sad woman beside wall

Debunking Myths About Depression

What is depression? There are no outward physical symptoms, there; isn’t even a biological test to properly diagnose it. Is it just an excuse to get a license to use medical marijuana or a support pet? Is it an excuse to collect disability? Depression may be hard to prove, but its effects certainly seem quite evident. Suicides and attempted suicides are the most commonly discussed, but depression can also play a big part in quality of life and forming relationships. For those who are still unsure about the reality of depression, here are a few common myths about the condition, and the reality behind them.

Depression is a Sign of Mental Weakness
In order to fully understand depression, we need to accept that no one wants to be depressed. It is a result of a mental disorder and, if anything, it takes great mental strength to work through daily.

Depression is Brought On My Traumatic Events
While certain circumstances can trigger episodes of depression, the events do not cause depression. While it is true that upsetting experiences can make a person sad, a negative emotional reaction is normal, and does not necessarily point to any abnormality. However, when symptoms persist for longer than two weeks, and reoccur frequently, it may be cause for a depression diagnosis.

Depression is Not a Real Illness
While there are no outward physical signs of depression, it is very real and does have a scientific explanation. According to the Mayo clinic, depressed people have differences in their brains and hormone and neurotransmitter imbalance that determine both their condition and its severity.

sad woman on outdoor steps

Depression is a Figment of Your Imagination.
Even though depression is a condition widely associated with a person’s mental state, it may go deeper than that. The National Institute of Health points to severe cases in which sufferers may experience insomnia, fatigue, muscle aches, and chest pain. Promoting the idea that depressions only a mental illness is simply downgrading its severity.

Men Don’t Suffer Depression
According to statistics, women are two times as likely to develop depressive symptoms than their male counterparts. However, this does not in any way exclude men from the illness. Middle aged white men have shown the greatest increase in numbers of suicides committed annually. The reason for the misconception is the tendency for men to express their depression differently from females, which make it easier to overlook. Male stereotypes about strength and stability cause men to feel less comfortable about calling attention to their depressive states.Depression can actually be more dangerous for men, because they tend to engage in substance abuse as a form of self-medication and avoid seeking treatment.

Antidepressants Will Cure Depression
Depression is not a “one size fits all” condition, and does not have a “one size fits all” cure. Antidepressants may be a common treatment option prescribed by doctors, but not every depressed person responds the same way to the same pills. Some people opt for psychotherapy, in combination with or independent of medication to alleviate depression. Many people have to try different methods of treatment before arriving at the one which works best for them.

Do you or a loved one struggle with depression? If so, tell us what challenges you face and how you overcome them.

Hidden Signs Of Osteoporosis

These days there is a lot of emphasis on Extreme Exercise. With celebrity gym instructor singing the praises of the time saving high-intensity workouts and kick-starting metabolisms, it sometimes seems like the extreme is the routine. Sure, you can work at moderate levels of intensity, as long as you scale a hill at a full speed first thing in the morning. Exercise can be good, but pushing yourself too far may come with a few health setbacks, osteoporosis is one of them. Lots of women who have osteoporosis don’t know about it until they break a bone. Here are a few red flags that might help you figure it out a little sooner.

Too Much Exercise
Exercise is a good thing, right? Sure, but it turns out it can also be too much of one. Women who exercise too much are at risk of female athlete triad syndrome. The symptoms include an abnormal or absent menstrual cycle, decrease bone density and low energy. According to Fredrick Singer, Md, “Women are often a high school of college athletes who run 40 to 50 miles a week. If you run that much and don’t consume enough calories, you’re at risk for bone loss.”

However, what’s too much for one person, may not be excessive for another, so be sure to consult a doctor if you start missing periods. You may be able to get help from a fitness professional or nutritionist who can customize a diet and exercise program best suited to your needs.

You’re Very Thin
Very skinny women who stop menstruating can experience changes in hormones in the bones and brain, a condition which occurs frequently with eating disorders. Dr. Singer says, “When you lose an excessive amount of weight, a signal is sent to the hypothalamic area of the brain which shuts down the pituitary hormones, which in turn shuts down the ovaries.” How do you know when skinny is too skinny? If your body mass index,(BMI) is lower than 18.5, you’re too skinny.

Little Nightcap
If you’re drinking more than one to two glasses of vino per night, your bones may be paying the price. Health professionals say: stop at two. In fact,y you may want to have one or two. According to a 2012 study from Oregon State University, those one or two drinks may actually improve bone health, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.

You Binge Watch TV
What? “Orange is the New Black” is bad for your bones? Apparently, lying prone on the couch can lead to bone breakdown with a 24 to 48 hour period. Says Dr. Singer, “Total lack of weight bearing activity is one of the fastest ways to develop osteoporosis, which happens within months.”

While Singer isn’t suggesting you miss the finale of your favorite shows, he does recommend getting up when you can and says even brief periods of walking may help to prevent bone loss.

You Take Antidepressants
If you’re depending on SSRIs to keep depression at bay, you may want to pay attention to your bone health. A review of nineteen studies in Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience says these types of antidepressants can accelerate bone loss and affect bone mineral density. If you are taking SSRIs, you may want to explore other options with your doctor.

Do you think you may be at risk for osteoporosis? Let us know how you’re boning up and getting in shape to keep this “silent disease” away.

Woman sneezing

Living With Seasonal Allergic Rhinitis

Does this season have you doing the allergic salute? The allergic salute, also called the nasal salute, is defined as the gesture of wiping or rubbing the nose in an upward manner with the fingers, palm, or back of hand in and upward motion, and is a common telltale sign of allergic rhinitis.

Suffering with allergies is no fun, and while “saluting” can relieve the symptoms, it can also lead to the transfer of bacteria and germs, and, when done often enough, can result in a “transverse nasal crease,” (a crease running across the nose) which can become a permanent feature. But, worry not. Allergic seasonal rhinitis does not have to doom its sufferers to a life of inevitable unsightly scars. There are some ways to handle the condition salute free. Read on to find out how you can survive the season uncreased.

What Is Allergic Rhinitis?
More commonly referred to as allergies or hay fever, allergic rhinitis happens when your immune system has an extreme reaction to air particles that you breathe. Your immune system reacts by attacking these particles, also called allergens, which causes symptoms, like runny nose and sneezing.

Unfortunately, people with allergies can suffer from the symptoms for many years. They may occur at certain times during the year or at random times. Sinusitis and ear infections are other allergy related problems. Symptoms may become less severe over time and allergens may have less of an effect.

Symptoms
Some of the most common symptoms of allergic rhinitis are repeated sneezing, especially right after waking up in the morning and a runny nose with post-nasal drip. The nasal drainage is usually thin and clear, but may become thick, cloudy and yellowish if there is a sinus or nasal infection involved. Other signs of rhinitis are watery and itchy eyes and itchy ears, nose, and throat.

How Is It Caused?
Pollen from grasses, trees, and weeds is the biggest cause of allergic rhinitis. Dust mites, cockroaches, animal dander, and mold are also triggers, as are things in the workplace, such as chemicals, cereal grain, and wood dust.
If your allergies are due to pollen, your symptoms are more likely to occur when pollen levels are high. If you are affected by indoor allergens, such as dust mites, your symptoms may occur more frequently.

Treatment
While there is no cure for allergic rhinitis, avoiding the causes of your allergies can significantly reduce symptoms. This may require frequent house cleaning to eliminate animals dander, mold, and dust. You may also want to stay indoors when the pollen count is high.

Over the counter medicines are available, but you may want to talk to your doctor first is you have another existing health condition. or are pregnant or breastfeeding.
If allergies are severe, immunotherapy, such as allergy shots, is another option for prevention or reduction of symptoms.

How are you surviving this allergy season? Are you doing the nasal salute, or perhaps you are giving your allergies quite a different salute. Let us know what you do to cope.