Susan Lennon MSW, LCSW Content Strategist
Communications Consultant
Specializing in Thought Leadership and B2B/B2C Marketing Communications

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View Original as PDF
Depression Often Accompanies Other Illnesses
USA Weekend Magazine, November 6, 2005
by Susan T. Lennon

This ran as a sidebar to Lorraine Bracco's story about her experiences with depression - as you'll see on the pdf. I'm including some additional information for interested readers.  

If you have a serious illness, you may also be depressed. Not the natural “blue” feelings associated with loss of functioning, but true clinical depression – which has everything to do with brain biochemistry and nothing to do with weakness, according to Donnica Moore, MD, women’s health expert. Many scientific studies reveal that depression and disease often co-exist, each making the other worse.

You’re especially at risk if you have:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease
  • Infertility
  • Pain syndromes (e.g., fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, low back pain)
  • Stroke

And/or take these medications:

  • Acyclovir – shingles and herpes
  • Anticonvulsants – epileptic seizures
  • Benzodiazepines – anxiety and insomnia
  • Beta blockers – heart problems, including high blood pressure, chest pain caused by angina; migraines
  • Calcium-channel blockers – high blood pressure, chest pain, congestive heart failure
  • Corticosteroids – skin disorders, allergies, asthma, lupus; prevent transplant rejection
  • Estrogens – menopause symptoms; osteoporosis
  • Fluoroquinolone antibiotics – respiratory tract infections
  • Histamine H2-receptor antagonists – duodenal ulcers; heartburn, acid indigestion, sour stomach
  • HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors (statins) – high cholesterol; prevent heart attacks
  • Interferon – certain cancers and chronic, active hepatitis B
  • Isotretinoin – severe acne
  • Methyldopa – high blood pressure
  • Progestins – birth control
  • Sulfonamides – infections

Talk to your doctor if you’ve experienced five or more of these symptoms over two or more weeks:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
  • Sleeping too much or too little, middle of the night or early morning waking
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain
  • Loss of pleasure and interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

Treatment can help both your depression and your recovery from the co-existing disease.

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