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Depression is common – and can ruin lives. These days we often say that we are ‘depressed’ when the smallest thing has not gone our way – perhaps his favorite football team lose, or lost that negotiation on the sale. Consequently, it can be easy to underestimate the enormous depression can be debilitating. But these fleeting moments of low mood is not depression at all. For a doctor to diagnose depression, you have to have had at least two key symptoms in more than half of the days, and must have interfered with his life. They are:
– Do you feel sad, depressed or hopeless and
-. The lack of interest or pleasure in things you usually enjoy
In addition, symptoms of depression include changes in sleep patterns and appetite; concentration problems and loss of energy; guiltily inappropriately (which is a failure or have let others down); It is generally slower down (or the edge) to the extent that others have noticed; and thoughts that might be better off dead.
One in 25 people suffer from depression in a given year, with one in four women and one in 10 men suffer throughout life. “Mild” depression usually allows them to move on with their lives, even if they take away all the joy. Suffering severe depression left paralyzed and in a constant state of terror -. sometimes with psychotic symptoms
Much has been said in the media about the ease with GPS distribute antidepressants – but overall, it is anything but fair. Antidepressants help many patients with moderate to severe depression, and for some it can literally be a lifesaver. But they have little impact on mild depression, and like all medications can cause side effects. Doctors do not give because they are in the domain of large pharmaceutical companies – the vast majority of antidepressants have been off patent for years, and cost just pennies a day, which is not going to the company that has developed anyway .
The problem is that until recently, had little more to offer. Counseling and other therapies have been spoken long been a Cinderella service – but that is finally changing. A new concept in access to services in the NHS in England – IAPT (Improving access to psychological therapies) – has been much needed investment counselors, psychologists and graduate mental health workers. Patients can be referred by their GP or refer to themselves.
I’m a big fan of talking therapies, including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – Jeremy Vine and have a steady stream joke that has yet to find a condition not recommend it for. So it is not surprising that caught my attention by a study out this week mindfulness. Closely related to Eastern philosophies, mindfulness involves paying close attention to our environment, and how you feel (or what we see, or taste, or hear or feel or …) on a moment to moment basis. It is to be focused on the here and now. Meditation, yoga or breathing exercises can be part of your routine of mindfulness.
This week, a report published in the Archives of General International Psychiatry looked at all the scientific studies of high quality that could be found in cognitive behavioral therapy based on consciousness (MCBT) in the treatment of recurrent depression since 2010. MCBT treated patients were compared to several alternative treatments, including antidepressants. They found studies of 1,258 patients and concluded that MCBT reduces the risk of depression after having repeated a year later, 31%. Some of the studies involved comparing MCBT with “usual care” – in other words, no medications, counseling or active monitoring. But even compared to active treatments, MCBT reduces the risk of recurrent depression in more than 20%.
Age, sex and social / economic factors do not seem to have any significant impact on the probability of MCBT better performance. But, curiously, there was some evidence that people were more likely to respond better than other treatments MCBT if it were a serious depression. Importantly, given the past MCBT criticism can lead to anxiety or panic attacks, there was no evidence that resulted in significant damage among patients studied.
What does this mean for the millions of Britons who suffer from depression? For now, access to NHS TCAP is limited – although this may change as new evidence emerges. But you do not need a therapist to practice mindfulness – there are all kinds of applications, yoga classes, etc. just get into the habit of being more aware of your surroundings is a start. In fact, the evidence is that mindfulness can help many of us, is suffering from depression or not. It’s all about taking a few minutes to sit and smell the roses.