Tag Archives: depression

QUIZ – Would You Be Able to Identify Depression?

Depression is a prevalent mental and physical health condition sweeping the nation (and the globe), affecting hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Many people who are depressed do not seek the diagnosis or treatment they may need to help them recover. It is important to be able to recognize the different forms of depression in yourself or a loved one so you can help combat it. Let’s take a look at how well you know depression:


Try to match the appropriate age/gender group with the commonly associated symptoms of depression:

1) May stop taking care of physical appearance, experiences more physical symptoms and stop taking critical medications.

2) May seem irritable and exhibit violent or reckless behavior. May also lose interest in favorite hobbies or job.

3) May develop regular headaches or stomach aches, may seem distant and irritable. May turn to a crutch like the internet.

4) Usually have overwhelming feelings of guilt, hopelessness and low self worth. More likely to overeat and sleep more.

A)Men                          B) Women                          C) Older citizens                                D) Teenagers


5) Depression is a classified as an anxiety disorder.

6) Depression can also manifest itself with physical symptoms and health complaints such as aches and pains, headaches, a bad back and fatigue.

7) There are different types of depression.

8) Almost 7% of the American population struggles with some form of depression.

9) Both someone who is grieving and shortly feels better and someone who intermittently feels “blue” would fall under the category of medically depressed.



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1) C – older citizens often give up essential medications, feel strong physical symptoms and stop taking care of their appearances when depressed.

2) A – men manifest depression differently than women. Often they show more aggression, frustration and anger.

3) D – teenagers who are depressed are more likely to seem distant and irritable, and complain of headaches or routine stomach aches.

4) B – Women tend toward strong feelings of worthlessness, guilt and hopelessness. They are also more likely to overeat and oversleep, as well as experience fatigue.

5) FALSE. While depression does share many traits with anxiety disorders such as GAD, it is classified under the DSM as a mood disorder. However, recent studies have proven that major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder have strong neurological roots as well, which suggests it is either a psychiatric disorder with neurological traits, or vice versa.

6) TRUE. Most people who are depressed will exhibit at least some physical symptoms, as well as diet or weight changes, insomnia and concentration problems.

7) TRUE. There are different types of depressive disorders such as bipolar disorder (depression mixed with bouts of hyperactivity or mania), dysthymia (mild depression that recurs), atypical depression and major depressive disorder.

8) TRUE. According to the ADAA, depression affects over 15 million Americans, or 6.7%.

8) FALSE. Everyone gets “blue” or sad sometimes or grieves over a tragic life event such as a friend dying, however being clinically depressed is more  pervasive than one bout of reactive sadness (unless that sadness fails to pass for months) or simply feeling down every once in a while. Depression is an all-encompassing disorder that affects neurotransmitters in the brain, physical parts of the body and often involves negative feelings that are so intense they feel nearly impossible to battle without help. It is important to know the difference.

Feel free to check out our quizzes on alcohol abuse next. Thanks for visiting DocChat!


6 Scary Reasons for Men To Stop Avoiding the Doc (Part 2)

Men simply don’t visit the doctor enough and the proof is in the disease statistics. In Part 1 we looked at the prevalence of heart disease, stroke and cancer among men, so now for a look at depression, diabetes and sexually transmitted diseases:

  1. Depression

Over 6 million American men will struggle with depression annually but unfortunately, statistics show that men are far less likely to seek help for their depression than women. Moreover, depression often doesn’t present the same way between the sexes. The American Psychological Association explains that while women are more likely to battle feelings of guilt, sadness, worthlessness and shame, for men, depression manifests itself as anger (sometimes even episodes of verbal or physical abuse), irritation, lack of motivation, life or job dissatisfaction, and loss of interest in usual activities. Men are also more likely to dangerously self medicate with recreational drugs or alcohol, which compounds the depression, as alcohol is a depressant. It is extremely important for men who are noticing some of these symptoms to go to the doctor and speak up about it to get help. Untreated depression in men can lead to other complications such as sexual dysfunction, job loss, alcohol dependence or even suicidal thoughts (or actions). So see your doctor ASAP if you are experiencing depression symptoms.

  1. Diabetes

More and more men these days are developing diabetes and other kidney problems like chronic kidney disease. Of the 29 million Americans with diabetes, a shocking 25% of those don’t even know they have it. Excess alcohol consumption (which is more prevalent with men as well) and poor diet are both contributing factors to diabetes. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Too much alcohol can cause chronic inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis), which can impair its ability to secrete insulin and ultimately lead to diabetes.” Excess alcohol consumption can also contribute to virtually all of the other diseases on our list as well, so it is important to keep alcohol intake under about 2 drinks daily for men.


  1. Sexually Transmitted Disease

Sexually transmitted infections are rampant in America for both men and women, but as many men don’t get screened as regularly, they may not even realize they are silently carrying STIs that can cause harm to both themselves and their partners. Some of the main culprits for men include:

  • HPV – The vast majority of sexually active people will contract a form of the human papilloma virus. While most types are harmless and won’t cause problems, other types can lead to terrible warts or even cancer. Men are often carriers of HPV and pass it to women who man go on to develop precancerous cells or other reproductive issues.
  • Herpes – Nearly 20% of men will contract some type of herpes, most of whom will be under 25 years of age. Herpes is quite an unpleasant disease that can lead to terrible blisters, fever and swollen lymph nodes.
  • HIV – Perhaps the most frightening of all STDs is HIV, which often leads to life-threatening AIDS. HIV can lay dormant for years before developing into AIDS or causing other health problems.
  • Hepatitis B and C – are conditions that cause inflammation of the liver and can be passed from person to person via sexual contact. If left untreated, hepatitis can lead to permanent liver damage or even liver cancer.

There are many other STDs that commonly affect men, including chlamydia and syphilis, so it is important to get regular checkups and screenings to catch and treat any STDs early to avoid future complications or the risk of passing the disease to a partner.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Hopefully some of these scary statistics really hammered home how important it is to attend regular checkups, whether or not you feel sick. If you have any questions or concerns about the health problems listed above (or any other ones), our board certified DocChat doctors are standing by 24/7/365.




Can Diet Help Ease Symptoms of Depression?

Can diet cure depression? Certainly not, clinical depression is a complex and serious health condition that is most often treated with a combination of medication, therapy and lifestyle changes. However, as with many chronic or intermittent health conditions, diet does play a big part in worsening or bettering illness. Certain ‘mood-boosting’ foods have shown promise in helping ease some of the symptoms of mild depressive disorder.

So, How Does Diet Come In To the Picture?

Lifestyle can play a big part when it comes to any illness, particularly exercise and diet. While exercise can be just as influential in helping ease depression by releasing mood-boosting endorphins, we will focus on diet for now. As we mentioned, depression is a complex health issue that is activated by a myriad of different factors, one of those factors being the brain’s release of abnormal levels of certain neurochemicals like serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Depression can also be heavily influenced by hormones like cortisol, a stress hormone. While there is no one “super depression food” that can singlehandedly combat the illness, eating certain healthy foods together can help by replenishing depleted nutrient levels (which can also affect mood), boosting energy and activating the release of ‘happy chemicals’ in the brain which can help combat the effects of excess cortisol. Some of these foods include:

  1. Antioxidant-rich eats: antioxidants help combat free radicals, which are part of normal bodily processes but can lead to disease and disorder within the body (especially the brain) when they over replicate. Foods rich in antioxidants include: blueberries, leafy greens, orange fruits and veggies (thanks to beta carotene), and green tea, just to name a few.
  2. Complex carbs for a complex condition: when your body metabolizes complex or “smart” carbs (not simple carbs like cookies), the brain releases the mood-boosting neurochemical serotonin which can help naturally, albeit temporarily, elevate a low mood.
  3. Protein is your pal: protein notoriously boosts energy, giving your body (brain included!) the pick-up it needs to avoid the debilitating fatigue and lethargy commonly associated with depression, as well as better regulate chemicals and hormonal processes in the body. Moreover, amino acids (which are found in many protein-rich foods such as meat and fish) like tryptophan also boost your serotonin levels.

  4. Nuts, seeds and legumes: Think Mediterranean and your brain will thank you. Medical research has drawn a link between lower levels of both B12 and folate in depressed individuals, so it stands to reason that increasing these nutrients may help fight or stave off depression symptoms (but before you reach for any supplements, talk to your doctor). High concentrations of both can be found in many Mediterranean-esque foods such as beans, legumes, fish and leafy greens.

These are just a few of the diet tweaks that may give your body the goodies it needs to help gently ease some of the symptoms of depression. Low levels of vitamin D have also been linked to depression, and increasing omega-3 fatty acids and chromium have shown promise in helping alleviate at least some of the weight of depression. Aside from a healthy diet and plenty of exercise, it is important to take any prescribed medications and attend necessary therapy sessions to help combat the troublesome affliction. Thanks for visiting DocChat! We hope you return again soon!



Clinical Depression – So Much More Than ‘The Blues’

Somehow in our modern, rapidly progressing world, there still remains a cloud of stigma hanging over those who suffer from mental health conditions. This prejudice is founded on ignorance, so the best way to combat ignorance? Facts, education and awareness. Because of said ignorance, many people think of depression in completely the wrong terms. They may perceive a loved one’s diagnosis of clinical depression to be nothing more than a spell of ‘the blues’. Asking the sufferer, why can’t you just snap out of it? Well believe us, people who struggle with depressive disorder are so sick of hearing these tired clichés, and simply want their health condition to be as widely accepted and understood as physical conditions like diabetes are.

So What is Depressive Disorder?

Depression in itself, a short bout of sadness and despair caused by the loss of a loved one or another acutely troubling event, is encountered by nearly everyone at some point in life. A depressive disorder, however, go far beyond a short period of sadness. Depressive disorders, also known as clinical depression, last more than 2 weeks but often lasts much longer. It can range from intermittent waves of despair, guilt and hopelessness, to an all-encompassing physiological condition, affecting the brain as well as the rest of the body. Untreated major depression may lead to self-harm, or suicidal thoughts or tendencies which can be life-threatening if left unattended.

What Causes Depression?

Depression is a serious health condition resulting from neurochemical changes in the brain, but is most often caused by combination of factors including: nutrient deficiencies, the inability to cope with devastating events or circumstances, a chronic or life-threatening illness, genetics, hormonal imbalances, medication (such as certain severe acne treatments) or chronic stress, to name a few.

What Symptoms Does Depression Cause?

As with almost any illness, symptoms of clinical depression vary from person to person, however some of the most commonly experienced symptoms include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, apathy, distress or emptiness
  • An ever-present ‘blue mood’ that you often can’t shake off
  • Mood or personality changes such as becoming more easily irritable or angry
  • Newfound insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Loss of interest in things you normally enjoy such as hobbies, work or love life
  • Fixation on negative thoughts
  • Loss of desire to engage in social activities
  • Or reliving past failures, constantly blaming yourself for things that weren’t your fault
  • Weight loss or weight gain (sometimes loss of interest in food)
  • Generalized pain or discomfort, limb or back pain
  • Psychomotor changes
  • Concentration and focus problems
  • Thoughts of self-harm or death

Is Depression Treatable?

Thankfully, yes! Depression is a highly treatable condition that almost always responds well to a combination of medical and therapeutic treatments and lifestyle changes. There is a wide range of medications available today to successfully treat depression. Unfortunately, people often don’t seek help when depressed, and if you don’t seek help, depression could get worse and worse. Undiagnosed or untreated major depressive disorder can be very dangerous, so if you have any of the above-listed symptoms it is very important to talk to your doctor soon about a treatment plan that best suits your condition.

Stay tuned for our next post where we will be taking a look at how diet changes may help alleviate some of the symptoms of depression. For more mental health resources check out our article: Sobering Statistics About Mental Health Thanks for visiting DocChat!

Seasonal Depression: When Winter Brings The Blues

What is SAD?

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), also known as winter or seasonal depression, is a form of depression which comes in and goes out with a particular season, usually winter. According to Mental Health America, SAD is classified as a mood disorder.  One if its main causes is seasonal variation in natural light which upsets the body’s circadian rhythm.


Some of the symptoms of SAD include: persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety or moodiness, weight gain, headaches, sexual problems, social anxiety, over-sleeping, and fatigue.  Approximately 10% of SAD sufferers feel depressed in the summer and may experience some different symptoms than winter sufferers, which can include insomnia, weight loss, and loss of appetite.  WebMD states that various symptoms of SAD correlate with other types of depression as well, but one that appears unique to winter-onset SAD is a tenacious craving for heavy carbohydrates such as pastas.

The Stats

According to Everyday Health, nearly 500,000 Americans suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder. While anyone can suffer from SAD, there is a greater prevalence among women, people between the ages of 15 and 55, and people who may have a genetic predisposition for depression. The majority of those who suffer from SAD live far away from the equator, where the days shorten during winter months and exposure to sunlight is reduced.

Light Therapy

The most common form of therapy for SAD sufferers is light therapy. This includes using specialized lightboxes which contain different wavelengths of light rays to simulate sunlight. Another common type of light therapy is a dawn simulator, a special light programmed to gradually increase in intensity during morning hours, simulating the sun setting. While artificial light therapy is great for those with limited access to sunlight, one study found that during winter months, walking for an hour in the sunlight was equivalent to two and a half hours under bright artificial lights.

Other Treatment Options

Similar to other types of depression, regular exercise is recommended for people with SAD. Outdoor exercise is targeted as especially beneficial, as working out in natural sunlight will help the person two-fold. Other useful therapies include relaxation techniques, talking with a therapist, and in some cases the use of anti-depressants is necessary during the affecting season.

How SAD is Diagnosed

If you are suffering from similar symptoms discussed in this blog and are wondering if you may have SAD, it is important to visit your doctor (or speak to one of our highly qualified DocChat physicians) today so they can perform a mental health assessment to determine if you may be suffering from SAD or another form of depression.

Five Health Risks Associated With Depression


Depression does not only affect your cognitive health, but also your physical health. Untreated depression can trigger several health complications, ranging from heart disease to digestive disorders. Here are the top 5 health risks associated with depression:

1. Heart Disease

Heart disease is one of the most common health problems noted in people suffering from depression. When a depressed person experiences some form of heart disease, it can make them miserable. According to medical experts, when depression is coupled with heart disease, the patient’s lifespan can decrease considerably. Besides getting treatment for your depression, engaging in exercise can help you counter the depression and maintain a good heart health.

2. Digestive Disorder

Depression can lead to digestive disorder by negatively impacting your appetite. Depressed individuals have the tendency to eat too much. Increase in weight can lead to obesity, which can in turn trigger diseases like type 2 diabetes. It has also been noted that some depressed people experience loss of appetite and eat very little food. These people can suffer from stomach spasms, stomach pain, undernourishment and constipation.

3. Diabetes

Depressed individuals face a hard time maintaining healthy eating and exercising habits. This can make them susceptible to diabetes. Studies suggest that people with diabetes are prone to become even more depressed. Meanwhile, researchers have yet to unveil the correlation between the two factors, however, it has been established that one of these disorders can increase the intensity of the other.

4. Obesity

Depression can also make the patient more vulnerable to obesity, which can further aggravate the condition. Studies have unveiled that depressed people fail to understand the long-lasting health benefits of maintaining good health habits, such as cutting down on sugary foods and exercising regularly. Thus, they continue eating unhealthy foods without noticing increase in their weight.

5. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis has also found to be a major health risk associated with depression. According to experts, both older and younger women suffering from depression are more at risk of contracting osteoporosis, a serious health condition that makes the bones weaker and may lead to bone fracture. Researchers say that depression has the tendency to decrease calcium and other mineral deposits from the bones, which may result in lower bone mass. As you age, and the depression gets worse, the bone mass can further weaken and you may experience a bone fracture. It has also been found that the use of anti-depression medications for longer periods can also trigger osteoporosis.

Depression is a condition that is extremely common but unfortunately is not taken that seriously. However, as indicated above, it can give rise to some serious problems. So if you have depression or similar symptoms, get in touch with us today so we can help you overcome this condition.