Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on February 1, 2014
Depression is a serious, debilitating illness that’s also one of the most commonly-diagnosed mental disorders. When you’re first diagnosed, you may feel both relief (finally, a name for your pain) and overwhelmed (what the heck do you do next?).
Depression is now considered common, affecting about 340 million people worldwide. Although treatable, about half of all cases of depression go undiagnosed and unaddressed. Situational sadness is a typical and normal reaction to events, such as a recent loss, and is simply part of the human experience. Rather than suppress situational sadness, it is best to work through these periods with help from friends, psychotherapists or counselors. A more serious medical diagnosis is clinical depression – it can also be triggered by a recent loss or other sad event, but then grows out of proportion to the situation and persists longer than is appropriate, affecting emotional health. Clinical depression often requires other forms of treatment in addition to counseling and therapy.
One in 10 Americans say they have depression. Learn about depression facts and figures, find out who is at risk, and see beyond the numbers.
Latinas are one group most likely to suffer from clinical depression.
Depression can strike anyone, regardless of age, gender, or ethnicity, but when it comes to rates of depression, women fare worse than men, and Latinas are at an even higher risk of clinical depression when compared to non-Hispanic white women.
Much of the gender disparity can be attributed to how differently men and women respond to stress in their lives.
Depression in Latinos is a serious issue despite the cultural belief the condition is minor.
Latinos are more likely than other ethnicities to experience a major depressive episode, according to data from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). But when it comes to depression in Latinos, not only are there barriers to proper care, but there is also a certain stigma surrounding depression–and mental illness in general.
The research is in. What you put in your mouth can provide a nice boost to your mood, or make you not to fun to be around. Researchers think brain foods such as those containing omega 3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and important amino acids like tryptophan cause changes to some fats in brain membranes, helping certain chemicals to pass through. That’s what happened in the laboratory rats in a study at McLean Hospital, explains Chris Illiades, M.D., in a recent Everyday Health article.
Both David Burns (bestselling author of “Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy“ and Abraham Low (founder of Recovery, Inc.) teach techniques to analyze negative thoughts (or identify distorted thinking — what psychologists call “cognitive distortions”) so to be able to disarm and defeat them. This is one of the major precepts of cognitive behavioral therapy.
Since Low’s language is a bit out-dated, I list below Burns’ “Ten Forms of Twisted Thinking,” (adapted from his “Feeling Good” book, a classic read) categories of dangerous ruminations, that when identified and brought into your consciousness, lose their power over you. They have been helpful in my recovery from depression and anxiety. After I identify them, I consult his 15 Ways to Untwist Your Thinking.