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LiveWell: Health
Dodge the Blues
Depression may not be avoidable for
all, but the impact it has could be
lessened with these powerful strategies
from Dr. Jolepalem:
Social Interaction
– Stay
connected to others by
volunteering, joining a club
or attending faith services
– Stay active, even
something as simple as walking
or yoga.
– Eat a balanced
diet, take a multivitamin, drink
alcohol in moderation and stay
hydrated by drinking plenty of
– Keep your mind and body
active, if just for a few hours.
Have a purpose, a goal and a
plan every day.
– Be passionate about
life, or fnd your calling. Visit the
sick, start a new business, learn
a skill, study other cultures or
go back to school.
– Focus on something
healthy and fun like golfng,
dancing, gardening or fshing.
Blame it on contemporary entertainment
or the advent of the Internet, but one
thing is certain: We’re more open as
a society than a generation ago. Sex,
religion, politics – no topic appears to be
of-limits. Not even mid-life depression,
and that’s a good thing, says one local
“This openness about depression means
there’s more education, more awareness
and less stigma,” says Neelakantam
Jolepalem, M.D., chair, Behavioral
Medicine department at St. Joseph Mercy
Oakland. “It’s OK to be lonely, bored or depressed in your 50s and 60s, and
it’s OK to talk about it and get treatment.”
According to Dr. Jolepalem, 20 percent of women and 12 percent of men
will experience depression during their lifetime, but with more treatment
options now available, many patients begin feeling better within eight
weeks after being seen by the doctor. Treatment options include
medication, electrostimulation therapy, psychological therapy, counseling
and lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise. Sometimes a combination
of treatments is the most efective.
The key is to start with a physical exam to rule out cardiovascular disease,
hormonal dysfunctions, metabolic disorders and other medical conditions
that may contribute.
And there is good news, he suggests.
“Depression is highly treatable. If you really want help, your chances of
improvement are very good.”
The Good News about Depression
Neelakantam Jolepalem, M.D.