Depression can be treated successfully

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By Joan Martin

Robin Williams was an amazingly talented actor and comedian. He was a devoted philanthropist who dedicated time, talent and funds to help individuals and groups enjoy a better quality of life. Williams also suffered from depression. He died August 11, an apparent suicide.

About six million men in the United States experience a depressive disorder. About 65 percent of the men with depression will go undiagnosed and without treatment. About 97 percent of those reporting depression also report that their work, home life and relationships suffer as a result of depression.

Men experience physical symptoms such as sleep disturbances, feeling fatigued or weak, or unexplained back pain, headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain. Emotional symptoms include anger and frustration, irritability and restlessness, feeling worthless, and feeling sad. Men more frequently report fatigue, irritability, loss of interest in work and hobbies and sleep disturbances. Men are not as likely to report sadness, worthlessness, guilt, anxiety, or crying. Men may often try to mask depression with alcohol, drugs, overworking, blaming others and aggression.

Depression can be fatal as it was for Robin Williams. Yet many people let depression go untreated. Some say that depression will pass so why should I do anything. The truth is that while depression may lift after a period of time, symptoms will return more quickly next time and may be more severe.

About 80 percent of people who experience depression will receive relief from treatment. A combination of talk and medication therapy provides the most effective treatment. Unfortunately the other 20 percent of people who receive treatment for depression won’t find much sustained relief. For them, depression is often fatal. Nevertheless, an 80 percent positive response to treatment is high.

The University of Kentucky Extension Service offers a six class series on depression. Each class targets a specific group and can stand alone as a separate presentation. Participants in the Blue to You educational program will learn ways to support a loved one who experiences depression and encourage them to complete treatment.

The program objectives are to help participants:

Increase knowledge of depression

Identify symptoms of depression

Locate resources for additional information and treatment

Recognize the negative effects of stigma toward people suffering from depression

Address depression in the home, workplace and school

Discuss concerns about depression with loved ones

You can schedule one or more educational classes for your group by calling the Anderson County Extension Office at 839-7271. The program is educational and no treatment is provided nor implied. Group size should be between 8 to 12 participants. There is no cost for the program.

Blue to You will also be offered at the Extension Office. Each class begins at 5:30 p.m. on Monday nights. You may register for the entire series or one or more class. The number refers to a fact sheet that’s available on line.

• Sept. 5: Depression and Older Adults, HSW-LAS-111

• Sept. 12: Women and Depression, HSW-LAS-108

• Sept. 19: Postpartum Depression, HSW-LALS-109

• Sept. 26 : Men and Depression, HSW-LAS-110

•Oct. 3: Depression in Children and Adolescents, HSW-LAS-107

• Oct. 10, Military Families, HAW-TWW-112

Please contact the Anderson County Extension Office at 839-7271 if you have questions or would like to schedule a program.