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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : editorials July 27, 2015

10/15/2012 10:00:00 PM
Editorial: Depression is common, can have deadly results
The Daily Courier

It's nearly impossible to imagine the level of grief that accompanies a tragedy the likes of which befell the Wood family of Prescott Valley this past week. A son shoots and kills a mother; another son, fearing for his own life, kills his brother.

What is not hard to imagine is that this nearly unbearable story has at its root an issue that, according to the American Psychological Association, affects nearly one of five people in the United States: depression.

We all know that depression in recent decades has been elevated from the level of a dismissible affliction into a formal disease that transcends the category of mood and enters the realm of physiology and brain chemistry.

Historically, at least through anecdotal evidence, many famous figures have suffered from this malaise. Perhaps the most notable was Abraham Lincoln who, the story goes, slipped into "melancholia" after the premature death of his mother and never fully emerged from it despite his heroism in preserving the Union and snapping the bonds of slavery.

Most everyone has had periods, moments at least, when life itself, with its endless complications, seems insurmountable. Most of us make it through those phases thanks to family, friends and the fundamental understanding that this life, crazy as it seems at times, just might be all we get.

For those deep in the grips of the disease, though, those realizations become harder and harder to deal with, and the benefit of getting through them becomes less important than the non-specific pain that accompanies chronic depression.

The point is, depression is real and, in its ultimate manifestation, can reap tragic results. And because it is so prevalent, it's important to watch out for the symptoms, because help is available.

In short, depression is marked by extended periods of sadness or unhappiness, volatile irritability and mood swings, insomnia or excessive sleeping, loss of interest in normal activities, a deficit of energy or changes in appetite, among other warning signs.

Most importantly, recognize that seeking help for depression is not a sign of weakness, any more than seeing a doctor for a knee injury.

Seldom does depression lead to a tragedy such as the Wood family suffered. More common is the weight it adds to relationships in and out of the home. It's hard to get someone to talk about his or her depression but, when we see the symptoms, it may be wise to take it as a responsibility to prod the sufferer to consider treatment.

It will seldom save a life, but it just may make a life more worth living.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2012
Article comment by: Blondy Locks

@John Citizen: Yes, you are correct, (if there isnt a preexisting condition)

Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Article comment by: JOHN CITIZEN

@Blondy Locks-I am aware of what you say but "aggravate & intensify" yes, but as I stated, the depression was already present. Read my comment again and carefully. Crimes are commited more in the "summer, longer daylight" times,

Posted: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Article comment by: Andy Anderson

Studies by the New England Institute of Clinically Repressed and Depressed People clearly show that the best form of therapy for depression is a job. If I sat at home all day with nothing else to do but smoke bath salts, I'd probably hurt someone as well. Get off of welfare. Stop accepting food stamps. Throw your Obama phone in the trashcan. Once you work for a living, you will take pride in yourself. You're smart enough, good looking enough, and gosh-darnit, people like you.

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Article comment by: Blondy Locks

@John Citizen: Yes, daylight, its called Seasonal Affective Disorder, and its a real condition that can aggravate and intensify ones depression.

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Article comment by: Suffering Also

However poorly timed this may have been i think its very important that the seriousness of this is brought to light. I myself as a mid 30's female am suffering from depression, grieving for my father, and PTSD and if people dont recognize the symptoms before its to late, only the good Lord knows what can happen. God Bless the victims and their family & friends. This is a disease I wouldnt wish on my worst enemy.

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Article comment by: John Citizen

@Tom Steele-the lack of sunlight, really? Seems more crimes are committed during the summer months and full moons. Yes, people get depressed "over" the holidays, but depression is continuous throughout the rest of the year. Statistics show that crimes are less in the winter months. Get more facts.

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Article comment by: Family Friend

Please tell me why someone thought it would be in good taste to run this editorial the very same day as dear Bette Wood's obituary? Thank you VERY much for the generic information about depression. I'm sure the Wood family appreciates your poorly timed "care and concern."

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Article comment by: Thank You Courier, I Think

I couldn't help but notice that yesterday's article on Daniel Wood recounting the details of the shooting had nothing but kind, sympathetic comments printed. How refreshing to see we do indeed have good people living here. What was missing was the usual vile, mean, hardhearted, and incredibly callous comments and debates about how it happened, what the cause was, and if the person deserved their fate or not. From what I've seen in the past it's not because there weren't any. I'm guessing The Courier refused to print them. Finally some decency and common sense! I hope that will become standard procedure. We have reached the bottom of the dreggs of society when we feel the need to put in writing such mean-spirited trash when a human life has been lost, and the Courier is in that same league when they print that garbage. This is not a freedom of speech issue. It is about human decency, kindness, and respect. Please, please Courier staff, don't print horrible mean comments and/or debates when humans lives have been lost.

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Article comment by: @ Tom Steele

Is there any subject in this paper that you do not have the "expertise" to comment on?

Posted: Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Steele

No doubt this poor economy adds to everyones mental state too. And with less daylight and major holidays coming up, further periods of emotional distress are on the way. People should be alert for friends and family that exhibit sadness or depression and encourage them to seek help from medical professionals.

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