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Dottie Perry
Dottie Perry
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Junk Food and a Pain in the Neck: Identifying Causes of Depression

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About nine-and-a-half percent of the adult population of the U.S. suffers from depression. About 121 million people worldwide are affected by depressive disorders. Twice as many women as men are affected. I learned these statistics recently as I researched whether to recommend a client see a psychiatrist for depression. It appeared to me that he was undergoing a negative shift in personality and mindset during the time that I'd been representing him. His spouse confirmed the accuracy of my observations and attributed the new and gradually increasing symptoms of depression in my client to the limitations caused by his back injury. Working, walking, sitting, standing, sleeping and everything in between were either limited or made completely impossible by the symptoms of his injury. His entire family suffered as a result of his depressed mentality.

I readily admit that before I researched getting my client some help, I did not know that simple pain could cause depression. Despite having two siblings who practice in the field of psychology, I had never learned much about the connection between physical and mental health. I quickly found out that, according to Professor David Goldberg of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, patients with chronic diseases have a rate of depression three times higher than normal. Illness is not the only trigger for depression. According to the Mayo Clinic, a junk food diet has also been linked to depression. Though it is only indirect, I was shocked to find that there is an indirect link between caffeine intake and instances of depression. I was not, however, shocked to read that "toxic relationships" can cause depression. Who hasn't suffered through one or two of those??

I also didn't know how many types of depression have been identified and diagnosed by modern psychotherapy. Equally numerous are the the variety of treatments for depression. Luckily, as evidenced by the links in this post, there is an abundant amount of information published online by reputable medical institutions related to depression. The trick is to USE that information to get a diagnosis and treatment as early as possible, to mitigate the effect of depression on those suffering from it, and on their families. My client's wife was certainly happy to hear that there was something she and her family could do to actively fight the effect my client's chronic pain was having on both his mental health and all of their lives.

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  1. Anne says:
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    I appreciate you highlighting this pervasive issue that many of our family members, friends and neighbors struggle with daily. Although chronic pain is one factor that can bring on depressive symptoms, it is important that you pointed out an unhealthy lifestyle can also impact one’s mood. Surprisingly, the age that we are seeing depression diagnosed is younger and younger! Thanks for the thoughtful reminder that seeking treatment early can increase a person’s chance at winning the battle against depression.