(BPT) - Major depressive disorder, more commonly known as depression, is a common medical condition that affects almost 16 million men and women in the United States. Despite the prevalence of depression, misperceptions still exist and often impact how people seek help and how they are treated for this condition. The week of October 6 is national Mental Health Awareness Week in the U.S. and is a perfect opportunity to get informed about depression. Whether you have depression or know someone with depression, it is important to be educated about this condition and to not let misperceptions dictate how you view others or – if you have depression – how you view yourself.
In this article, Dr. Larry Culpepper, a primary care physician and professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Boston University, discusses three misperceptions of depression and shares the truth about the condition.
Misperception 1: A depressed mood is the only symptom of depression.
While having a depressed mood, such as feelings of sadness or emptiness, is a significant symptom of depression, there are several other symptoms that are signals of a depressive episode. For some, depression creates a change in appetite, weight or energy levels. Depression can also lead to difficulties with concentration or decision making. Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or hypersomnia (sleeping too much), can also be a symptom of depression. Healthcare providers are trained at evaluating the symptoms of their patients, and can provide clarity on what symptoms mean and what steps need to be taken for a patient to feel better.
Misperception 2: Getting treated for depression is something to be ashamed of.
The feeling that others may view treatment negatively has the potential to become an obstacle to seeking care. It’s important to know that if you have depression, you are not alone. Depression affects almost 16 million people in the U.S. Getting help is a key element in recovery for all individuals with depression. If you feel like you do not want to seek treatment or want to discontinue your treatment due to feelings of embarrassment, talk to your healthcare provider for guidance.
Misperception 3: People with depression can “snap out of it.”
Depression is a medical illness and people who are depressed cannot simply “get over it” and feel better. It is critical that people with depression know that seeking treatment does not constitute weakness, but rather is a key step toward recovery. There are a variety of therapies available, such as talk therapy and prescription treatments, including VIIBRYD® (vilazodone HCI), approved to treat depression in adults. Engage in a conversation with your healthcare provider to discuss what treatment options are available to help you.
Misperceptions of depression can affect many areas of life for people living with depression and their loved ones, but they don’t have to. Through informed discussions, it is possible to eliminate misperceptions and better understand the condition. If you feel like you or a loved one may have depression, take the first step by talking to your healthcare provider about your options.
Important Risk Information
VIIBRYD® (vilazodone HCl) is indicated for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults.
Important Risk Information
What is the most important information I should know about VIIBRYD?
VIIBRYD and other antidepressant medicines may cause serious side effects. Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of the symptoms described below, or call 911 if there is an emergency.
Suicidality and Antidepressant Drugs
Antidepressants increased the risk compared to placebo of suicidal thinking and behavior (suicidality) in children, teens, and young adults. Depression and certain other psychiatric disorders are themselves associated with increases in the risk of suicide. Patients of all ages who are started on antidepressant therapy should be monitored appropriately and observed closely for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior. VIIBRYD is not approved for use in patients under 18. For more information on this risk, please read the VIIBRYD Medication Guide in the accompanying full Prescribing Information.
Serotonin Syndrome: Agitation, hallucinations, coma or other changes in mental status; coordination problems or muscle twitching; fast heartbeat, high or low blood pressure; sweating or fever; nausea, vomiting or diarrhea; muscle stiffness or tightness.
Abnormal bleeding: VIIBRYD and other antidepressant medicines may increase your risk of bleeding or bruising, especially if you take the blood thinner warfarin (Coumadin®, Jantoven®), a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), or aspirin.
Seizures or convulsions.
Manic episodes: Greatly increased energy; severe trouble sleeping; racing thoughts; reckless behavior; unusually grand ideas; excessive happiness or irritability; talking more or faster than usual.
Low salt (sodium) levels in the blood: Elderly people may be at greater risk for this. Symptoms may include headache; weakness or feeling unsteady; confusion, problems concentrating or thinking or memory problems.
Who should not take VIIBRYD?
- Do not take any drugs known as MAOIs within 14 days of stopping VIIBRYD
- Do not start VIIBRYD if you stopped taking an MAOI in the last 14 days
- Do not start VIIBRYD if you are taking linezolid (a specific antibiotic) or are receiving intravenous methylene blue
People who take VIIBRYD close in time to taking an MAOI may have serious or even life-threatening side effects.
What should I tell my healthcare provider before starting VIIBRYD?
- Tell your healthcare provider about all prescription, over-the-counter medications, vitamins and herbal supplements you are taking or plan to take, including:
— Triptans used to treat migraine headaches; medicines used to treat mood, anxiety, psychotic or thought disorders, including tricyclics, lithium, SSRIs, SNRIs, buspirone, or antipsychotics; tramadol, mephenytoin (Mesantoin) or over-the-counter supplements such as tryptophan or St. John’s Wort; this is necessary to avoid a potentially life-threatening condition
— Aspirin, NSAID pain relievers, or blood thinners (warfarin, Coumadin, or Jantoven) because they may increase the risk of bleeding
- Speak with your doctor if you:
– Have kidney or liver problems
– Have or had mania, bipolar disorder (manic depression), seizures or convulsions
– Have or had bleeding problems. VIIBRYD may increase your risk of bleeding or bruising
– Have low salt (sodium) levels in your blood or are taking diuretics (water pills)
– Are nursing, pregnant, or are planning to become pregnant or to breastfeed
Do not stop VIIBRYD without first talking to your healthcare provider.
- Stopping VIIBRYD suddenly may cause serious symptoms including: anxiety, irritability, high or low mood, feeling restless or sleepy; headache, sweating, nausea, dizziness; electric shock-like sensations, tremor, and confusion.
What should I avoid when taking VIIBRYD?
- Until you know how VIIBRYD affects you, you should not drive, operate heavy machinery, or engage in other dangerous activities. Avoid drinking alcohol while taking VIIBRYD.
What are the most common side effects of VIIBRYD?
- The most common side effects in people taking VIIBRYD include diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, and trouble sleeping.
- Tell your healthcare provider if you have any side effect that bothers you or that does not go away.
These are not all the possible side effects of VIIBRYD. For more information, ask your healthcare provider or pharmacist.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
Please also see Medication Guide within the full Prescribing Information.
Please visit www.viibryd.com for more information and to view the full Prescribing Information, including Medication Guide, or contact Forest Laboratories, Inc. at 1-800-678-1605. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
VIIBRYD® is a registered trademark of Forest Laboratories, Inc.
All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
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© 2013 Forest Laboratories, Inc. VBD11663 10/13