Joyful Musings

By Joy Birnbach Dunstan, MA, LPC, MAC
Understanding Depression

 

Yesterday I received an email from a professional organization reminding me that October 7 is National Depression Screening Day. Depression is a word we hear a lot these days, but I got to wondering how many people really understand the difference between sadness and clinical depression.

While sadness is a painful feeling, it is not a sign of illness. When a person suffers a major loss, it’s normal to feel sad. It would be unhealthy not to feel sadness in at a time like that. Sadness is horrible to feel, but it is a part of the healing process. Sadness is not a sickness, and it generally won’t develop into depression.

Clinical depression, on the other hand, is different. People who already tend to depression may have it triggered by an episode of sadness, but depression can also happen without any connection or apparent trigger.

In any given year, approximately ten percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older suffers from major depression, and women are affected at nearly twice the rate of men. Here’s a brief quiz to see how much you know about this surprisingly common affliction.

1. Which age group is most likely to experience depression?

A. 16-24

B. 25-44

C. 45-49

D. 50+

2. A major cause of depression in women is the inability to express or handle:

A. Joy

B. Sadness

C. Anger

D. Jealousy

3. Which of these behaviors is characteristic of depression?

A. Hyperactivity

B. Loss of interest in things formerly enjoyed

C. Rapid mood swings

D. Unexplained aggression

4. What is the best way to treat a depressed friend?

A. Be a good listener

B. Encourage them to spend time alone

C. Ignore them

D. Be upbeat and cheerful

5. Which of these may be harmful if you are trying to help a depressed friend?

A. Telling them they should snap out of it

B. Analyzing their problem

C. Schedule leisure activities

D. Both A & B

6. Some symptoms of depression include:

A. Sadness, sleep problems, lack of pleasure, increased use of drugs or alcohol, fatigue

B. Thoughts of suicide, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, guilt

C. Excess energy, spending sprees and hypersexuality

D. Both A & B

7. Talk about suicide should not always be taken seriously.

A. True

B. False

8. What dietary changes can help depression?

A. Avoid sugar

B. Avoid caffeine

C. Avoid alcohol

D. All of the above

The correct answers are: 1B, 2C, 3B, 4A, 5D, 6D, 7B, 8D.

Occasional sadness is part of life. Know what to do and when to ask for help if the sadness gets too intense or just won’t go away.

Editor’s Note: Joy is a practicing psychotherapist in Riberas. She can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 765-4988

Pin It
Joyful Musings By Joy Birnbach DunstanA Book Review by Victoria Schmidt   Joyful Musings is a collection of vignettes from the life of Lakeside
MY KID COULD HAVE PAINTED THAT!(Or Understanding Abstract Art) By Mary Roam   Acolorful and outspoken artist has come back, and more of her startlingly
2010 Issues December 2010     November 2010    October 2010    September 2010   August
Understanding the Land By Kay Davis   Imagine the Lake Chapala landscape 40,000 years ago. Fossil evidence shows that ancestral mammoths, mastodons,
Understanding The Land By Kay Davis   Imagine the Lake Chapala landscape 40,000 years ago. Fossil evidence shows that ancestral mammoths, mastodons,
Wordwise With Pithy Wit By Tom Clarkson   This morning, my pal F.T. – who shared the Iraq experience with me during my third trek there – forwarded
LAKESIDE LIVING Kay Davis Phone: 376 – 108 – 0278 (or 765 – 3676 to leave messages) Email: kdavis987@gmail.com November
Front Row Center By Michael Warren    The Pajama Game By Richard Adler and Jerry Ross Directed by Peggy Lord Chilton Music directed
Every Word  Important By Herbert W. Piekow   Every word a writer writes has meaning yes, sometimes they never get published or the book
LEGERDEMAIN—Italian Style By Jim Rambologna   Enzio Grattani was the Editor-in-Chief of a local rivista (or magazine) in Ajiermo, Italy. Locals
 Find us on Facebook