One definition of depression can be found in the dictionary as a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.

Not all people with depressive illnesses will have the same symptoms. The National Institute of Mental Health states, “The severity, frequency and duration of symptoms will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness.

Symptoms include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

Depression can be an expensive and devastating condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control,”Depression can adversely affect the course and outcome of common chronic conditions, such as arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and obesity. Depression also can result in increased work absenteeism, short-term disability, and decreased productivity.

The CDC has found that depression affects 1 in 10 adults in the US.  Those that are most affected are: “persons 45-64 years of age, women, blacks, Hispanics, non-Hispanic persons of other races or multiple races, persons with less than a high school education, those previously married, individuals unable to work or unemployed, and persons without health insurance coverage.

The CDC also recommends “collaborative care, an approach that involves the collaboration of primary care providers, mental health specialists and other providers to improve disease management for adults with major depression on the basis of strong evidence of effectiveness in improving short-term depression outcomes.

Research indicates that massage can:

– Improve mood

– Reduce depression:

  • in those with chronic pain
  • in those with chronic pain over time
  • in hospice patients
  • in children with cancer
  • in pregnant women
  • associated with lower back pain
  • in those with tension-type headaches
  • in children and adolescent psychiatric patients
  • in women with breast cancer
  • in people with chronic disease
  • in adolescent mothers
  • in those with chronic fatigue syndrome
  • in those with high blood pressure
  • in those with fibroblast
  • in adults with multiple sclerosis

– Reduce trait anxiety and depression with a course of treatment providing benefits similar in magnitude to those of psychotherapy.