Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Major Depression - New Findings For Therapy

A study conducted by Lewis Judd, M.D., chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, found that major depressive disorder (MDD) is best seen as a long-term illness that is prone to recurrences. He studied 367 people who were diagnosed with MDD and followed them for up to 31 years after diagnosis. He found that 55% of the time, MDD patients had some depressive symptoms (sadness, crying, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, avoidance of friends and family, low self-esteem, low energy, sleeping/eating problems) whether they were mild, moderate or severe. During the course of illness, the experience of even mild symptoms not meeting the full criteria of the diagnosis were associated with difficulty in functioning – particularly in the areas of social and work functioning. Further, for patients who are recovering from a first major depressive episode, even the presence of non-clinical (mild) levels of depressive symptoms that were not addressed significantly increases the risk of a faster, more severe relapse. What does this mean if you have MDD? It means that you and your family need to know that MDD is a long-term illness that typically waxes and wanes. Long-term care is needed and early signs of even mild depressive symptoms need to be addressed. If you have been diagnosed with MDD, the experience of any depressive symptoms should instigate a consultation with a qualified mental health practitioner. Finally, it is important to follow through with the recommended treatment and medication for as long as necessary. Holly Houston, Ph.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

7 Ways to Reduce the Stress of Grieving

One of life’s most challenging tasks is dealing with the death of a loved one. Whether the loss is a sudden event or one that is anticipated for some time, the feelings of sadness and grief can be overwhelming. There is no one right way to grieve nor is there a specific time frame within which grieving should conclude. However, it is important to allow grieving to occur in order to heal, integrate the loss and live fully. In order for successful grieving to occur, one must experience the sadness and loss and work toward acceptance. The stages of grief, which are outlined in the following website http://www.recover-from-grief.com/7-stages-of-grief.html , are helpful in explaining what the grief experience is likely to entail. Here are other helpful techniques to promote a healthy grieving process. 1. Talk about your thoughts and feelings with others; it helps to get them out. 2. Share memories and mementos of your loved one and celebrate your loved one’s life. 3. Refer to books written by professionals and reputable websites for information on grief. 4. Let go of your loved one’s belongings gradually, over time. 5. Go to a grief support group. 6. Stay connected to friends. 7. Partake in hobbies and projects. Holly Houston, PH.D. Licensed Clinical Psychologist