Feeling “Sad” is not Depression. Depression is marked with significant distress or impairment to social or occupational daily functioning. Inability to work, socialize or get through routine daily life is not simply “feeling blue” but a serious, yet common, medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, how you think and how you act. It is easily diagnosed, and it is easily treated.
Depression is very common. 38 million Americans struggle with Depression. 38% of lawyers report that they have suffered with Depressive symptoms during their legal career. 9% of New Englanders suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as separate forms of Depression, most of which lasts 40% of the year. The life, productivity and disability lost to Depression will be greater than that of accidents, cancer, stroke or any other health concerns, save heart disease. Depression is the number one problem not only facing Americans in general, but lawyers in particular. The lack of response, the lack of support and the lack of understanding is fueling this senseless epidemic.
If you think you may have an issue with Depression, please consider contacting your primary medical doctor or NHLAP to explore your options. There is no reason to suffer with Depression. There is help. All inquiries to NHLAP are 100% confidential.
5 or More Symptoms Lasting at LEast 2 weeks
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day
- Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in most activities most of the day, nearly every day
- Significant weight loss when not dieting or significant weight gain
- Slowing down of thought and physical movement
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day
- Feelings of worthlessness of excessive guilt nearly every day
- Recurrent thoughts of deathm suicidal ideation without a specific plan or a specific plan for suicide or a suicide attempt
Treatment of Depression
- Medication: FDA approved medication for SAD are SSRIs which are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, which help more serotonin move from synapse to synapse increasing a positive mood (Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, etc.) and Bupropion, which is often used as an add-on to SSRIs when they provide an incomplete response (Wellbutrin, Zyban, etc.);
- Light Therapy: Electric lights of 10,000 lux of cool, white fluorescent light for 20-60 minutes every morning. Replenishes natural light lost during the winter months;
- Psychotherapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) which identifies negative thoughts and replaces them with positive thoughts and positive behavioral activities that stimulate a dopamine response ("feel good" hormones) to naturally elevate mood.
Exercise: Moderate intensity exercise produces endorphins- chemicals in the brain that act as natural mood lifters. Exercise also supports brain nerve cell growth in the hippocampus, the region that helps regulate mood, improving nerve cell connections and relieving symptoms of depression.