Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall Explains the Symptoms of Depression — Dr. Phil

Dr. Freda Lewis-Hall Explains the Symptoms of Depression — Dr. Phil


DR PHIL: I’m glad you’re here talking about it, because so often people feel ashamed, right? I mean, you’re
confused and you’re ashamed about depression and mistakenly believe that, ‘Look, I’ve just gotta gut it up here, I’ve gotta overcome it using willpower
alone. DR FREDA: It is so true, the stigma around depression is so great. There are so many treatment options that
are available. There are many medications that are
available — different types — there is psychotherapy that is available — there are many forms of that. And you
mentioned one, which is a brain stimulating therapy,
electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT. These things can being used by themselves or in combination, and it sounds as though you’ve done what many people must do, and that is go through a number of these therapies,
alone or in combination, to find just the right one for you. DR PHIL: You … Would you say, in your general course of
things, you’re doing better or you’re doing worse than you were, say, two years ago? NOEL: I’ve definitely come a long way. You know, I’ve gone from around 17 medications down to about four, which is great progress. DR PHIL: We often think — sometimes, people think — depressed people, like I said, are just lazy Just like, ‘Look, get over it. You know, just come on, quit whining. Get over it.’ But depression is a real
disorder with very real consequences. DR FREDA: Depressive illnesses are brain disorders and now, luckily, with advances in brain imaging and other
technologies, really have a chance to see that what happens in people with depression
are changes in their brains. DR PHIL: Let me show you, cause, Don, I want you to really think about this. If you guys were out hiking and she
broke her leg, you wouldn’t just leave her behind. DON: No, never. DR PHIL: Say, ‘Well, you can’t walk, bye.’ You wouldn’t do that, and when you think
about the brain, you’ve got depression, you’ve gotta think about it the same way. You can’t see it just looking at her, but if you look at the normal brain versus the depressed brain, they’re very
different. In the normal brain, you know, this frontal lobe area here is where you have kind of a higher order
thinking and reasoning and processing. And you can see how different it is in the depressed brain. And then, you’ve got the temporal lobes
here, and this is where you have emotions are centered in
here and some of the aspects that have to do with your feeling. And you and you can
see over here, concomitantly, is in a depressed brain, it’s much darker. And then. this is thalamus in the middle of
the brain, and you see over here, again, it’s shut down. So, it’s kinda like you talk about depression — you don’t feel
the lightness, you don’t feel the energy, you don’t feel the activity. That’s what you’d see if there was a
broken leg and you look at an x-ray. We now have that ability to do the same
thing with the brain. DR FREDA: I do wanna say, though, that we’ve got a ways to go with this. As exciting as these advances are, these brain imaging
technologies can’t do a couple of things. First of all, they can’t tell us why
depression occurs. And second, is that they’re not typically
used yet to diagnose depression or to help guide
treatment. DR PHIL: So, how do you distinguish just regular sadness from depression? Talk about that at a little bit. DR FREDA: You know, that is so important, because some
people say, ‘You, know, I should be sad, right? And it’s OK, but
there’s some really important diagnostic criteria — things that your
doctor would use, signs and symptoms that you would share
with them that would help differentiate from, from the normal sadness from a major
depression. What needs to happen is you would
have five of these or more that would occur for a two-week period or more, in order
for the depression diagnosis. So, the first one is feeling
sad or empty or tearful most of the day, every day. So, this is a profound sadness.
The second is loss of interest in things that used to bring you pleasure. Being outside, doing things don’t bring
pleasure anymore. A significant change in appetite, and that can either be up or down — and usually has some weight
loss that goes along with it, or weight gain if your appetite’s up. The other thing is trouble sleeping. Some
people have trouble sleeping, others sleep far too much — like all day,
can’t get themselves up and moving. Fatigue and lack of energy
is also really an important key. And feelings of
hopelessness, helplessness, worthlessness, guilt — those things plague
you during the day. Reduced ability to
concentrate, to think, to make decisions — just, you know, can’t quite focus. And agitation, restlessness or
irritability, these things also occur. And last, but
absolutely not least, are recurrent thoughts — these thoughts
that won’t go away around death and suicide. DR PHIL: And if you see, on the graphic, that we have up here, we’ve checked off all but one for you. Your weight’s been pretty stable. NOEL: Yeah, thank goodness. DR PHIL: Yeah. But other than that, we’ve checked
almost every one off for those, which means you’re dealing with a major
depressive episode. But that doesn’t mean that it tells
the whole story. Listen, everybody we have on here is, in a away, a teaching tool, and I hope
this has given you guys some insight, at home and in the audience today. If you suspect a loved one is battling depression, the most
important thing you can do is help they’ll get the diagnosis and
treatment. Don’t just feel like, ‘Come on, I’ve gotta
be tough.’ You offer emotional support and understanding. Never ignore comments about suicide. This old adage that people that talk about it don’t do it is
not true. That is a myth, do not believe that. And if
you are depressed and suicidal call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1
800 273 TALK. That’s 1 800 273 8255. DR FREDA: And this is so true. There’s so much help that is available, and the good news for you, Noel, and
for others who suffer from depression is that there are many options that are available. And I have to applaud
you for raising your hand, asking for help,
inspiring others to do that, and also for
sticking with it and really working hard, both of you,
to get your depression treated so that you can feel better. Lots of information to know about
depression and, for more information, you can go to get healthy stay healthy
dot com. There’s information there on both
depression and other illnesses.

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