Depression (major depressive disorder)
(Mayo Clinic Staff)
Although depression may occur only one time during your life, usually people with major depressive disorder will have multiple episodes of depression. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:
Behavioral Interventions to Diminish Depression
- Diet (good nutrition is important)
- Sunlight, and being outside
- Groom yourself in the morning
- 10-minute tasks (break tasks up into 10 minute periods)
- Social involvement – accept invitations to be social.
- Decrease TV and reading the newspaper for awhile (for less things to worry about).
- Eliminate caffeine, and increase water intake.
- Do anything that feels nurturing to you
- Smile—it chemically changes your mood.
- Use direct communication—for what you want.
- Think or talk to yourself with love and forgiveness.
- Serve others, or volunteer. This releases the "feel good" chemicals and can help lift depression.
(Possible) Treatments for Depression
- Spirituality and forgiveness
- Combinations of the above
- Major depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. It can significantly interfere with individual thoughts, behaviors, moods, activities, and physical health.
- Depression is treatable; however, if left untreated, it can lead to suicide. If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can. If you're reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, a health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.
When to see a Doctor
If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor as soon as you can. If you're reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, a health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.
When to get emergency help
If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately.
Also consider these options if you're having suicidal thoughts:
- Call your mental health specialist.
- Call Spokane's First Call for Help at (509) 838-4428.
- Call a suicide hotline number
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).
Use that same number and press "1" to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
- Seek help from your primary doctor or other health care provider.
- Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
- Contact a minister, spiritual leader, or someone else in your faith community.
If a loved one or friend is in danger of attempting suicide or has made an attempt:
- Make sure someone stays with that person
- Call 911 or your local emergency number immediately
- Or, if you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room (Source: Depression (major depressive disorder), Mayo Clinic)
- Depression is not a “solo” condition; it resonates throughout the entire family, and creates a significant increase in risk for depression in other family members. When depressed mothers receive appropriate treatment, depression in their children lessens.
In 2013, 11% of adults reported poor mental health in
Spokane County. The proportion decreased as age and income increased,
and non-whites were more likely to experience poor mental health than
whites. Poor mental health is defined as 14 or more days of poor mental
health in the last 30 days. (Spokane Counts 2015, Spokane Regional
- Among youth ages 14-18, or 8th-12th grade, in 2014, 33%
reported being depressed in the last year in Spokane County. Depression
among youth decreased as maternal education level increased, increased
as age increased, and was more likely among females, Hispanics, and
multi-racial youth. (Spokane Counts 2015, Spokane Regional Health
- 25 studies in the past 26 years have found that exercise can prevent depression, according to scientific research by professors from the University of Toronto. Even moderate levels of physical activity—like walking for 20-30 minutes a day—can ward off depression in people of all ages. (Source: 25 Studies Confirm: Exercise prevents depression. , by Christopher Bergland, Psychology Today, Oct. 29, 2013)
- If your depression has become unbearable, seek the advice of reputable people with certified training, professional skills, and good values.
- If you are considering ending your life,
please talk to someone. There are people all around you who are
willing to help—but you need to speak up. Talk to someone you trust,
and ask for help.
If you have no one to talk to,
- Call (509) 838-4428 First Call for Help in Spokane
- Contact the Resources listed on this page.
- Exercise. Get moving to help manage depression and stress. Exercise in almost any
form can act as a stress reliever. Being active can boost your feel-good
endorphins and distract you from daily worries. Most people know that exercise does
your body good, but feel they are too busy and stressed to fit it into
their routine. Hold on a second — there's good news when it comes to
exercise and stress.
Virtually any form of exercise, from
aerobics to yoga, can act as a stress reliever. If you're not an
athlete or even if you're out of shape, you can still make a little
exercise go a long way toward stress management. Discover the connection
between exercise and stress relief — and why exercise should be part of
your stress management plan.
- Exercise increases your overall health and your sense of
well-being, which puts more pep in your step every day. But exercise
also has some direct stress-busting benefits.
- Exercise pumps up your endorphins. Physical
activity helps bump up the production of your brain's feel-good
neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Although this function is often
referred to as a runner's high, a rousing game of tennis or a nature
hike also can contribute to this same feeling.
- It is meditation in motion. After
a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, you'll
often find that you've forgotten the day's irritations and concentrated
only on your body's movements.
As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions
through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on
a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you
remain calm and clear in everything you do.
Exercise will improve your mood. Regular
exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can
lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise
can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress,
depression and anxiety. All of these exercise benefits can ease your
stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your
life. (Mayo Clinic Staff, 2016)
- Research on depression, anxiety and exercise shows that the
physical and psychological benefits of exercise can help improve
mood and reduce anxiety. Exercise also helps prevent and improve a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes and arthritis. (Depression and anxiety: Exercise eases symptoms, Mayo Clinic, Sept. 27, 2017)
- One in 10 adults in the United States struggles with depression. Research shows that exercise is an effective treatment. "For some people it works as well as antidepressants, although exercise alone isn't enough for someone with severe depression," says Dr. -Michael Craig Miller, assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.
The challenge of getting started. Depression manifests physically by causing disturbed sleep, reduced energy, appetite changes, body aches, and increased pain perception, all of which can result in less motivation to exercise. It's a hard cycle to break, but Dr. Miller says getting up and moving just a little bit will help. "Start with five minutes a day of walking or any activity you enjoy. Soon, five minutes of activity will become 10, and 10 will become 15."
You should begin to feel better a few weeks after you begin exercising. But this is a long-term treatment, not a onetime fix. "Pick something you can sustain over time," advises Dr. Miller. "The key is to make it something you like and something that you'll want to keep doing." (Source: Exercise is an all-natural treatment to fight depression,” published Aug. 2013, Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School)
- Teen Depression and Screen Time. Kids born between 1995 and 2012 are the first generation to spend their entire childhoods with smartphones and social media.
"Anything that's done with a screen: texting, social media, TV, online, computer games – all of those are correlated with lower happiness….their mental health has really trended downwards starting around 2012. Up to an hour and a half a day of screen time likely won't do harm, but that "two hours and beyond – that's when you start to see a link to these mental health issues.”
Asked how her research has impacted her own parenting practices, Twenge said, "The day I analyzed that data looking at screen time and unhappiness and depression, I took my kids' tablets and put them in a drawer." (Source: “iGen” author on how digital devices are slowing the development of today’s kids, Why today’s kids are growing up less rebellious, more tolerant, less happy,’ by psychologist Jean Twenge, CBS News, August 17, 2017)
- Late-night screen time puts teens' sleep and mental health at risk.
Nighttime usage of a cell phone can increase anxiety and depression in
teenagers and reduce self-esteem, according to a new study in the
journal Child Development. This is the first study that shows a direct
link between screen time and mental health.
Fifty percent of teens report feeling addicted to their cellphones, and
the new study shows nighttime usage of a cellphone can increase anxiety
and depression in teenagers and reduce self-esteem. This is the first
study that shows a direct link between screen time and mental health.
This shows us that teens using their phone late at night leads to
disrupted sleep which leads to increased depression, emotional fragility
and sometimes acting out.
Cell Phones Disrupt Teen Sleep
• Phone time replaces sleep
• Screen light suppresses melatonin
• Content stimulates the brain
• Depressed teens use social media more
Researchers note that rates of anxiety and depression
in young people have risen 70% over the past couple of decades.
Psychologist Lisa Damour said that what's important about this study is
that it shows a "pathway" between using cellphones at night and
disrupted sleep. "Even if they're having a great time, even if they're
being super appropriate on their phone, if the phone is getting in the
way of sleep they need, it still causes harm.”
Tips for parents who want to decrease their teens' cell phone usage and how screen time affects important sleep habits:
- One of the first things a parent can do is try to get ahead of the problem by instituting certain habits when kids are young.
a power strip in your bedroom, have all the technology charged in the
parents' room overnight. Make that the default family habit.
need to try to set the same example, by modeling good habits. Parents
have to be good about their own phones and technology and their own
The study focuses on teenage girls, who
are particularly vulnerable to the effects of losing sleep. According
to Damour, teen girls already got less sleep than teenage boys even
"What this new study makes us much more concerned about is:
Sleep is already fragile for teenage girls. So, we want to make sure
that technology doesn't interfere with any teenager's sleep but we want
to keep a special eye on the girls because we are seeing very high rates
of depression,” she said.
Although teens may be at a higher risk
for negative impacts on their health, Damour admits that "Everybody
needs electronic curfews and I think we can sort of just say, these are
universal rules.” (Source: “Powering Down - New study links phone use
and mental health issues in teens,” Psychologist and CBS News
contributor Lisa Damour, CBS This Morning, July 3, 2017)
- "Good deeds (helping someone in need, showing kindness, writing a thank-you note) can also serve as an effective, low-cost treatment for depression, and how we feel about ourselves, others, and life in general.
Good deeds require no
doctor's prescription, have no negative side effects, and most often
cost nothing more than a little time and effort and a bit of your
When you are depressed
it seems difficult, and at times impossible, to think of others or do
for others in any meaningful way; so, start small. Find a way, even in
your sorrow, to open your heart to others. Write notes to people who
have touched your life for good. Make phone calls and visits to others
who might be lonely. Bake homemade treats and share them.
Miraculously, your own burdens and losses will seem more bearable, as
you think and act positively for the good of others.
Today, reflect on the
good things in your life, even right them down. As you go about your
busy life, find time for service to others. A smile, a willing heart,
and a helping hand can change someone's day for the better, and yours as
well." (Music and the Spoken Word, BYU-TV, April 22, 2012)
- Low parental parenting is associated with adolescent depression and anxiety,
according to research. This indicates that parents can play a crucial
role in the prevention of these disorders in their children. As a
result, 171 strategies were endorsed as important or essential for
preventing childhood depression or anxiety disorders by 90% of the
panel; and these were written into a parenting guidelines document with
- Establish and maintain a good relationship with your child,
- Be involved and support increasing autonomy,
- Encourage supportive relationships,
- Establish family rules and consequences,
- Encourage good health habits,
- Minimize conflict in the home,
- Help your child to manage emotions,
- Help your child to set goals and solve problems,
- Support your child when something is bothering them,
- Help your child to manage anxiety, and
professional help seeking when needed. (Source: Yap, M.B., Pilkington,
P.D., Ryan, S.M., & Jorm, A.F. (2014). "Parental factors associated
with depression and anxiety in young people: A systematic review and
meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 156, 8-23)
- Remember - Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, and many other people have struggled with depression.