Depression today is a leading cause of disability worldwide, doubling every 10 years, and experts more and more are associating depression with heart disease. This article from HeartMath shows you how to recognize depression, and it links to recommendations for empowering you to recover your natural heart balance.

Recognizing Depression

There is much in our daily lives that contributes to stress overload and anxiety, and for some this feels like a heavy weight: jobs that are increasingly demanding; a constant stream of news from around the world—much of it negative; danger in our neighborhoods and threats from abroad; and countless responsibilities that consume so much of our day that there’s no time left just for us, to release, relax, and rejuvenate.

Coupled with the disappointments that are a natural part of living—loss of a family member or friend, end of a relationship, or illness or hormonal, neurological, or other physical changes such as menopause—it can all be too much for a lot of people, many of whom are overtaken by feelings of sadness, dejection, hopelessness or pessimism, lack of motivation, and fatigue.

When such feelings persist for weeks or months and interfere with the ability to function normally, they can indicate one of the three types of depression: major depression; bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness; and dysthymia, or low-level depression. Their hold can be destructive, episodic or unrelenting, and even life threatening. (If the symptoms above describe you or someone you know, or you simply suspect depression in yourself or another person, intervention by a medical professional should be sought immediately. You should never alter medication or other therapies without consulting your doctor.) (See Heartmath’s Recommendations)

“Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer.”  —From Depression: The Way Out of Your Prison, Dorothy Rowe

An International Threat: Depression today is a leading cause of disability internationally, doubling every 10 years, and it is predicted that by 2020 it will be exceeded only by heart disease as the most disabling condition in the world. In the United States alone, according to the National Institute for Mental Health, an estimated 19 million American adults, or 1 in 10, suffer from depression.

Coincidentally, experts widely associate depression with heart disease, particularly in light of studies such as a 1998 one (Ford et al.) of male medical students at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in which it was revealed that those who experienced depression in school were twice as likely to develop heart disease 15 years later. Clinical depression also has been observed in one out of every five people with coronary heart disease and one in three with heart failure. Depression in people with heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other diseases can exacerbate these conditions.


Transforming Depression: The HeartMath Solution to Feeling Overwhelmed, Sad, and Stressed
Childre, Rozman, 2007

This latest installment in HeartMath’s Transforming Series could be the most important tool for you or someone you know to help overcome short- or long-term depression. Based on 21 years of scientific research, this informative book has earned high praise from medical professionals around the world for its simple, yet powerful tools and clear, concise advice. Among the tools are Notice and Ease®, the Power of Neutral® and the Cut-Thru® Technique, all of which will teach you to clear stressful feelings as they come up. Transforming Depression looks at the root causes of many depressive patterns and how to clear them by using the easy-to-learn, proven methods of the HeartMath System. Let Transforming Depression start helping you today to release and prevent depression and regain hope and inner peace.


What are the Symptoms?

People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency and duration of symptoms will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness.

Symptoms include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or empty feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early morning wakefulness or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease, even with treatment

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Article by Heartmath
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