Tuesday, April 5, 2016

D for Depression (A to Z Challenge)

Stress and Depression are two words that are often understood in one and the same sense, there is a difference between them.

Stress is good for you. It keeps you alert, motivated and primed to respond to danger. As anyone who has faced a work deadline or competed in a sport knows, stress mobilizes the body to respond, improving performance. Yet too much stress, or chronic stress may lead to major depression in susceptible people. And I can't express enough how depression can damage our lives. Did you know that older people who suffer from depression have nearly double the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia?

It is very difficult to identify depression in someone with Alzheimer's because dementia can have same symptoms. Here are some examples of symptoms that are identical to dementia and depression
  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies
  • Social withdrawal
  • Isolation
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Impaired thinking
In addition, the cognitive impairment experienced by people with Alzheimer's often makes it difficult for them to articulate their sadness, hopelessness, guilt and other feelings associated with depression.

My mother-in-law (Theresa) was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2010 and, in my opinion, the depression was a major cause of it. Of course many disagree with me because this disease 'runs in the family', her mother had an early offset of Alzheimer's.

I know Theresa since late 1993. She is a very gentle and sweet lady loving gardening, music and chocolate. She never was a decision maker, that was her husband duty. They have traveled a lot, spend every winter in sunny Florida. They loved sailing, wine, good food and dancing. Unfortunately Jo (her husband) was diagnosed with cancer. It was fatal and he left us in 1996. Theresa was only 65 years old. She never remarried, she missed him terribly. She was living alone in a three bedroom home spending time mostly gardening and taking care of the house. Not noticeable at all, I think, that was a very beginning of her slipping into depression.

In every post I will continue to write her story, who knows, maybe some day it will turn into a book.

Yesterday I promised to write a few words about brain food and diet. Just like everything else, food is extremely important. I'm including a few links below if you're curious about food influence on the brain power:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/10-foods-boost-your-brainpower
http://www.webmd.com/add-adhd/ss/slideshow-brain-foods-that-help-you-concentrate
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/23/brain-food-superfoods_n_1895328.html

So long my friends,
Evalina

5 comments:

  1. Very interesting. Theresa must feel happier just having you there now, lifting some of her burdens. I hope she is able to do a bit of gardening around your home too. Alzheimer's is a shocker to live with - so many people are still smart enough to see that their abilities are slipping away and they are helpless to convey it to the doctor who is always busy. My husband is worried that he might develop Alzheimer's because his mother had it. Your husband must feel the same. I hope they are wrong. I am so glad you are writing about all these different sides to coping with this. The personal touch is the best way I can learn how to help.

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing these links for Brain Food. I need to print these and put them on the fridge. I can't say enough Thank Yous for sharing.

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  3. This is a great series Evalina. One thing I know from my experience is that caregivers of those with Alzheimer's (as well as all caregivers I believe) need to be mindful that they themselves don't fall into depression. Caregiving can be a very demanding role, and not one that receives a lot of support in our society.

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  4. I've always thought these had a strong connection. Great post.

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