Battling Depression Growing Problem For Women


Depression may affect everyone differently, but the disorder has a common thread of disrupting lives.

At home, it could keep you from sleeping, answering the phone, or seeing friends.

At work, it could mean hiding in the restroom so that you don’t have to interact with coworkers.

Susan Lowe was diagnosed with depression at 30 while working as a plain-clothes Columbus police detective.

"I had more control over my day than someone in my cruiser. I could figure which time of day I would deal with the public and write reports and that sort of thing, but I was so drained when I got home, because it just took so much energy and I had none,” said Lowe.

She went to her doctor and was prescribed anti-depressants.   Lowe describes three decades of at least 20 medications in various categories, combinations and side effects. It meant dry mouth and weight gain.

“She has a type of depression in which she gets down, and then, it's very hard to get motivated, very hard to push herself to function, push herself to get up and get out of bed,” said Dr. Megan Schabbing.

Psychiatrist Megan Schabbing says side effects and the risk of slipping back into depression are not uncommon and the reason discovering different treatments is critical.

That includes treatments like Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) that appears to be working for Susan Lowe.   The non-invasive treatment uses a magnet to stimulate the neurons in a specific region of the brain.

Lowe says TMS has improved her condition to a point where she feels closest to her true personality, which is why she's sharing her story with others. She says that the fact more people are talking about it than 30 years ago is saving lives.

Medical experts agree that more people are talking about depression and mental health, but it is still not enough. 

How do know if you or a loved one is just having a bad day or if they need more help? 

A first sign is withdrawal.

“So, definitely, if you have a friend or loved one who is withdrawing socially, maybe seeming down, not engaging in activities to the extent you once did,” added Schabbing.

Signs can appear on social media.

"We're seeing kids and teenagers, as well as adults, express suicidal thoughts via social media. So you may receive a text from someone or see something on Facebook about someone being suicidal - certainly that is a red flag for possibly depression or other mental illness,” she said.

Another major sign is if you, or someone you know, seem unable to enjoy activities to the point it's affecting daily life.

“Other warning signs can be an inability to enjoy something that you once enjoyed, inability to feel pleasure, feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless and really being down to the extent that it's hard to function in some way.”

Then it may be time to ask a doctor for help.


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