“It was by chance that an incorrect telephone number led me to telephone Amber Clinic, which was to change my life from the misery I have experienced for the past 22 years. A lady “Alma” who was so gentle and listened to me without making any judgement, answered me. An appointment was made for me to attend in five days time which, though excited, made me a little apprehensive. For the past 22 years I have gone to numerous Doctors, Clinics etc., but have never received any help like the attention which I received from this first telephone call.
I nervously met with Alma on my first appointment, explained how stupid I felt but was astounded by the way Alma did not judge me, nor agree with me, but ensured I left her clinic feeling like a new woman – looking forward to the future and feeling somebody did eventually understand my troubles and did not judge me, but understood exactly what I was saying.
A total feeling of calmness and serenity has from day one been with me and, to-date, I have had three appointments with Alma and can always see the light at the end of the tunnel instead of the black tunnel, which has been with me for the past 22 years.
I highly recommend Alma and the Amber Clinic and, not only have I met someone who has changed my life for the better, but also a true friend in Alma. I would like to thank Alma for all her help and assistance and wish her every success for the future.”
Gillian Hampton – Rhode
What is Depression?
Everyone goes through an occasional glum spell; that’s normal. Depression is gloom that goes on for weeks or months…you can’t seem to pull yourself out of it. Depression saps the life out of you, making it difficult to go about your normal activities and get through the day. It renders previously enjoyable activities dull and uninteresting and takes the joy out of living.
A depressive disorder affects your whole being… the way you eat, sleep, and think. The condition is not a sign of personal weakness, and it can’t be wished away. Depressed people can’t just pull themselves out of it. Without treatment, serious symptoms can last weeks, months, or years. Having a depressive disorder affects your work, friends, and family, too.
Normal sadness or grieving is not depression. Don’t worry if your child occasionally feels blue or down in the dumps. Life has its ups and downs, and it’s normal for children to grieve over a loss or feel sad for a few hours or days at a time. But if his melancholy lasts for more than a couple of weeks or seems to interfere with his regular activities and relationships, he may be clinically depressed.
Depression is far more than a temporary change in mood; it’s marked by a prolonged sense of hopelessness and a lack of energy and enthusiasm that can last for weeks, months, or (in rare cases) even years at a time.
Women are more than twice as likely as men to become depressed. If you’re a woman, chances are one in four that you’ll go through an episode of depression at least once. If you’re a man, the odds are one in ten. You’re also more likely to suffer depression if a parent or other close relative did, since depression often runs in families.
If you think you or your loved one is suffering from depression consult with your medical health practitioner.
Depression and Children…
Decades ago when today’s parents were still children, parents might have dismissed very real signs of depression as sulkiness or chronic moodiness. Today it’s know that depression can affect even young children, and sometimes it can follow them throughout their lives.
Adolescent girls are twice as likely to suffer from depression as boys their age. By recognising the signs, you can help your child through a dark time, even if you don’t know what’s causing it.
It might seem logical that the most obvious symptom of depression would be sadness, but many depressed children say they don’t feel sad or gloomy. Interestingly, one of the key signs of depression in children is chronic irritability. Children may be depressed if they have trouble getting along with other kids and family members or have dramatic swings in mood. Other signs of depression include lack of energy, inability to concentrate, poor performance in school, a sense of hopelessness and helplessness, and frequent complaints about physical ailments like headaches or stomach aches.
Depression often goes hand in hand with other physical and mental health problems. Some children may be depressed because of a chronic illness, such as diabetes. A youngster who has an eating disorder or a substance abuse problem, as well as children who are constantly defiant, disagreeable, and getting into trouble with authorities, may also suffer from depression.
If your child exhibits any symptoms of depression, ask yourself three questions: is this behaviour new? Is it long lasting (going on for several weeks or more)? Are the symptoms interfering with his ability to function at home, in school, or with his friends?
If you answer yes to any of those questions, you should probably have your child evaluated by a child or adolescent psychologist, psychiatrist, or other licensed mental health professional trained to work with children and adolescents.
Studies indicate that one in four teenagers seriously contemplate suicide, and one in 10 try to kill themselves. Girls are more likely to try suicide, but boys, who tend to choose more violent methods, are more likely to succeed. Be especially concerned if your child begins giving away treasured possessions or stops talking about his future. If you suspect he may be considering suicide, get help immediately.
By recognising your child is depressed early on and by seeking treatment you can help him or her find the skills to get it under control. And if depression runs in the family, it can also help you and others get the same help.
Types of Depression…
The different types vary by the symptoms, severity, and persistence.
Major depression is a combination of symptoms (see the list below) that are disabling and make daily functioning extremely difficult if not impossible.
Dysthymia is marked by chronic symptoms (see the list below) that aren’t disabling. You never feel you can function fully and never have sustained periods of feeling good.
Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness) is less common than depression and involves cycles of depression and elation. The change in mood is usually gradual, though it can be rapid. Bipolar disorder is often a recurring condition.
Depression can be triggered by a traumatic event, such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job. Or it can appear spontaneously, without any obvious reason. Researchers aren’t sure whether malfunctioning neurotransmitters (brain chemicals that regulate mood) cause depression or whether it’s changes in mood that affect brain chemistry. Some types of depression are present in families over generations. Generally, a combination of psychological, environmental, and genetic factors is involved in a depressive disorder.
Depression is still not completely understood, but it’s believed to be caused by a combination of biological and environmental factors. Many people who are depressed have a family history of depression or other mental illness. A child who has one depressed parent, for example, has a 25 percent to 50 percent chance of suffering depression himself. If both parents have had problems with the disease, his chance goes up to 75 percent.
But depression is based on more than just genes. Traumatic life events… abandonment; violence in the family; chronic problems in school; a difficult move; or physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect at home, school, or by other trusted carers… often trigger depression. Sometimes a loss such as the death of a beloved pet, a loved one, or parents’ separation, can result in depression as well as grieving.
They may not know the exact cause, but scientists do know that depression is related to changes in brain chemistry. The specific changes involve chemicals called neurotransmitters, which help relay messages from one nerve cell to another. When there is a drop in certain neurotransmitters, the brain doesn’t function normally, leading to depression and other forms of mental illness.
You’re probably depressed if for two weeks or longer you experience at least five of the following symptoms every day for most of the day…
• Overwhelming sadness, anxiety, or “empty” feelings
• Hopelessness and pessimism
• Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
• Loss of interest in normal activities such as eating and sex; lack of enjoyment in activities that used to be pleasurable
• Trouble making decisions, remembering, and concentrating
• Changes in sleep patterns… usually waking extra early or difficulty falling asleep, but sometimes oversleeping
• Loss of appetite and possibly weight, or overeating and weight gain
• Fatigue, loss of energy, lack of motivation
• Feeling irritable and restless or slow and lethargic
• Thoughts of suicide or death
• Recurrent physical symptoms, such as chronic pain, headaches, or digestive disorders, that don’t go away with treatment
• In addition, depression can cause you to withdraw from friends and family (a young person may act rebellious or antisocial) or to lose touch with reality (in an older person, depression may resemble dementia).
Symptoms of bipolar disorder may include…
• Inappropriate elation
• Inappropriate irritability
• Severe insomnia
• Disconnected and racing thoughts
• Grandiose notions
• Inappropriate social behaviour
• Dramatic increases in energy
• Dramatic increases in talking
Depression is not something to be taken lightly and should be reported to you local general health practitioner.