"Depression can ultimately kill you, ..."

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By Spc. Sharron L. Grinder
>         FORT GORDON, Ga. (Army News Service, Jan. 3, 2000) -- Look at the
>person on your left and on your right; then think about your fellow
>or coworkers and even family members. Chances are that at one time or
>another either you or they have suffered from a bout of depression.
>         "Depression can ultimately kill you," said Lt. Col. John
>chief of adult outpatient psychological services at Eisenhower Army Medical
>Center, Fort Gordon, Ga.
>         Depression is an illness that attacks between 17 to 20 million
>Americans each year and affects twice as many women as men, according to
>National Institute of Mental Health. Trakowski said the good news is that
>depression is a treatable disease and nothing to be ashamed of. By
>aggressively addressing the symptoms, he said sufferers of depression can
>live a healthy, productive life.
>         Trakowski said active-duty service members have nothing to fear in
>the line of career reprisals if they are honest with their chain of command
>if asked about using psychological services.
>         There are two types of depression: clinical depression and what is
>normally called sadness or "the blues." The major difference between the
>is that clinical  depression is an illness, while sadness is basically a
>normal reaction to unsettling events that have occurred in a person's life,
>such as marital problems or a bad work evaluation.
>         Trakowski said depression can be caused by biological or chemical
>reasons, or it can be a reaction to an extended period of intense loss such
>as being fired, divorce or the death of a loved one or other instances of
>intense emotional anguish. When someone is clinically depressed they are
>down emotionally for an extended period of time.
>         "When someone has the blues their reaction might be, 'I didn't
>what happened,' and for that person life goes on," he noted. For the
>clinically depressed, he said life becomes a chore and often lacks joy and
>purpose.  Medical causes of depression include having a chemical imbalance
>in the brain's serotonin levels, hypoglycemia or it can even be a secondary
>diagnosis to a medical condition such as Parkinson's Disease or a cardiac
>         "Heart attack survivors who have had a major episode of depression
>have a three times greater risk of dying," he said.
>         According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
>Health Service Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration,
>symptoms of depression are manifested by feelings of sadness, emptiness,
>hopelessness, pessimism, guilt, helplessness and worthlessness.  People who
>are depressed have a hard time making decisions and complain of a lack of
>energy, have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep or getting up.
>         Other symptoms include changes in appetite, headaches, stomach
>or backaches. The report said some victims of depression are restless and
>irritable and may want to be alone most of the time. They may also start
>abusing drugs and alcohol and cut back on hobbies or activities that are
>usually pleasurable. One of the biggest indicators of depression are
>thoughts of suicide; Trakowski said teen suicide has increased 300 percent
>since 1950. He also noted that depression affects bodily functions, and
>added that nutrition and lack of sleep can affect a person's emotional
>         "You have to take care of yourself. It might sound impossible, but
>your body needs eight hours of sleep a day, six hours minimum," he said.
>         When left untreated, depression can ultimately wreck havoc on a
>person's total well-being. Trakowski said the best way to fight depression
>is by being aware of the problem and by self-education.
>         "Depression is an illness that can be treated effectively,"
>Trakowski said. "No one should ever be ashamed to seek help."
>         When a person feels a depressed mood coming on, Trakowski said
>should force themselves to do pleasurable activities, ensure they get
>rest, exercise and eat a proper diet.
>         "I know it sounds like something your mother would say, but weknow
>Mom was always right." He added that walking three or four times a week
>does wonders. "Exercise releases dopamine, which is a natural mood
>enhancer," he said.
>         There are various ways a proper diet can enhance mental health,
>according to Army medical experts. A poor diet can contribute to pernicious
>amnesia, dementia, mood changes, mood disorders. A diet lacking in niacin
>can cause
>delirium, apathy and even hyperirritability. And a diet lacking in Vitamin
>C, can also result in depression and anxiety.  Eating a good source of
>protein such as fish, lean meats, chicken, peanut butter, tofu or beans at
>least twice a day increases alertness and mental energy. Around 20 percent
>of calories should be protein.
>         Carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, rice, crackers cereal or
>potatoes should be eaten at most meals to maximize serotonin production and
>prevent depression, but should be limited to 55 percent of a person's diet.
>The report also said foods prepared with healthful fats and oils such as
>olive oil, canola oil, and peanut oil enhances palatability and release
>endorphins for mood enhancement.  A proper diet should be rounded off with
>five to six servings of fruits and vegetables each day to provide
>antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibers and palatability.
>         Trakowski concluded by saying the battle with depression can be
>by infusing life with hopeful activities and taking care of yourself.
>         "You have to invest in yourself. There are several things you can
>to take care of yourself and seeking counseling is always an option."
>         (Editor's note: Spc. Sharron Grinder is a staff member of the
>newspaper at Fort Gordon, Ga.)
>"Keep on, Keepin' on",    Support Veterans
>  & Thanks.......Colonel Dan
>See my web sites at:
>and  http://hometown.aol.com/dancolonel/VetsIssue.html
"When the way comes to an end, then change - having changed, you pass
through"  'I Ching'