Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Women and Depression

Depression is a normal response as part of our daily lives such as the loss of s job, the death of a love one, and illness. Over 30 million Americans suffer from depression and the amount is increasing in an alarming rate. Depression may be a mental health disorder that can affect the way you eat, sleep, and the way you feel about yourself. The mild case of depression can be defeated by a variety of self-care techniques. Others require the treatment of medication, such as antidepressant medications and psychotherapy that help to reduce and sometimes eliminate the symptoms of depression. According to the National Mental Health Association, one in every eight women can expect to experience clinical depression during their lifetime. In gender perspective, women are twice at risk to develop depression than men.

Recommended Reading
Dissolve Depression by Nicholas King
Explains the fundamental basis, cause,
and ultimate solution to depression

Women and depression
In an article of Why Women Experience Depression More Than Men, by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph.D., Carla Grayson, Ph.D. & Judith Larson, Ph.D., the experts wrote that researchers have known for years that women experience depression more often than men do, but the reason for this gender difference has not been clear. A study published by researchers provides some answers by showing how social conditions and personality characteristics affect each other and contribute to the gender differences in depressive symptoms.

In a study of Explaining the Gender Difference in Depressive Symptoms by psychologists Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Ph.D., and Carla Grayson, Ph.D., of the University of Michigan and Judith Larson, Ph.D., of Atherton, CA, researchers found women may more often than men get caught in a cycle of despair and passivity because of the interaction of lower mastery (lower sense of control) over important areas of life and more chronic strain and rumination (chronically and passively thinking about feelings)... and helping women achieve a greater sense of control over their circumstances and engage in problem solving rather than ruminating should be useful. Changing the social circumstances that many women face so that they do not have so much to ruminate about is equally important.

Types of depression
1. Reactive depression
Reactive depression is the reaction caused by emotional swings affecting anyone at one time at his and her life, such as death of a love one, loss of financial stability or chronic diseases. People suffering from reactive depression may lose interest of doing things that provide pleasure. These people generally still function in daily activity normally. Most people suffering from reactive depression may see the symptoms disappear gradually over time, some may require the support from others or take antidepressant medications.

2. Physical depression
This type of depression is caused by chemical imbalance in the brain as resulting of chronic illness such as hormone imbalance, immune disorder or nutritional deficiency. People suffering from physical depression may lose interest or pleasure in almost everything and generally have a negative impact on every function in daily life.

3. Manic depression
This is a severe type of physical depression. In medical terms, manic depression is characterized by wide mood swings with periods of both depression, mania and a variety of other significant symptoms not present in other types of depression such as the fluctuation between periods of extreme energy and vivacity with those of complete hopeless.

Causes and risk factors
A. General causes
1. Hormone imbalance
About 60% of people suffering from physical depression have abnormal levels of thyroid or adrenal hormones causing impaired thinking and making it difficult to carry out daily activity. If the thyroid hormone is in low levels we have hypothyroidism resulting in weight gain, fatigue and loss of appetite. If the thyroid hormone is in high levels we have hyperthyroidism resulting in hand trembling, weakness, anxiety and nervousness On the other hand, if adrenal hormone is in low levels symptoms may include stress, and weakness. If the adrenal hormone is in high level symptoms include weight gain, and diabetes.

2. Immune disorder
Immune system disorder causes concentration difficulty, lowered mood, memory loss, anxiety and symptoms of depression.

3. Nutritional deficiency Too much Omega fatty 6 and deficiency of Omega acid 3 causes memory loss, mood swings and depression. On the other hand deficiency of vitamin B12, chromium, selenium or magnesium causes anxiety and depression as well as mood swings.

4. Sleeping disorder
If sleeping disorder is serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental and emotional functioning such as fatigue, poor concentration, low mood and other symptoms of depression.

5. Effect of medication taken
Many medications cause symptoms of depression as a side effect such as low mood and anxiety as a result of taking heart and hypertension medication.

6. Etc.

B. Biological causes of depression
Most biological causes are hormones related as a result of low levels of female hormone in the stage of perimenopause and menopause or suddenly drop of hormone after birth as well as other such as pregnancy, stress, etc.
1. Perimenopause
Women who experience menstrual irregularities at the stage of perimenopause are at higher to develop depression due to declining of both estrogen and progesterone as a result of increased production follicle stimulating hormone.

2. Menopause
In menopause stage, women are no longer menstruation as a result of the complete shut down of egg produced ovaries and levels of estrogen and progesterone produced are declined rapidly, leading to depression.

3. Premenstrual problems
It is a result of hormone irregularities or fluctuation as a result of typical American diet with high in saturated and trans fat with less fruits and vegetables, causing premenstrual syndrome like depression.

4. Postpartum depression
is a type of clinical depression, affecting women, after childbirth. Normally this of nervous tension occurs in women in the first new months of pregnancy, but in some women, it can last after child birth. The rate of occurrence is between 5 -25%, depending to the uniqueness of each women. In men the occurrence of postpartum depression are uncleared with the range between 1% and 25%.
Normally the symptoms will go away on its own in a short period of time (Baby blue symptoms). In some women, the symptoms get more serve everyday and does not go away that can leading to the onset of postpartum depression.

5. Pregnancy and pregnancy related depression
Hormonal change during pregnancy may be another cause of depression, especially dor women with family history of depression. Other pregnancy related problems such as infertility, miscarriage, still birth, etc can increase stress that can lead to depression as well.

6. Etc.

B. Social and cultural causes of depression
In an article of Study links poverty to depression among mothers written By Donna St. GeorgeWashington Post Staff Writer, the author wrote that More than half of babies in poverty are being raised by mothers who show symptoms of mild to severe depression, potentially creating problems in parenting and in child development, according to a new study.
Low-income mothers of infants were typically not teenagers, Golden said, but young - in their early 20s - with more than half under 24. The severely depressed group was 44 percent white, 30 percent black and 21 percent Hispanic; these mothers were at greater risk of domestic violence and substance abuse than poor mothers who were not depressed.

2. Childhood trauma
In a study of The link between childhood trauma and depression: Insights from HPA axis studies in humans by Christine Heim, D. Jeffrey Newport Tanja Mletzko, Andrew H. Miller and Charles B. Nemeroff, researcher found that Childhood trauma is a potent risk factor for developing depression in adulthood, particularly in response to additional stress. We here summarize results from a series of clinical studies suggesting that childhood trauma in humans is associated with sensitization of the neuroendocrine stress response, glucocorticoid resistance, increased central corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) activity, immune activation, and reduced hippocampal volume, closely paralleling several of the neuroendocrine features of depression.

3. Social isolation
A woman with lack of contact with other people beside the family may be cause by a pervasive withdrawal or avoidance of social contact or communication are at higher risk to develop depression as a sesult of behavioural and physical disorders.

4. Role strain
Over conflicting and overwhelming responsibilities in a woman life can contribute to a higher stress, if problem is not solve over prolonged period of time, it may lead to depression.

5. Relationship dissatisfaction
Life stress, social support and clinical depression: A reanalysis of the literature by Runar Vilhjalmsson, Department of Nursing, University of Iceland, Eiriksgotu 34, 101, Reykjavik, Iceland, researcher ofund that the lack of social support may increase the likelihood that life stress will lead to depression, or the absence of social support may constitute a form of strain that leads to depression directly.

6. Etc.

C. Psychological causes of depression in women
1. Rumination
When comes to stress, women tend to respond to distress by repetitively, pessimistically and passively focusing on the symptoms of distress, and on its possible causes and consequences. If the situation persistently over a period of time, it can lead to unipolar depression. In a study of Rethinking Rumination by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema, Blair E. Wisco and Sonja Lyubomirsky, researchers found that further, evidence now suggests that rumination is associated with psychopathologies in addition to depression, including anxiety, binge eating, binge drinking, and self-harm.

2. Stress response
According to an article of Study: Why Women Are More Sensitive to Stress posted by LiveScience Staff, showed that women are more likely to suffer from depression and stress out than their cool male counterparts. New research suggests there might be a biological reason for the gender difference. According to The research appears online in Molecular Psychiatry. The study's first author is Debra A. Bangasser, Ph.D., a fellow in Valentino's laboratory researcher found that Analyzing the brains of rats that responded to a swim stress test, Valentino's team found that in female rats, neurons had receptors for CRF that bound more tightly to cell signaling proteins than in male rats, and thus were more responsive to CRF. Furthermore, after exposure to stress, male rats had an adaptive response, called internalization, in their brain cells. Their cells reduced the number of CRF receptors, and became less responsive to the hormone. In female rats this adaptation did not occur because a protein important for this internalization did not bind to the CRF receptor.

3. Gender Intensification in Adolescence
Accordingly to the article of Gender Differences in Depression by Susan Nolen-Hoeksema. the author wrote Social pressure to conform to gender roles is thought to increase dramatically as children move through puberty. For girls, this may mean a reduction in their opportunities
and choices, either real or perceived. Girls also feel that if they pursue male-stereotyped
activities and preferences, such as interests in math and science or in competitive sports, they
are rejected by their peers. For many girls, especially white girls, popularity and social acceptance
become narrowly. This narrowing of acceptable behavior for girls in early adolescence may contribute to the increasein depression in girls at this time.

4. Body image
and eating disorder
In a study of Body-image and eating disturbances predict onset of depression among female adolescents: a longitudinal study, by Stice E, Hayward C, Cameron RP, Killen JD, Taylor CB., researchers found that the results were consistent with the assertion that the body-image- and eating-related risk factors that emerge after puberty might contribute to the elevated rates of depression for adolescent girls.

5. Etc.

D. Risks of depression
1. Neurotransmitters-chemicals
Imbalance of neurotransmitters-chemicals that brain cells use to transmit information and communicate each others can lead to nervous tension, causing depression.

2. Smoking
According to the article of Stop Smoking, Lower Depression Risk By Rick Nauert PhD Senior News Editor, author wrote that in a study conducted in the Department of Public Health at the University of Helsinki explored, which of those assumptions would be supported by the data, when smoking behavior and changes in it is considered as a predictor of depressive symptoms.

3. Alcohol
In a study of the Nord-Trondelag Health Study (HUNT Study) based in Norway by Jens Christopher Skogen of the University of Bergen in Norway, researchers found that found that those who reported not consuming any alcohol over a two-week period were more likely than moderate drinkers to report symptoms of depression, but excessive alcohol drinking is associated with depression.

4. Unhealthy diet
Unhealthy with high in saturated fat and transfat enhamce estrogen elevation, leading hormone imbalance causes of PMS depression.

5. Lack of exercise
According to the article postedin the Special Health Report from Harvard Medical School "Understanding Depression" indicated that according to another study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 1999, divided 156 men and women with depression into three groups. One group took part in an aerobic exercise program, another took the SSRI sertraline (Zoloft), and a third did both. At the 16-week mark, depression had eased in all three groups. About 60%–70% of the people in all three groups could no longer be classed as having major depression. In fact, group scores on two rating scales of depression were essentially the same. This suggests that for those who need or wish to avoid drugs, exercise might be an acceptable substitute for antidepressants. Keep in mind, though, that the swiftest response occurred in the group taking antidepressants, and that it can be difficult to stay motivated to exercise when you’re depressed.

6. Medication
Medication such as Corticosteroids, Cyclosporine, Dopar, Lioresal, etc. can increase the risk of deprweesion, if yiou are taking these types of medication, please make sure you understand the risks.

7. Family history
Increased risk of depression if one of your direct fmaily memember has need affected by depression.

8. Medical history
Women with depression in the pasthave a higher risk to develop depression.

9. Gender
Women are twice at risk to develop depression than men.

10. Childhood attachment and abuse
Ina study of Childhood attachment and abuse: long-term effects on adult attachment, depression, and conflict resolution, by T Styron, R Janoff-Bulman, researchers found that Results suggest that the long-term impact of childhood abuse may be mediated by early attachment experiences, whereas the long-term impact of abuse on conflict resolution behaviors may be considerably more direct.

11. Etc.

1. Loss of interest and energy in life
2. Change of sleeping and eating habits
3. Can not concentrate
4. Lowered self esteem
5. Deep sadness and hopeless
6.Thought of suicide and death
7. Bloating,
8. Irritability
9. Fatigue, and
10. Emotional reactivity
11. Etc.

A. General approaches
1. Reduce intake of saturated and trans fats Saturates and trans fats cause the increase of levels of bad cholesterol in the blood stream, blocking the circulation of blood and reducing the levels of oxygen that are essential for brain cells resulting in mood change and low interest for daily function.

2. Reduce intake of fat food, simple carbohydrates, and artificial sweetener
The above food causes chemical and nutritional imbalances and contribute to depression.

3. Be careful with conventional prescription side effects
Conventional medication while common can produce negative side effects and tends to treat the symptoms rather than the cause of depression. Some prescription medication may cause side effects to only some patients but not others. Be sure to talk to your doctor if you have some depression side effect.

4. Moderate exercise
Exercise helps to increase the circulation and oxygen level in the bloodstream, gives body energy and produces feelings of revitalization and accomplishment triggering the release of certain hormones that help to boost your mood.

5. Join a social group or club
Joining a social group or club is the best way to climb out and learn something new. It is the proven way to keep your brain active and increase your confidence and self esteem.

6. Get enough sleep
Over half of people with sleep disorders are found to have some mental disorder such as depression. In fact, study shows that insomnia may be the cause of depression.

7. Light therapy
If you have season affective disorder, the body chemistry is thrown off by a decrease in the amount of day light. Light therapy will help to increase energy levels and overcome difficulty in getting out of bed.

8. Etc.

B. Diet
1. Fish Our western diet contain high amounts of omega 6 and not enough omega 3 fatty acid. The imbalance of these 2 types of omega fatty acids may lead to memory loss, mood swing and depression. Cold water fish contain high amounts of omega 3 fatty acid that not only help to restore the hormone imbalance, but also decrease the arteries clotting up by bad cholesterol and triglycerides resulting in more oxygen being transported to the brain.

2. Spinach
Spinach contains high amounts of iron that not only help to boost the production of red blood cells and increase the blood circulation but also help in preventing and treating memory loss, tiredness and trouble concentrating as well as depression.

3. Dark green leaf juice
Weakened immune system may cause concentration, memory problem, trigger anxiety and acerbate the symptoms of depression. Dark green leaf juice contains high amounts of vitamin C, that help to strengthen our immune system and prevent the forming of free radicals and inflammation.

4. Peanut
Peanut contains high amounts of folate. Study shows that people with the symptoms of depression have low levels of folate, one of the members of B vitamins.

5. Cereal
Cereal contains high amounts of niacin that help to maintain normal function and neural function. Deficiency of niacin causes memory loss, low mood, tiredness, and inactivity as well as other symptoms of depression.

6. Fresh raw vegetable
Fresh raw vegetable contains high amounts of amino acids and they are vital to the formation of antibodies to combat bacteria and viruses and are part of the enzyme and hormonal system. Deficiency of amino acids cause hormone imbalance, tiredness and poor concentration.

7. Etc
For more information of healthy diet for depression, visit 100+ Healthy Foods list

C. Nutritional supplements
1. Vitamin C
Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is a water-soluble vitamin. Our body does not have the ability to make its own vitamin C. Therefore, we must obtain vitamin C through our diet. Overdose of vitamin C may result in diarrhea. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that protects our body from the forming of free radicals as well as weakening of immune system resulting in chronic infection such as mononucleosis and psychiatric symptoms including depression.

2. B vitamin complex
The B vitamins are eight water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism. Deficiency of B vitamin complex such as B 12 may not lead to physical symptoms but may cause depression.

3. Vitamin E
Vitamin E is the fat soluble antioxidant in our body. Study shows that people with depression have lower levels of serum of vitamin E circulating in their bloodstreams.

4. Magnesium
Magnesium is one of the four electrolyte minerals. Besides helping our body to absorb calcium, and strengthen bones and teeth, it also plays an important role in allowing muscles to relax, and in reducing stiffness in muscles. Magnesium deficiency causes depression, chronic pain, and intolerance to stress, chronic fatigue and depression. 5. Iron Iron plays an important role in production of red blood cells and increase the transportation of oxygen levels to our body cells. Iron deficiency causes chronic fatigue, apathy irritability and other symptoms of depression.

6. Zinc
Besides helping to restore the normal function of prostate gland, it also helps in promoting of hormone balancing in our body by stimulating the production of growth hormone. Deficiency of zinc may be a leading cause of loss of appetite, subsequent poor nutrition, inevitable chronic fatigue and depression.

7. Selenium
Study shows that people with high amounts of selenium in their body tend to be more cheerful and confident. It also helps to make us feel more alert, less anxious, and high levels of energy.

8. Etc.

A. In conventional perspective
A.1. Non Pharmacologic treatments
1. Behavioral intervention
The purpose of behavioral intervention is to reinforce the positive behavior and avoid bad behavior regardless the environment influence.

Relaxation therapy
relaxation therapy is a form of treatment by enhancing the person into a relaxation stage quieting the mind to allow thoughts to flow in a smooth and induce the relaxation response.

3. Cognitive-behavioral therapy
In this therapy, you learn to recognize and change thought patterns and behaviors that can lead to anxious feelings, by uncovering the thought processes that cause the negative thoughts associated with depression.

A.2. Pharmacologic treatments
1. Antidepressants
a. Antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) have been use effectively by keeping increased levels of serotonin and norepinephrine available in the brain.in treating depression with some side effects.
b. Risk and side effects
b.1. Bladder problems
b.2. Loss of libido
b.3. Dizziness and drowsiness
b.4. Inability to achieve an orgasm
b.5. Headaches
b.6. Nervousness
b.7. Etc.

2. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Electroconvulsive therapy believes that depression is caused by neurotransmitters's inability in transporting messages and information from one brain cell to another. If these neurotransmitters can function normally, it can make the brain cells work better, thus reducing the risk of depression. After using of anesthesia to put you asleep, an electric pulse last only 1-2 seconds applies to your head to produce a seizure to change the behavior of neurotransmitters after an episode of abnormal electrical activity in the brain. Usually 6 to 12 treatments are needed to relieve depression and 3 times a week, depending to the stage of depression.
b. Risks and side effects
b.1. Temporary short-term memory loss,
b.2. Confusion,
b.3. Headache
b.4. Nausea
b.5. Heart palpitation
b.6. Etc,

3. Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS)
a. In 2005, the FDA approved the use of VNS for treatment-resistant depression, it is designed to treat depression by sending regular, mild pulses of electrical energy to the brain via the vagus nerve with the use of an implanted device.
b. Risks and side effects
b.1. Decreased respiratory flow during sleep
b.2. Increase in vagal tone
b.3. Coughing
b.4. Tingling in the neck and
b.5. Problems swallowing.
b.6. Etc.

B. Herbal medicine
1. St. John wort
St. John wort works like some antidepressant medication such as Prozac and Zoloft. Intake of St. john wort helps to increase appetite, more interest in life, greater self-esteem and restoration of normal sleeping patterns.

2. Skullcap
Skullcap helps to reduce the symptoms of mild to moderate depression by increasing the amount of serotonin in the body by inhibiting the reuptake of Serotonin, and inhibits two chemicals interleukin-6 and Cortisol known to cause anxiety and depression.

3. Hops
Hops are the flowers of humulus lupulus. They have been used widely to relieve insomnia and help in promoting positive support for occasional anxious feelings, restlessness, nervousness, tension and symptoms of depression.

4. Passionflower
Passionflower contains flavonoids and monoflavonoids that help to promote emotional balance through relaxation of the nervous system. It also acts as an anxiolytic aiding relaxation, relief from occasional anxiety and panic resulting from stress, and to ease tension.

5. Calamus root
Calamus root has been used for centuries in strengthening immune system, relieve pain, and preventing inflammation. It also helps to ward off fatigue, increase body's energy, reduce stress, anxiety and depression.

6. Schizandra berry
Schizandra berry is a creeping vine with small red berries native to Northern China. Traditionally schizandra berry has been used widely to stimulate immune defense, balance body functions, normalizing physical activity and boosting energy. Recent study shows that it also helps to increase the body's resistance to stress, anxiety, mood swing and depression.

7. Etc.

C. Homeopathy
1. Aurum metallicum
Aurum metallicum is renowned for its ability to cure the deepest imaginable depressions: suicidal states by providing hope, feeling of worthiness and self esteem.This type of person is usually idealistic and goad oriented. It is very surprising to see that a single patient with a lifetime of joyless existence bloom into happiness after aurum pays for every hour of our years of study.

2. Ignatia Ignatia (also known as ignatia amara or iamara) originates from the tincture of strychnos ignatia beans of a small tree native to the Philippines containing a substantial amount of strychnine (used in rat poison) and brucine (a bitter alkaloid similar to strychnine). Iganatia relieves the depression caused by an event of grief and sadness.

3. Natrum Muriaticum
Natrum muriaticum is one of the most psychologically complex and poignant remedies in our materia medica. There is an opposite presentation in which the patient seems abnormally open and can discuss even intimate aspects of his life, apparently not at all embarrassed. When a loss or a serious rejection occurs the patient experiences abnormally prolonged grief and depression. Natrum mutiaticum helps to overcome the deep sorrow that people suffered in silence.

4. Sepia
Sepia is a Homeopathic remedy that helps with bouts of depression from loss of sunlight, but it can be differentiated from aurum by its grief, fatigue, sarcasm and irritability aspects. Sepia is especially helpful in treating depression caused by indifference, weepy, angry, overwhelmed, exhausted and depression associated with menopause.

5. Pulsatilla
In external use, the fresh plant of pulsatilla is an irritant herb and produces a benumbing sensation when chewed. It is a powerful herb in treating people with signs of manic depression.

6. Etc.

D. Home made medicine
1. Mixture of spinach and carrot Put half a cup of spinach and some carrot in the juicer, then drinking the mixture everyday will help to relieve the symptoms of depression. In fact, carrot contains beta-carotene, one of the most powerful antioxidant that helps to rejuvenate our body by blocking the forming of free radicals, and spinach contains high amounts of iron that helps increase the blood circulation resulting in more oxygen to the body's cells.

2. Eat 2 ripe bananas everyday
Bananas contain potassium, serotonin and norepinephrine rae that is said to help relieve symptoms of depression and increase energy for the body.

3. Drink ginger tea
Put 3 to 4 quarter sizes of fresh ginger in 1 cups of boiling water for 5 minutes then drink it. Drinking 3 cups everyday is said to help improve memory, energy and physical activity. In fact, ginger is one of nature's superfoods that not only help to improve blood and oxygen circulation but also helps to enhance the production of certain hormones.

4. Sage tea with honey
Steep one sage tea bag in a cup of warm water for five minutes then add 1 tablespoon of honey before drinking. 3 cups a day will help to improve sleeping and sharpen memory and brain power.

5. Peppermint tea
Peppermint contains substances that help tin relaxing our system and improve moodiness. In fact peppermint helps to increase the blood flow to the brain and concentration power.

E. Traditional Chinese medicine
Traditional Chinese medicine defined anxiety and depression are associated liver qi stagnation as a result with loss, repressed expression, and other stressful events cause of restraining flows of qi.
1. Chai Hu
Chai hu is also known as Radix Bupleuri, the bitter and sightly cod herb has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to disperse heat and fever, improve yang and promote liver function by enhancing the channels of liver, gall bladder, pericardium, triple fire channels, thus enhancing the liver qi.

2. Bai Shao
Bai Shao is also known as white peony root or Radix Paeoniae Lactiflorae, the bitter soul and col herb has been used in tradtional Chinese medicine to dilates peripheral blood vessels, coronary arteries and anti-inflammatory by enhancing the function of channels of liver and spleen resulting in promote blood flow to the lower burner.

3. He Shou Wu
He shou hu is also known as Radix Polygoni Multiflori, the bitter, sweetness and neutral herb has been use in traditional Chinese medicine to relieve of heat toxicity, secure kidney essence (jing), treat spermatorrhea and liver qi deficiency by enhancing the function of liver and kidney channels.

4. Gan Cao
Gan Cao is also known as licorice root, the sweet herb has been used in TCM to promote qi, clear heat and get rid of toxins and control the secretion of insulin by enhancing the function of all channels.

5. Etc.

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