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July 5, 2006 19:45 - Pain Plus Depression Equals Disability -- Especially For Women

Many people who suffer diseases and disorders that cause chronic pain are disabled by their conditions. New evidence shows that depression may be an important factor.

A study published in the European Journal of Pain examined the impact of depression on 260 chronic pain patients at the Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Bath, Somerset. The study was conducted by Dr. Ed Keogh from the Pain Management Unit at the University of Bath.

The research found that emotions influence pain-related behaviors. These behaviors include the number of doctors appointments, how much medication is taken, sleep patterns, and disability.

One interesting finding was that women experience more disability than men in similar situations. Women are also diagnosed with depression more often than men and report higher levels of pain, more frequently than men. Men and women seem to respond differently to treatment for pain with men taking more medication than women. It is unclear why these gender differences occur.

This research suggests that screening for depression in chronic pain patients is very important -- especially for women. When depression is found, it should be treated. If the depression is successfully treated the patient may not find the condition causing the pain to be so disabiling.

My Two Cents Worth

One of the hospitals that I work in has a chronic pain treatment program. Thus, I frequently see patients that are suffering from painful conditions.

Many -- but not all -- of these patients are disabled by their conditions. Most of them are experiencing depression.

When they first enter the program, they do not believe that helping their depression can help their pain. They think that their depression will improve only after their pain is reduced or alleviated.

As treatment progresses they often find -- to their surprise -- that pain is reduced by depression treatment. When the depression gets better, the pain also improves. This shows how much pain is related to your state of mind.

If you experience chronic pain, there is much you can do to help yourself. I encourage you to take control of your life and seek qualified treatment.

There is no guarantee that treatment will keep you from being disabled but your chances of avoiding disability are better with treatment. The more you can maintain a life as normal as possible the better off you will be, physically and emotionally. Those of you who are disabled may find this article interesting.

For source, click here.

July 8, 2006 17:08 - Treating Depression Makes Good Business Sense

Recently a survey was conducted in Australia involving 90,000 employees of the country's 58 largest companines. The survey was conducted by University of Queensland and Harvard University.

The results showed that 6.7 percent of those surveyed were experiencing symptoms of depression.

Another interesting finding was that most of the depressed employees did not seek help for their depression. The reasons for not seeking help were...
  • the belief that one should be able to handle problems on their own
  • and the stigma associated with having a psychological or psychiatric problem such as depression.

These depressed employees costed their companies dearly -- about $9660 per employee. The cost to employers resulted from the employees being less productive, less effective at work and taking more time off.

The purpose of this survey was to learn if identifying depressed employees earily and encouraging them to seek treatment can reduce the cost of depression. Although more research is needed to confirm the impact, data collected so far suggested that the workers' performance improved resulting in the company gaining an average of $7600 annually.

When initially approached about being involved in this study, 200 large companies declined. Now that the benefits to the businesses bottom line is being demonstrated, several are more ready to participate.

My Two Cents Worth

It is important to see how much depression costs businesses. Bussinesses will be motivated to help their employees get help for depression only when it is apparent that doing so makes good business sense.

But there is a more important issue here. What is the cost of depression to individuals? What is the cost to you?

The businesses lost money because the individual employees were less productive. If you are less productive, it not only costs your company; it costs you.

And the economic cost is not the only cost. What about the pain and suffering of depression? What about the loss of good times with family and friends?

The cost of depression is truly enormous and it makes good sense to seek help -- both good economic sense and good personal sense.

To read more about depression treatment click here.

For source, click here.

July 9, 2006 16:24 - Reading, Writing, Arithmatic, And Happiness -- An Innovative New Course For English School Children

Schools in England are offering their students a new course on how to be happy.

Depression, self-harm behavior, and anti-social behavior has been on the uprise among British children -- as it has elsewhere in the world. Statistics show that 10 percent of children in the UK are experiencing symptoms of depression.

Depression is also striking earlier. Reportedly, in 1982 the average age that a person began to experience depression was 30. Today it is 14.

The British have decided to try to tackle the problem with a innovative new course in their state schools. This course will teach children how to increase their happiness.

The course has been designed by University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman. Dr. Seligman has been a leader in the field of positive psychology and the scientific study of happiness. To read more about Dr. Seligman's ideas about how to help depression click here.

By taking the course English school children will learn how to use cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to improve and maintain self-esteem, change negative thinking and clearly communicate their thoughts. They will learn how to not blame themselves for problems that are outside of their control. The students will also learn how to better manage stress that can result from situations such as conflict in the home.

The classes are not only expected to improve the children's behavior but to also help their academic achievement. This instruction -- which has been successful in the US -- has been shown to help children improve class performance and earn better grades.

My Two Cents Worth

What a great idea! I am often asked, as I work with patients in my Transformation Skills Training groups, "Why are kids in school not taught this information? If I had learned these skills as a child I would probably not be having problems now."

I agree. I think every school child should learn how to cope effectively with life's stresses and problems. School is the perfect place to teach coping skills.

Coping skills can also be taught in churches, clubs such as Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and in the home.

Why wait until a child -- or an adult -- is having problems to teach him or her how to recover? It would be better to teach people how to prevent serious problems from developing before they develop.

So to Dr. Seligman and the English school system, I say, "Way to go. Keep up the good work!"

For source, click here.

July 28, 2006 15:02 - Depression Therapy Gone To The Dogs

A recent article published in a Malaysian newsletter caught my eye. The article was about using pets as a way to help depression.

The article was not reporting on a research study. Rather it was a report of the observations of The Malaysian Animal-Assisted Therapy for the Disabled and Elderly Association. This organizitation -- also know as Petpositive -- seeks to promote a higher quality of life and positive living through the power of meaningful companionships between people and animals.

They believe that such relationships can buffer the impact of stress and help reduce depression. They have found that bonding with an animal is especially helpful for the disabled and elderly. To receive benefits a person needs to be actively involved in touching and caring for their pet.

Benefits that have been observed include the following...

  • improved cognitive functioning
  • improved physical functioning
  • enhancement of a sense of well-being
  • reduced loneliness
  • a reduced need for medication
  • increased calmness
  • fewer suicide attempts
  • improved communication
  • increased trust
  • decreased stress and anxiety
  • increased motivation

The organization also pointed out that Animal-Assisted Therapy can be used by most people because pets are inexpensive and accessible to everyone.

My Two Cents Worth

As I lead group discussions with psychiatric patients I often ask the group to brainstorm resources that can be used to provide support and reduce the impact of stress. Almost always someone in the group mentions having and caring for a pet.

Caring for pets seems to have almost a universal appeal. Moreover, it is an enjoyable activity. Therapy does not always have to be hard and painful.

If you are struggling with depression or loneliness, consider getting a pet. It can make a real difference in your life.

To read more about how you can help your depression click here.

For source click here.

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