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Giving thanks can be depressing

One look at the Employment Situation at the Bureau of Labor Statistics  and it's easy to see how difficult it may be to feel for many to find reasons for giving thanks on Thanksgiving Day.  The nation's unemployment rate is the highest since 1983. 

© Nikolajs Strigins |

As a result, the national suicide rate is on the rise.  Some people may find themselves hopeless, sad, overwhelmed.

If you or someone you know is unemployed, you may experience or see changes in behavior that appear normal. But if they last for an extended period of time, weeks to months, then it's a real medical problem that can be addressed. 

One of the biggest barriers to diagnosis of depression, aside from the stigma of the term, is the diverse way it presents itself.  Symptoms can range from lack of interest and fatigue to raging mood swings and suicidal thoughts.  Diagnosis and treatment will vary depending on the severity of the dysfunction.

Holidays, such as Thanksgiving, that force us to think about life and family, exacerbate symptoms.  Many people make excuses about stress to rationalize the negativity that surrounds them.  But the truth is, stress is not only a cause but a symptom.

Our bodies are programmed to respond to perceived danger.  Chemicals are released in the body without consent or knowledge.  These chemicals can malfunction.  And when they do, the human brain responds.  Thoughts are altered.  Perceptions change.  Expression of these thoughts and perceptions are affected.  The person is no longer able to cope properly. Life changes, including job loss, is a common perceived danger.

Depression and it's many faces does not have to shameful anymore.  With the rise in unemployment and the onset of the holiday season, it's a topic that needs to be addressed.

If you think you or someone you know is depressed, more information can be found at: