Part 1 – Healthy Living for Life – Depression: There Is Always Help Available

living longer living healthier living
better than ever before welcome to Mountain-Pacific’s Healthy
Living for Life a weekly series that gives you the information education and
expert insight you need to become an active participant in today’s
ever-changing health care climate here now is today’s program hosts depression can
happen to anyone at any age and it is one of the most common mental illnesses
in America especially for those who are 60 years of age and older if left
untreated depression can erode quality of life decrease one’s overall health
and in the most severe cases it can lead to suicide don’t shrug it off there’s
help available regardless of where you live and your income welcome to Healthy
Living for Life a show dedicated to helping you do just that I’m Sara Medley
your host stay tuned joining us today is Dr. Roman
Hendrickson a board-certified family medicine and geriatric physician he is
also a fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians and recently he
received the Montana Medical Association’s most distinguished award
for his commitment to the profession and for advocating for ongoing improvements
welcome back to our show Dr. Hendrickson thank you can you tell us what
depression is and what its symptoms are well depression is sort of a
constellation of symptoms it’s not any one thing most people think it’s just
when you get the boohoo’s but really it has to reflect when people are becoming
incapacitated in their daily life it can include feelings of sadness hopelessness
worthlessness that can last weeks or months sometimes it’s just people who
are just not doing well they’re fatigued they’re they have insomnia they’re
irritable they can’t focus they have a loss of interest in activities they
start tasks and don’t finish them things start to pile up it’s just a reflection
of the fact that their brain is not working at 100 percent
anymore so it seems common in our culture to dismiss depression and people
misunderstand it as just being sad and folks will tell you just snap out of it
can you talk about how serious it really is and that it’s more than just feeling
sad well sadness is a normal emotion that
sort of provokes us to act unfortunately if things get out of control then
they’re out of our ability to control them and that means you can’t just wish
upon yourself that you’ll go back to the way you were it’s not usually a
temporary but becomes a chronic problem unless you intervene it changes the way
you look at the world you might look at a person and say why are you depressed
there’s nothing wrong why are you feeling this way but really depression
in for a lot of people is the sum total of a lot of stresses that occurred and
then finally something comes along and just pushes them over the edge they are
their perception of the world around them
changes they start to feel worthless they can’t understand why people feel
the way they are they feel unloved unimportant they it takes away their
ability to experience joy they don’t feel connected with their outer world
sometimes they just cannot become happy anymore why is it important to treat
depression particularly among older folks well obviously as depression gets
worse it can lead in the ultimate to suicide however the presence of
depression can interfere with our ability to treat other medical problems
it’s well shown that if a diabetic is depressed their diabetes is under worse
control diabetes also affects other medical problems and we need to control
their diabetes to be able to treat someone medically it interferes with
people’s ability to function in their normal work environment and in their normal
social environment why is it for people to talk to their physicians
about depression or the fact that they have a family history of it
well obviously people who have a family history of it may be more susceptible to
developing depressive symptoms you’re not necessarily doomed to become
depressed if you have a family history of it but it’s something to consider the
physician should be an entree into potential treatment for someone end
diagnosis the primary care doctor may be able to initiate treatment and if you
have a primary care physician it should be someone that you trust and you can
start discussing your concerns with so what about medication and drugs so if
someone is on a drug for depression how long does it take for that medicine to
take effect medications depending on the individual person and which medication
you’re using some may start to have a positive benefit as soon as one week but
usually improvements start to show within four to six weeks so sometimes
people with depression are taking their medicine and their drugs they feel
better and they stop taking the medicine what happens the likelihood of sliding
back into depression or greater is greater if you haven’t been treated for
at least six months once you’ve reached remission so in other words you can’t
treat for just to the point where you’re feeling better you have to be treated to
the point where you’re basically not having any symptoms that’s remission for
at least six months before there’s a consideration of tapering or
discontinuing the medication what happens if there are side effects with
the drugs well if there’s side effects then consideration of either adjusting
the dose or changing the medication sometimes people’s perception of side
effects does not necessarily go along with the reality of what’s going on with
the medication it may be something else that’s going on but it should be
discussed with their treating physician so I understand that some drugs actually
cause depression and so talk to us about those drugs the one that’s of most concern
is corticosteroids
so that’s prednisone is the most commonly used one and the higher the
dose of prednisone and the longer someone’s on it the greater the
likelihood that they’ll become depressed so that’s a drug-induced depression or
if someone’s already depressed the cortisone may make it worse other drugs
such as benzodiazepines which are like valium ativan xanax that we use for
treating anxiety we’re not sure if it actually causes depression or it just
makes it worse other drugs such as muscle relaxers beta blockers which are
drugs we use for treating hypertension statins and other cholesterol-lowering
drugs may also increase depression so lots of drugs can affect depression so
stay tuned to learn how depression is diagnosed and treated we’ll be right
back after this break

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