Tag Archives: Depression

De Blasio’s daughter admits to issues with substance abuse, depression


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via YouTube

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio’s daughter Chiara admitted in a video posted Tuesday to substance abuse and years of battling depression.

In the five-minute YouTube clip, the 19-year-old college student said she had clinical depression for her entire adolescence, and alcohol and drugs helped her deal with those issues.

“It made it easier, like the more I drank and did drugs, to share some common ground with people that I wouldn’t have,” she said.

“It didn’t start out as a like a huge thing for me, but then it became a really huge thing for me.”

She said she thought her problems would go away in college, but admitted to drinking and smoking weed while there.

A therapist helped her by referring to her an outpatient treatment center in New York City.

Now sober, Chiara said she wanted to share her personal story in the hopes of helping others.

“As parents, our instinct has been to protect our daughter and privately help her through a deeply personal struggle. But not only has Chiara committed to her own health, she is also committed to helping young people everywhere who face similar challenges,” the mayor-elect and his wife said in an emailed statement that linked to the video.

“Her courage to speak out demonstrates a wisdom and maturity far beyond her 19 years, and we are grateful every day for her commitment to lifting up those who need to know that they are not alone.”

 

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Depression: Not a character flaw but a real illness


| editorial@queenscourier.com

(BPT) - A broken leg means a trip to the emergency room. Chronic back pain leads to a battery of tests and time off work. Even a virus will get you some words of sympathy. But if you say you have depression, there’s a good chance you’ll get a quizzical look and dumb silence.

Depression is a serious illness affecting one in 10 Americans. And while the medical establishment has long known how serious depression can be, it still remains something of a mystery to many people.

Often, the advice to someone who admits to a friend that they have depression is “it’ll pass” or “shake it off.” Because there are no bandages or crutches involved, there’s a tendency for friends, colleagues and even family to mistake clinical depression as simply a case of the “blues.” While studies vary somewhat on the exact percentages, it is generally believed that about 50 percent of Americans see depression as a personal weakness and a similar percentage of people suffering from depression don’t seek treatment.

“Being a mental health care professional, these statistics are absolutely alarming,” says Dr. Douglas G. Jacobs, associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the founder of Screening for Mental Health, Inc. “We have to bridge this understanding gap and the only way is through education – in schools, in the mainstream media, through the work of nonprofits, in fact by any means necessary.”

One can observe the “understanding gap” in everyday life. The word “depression” is often used to describe simply “feeling down” – the bad days or weeks that soon pass. But when those feelings last two weeks or more, they could be signs of actual depression (formally called major depressive disorder or clinical depression).

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:

* Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions

* Fatigue and decreased energy

* Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness

* Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism

* Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness or excessive sleeping

* Irritability, restlessness

* Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex

* Overeating or appetite loss

* Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

* Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings

* Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

Looking at the list, it’s not hard to see how someone suffering with depression could conceivably “explain away” their depression. But this situation is gradually changing.

One important stride that’s been made is in the area of screenings for depression. Put simply, a screening is a questionnaire that gives the participant a clearer idea of whether or not they may have symptoms of depression and should seek clinical help. They are not meant to be diagnostic, but at the same time they are an anonymous, “low exposure” first step. And they are, intrinsically, educational.

If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from depression, you can visit www.helpyourselfhelpothers.org to take a screening. It is free and anonymous and available 24/7.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger because of thoughts of suicide, call 9-1-1 immediately. If there is no immediate danger but rather a need to talk to someone, call the national suicide prevention line at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).