Enterate En Español - Depresión, Dr. Pablo Hernández, Boston Medical Center Health Net Plan
Depression is when you feel sad or down most of the time. It’s different from normal feelings of sadness, grief or low energy. It is not a passing mood like “feeling blue”.
Depression can affect how well you take care of other medical conditions you might have like diabetes or asthma.
Many people, and sometimes their families, may feel embarrassed or ashamed about having depression. It is important to remember that depression affects the young and old, men and women, all ethnic groups, and all professions. Don’t let these feelings stand in the way of getting treatment.
The good news is depression is treatable and people with depression can feel better with treatment. If you think you may be depressed, tell your doctor. Depression can be treated and treatment can help you enjoy life again. The sooner you get treatment, the sooner you will feel better.
Depression isn’t a personal weakness or a character flaw. When you have depression, chemicals in your brain are out of balance and that affects how you feel.
A combination of family history (your genes) and stressful life events may cause depression. Just because you have a family member with depression or have stressful life events doesn’t mean you’ll get depression. Some people get depressed don’t even know the reason.
• About 19 million people per year suffer from depression
• 1 in 4 women will have depression during their lifetime
• 1 in 7 men will have depression during their lifetime
• 1 in 10 women will have depression in the few months after having a baby. This is called post partum depression
• Older Hispanic adults and Hispanic youth may be more vulnerable to depression because of the stresses of immigration and adapting to the culture.
• Latino youth have more feelings of sadness and hopelessness than whites (36% versus 26%) and more attempt suicide (10% versus 6% of whites) attempt suicide more than whites.
Symptoms of depression can vary from one person to the next. You do not need to have all these symptoms to be depressed; however here are some symptoms of depression:
• Feeling worried
• Feeling restless or nervous
• Feeling guilty, worthless, or hopeless
• Feeling “empty”
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Eating too little or too much
• Loss of energy
• Loss of interest or pleasure in things you like to do
• Having problems thinking or making decisions
• Having health problems that don’t get better, such as headaches or stomach aches
• Having thoughts of death and suicide
• Significant weight loss or gain, (greater than 5% of your body weight)
Latinos may mistake depression for nervousness, tiredness or a physical ailment, and may think it is temporary.
Ask yourself these two questions:
• Over the past two weeks have you had little interest or pleasure in doing things?
• Over the past two weeks have you felt down, depressed or hopeless?
If you answered yes to either or both of these questions:
• Talk to your primary care doctor or nurse
• If you have thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, call 911 or got to the emergency room to get help right away.
Most people who have depression get
better with counseling, medication, or both.
• Counseling can be done individually or in a group and can help improve your mood. It can also help you figure out what brings on your depression and help you find ways to get better.
• Medication: there are different types of medicines to help with depression. Your doctor or nurse will work with you to choose the one that is right for you.
• Among Hispanics with a mental disorder, fewer than 1 in 11 contact a mental health specialist, while fewer than 1 in 5 contact general health care providers. Even fewer Hispanic immigrants seek these mental health services. (8)
• While Latinos use mental health services less than the general population, rates of mental health service use among Latinos have increased
• Many Hispanics/ Latinos rely on their extended family, community, traditional healers, and/or churches for help during a mental health crisis
It usually takes a few weeks (between 4 to 8) before you start to feel better. Your doctor may need to adjust, change or add medicine to help you. It is really important to take your medicine exactly how the doctor ordered it to be taken. Do not stop taking your medication….be sure to let your doctor know how you are feeling or if you have any side effects. Medications can be changed or adjusted.
Most people will be on antidepressants for at least 6 months. Some people may need to be on antidepressants longer.
Post partum depression is not the “baby blues”. The symptoms of the “baby blues” normally occur for a few minutes up to a few hours each day. These symptoms should lessen and disappear within fourteen days after delivery. Some symptoms of “baby blues” include:
• Weepiness or crying for no apparent reason