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Bodybuilding Can Help You Beat Some Forms Of Depression.

Depression comes in many forms but all affect your life in one way or the other... There are several steps you can take to fight back against mild forms of depression. Luckily, weightlifting is one of them. Find out more.

Article Summary:
  • Depression is typically chronic and can drastically impair a person's life.
  • Depression can be reliably diagnosed in primary care.
  • Depression is common, affecting about 121 million people worldwide.
  • dot
    Bodybuilding Can Help You Beat Some Forms Of Depression

    Depression comes in many forms but all affect your life in one way or the other, either temporarily or over a longer period of time. And, the current world events, war, aftermath of the mortgage crisis and stock market plunge are enough to make anyone melancholy. There are several steps you can take to fight back against mild forms of depression. Luckily, weightlifting is one of them.

    What Is Depression?

    Depression is a common mental disorder. Though the severity and symptoms of depression vary from person to person, they often include some or all of the following: persistent sad mood, irritability, loss of interest or pleasure in life events, poor concentration, sleep irregularities, low energy and low self worth.

    Unlike a fleeting sad day, depression is typically chronic or recurrent and can drastically impair a person's life. Major bouts of depression can lead to suicide, which claims approximately 850,000 lives yearly.

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    Depression Is A Common Mental Disorder.

    Unlike some diseases that affect certain groups of people more than others, depression can occur in anyone, at any age and from any background. Depression falls into several clinical diagnoses. Here are some common forms:

    dot Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): dot

      Seasonal Affective Disorder has symptoms that are seen with any major depressive episode. It is the recurrence of the symptoms during certain seasons that is the hallmark of this type of depression.

      Like many people, you may develop cabin fever during the winter months. Or you may find yourself eating more or sleeping more when the temperature drops and darkness falls earlier. While those are common and normal reactions to the changing seasons, people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) experience a much more serious reaction when summer shifts to fall and on to winter.

    Cabin Fever:
    Cabin fever is an idiomatic term for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in, for an extended period. Symptoms include restlessness, irritability, forgetfulness, laughter, and excessive sleeping.

      With seasonal affective disorder, fall's short days and long nights may trigger feelings of depression, lethargy, fatigue and other problems. Don't brush this off as simply a case of the "winter blues" that you have to tough out on your own.

      Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression, and it can severely impair your daily life. That said, treatment - which may include light box therapy - can help you successfully manage seasonal affective disorder. You don't have to dread the dawning of each fall or winter.

      Seasonal affective disorder is a cyclic, seasonal condition. This means that signs and symptoms usually come back and go away at the same times every year.

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    People With Seasonal Affective Disorder Experience A
    Serious Reaction When Summer Shifts To Fall And On To Winter.

      Usually, seasonal affective disorder symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the warmer, sunnier days of spring and summer. But some people have the opposite pattern, developing seasonal affective disorder with the onset of spring or summer. In either case, problems may start out mild and become more severe as the season progresses.

    dot Postpartum Depression: dot

      Postpartum Depression is a type of depression that can occur in women who have recently given birth. It typically occurs in the first few months after delivery, but can happen within the first year after giving birth. The symptoms are those seen with any major depressive episode.

      Often, postpartum depression interferes with the mother's ability to bond with her newborn. It is very important to seek help if you are experiencing postpartum depression.

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      Postpartum depression is different from the "Baby Blues", which tend to occur the first few days after delivery and resolve spontaneously. The birth of a baby can trigger a jumble of powerful emotions, from excitement and joy to fear and anxiety. But it can also result in something you might not expect - depression.

      Many new moms experience the baby blues after childbirth. An estimated 10 percent of new moms experience a more severe form of emotional distress known as postpartum depression. Rarely, an extreme form of postpartum depression known as postpartum psychosis develops after childbirth.

    Postpartum Psychosis:
    Postpartum psychosis or (also sometimes referred to as puerperal psychosis or postnatal psychosis), is a mental illness, which involves the rapid onset of psychotic symptoms in a woman following childbirth.

    Although sometimes confused with postpartum depression, postpartum psychosis is a different disorder and is much less common. Postpartum psychosis is also known as "postnatal stress disorder", because the patient is under emotional stress and exhibits unusual behavioral patterns not seen before their pregnancy or postpartum event.

      Postpartum depression isn't a character flaw or a weakness. Sometimes postpartum depression is simply part of giving birth. If you have postpartum depression, prompt treatment can help you manage your symptoms - and enjoy your baby.

    dot Bipolar Disorder: dot

      Bipolar disorder, another mood disorder, is different than major depressive disorder and has different treatments. For more information go to

    Bipolar disorder is a condition in which people experience abnormally elevated (manic or hypomanic) and abnormally depressed states for short, or significant periods of time; in a way that interferes with functioning. Bipolar disorder has been estimated to affect more than 5 million Americans-about 3 out of every 100 adults.

    It affects people without regard to age, race, ethnicity, gender, education or occupation. Not everyone's symptoms are the same and there is no blood test to confirm the disorder. Scientists believe that bipolar disorder may be caused when chemicals in the brain are out of balance.

    Bipolar disorder can look like depression. Distinguishing the illness is tricky, even for mental health professionals. What makes bipolar disorder different is that in addition to depression, a person also experiences the "highs" of a manic phase.

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    Symptoms Of Depression

    Major depressive disorder, commonly referred to as "depression," can severely disrupt your life, affecting your appetite, sleep, work, and relationships. The symptoms that help a doctor identify depression include:

    • Constant feelings of sadness, irritability, or tension
    • Decreased interest or pleasure in usual activities or hobbies
    • Loss of energy, feeling tired despite lack of activity
    • A change in appetite, with significant weight loss or weight gain
    • A change in sleeping patterns, such as difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, or sleeping too much
    • Restlessness or feeling slowed down
    • Decreased ability to make decisions or concentrate
    • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or guilt thoughts of suicide or death
    • Depression is common, affecting about 121 million people worldwide
    • Depression is among the leading causes of disability worldwide
    • Depression can be reliably diagnosed and treated in primary care
    • Fewer than 25% of those affected have access to effective treatments

    Depression can be reliably diagnosed in primary care. Antidepressant medications and brief, structured forms of psychotherapy are effective for 60-80% of those affected and can be delivered in primary care. However, fewer than 25% of those affected (in some countries fewer than 10%) receive such treatments.

    Barriers to effective care include the lack of resources, lack of trained providers, and the social stigma associated with mental disorders including depression.

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    Depression Can Be Reliably Diagnosed In Primary Care.

    Whatever its cause, depression is not just a state of mind. It is related to physical changes in the brain, and connected to an imbalance of a type of chemical that carries signals in your brain and nerves. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters.

    Risk Factors

    Oftentimes there isn't one single factor that causes depression but instead a combination of contributing causes. Although a serious life event such as death, chronic illness, financial problems or abuse can trigger a depressive episode or worsen existing depression, experts say that a combination of genetic, psychological and environmental factors are often involved. Some of these include:

    • Family History (especially in the case of bipolar disorder and major depression)
    • Trauma and stress
    • Pessimistic personality
    • Stress
    • Trauma
    • Serious medical conditions
    • Other psychological disorders
    • Physical changes. After childbirth, a dramatic drop in estrogen and progesterone may contribute to postpartum depression. The hormones produced by your thyroid gland also may drop sharply - which can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and depressed. Changes in your blood volume, blood pressure, immune system and metabolism can lead to fatigue and mood swings.

    Cardio Topic Of The Week:
    How To Combat Depression.

    What can one do to combat depression? Depression is a common but serious issue that affects many people. Here are some thoughts & tips on the issue.

    [ Check Out The Topic Of The Week! ]

    • Emotional factors. When you're sleep deprived and overwhelmed, you may have trouble handling even minor problems. You may be anxious about your ability to care for a newborn. You may feel less attractive or struggle with your sense of identity. You may feel that you've lost control over your life. Any of these factors can contribute to postpartum depression.
    • Lifestyle influences. Many lifestyle factors can lead to postpartum depression, including a demanding baby or older siblings, difficulty breast-feeding, exhaustion, financial problems, and lack of support from your partner or other loved ones.
    • Trauma and stress. Things like financial problems, the breakup of a relationship, or the death of a loved one can bring on depression. You can become depressed after changes in your life, like starting a new job, graduating from school, or getting married.
    • Pessimistic personality. People who have low self-esteem and a negative outlook are at higher risk of becoming depressed. These traits may actually be caused by low-level depression (called dysthymia).
    • Physical conditions. Serious medical conditions like heart disease, cancer, and HIV can contribute to depression, partly because of the physical weakness and stress they bring on. Depression can make medical conditions worse, since it weakens the immune system and can make pain harder to bear. In some cases, depression can be caused by medications used to treat medical conditions.

    Depressed? Hit The Gym!
    Depressed? Hit The Gym!
    Endorphins Have An Antidepressant Effect!

    Week #139 - 11/18/2008
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    • Other psychological disorders. Anxiety disorders, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and (especially) substance abuse often appear along with depression.


    Last, but not least, quit watching the news so much. If your local news involves fires that broke out in apartment buildings, homicides and the "gloom and doom" economic news, turn it off. Sure you need to be informed but that doesn't mean you need to watch this stuff every night. That's enough to make the happiest person in the world depressed.

    Enlarge Click Image To Enlarge.
    Author, Marie Spano: "Avoid
    Watching Depressing News."

    About The Author:

      Marie Spano, MS, RD, CSCS, has counseled hundreds of individuals on weight loss and sports nutrition. For more information, visit her website:


    1. Depression. World Health Organization.
    2. Seasonal Affective Disorder. Mayo Clinic.

    dot Helpful Links: dot

    1. American Psychiatric Association - 1000 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 1825 - Arlington, VA 22209-3901 - Toll-free: (888) 35-PSYCH (357-7924) - Phone: (703) 907-7300 -
    2. American Psychological Association - 750 First Street, NE - Washington, DC 20002-4242 - Toll-free: (800) 374-2721 - Phone: (202) 336-5500 -
    3. Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) Knowledge Exchange Network (KEN) - P.O. Box 42490 - Washington, DC 20015 - Toll-free: (800) 789-2647 -
    4. Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) - 730 North Franklin Street, Suite 501 - Chicago, IL 60601-7204 - Toll-free: (800) 826-3632 -
    5. Depression and Related Affected Disorders Association - Meyer 3-181 - 600 North Wolfe Street - Baltimore, MD 21287-7381 - Phone: (410) 955-4647 -
    6. National Alliance for the Mentally Ill - Colonial Place Three - 2107 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 300 - Arlington, VA 22201-3042 - Toll-free: (800) 950-NAMI (950-6264) - Phone: (703) 524-7600 -
    7. National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression - 60 Cutter Mill Road, Suite 404 - Great Neck, NY 11021 - Toll-free: (800) 829-8289 -
    8. National Foundation for Depressive Illness, Inc. - P.O. Box 2257 - New York, NY 10116 - Toll-free: (800) 239-1265 -
    9. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), - Public Inquiries - 6001 Executive Boulevard, Suite 8184, MSC 9663 - Bethesda, MD 20892-9663 - Phone: (301) 443-4513 -
    10. National Mental Health Association - 2001 North Beauregard Street, 12th Floor - Alexandria, VA 22311 - Toll-free: (800) 969-NMHA (969-6642) -
    11. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) - US Department of Health and Human Services - 5600 Fishers Lane - Rockville, MD 20857 - Phone: (301) 443-8956 -

    Postpartum Depression:

    1. Depression After Delivery, Inc. (DAD) - 91 East Somerset Street - Raritan, NJ 08869 - Toll-free: (800) 944-4PPD (944-4773) -
    2. Postpartum Support International - Postpartum Resource Center of New York, Inc. - 109 Udall Road - West Islip, NY 11795 - Phone: (631) 422-2255 -