications. WDD is a platform to promote the suggestions of the IDF all through the year.
The main agenda of Word Diabetic Day 2016 was to address diabetes-related issues with emphasis on:
* Screening for type 2 diabetes is important to modify its course and reduce the risk of complications
* Screening for diabetes complications is an essential part of managing type 1 and type 2 diabetes
An extract from the IDF website reads:
“IDF has estimated that globally as many as 193 million people, or close to half of all adults living with diabetes in 2015, are unaware of their disease. Most of these cases are type 2 diabetes. The earlier a person is diagnosed, the earlier treatment can be initiated in order to reduce the risk of harmful and costly complications.
A person with type 2 diabetes can live for several years without showing any symptoms, during which time high blood glucose is silently damaging the body. There is, therefore, an urgent need to screen, diagnose and provide appropriate treatment to people with diabetes. WDD 2016 will “highlight the feasible and cost-effective solutions that exist to help identify people with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and those at risk of developing it in the future.”
Google paid tribute to the pioneer Sir Frank Frederick Banting on his 125th birthday anniversary, with a doodle in a mustard-colored cartoon alongside the Google’s logo with the second “O” replaced by a bottle of insulin. Users who accessed Google on the Word Diabetes Day – 2016, saw the innovative doodle.
In modern times the manufacture of insulin is done by harvesting bacteria instead of using pigs’ pancreas, a practice which was employed till as recently as 1980.
Some of the diabetes-related complications are:
* Damage to the large blood vessels of the heart, brain and legs, which in medical terminology is known as macrovascular complications.
* Damage to the small blood vessels, causing problems in the eyes, kidneys, feet, and nerves are referred to as microvascular complications.
* Other parts of the body can also be affected by diabetes, including the digestive system, the skin, sexual organs, teeth and gums, and the immune system.
The fight against diabetes and creating awareness will continue as pledged by the IDF and WHO as it still remains to be one of the major health factors around the world.
When you’re depressed, it often feels like nothing in the world can make you feel better. Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive. It’s almost as if you are in a black tunnel with no light. Hope disappears and the things you used to find enjoyable become a chore.
It is true that depression isn’t necessarily something you can banish in an instant, however, a set of coping strategies and awareness can help you to help yourself.
Tears are healthy. Sadness doesn’t always need treatment. Before you dose up on side-effect laden pharmaceuticals, it’s worth considering some natural treatments that might help lift your mood.
#1 Stay Connected
This can be one of the hardest things to do when feeling depressed but it is one of the most rewarding activities. Even reaching out to close family members and friends can be tough. When you feel bad, even if you feel embarrassed, confiding in a friend or voicing your struggles can lighten your burden and begin a process of ending your unhappiness. Be around people who can make you laugh when you don’t even feel like smiling. Staying connected to other people and the outside world will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. Friends and family, especially those who care about you, will appreciate knowing what’s going on.
Sleep is not a luxury, it’s a necessity. The link between depression and lack of sleep is well established. Inadequate sleep can cause irritability and stress, while healthy sleep can enhance well-being. The quality of your sleep directly affects the quality of your waking life, including your mental sharpness, productivity, emotional balance, creativity, physical vitality. Go to sleep at the same time each night and get up at the same time each day; move from the bed when not sleeping; calm down and rest in the period before sleep. Good sleep is restful and uninterrupted, muscles are relaxed. Your body’s cells produce and store proteins to renew and restore all of your systems. No other activity delivers so many benefits with so little effort so aim for between 7.5 and 9 hours sleep per night.
#3 Write About It
Depression often causes problems of expression. Expression of feelings is important. It’s part of being depression. Sometimes when things are bottled up and repressed there needs to be a valve letting these out. Putting those feelings into words makes it easier to understand, Writing to confront unexpressed feeling helps do that by providing a sense of direction and meaning. There is an emotional completeness achieved by the ability to express and explain. The words help to organize and simplify the experience. When you have the ability to explain something in words, you feel more confident that you really understand it. Writing is a great way to complain about troubles and relationships. You can easily give yourself permission to blame and vent but not to reflect on what you are feeling and doing.
#4 Take On Responsibilities
When you’re depressed your energy levels can drop drastically, but the last thing you want to do when feeling down is to keep yourself from getting up. The moment you take back full responsibility in your life is the moment when you regain your power again. Taking full responsibility for your life means you are no longer running away—from yourself, your dreams, your hopes, frustrations, and fears. Staying active in your life, pursuing anything and everything you may find of interest will re-ignite your spark and keep you on your own side. Activities that help you calm down and that raise your spirits are important. Reflect back on your life so far and look at the defining moments.
#5 Develop An Attitude Of Gratitude
Research suggests that for many, gratitude is a road to greater happiness. Gratitude works when you’re grateful for something real. Recent studies have concluded that the expression of gratitude can have profound and positive effects on our health, our moods. It’s nice to count your blessings on Thanksgiving, being thankful throughout the year could have tremendous benefits on your quality of life. Recognizing all you have to be thankful for even during the worst times of your life Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. We all have the ability and opportunity to cultivate gratitude. Simply take a few moments to focus on all that you have – rather than complain about all the things you think you deserve.
There are many mysteries in this world that we mortals do not comprehend and seek answers too and when unable to convince ourselves just accept it as part of life.
This very well reminds me of the movie ‘Exorcist‘ a sensational horror movie in which a 14-year-old girl is possessed by the devil and the mother, an actress consults a team of more than 50 doctors who examine the girl in the minutest detail but fail to diagnose her and finally advise to consult a priest as it was a case of exorcism.
Medical mysteries are very difficult to fathom such as people who wake up from the coma after years beginning an entirely new life.
Sometimes all the medications and best medical treatment do not stop the suffering whereas other forms of treatment are effective such as herbal medicine has a positive effect.
They have been many medical mysteries throughout the world some so astounding that it dares belief and defies the imagination.
A 24-year-old woman who went to a hospital complaining of dizziness of dizziness and nausea in China. She told the doctors that she was unable to stand on her own until age 4 and unable to speak intelligibly until age 6. In fact, throughout her life, she told her doctors she’d suffered balance problems. Despite these slight health issues, the woman was married, with a daughter, and had functioned normally for years.
A CAT scan revealed to the shocking surprise of doctors when her doctors looked at the scan and identified her problem: her entire cerebellum was missing.
Music is a pleasure but only when listened to at leisure. However, what in a rare medical condition one hears songs in their head round the clock. A woman in England Susan Root suffers from music hallucination. She hears Judy garland’s song Somewhere over the rainbow over and over her head. The condition is so severe sometimes her husband has to shout to gain her attention. Doctors have no explanation on the matter.
A migraine is a headache condition which is a debilitating. Doctors and researchers have still not found the cause or an effective cure for it. What they do know is that it is genetic and is passed on to families.
Group illness In El Carmen, Colombia, over 200 teen girls mysteriously fell ill which was inexplicable to doctors. First, it was attributed to mass hysteria but it was later discovered that the village was subjected to a vaccination campaign to protect against human papillomavirus (HPV).” And it could be a case of harmful side effects. However, the mystery remains unsolved.
Induced seizures by Ne-Yo songs
A British woman Zoe Fennessy, 26, suffers from epileptic seizures that cause severe nausea and stops her in her tracks…but only when she hears a song by Ne-Yo, a Grammy-nominated artist.
She has to wear earphones whenever she shops or walks around in public as a way to prevent hearing the pop star’s voice and suffering its effects.
Stillborn births British researchers have confirmed that male babies are more likely to be stillborn than females, the reason unknown — significantly so while scientists believe this gender disparity results from some biological source, they have not yet identified an exact or even a plausible cause.
A man woke up from a coma in Australia and upon seeing a Chinese nurse he began speaking he began speaking fluent Mandarin.
Ben McMahon had taken classes in high school and spent time in Shanghai, he was nowhere near fluency in the Mandarin language. No one knows for sure how this language inversion came about, but McMahon’s doctors believe the accident damaged the brain circuitry associated with speaking English while engaging the network linked to speaking Mandarin.
Life without appetite
Landon Jones woke up one day without an appetite and thirst and at the age of 12 has to be forced food and water.
Perhaps the greatest medical mystery is the case of Mackenzie Hild, a 19-year-old woman at the time pain who could not eat for 5 years due to an unknown condition which doctors despite hundreds of tests could not explain at all.`
She was told by doctors in a hospital all her tests had proved negative, that is to say, that she was a normal person. They recommended that she go to a medical center where she could be treated for eating disorders.
Hild, weighing only 75 pounds at 5ft 3’ wept as she tried to convince Doctors she didn’t have anorexia. She desperately wanted to eat, she insisted, but couldn’t.
She suffered from severe pain as a result of which she could not eat at all. The pain would last for four hours after she drank or eaten something.
She at first thought she felt the pain due to stress, perfectionism attention seeking or plain hunger but after exhaustive testing and treatment at several of the nation’s most prominent hospitals failed to uncover a physical explanation. Removing her gallbladder didn’t help. Her condition persisted for 5 years during which she was kept alive by being fed by tubes.
During that time she went to South Africa for 10 months and did internships on Indian reservations in the Navajo desert.
At school, her health worsened. A few weeks into her sophomore year, she went to the student health center. “They said, ‘You’re too skinny, we’re putting you in an ambulance,” Hild said, recalling her admission to the Boston hospital.
After her confrontation with the medical team, Hild spent nearly a month in a unit for people with eating disorders. Despite intense pain, she managed to gain nearly 20 pounds. She took a medical leave and spent the year at home, seeing doctors in a futile attempt to determine the cause of the stabbing pain right below her diaphragm, which was accompanied by bouts of nausea.
In the spring of 2011, the pain was so debilitating that Hild opted for a feeding tube that snaked up her nose, down her throat, through her stomach, and into her small intestine. Doctors hoped it would allow her gut to rest and enable her to resume eating.
When her weight reached 105 pounds, doctors approved her return to Harvard. “I loved college, and I was desperate to go back,” Hild said. “But there was still no answer. And I was getting 100 percent of my nutrition delivered through my nose.”
After months of tube feeding, her Boston gastroenterologist, who had ruled out anorexia, grew concerned that her stomach might start to atrophy. He urged her to consume small amounts, such as a few sips of a high-calorie nutritional drink, several times a week.
“I would eat at 8 p.m. and for the next four hours would lie on my bed in a fetal position,” she recalled. The feeding tube also caused repeated sinus infections and frequent hoarseness.
Hild was determined not to let her condition rule her life. She carried a full course load, did volunteer work with the homeless and had supportive friends who included her in their plans. In a nod to her major, Hild approached not eating as “an anthropology experiment.”
“I got used to explaining it,” she said, adding that “it was amazing how much of college revolves around eating.”
In May 2012, San Francisco surgeons replaced her feeding tube with a less conspicuous one implanted in her abdomen. They also removed Hild’s gallbladder. The pain was undiminished.
Hild pictured with adults and children in Kenya this past summer. Despite her illness, Hild managed to graduate from Harvard, spent two summers working on Indian reservations and volunteered in South Africa.
Hild spent the next two summers doing medical work on reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. She saw a world-famous GI expert at a major medical center in the Midwest and spent a week there undergoing a regimen to speed digestion; it didn’t help. “I had high hopes that this would be the answer,” she recalled. She began taking a new drug that enabled her to better manage the pain and nausea. “I began to think that maybe someday I’d get my stomach back.” To adapt and cope was amazing.” Last year, an extraordinary confluence of events would make both a reality.
The catalyst was a chance meeting between Hild’s parents and a medical school professor on a remote hiking trail in California’s the Sierra Nevada.
Intrigued by Hild’s case, he asked a fourth-year medical student to review it. The tenacious student zeroed in on an overlooked clue buried in Hild’s voluminous file, then reached out to a surgeon in Chicago. In March 2015, the surgeon performed the 2½ -hour operation that restored Hild’s life.
There are many people in this world who have made a lot of money in life, not to the tune of millions but billions and have contributed a major portion of their wealth to the cause of noble and worthy deeds.
These people have a heart of gold and god has blessed them with an untold bounty for their foremost interest has always been for the good of mankind.
They have donated money to education, scientific research, charitable causes, eradication of diseases, housing, tackling famine, Floods, earthquakes and other natural calamities.
A case in point is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which has contributed a 100 million dollars for the eradication of polio in the world.
Warren Buffet, the third-richest person in the world has recently given away 2.90 billion dollars to the Gates foundation in the form of stock shares .
Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, has donated another roughly $2.86 billion of his holdings in the company’s stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and four family charities, as part of his plan to give away nearly his entire fortune.
Buffet has since 2006 contributed a total of 24.3 billion dollars to charity.
The Gates Foundation focuses on improving education and health received 14.96 million shares of the company.
Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, has known Buffett for a quarter century and counts him as a close friend. He is also a Berkshire director.
Buffett typically makes his donations in July, reducing the number of shares by 5% from the prior year.
In yet another development with regard to charitable causes and what can be described as one of the greatest and noblest deeds ever, the founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, and his wife Priscilla Chan have pledged $ 3 billion dollars to rid the world of all diseases by the end of the century.
The couple has set up the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative to “cure, prevent or manage all disease” by the end of the century which was announced at a news conference at UCSF Mission Bay in San Francisco.
So the question is how do they intend to go about it? How does one get rid of all the malaise in the world?
The 3 billion dollars will go into scientific research to initiate a medical revolution, creating scientific tools based on traditional science and engineering on which all researchers can develop a map of all cell types, a way to monitor blood constantly to detect any signs of early disease.
The Noble couple envisions that all diseases are eradicated by the turn of the century.
The money will also help fund what they referred to as 10 to 15 “virtual institutes” that will bring together investigators from around the world to focus on individual diseases or other goals — an idea that has the potential to upend biomedical science.
Presently being a scientist in academia today can often be a solitary endeavor as the system is set up to encourage colleagues to keep data exclusive in the hopes that this strategy helps them be more competitive at getting publications and grants.
But now the trend will change, and with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs like Zuckerberg who are seeking to make their mark in the biological sciences, the power of collaboration and openness is being encouraged.
A “Biohub” will be created in an effort call Chan-Zuckerberg Science at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) Mission Bay campus that will bring together scientists from Stanford, the University of California at Berkeley and UCSF.
The long-term vision of Zuckerberg and Chan, ranked among the world’s 10 wealthiest couples, with a net worth of $55.2 billion, is truly commendable and the world should rise to salute this couple.
Advising patients, the young husband, and wife are well aware that their effort does not mean that all diseases will be eradicated in the world but it will certainly ensure that there is a considerably less sickness in the world.
The Zuckerbergs are not alone in their effort in such a worthy cause. Sean Parker, a Napster co-founder has also donated some 250 million dollars to band together a team of top researchers from around the country to focus on immunotherapy for cancer.
Microsoft’s Paul Allen has already invested $100 million in a cell biology institute to try to create models of the fundamental building blocks of life.
It was unclear how those efforts would collaborate with Chan-Zuckerberg Science, if at all.
Zuckerberg in a magnanimous gesture gave credit to his wife Chan for having guided him on this route. Chan who is a pediatrician, by profession who stole the limelight.
It was a public debut for Chan as she was first and last on stage and in sharp contrast to the robotic presentations there was a human touch to the presentation at such announcements she was moved to tears when talking about the soul-searching that led to the project.
She poignantly recounted what it was like to tell a parent that a child has the devastating diagnosis of leukemia or tell a family that doctors had not been able to resuscitate their child which moved the audience and herself to tears.
“In those moments and at many others, we are at the limit of what we understand about the human body and disease, the limit of our ability to alleviate suffering. We want to push back that boundary,” Chan said.
Chan, who met Zuckerberg when they were students at Harvard and married him in 2012, is a very private and reclusive person for she keeps to herself.
Despite being a billionaire’s wife who could go globetrotting and spend lavishly on the good things in life she shuns media appearances, launch events, and other public and social engagements.
Instead, she preferred to attain her medical degree in 2012, do her residency at UCSF and continues to work as a Pediatrician at San Francisco General. It is no easy sailing to become a doctor in the U.S.A and Chan could have given it all up after marriage but being a strong and humane person she has chosen her path in life.
Philanthropy comes naturally to the Zuckerbergs, During those years, the couple began to ramp up their philanthropy with a mix of traditional grants — $5 million to UCSF Children’s Hospital, $75 million for San Francisco General Hospital, $25 million to the CDC Foundation to fight Ebola — along with a few less conventional projects.
They contributed 100 million dollars to reform the struggling Newark school system but the money was squandered by local politicians’ mismanagement. However, this did not deter the couple but rather motivated them as a lesson and later they gave away 120 million dollars to the San Francisco Bay area and said that they looked at the failures in New Jersey as a learning opportunity.
Max Chan-Zuckerberg is held by her parents, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg and his wife announced the birth of their daughter, Max, as well as plans to donate most of their wealth to a new organization that will tackle a broad range of the world’s ills.
The couple is more than human as they are serving humanity in such a way they could be best described as god’s angels on earth for their purpose is do good and nothing but good in this world pledging another 45 billion to the world. The Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative makes their previous grants pale in comparison.
She is now an integral part off of the billionaire spouses philanthropic society or sorority along with Melinda Gates, Microsoft’s Bill Gates wife, for her work with global and women’s health issues. Cari Tuna, a former journalist for the Wall Street Journal and wife of another Facebook co-founder, Dustin Moskovitz, has taken the lead on the couple’s philanthropy.
And Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of Steve Jobs of Apple, has recently started to make inroads with efforts in education as well as global conservation and immigration policy.
It is a well-known fact that most people die from five things — heart disease, cancer, stroke, neurodegenerative and infectious diseases — and we can make faster progress on these and other problems.
Once we recognize that your generation and your children’s generation may not have to suffer from the disease, we collectively have a responsibility to tilt our investments a bit more towards the future to make this reality. Your mother and I want to do our part.
In formulating their plan for Chan-Zuckerberg Science, the couple said they consulted with numerous scientists and philanthropists, including Gates, who appeared on stage Wednesday to praise the couple’s “risk-taking,” and National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, whom Zuckerberg credited with pushing them to view the problem through the lens of computer science.
Cori Bargmann, a neuroscientist, was named a president of science at the Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative.
The new effort will be led by Cori Bargmann, a neuroscientist at Rockefeller University who was co-chair of President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative and is expected to eventually include thousands of researchers throughout the world.
Bargmann said in an interview that the list of target projects is still being worked out but that one major effort will involve infectious diseases.
Zika, Ebola, and other fatal diseases will be tackled on a war footing . Medical Research will be conducted from all over the world.
All one can say that the world should rise and salute the Zuckerberg for they given a whole new meaning to humanity and philanthropy.
The world is indeed blessed to have people like them n the planet.
It’s perfectly normal to feel low when something bad happens or when life is giving you a tough time. If the melancholy, yet, persists over a long period of time and it starts affecting your ability to succeed in your daily life. There can be a lot of confusion when people use the term depression.
Sometimes the word is used to mean almost any type of negative feeling is it loneliness, unhappiness, sadness, despondency or feeling demoralized. Health providers usually use the word depression, to identify a mental disorder rather than a mood, and sometimes refer to it with the phrase “clinical depression”.
Depression by definition is classified as feelings of severe despondency and dejection. It is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being. With depression, feelings of anxiousness, emptiness, guilt, anger, or restlessness tend to creep into a person’s mind. They may lose interest in activities that were once pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details or making decisions, experience relationship difficulties and may contemplate, attempt or commit suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, aches, pains, digestive problems or reduced energy are all symptoms that a person is depressed.
Depressed mood is a feature of some psychiatric syndromes such as major depressive disorder, but it may also be a normal reaction, as long as it does not persist long term, to life events such as bereavement, a symptom of some bodily ailments or a side effect of some drugs and medical treatments. Depression is a persistent problem, not a passing one – the average length of a depressive episode is 6 to 8 months according to the doctors.
Our society is in the throes of an effective plague of depression, and the rising statistics are quite staggering and alarming. To understand and overcome it, we need to look deeper into this phenomenon. Today, many of us live dulled lives, that are somewhat robotic in nature and are void of deeper meaning and purpose.
Our lives often become visionless and passionless as we fail to spend our time with our loved ones and stay consumed with the hustle of work. We live in an intensely competitive culture that rewards achievement and success. Which leads our identity and esteem becoming reflections of these external markers of achievement. Our pursuit of happiness and well-being become terribly misdirected.
The demands of our intensely and neurotically driven culture strain our emotional and psychological balance and all this pressure of keeping up with the norms of the society leaves a person and his life disturbed well beyond its comfortable balance. The cultural paradigm in which we live leaves us disconnected, disenchanted and isolated.
The following are a few things we all need to educate ourselves about, on depression before we plan to help someone else.
It is more than just “feeling blue”:
A depressed person is constantly feeling worthless, hopeless, anxious, angry, and sad- even to the level of being suicidal. It’s a lot deeper than feeling blue. And it affects more than 100 million people worldwide.
It is not just a state of mind, it can even show physically:
Among other things, a depressed person can have body aches, headaches, high blood pressure, fatigue, and feeling of constant tiredness.
Watch out for simple symptoms:
Depression is a big deal, but the symptoms can be seen in the simplest of things- lack of concentration, being extremely forgetful about things, irritability, wanting to eat either all the time or never, being overly negative all the time, and general loss of enthusiasm in activities.
People of any age can have it:
A common misconception people have is that depression can hit someone at a later age in life. Yet, 1 out of 10 adolescents is likely to have a depressive disorder by the time they’re 18 years of age. Yes, depression among young adults is prevalent.
Levels of depression can range from mild to severe, to clinical:
There are different kinds of depression that hit people differently. Some people may have mild depression that normally would hit them after a sudden big change in their lives, like post-partum depression prevalent in new mothers, or for some, it could turn into a major depression over a period of time.
It is incredibly hard to live with depression
Something as simple as waking up every morning becomes difficult for a person suffering from depression. While some feel extremely vulnerable most of the time, some depressed souls feel numb-devoid of any emotion. And they can’t control it.
It should not be considered a taboo
Because depression isn’t talked about in a nation like ours, it becomes really difficult for people to even consider that they might have a problem, let alone get help in order to get better. It’s about time we start changing our mindset and prejudices about mental health and take action.
Even the happiest of people can have depression:
People may not seem depressed on the outside, but it’s the small things that stand out as a difference between healthy people, and depressed people.
Major depression can actually change the functioning of your brain:
Yes, depression can have staggering effects on the brain, and make people function differently overall
There are ways to fix depression, and to come out of it healthy:
Depressed people need to be assured that their way of thinking is just because of the sickness. If they’ve already accepted the fact that they’re depressed, their family and friends need to show support and let them know that you’ve got their back. It’s dicey if you know that the person is depressed and the patient doesn’t, they need to be handled with utmost care.
It can make one feel isolated and lonely:
A depressed person may feel like they’re all alone in this world with no one who cares. But, it’s only the matter of a little external help till they realize that this is not true. There are millions of people out there who feel the same way, and all they need to know is that this will pass. It might be difficult in the beginning, but then, the path to recovery is never easy.
Depressed mood may not always need a professional treatment, and may be a normal reaction to life events, a symptom of some medical condition, or a side effect of some drugs or medical treatments. A prolonged depressed mood, especially in combination with other symptoms, may lead to a diagnosis of a psychiatric or medical condition which may be treated with medication and proper treatment.
Different subdivisions of depression have different treatment approaches. It is not usually advisable to use the antidepressants on a routine basis especially for the initial treatment of mild depression because the risk-benefit ratio is poor. The treatment of depression is best managed by lifestyle choices, which includes, diet, sleep, and exercise. A recent meta-analysis also indicated that most antidepressants, do not seem to offer a clear advantage for children and adolescents in the acute treatment of the major depressive disorder.
If someone you care about has depression, the best and most important thing you can do is support them. To support someone else, you also need to look after yourself. Here are a few pointers:
Educate yourself– Understanding what depression is and how it affects the person you care about will help you be less frustrated and more supportive.
Encourage your friend to seek help – Having someone he/she can trust, like you is so important. But someone trying to cope with a mental disorder also needs treatment. Encourage them to see a doctor or psychologist to get the help he/she needs. Even if the problems don’t seem that bad yet, seeking help early can prevent problems from getting worse.
Listen – When you listen to and acknowledge their feelings, it sends the message that you care. Knowing that you have people who care about you is an important part of recovering from a mental disorder.
Be positive – Positive moods can be contagious! It’s really easy for someone with a mental disorder to focus only on the negative aspects of his/her life. Sharing your positive mood may help them see things from a different perspective.
Be patient – Sometimes it can be frustrating when they start acting differently and may not want to do anything they used to like. Take a deep breath and remember that depression is making them feel this way. He/she can’t just “snap out of it”. Getting impatient will only make the situation worse. Stay positive and be patient. Encourage them to take part in social events. He/she may feel like it’s too much work or effort, but will probably feel better afterward.
Don’t blame yourself – It is not your fault that they have depression. Many different factors, including his/her genetic background, environment, and life experiences are involved. No one can “make” another person have depression.
Put yourself first – On an airplane, they tell you to always put your oxygen mask on first in an emergency before you assist someone else. You’ll be no help to anyone if you’re passed out. With someone with a mental illness, if you burn yourself out by always putting him or her first, you won’t be able to help anyone. It’s absolutely okay (and important) to take time away to take care of yourself.
Don’t try to change your friend – You don’t have to solve all their problems or turn him/ her into a different kind of person. Just be present and supportive.
Have fun together – They need someone who can have fun, relax, and laugh with him/ her. These are all important parts of their mental health (and yours!).
Be aware of suicide risk – If they talk about death or suicide, don’t ignore it or keep it a secret. Talk to a responsible adult who they also trust (e.g., house, assistant, counselor, coach, professor etc). Let them know that you care about him/her and his/her life. If they are talking about suicide, it may be his or her way of indirectly asking for help.