Depression has started to reveal itself in a startling conglomeration of diverse examples. While depression diagnoses in cancer patients isn’t uncommon, recent studies have found elevated levels of depression in cancer caregivers. Since the vast majority of Americans have been affected in someway by cancer, whether through individual struggles or experiences with loved-ones, these elevated depression numbers need to be closely observed. After close investigations, depressive symptoms were linked to physical health decline as “caregivers with high depressive symptoms showed twice the rate of physical health decline of caregivers with an average level of depressive symptoms” (Medical Press, 2017).
Caregivers often go above and beyond what is asked while caring for patients dealing with vicious cancer symptoms. Dr. Shaffer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center examined “changes in caregivers’ physical health from year two to year eight following a family member’s cancer diagnosis… [She found] predictors of declining health,” (Medical Press, 2017). Shaffer analyzed survey data from 664 cancer caregivers in the American Cancer Society’s National Quality of Life Survey for Caregivers. She stated, “Identifying caregivers in need, and connecting these caregivers to effective and accessible psychosocial services, are imperative next steps to improve comprehensive care for families facing cancer” (Medical Press, 2017).
Likewise, depression has been linked to cases of type 2 diabetes. After Kristel McGhee, DNP, and Katherine Kenny, DNP, from the Mayo Clinic Scottsdale and Arizona State University conducted studies examining the relationship between depression and glycemic control, seven out of ten studies demonstrated “a ‘statistically significant’ association between depression and inadequate glycemic control and 3 found that recognition of depressive symptoms, in conjunction with appropriate follow-up and treatment, led to improved hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels” (Biscaldi, 2017).
According to research presented at the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) 2017 National Conference, increased awareness of depression in type 2 diabetes patients could help decrease costs of complications as well as help to avoid negative health results. Researchers noted, “patients with major depressive disorder have a mean life span of 25 to 30 years less than the average person” (Biscaldi, 2017). Since type 2 diabetes is already a health ailment that must be meticulously monitored, knowledge of type 2 diabetes linked with depression should be closely observed in order to better provide patients with treatment.
However, not all case of depression are related to other medical conditions. While antidepressants are repeatedly prescribed in order to help relieve symptoms, “they are also overprescribed… and often [the first and] only resort of the busy healthcare professional to deal with the bewildered person sitting in front of them. They don’t work for everyone. They take weeks, even months, to kick in – and the early side-effects can be awful. They should be reserved for cases of moderate to severe depression, but seem to enjoy an ever wider distribution list” (Rice-Oxley, 2017).
Yet, only seeking to treat symptoms is easily one of the biggest issues with depression-related care and treatment. One of the most vitally important steps towards recovery is confronting past experiences which may have led to the promotion of depressive emotional states.
Depression and deeply-rooted feelings of sadness can stem from a variety of backgrounds. Emotions are extremely personal, and sources of treatments or types of preventative measures do not always endure as a universal cure for everyone. Depression differs greatly from person to person. Grief is different for everyone. Each person battling depression must customize their own journey to happiness, yet remain steadfast in the knowledge that a multitudinous array of treatments exist.
For more information, read here for Blurt’s resources to deal with depression.
Biscaldi, L. (2017, June 28). Positive Outcomes Associated With Regular Depression Screening in T2D. Retrieved July 05, 2017, from http://www.endocrinologyadvisor.com/type-2-diabetes/type-2-diabetes-benefits-from-depressing-screening/article/671713/
Blurt. (2017, June 29). Depression: How And When To Ask For Help. Retrieved July 05, 2017, from https://www.blurtitout.org/2017/06/29/depression-how-and-when-to-ask-for-help/
Medical Press & American Cancer Society. (2017, June 29). Depression linked to physical health decline in cancer caregivers. Retrieved July 05, 2017, from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2017-06-depression-linked-physical-health-decline.html
Rice-Oxley, M. (2017, July 03). Drugs alone won’t cure the epidemic of depression. We need strategy | Mark Rice-Oxley. Retrieved July 04, 2017, from https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/03/drugs-alone-wont-cure-epidemic-depression-we-need-strategy