Fast Food, Teens and Depression
September 9, 2019 | Napoli Shkolnik News
You Are What You Eat
High sodium and low potassium diets may contribute to teenage depression, according to a new study. This finding may impact both patients and providers.
Such a diet indicates many processed foods and few fresh fruits and vegetables. Researchers at the University of Alabama-Birmingham found a conclusive link between depression and such a diet. Other observers theorized that the inverse may be true as well. If adolescents consumed more healthy foods, the theory goes, they would have more energy and feel better. This study is just the latest one to associate a poor diet with clinical depression.
Because of the limited sample size and the possible presence of other environmental or economic variables, the researchers stressed that their findings were preliminary and more study was needed.
Effects of Teenage Depression
A chemical imbalance in the brain triggers clinical depression, so this illness can strike any person at any time. Clinical depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United State, and as outlined below, also one of the most treatable ones. That’s assuming treatment is available.
Although it is a mental illness, clinical depression often has some physical symptoms as well. Some of these symptoms include:
- Insomnia: Many depressed people have a hard time quieting their minds and getting to sleep at night. Additionally, when they wake up, they have a hard time falling back asleep. As a result, they have a hard time functioning during the day.
- Heart Attack: Depression increases triglyceride levels as well as certain kinds of inflammation. These factors increase the risk of a heart attack and other heart disease. These factors also reduce the survival rate.
- Decreased Immunity: Depression affects the link between the brain’s hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and the body’s autonomic nervous system. As a result, depressed people are less able to resist common infections, like head colds, and chronic diseases, like cardiovascular conditions.
Mentally, effects include decreased libido, difficulty making decisions, excessive clinginess, loneliness, and an unnatural preoccupation with death which could lead to suicidal thoughts.
Some combination of therapy and medication usually cures, or at least manages, clinical depression. There is no one-size-fits-all approach, and the prescribed treatment may involve some trial and error. So, the insurance company must be patient.
Many people respond well to psychotherapy, which is also called psychological therapy or talk therapy. Therapy often helps people develop better life skills and interpersonal skills, so they can work through problems without feeling overwhelmed.
The medical component often involves an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant. These drugs block serotonin reabsorption (reuptake), thus raising the brain’s serotonin levels. This chemical is a natural antidepressant.
Because of their effectiveness, SSRIs are the most commonly-prescribed antidepressants. They have some other uses as well, such as treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, as outlined below, these drugs also have some serious side-effects.
Prompt and proper diagnosis is important as well. The earlier depression treatment begins, the more effective it is. Unfortunately, many doctors confuse situational depression with clinical depression. These illnesses have similar symptoms, but they are medically quite different.
Many depression treatment centers effectively address this mental illness and all its physical and emotional effects. But insurance companies often do not use the same reimbursement policies for mental illness providers as they use for med-surge providers. The Parity Act prohibits such different treatments, but many insurance companies ignore this Act.
If your depression treatment center did not receive full insurance company reimbursement, you may have legal options.
SSRI Antidepressants and Side-Effects
Since depression has both mental and physical effects, drugs like Zoloft are incredibly powerful. As mentioned, many doctors prescribe SSRIs without seriously considering other options.
Many patients experience mild side-effects, such as dry mouth and dizziness. In other words, Zoloft often makes the symptoms worse before it improves them. If these mild symptoms persist for more than a week or so, your doctor may need to adjust your medication.
Some people experience more serious side-effects, such as reduced sexual performance, especially among men, weight loss, and ecchymosis (easily bruised). These effects could be indicative of a deeper problem.
The most serious SSRI side-effects include vision changes, bloody stools, and a long-lasting erection. SSRIs have also been linked to autism and birth defects. Additionally, there is evidence that the manufacturer knew about these serious side-effects and concealed the risk so sales would not suffer.
Legally, manufacturers are strictly liable for the injuries their dangerous drugs cause. Victims need not establish fault or negligence. Moreover, if the company intentionally disregarded a known risk, substantial punitive damages may be available, in addition to compensatory damages for things like medical bills and pain and suffering.
Depression is a complex illness which has a number of legal ramifications. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in New York, contact Napoli Shkolnik PLLC.
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