Coping with Depression in the Digital Age

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Approximately 16 million Americans a year struggle with depression, an illness that comes in many forms  — from major depression and seasonal affective disorder to bipolar disorder.

According to livescience.com, depression manifests itself quite differently in women than in men; better understanding the differences may be helpful to those suffering. One of the largest related differences is that women have nearly twice the risk of developing depression. Women also experience higher depression rates from puberty through menopause, but they are found to be more comfortable looking for a therapist. On the other hand, men facing depression tend to mask it with work, sports or drugs and alcohol. Men also have higher rates of suicide.

Despite the differences, treatments including medication and psychotherapy are available. Studies show cognitive behavioral psychotherapy whether alone or in combination with drug therapy is highly effective; physical exercise and diet changes are also encouraged.

In a world driven by technology, there are added, versatile treatment options that you can use through your phone. Larkr, a teletherapy service, offers an app that lets you track your mood and talk to therapists via live chat.

“Smartphones have reduced in person interactions. Technology has made it easier for people to communicate, and harder for people to connect. As we become more disconnected from the world around us, we often lose our psychological support systems,” Said Larkr’s CEO Shawn Kernes. “It’s time we put technology to work for us as a tool to help people connect with others who can help.”

Healthline.com lists apps that also help with cognitive therapy, including Lantern, Positive Thinking, Operation Reachout and MoodKit. Many of the apps are free, and while they are not designed to take the place of medical care, they can be used in conjunction with any treatment you get.

As with any illness, you are encouraged to seek medical care and advice. Untreated depression may result in weight gain or loss, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, irritability and even suicide. If you or a loved one are struggling to cope with depression symptoms, please seek help from one of the resource listed by the American Suicide and Prevention Association at https://afsp.org/find-support/resources/ or speak with your primary care physician immediately.


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