The decorations are long gone. Family and friends are back to their routines. The bills from the holidays have arrived and winter has hit hard with too many short, cold, dark and dreary days. It only takes a few other problems like stress at work and health issues to put you over the edge…
Depression is the most common mental disorder and is twice as common among women as in men. It impacts life in many ways; family, friends, work, play and general health. Symptoms include: fatigue, sleeplessness, decreased appetite, decreased sexual interest, weight change, and constipation. Many of these symptoms are likely to bring an individual to their family physician. Unfortunately, depression is on the increase in the United States. According to the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey, in the 1990’s, 7 million visits to a primary care physician were for the treatment of depression. 10 years later the number doubled.
Recent research is very encouraging and supports the use of laughter and exercise to prevent and treat depression as a powerful adjunct to therapy and medication. While it is important to state that depression is no laughing matter, many mental health professionals support it as a method to confront an unpleasant situation and gain some level of control over it. One study showed that in elderly people who used humor on a regular basis, reported improved satisfaction in life as compared to their less humorous contemporaries.
(based on recent studies)
Sources: LifeScript.com. If you or someone you know is in danger from depression contact the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention at 1-888-333-2377.
Read Dr. Mackarey’s Health & Exercise Forum in the Scranton Times-Tribune – every Monday. Next Week, Part II of II - Exercise to Prevent Depression.
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice in downtown Scranton and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at The Commonwealth Medical College.