Categorized | Personal Improvement

Tips for overcoming mild depression

Posted on 29 April 2011

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If I told you there was one employee health issue that’s more costly to employers than a heart attack, and more expensive than obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking combined, I’d be willing to bet that you wouldn’t guess its identity. You certainly wouldn’t be alone. While depression is well on its way to becoming the most significant health care issue by the year 2020, it’s a little-known giant of a healthcare problem. Depression strikes between 13 and 15 million employees every year, and is the leading cause of lost productivity and lost work days. That’s why recognizing and dealing with mild depression is critical to keeping business costs under control.

What are the symptoms of mild depression? They include (but are certainly not limited to) general apathy, malaise, lingering sadness, persistent irritability, loss of interest in hobbies, relationships, and work, changes in sleep patterns, and loss of sexual appetite, among others. While many of us experience these symptoms for a short period of time on a regular basis, what separates depression from normal mood swings is its persistence. Depression symptoms can linger for weeks, months, or even years in some rare cases.

Is depression hereditary? Insurance companies have an actuarial interest in this question, and it’s one employers can be aware of as an additional employee depression risk factor as well. Employees whose families have a history of depression are more likely to experience the disorder themselves. Just like other genetic characteristics, though, a family history of depression does not doom an employee to developing depression symptoms.

While medication is a common treatment method for mild depression, depression drugs have an inconclusive record of performance, and are extremely expensive. For that reason, medication should be avoided if at all possible. Getting plenty of exercise and rest, eating a diet low in starches, sugars, and other simple carbohydrates, avoiding alcohol (alcohol and depression are very strongly linked), and seeking professional counseling assistance to work through feelings of sadness or prolonged anger, are much more effective mild depression coping strategies.

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