Identifying signs of depression

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In light of Robin Williams committing suicide, more attention is being focused on depression.

Doctor Nicole Dickens with Vermillion Behavioral Health Systems said depression is an illness that can affect anyone.

“Depression is an equal opportunity affecter. It’s not based off of money, status or ethnicity. It comes for any and everyone,” said Dr. Dickens.

She said there are different stages of depression depending on severity and duration.

“Depression is a major mental illness and it is associated with a great deal of calamity in the workforce and a person’s day to day functioning,” said Dickens.

Many people relate severe distress to depression, but Dickens adds there are many other symptoms associated with the illness.

“People can have elevations in their mood or they can feel apathetic or irritable. In men on the other hand, it can come out as aggression. It’s the same way in children,” said Dickens.

She said also be aware of social media posts. “We see a lot of patients who will come in and make facebook posts or they’ve sent out texts then shy it off like “Oh my bad that’s not what I meant”, said Dickens.

According to Dr. Dickens, there are a number of treatments for depression.

She said it can range from lifestyle changes to medications.

“We’ll look at your appetite, healthy dietary choices, or incorporate exercise. Make sure they have a good social outlet and support systems are there,” said Dickens.

Dickens said it is hard to detect signs of depression but, don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek help.

She said depression is highly under reported.

From 1999 to 2010, there was a thirty percent increase in the rate of suicides and that number is steadily rising.

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