Depression in mothers can have a major impact on the entire family, especially on the health and well-being of their children. Yet a new study published in the Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research found that more than 65 percent of working moms with depression don't get adequate treatment.
Researchers looked at data from 2,130 moms who participated in a national survey about health between 1996 and 2005. All the moms had at least one child under age 18.
Nine percent of the moms studied reported symptoms consistent with depression. Of these women, 38 percent did not receive any treatment for depression, 27 percent received only some treatment, and 35 percent received adequate treatment. Adequate treatment was defined as receiving at least four prescriptions for antidepressants or attending at least eight counseling visits over the course of the year.
Moms with health insurance were three times more likely than those without insurance to get adequate treatment.
But working moms were less likely to receive adequate treatment than those not in the paid workforce, possibly because long work hours make it hard for them to find time to seek treatment.
In addition, prior research has found that women may delay or go without treatment because they are unable to take time off work or have child care problems.
Black, Hispanic, and other minority moms were least likely to receive adequate treatment.
Researchers noted that future studies are needed to better understand the disparities in treatment among mothers with depression.
Although depression is common, it is still a serious illness. Every now and then most people feel sad. For the most part, these feelings go away after a couple of days. Depression, however, disrupts your daily life and routine, making activities such as going to work and taking care of children harder.
People who are depressed may feel sad, anxious, or empty for extended periods of time. They may also feel hopeless, worthless, or helpless. Other symptoms include:
Depression is very treatable, even when it is severe. What's more, when mothers are treated for depression, the long-term health of their families is more likely to improve, too.
The first step in getting treatment is to visit a doctor. He or she will make sure that your symptoms are not being caused by another illness. Your doctor may refer you to a mental health professional for help with your depression symptoms. Talk therapy and medication are the most common treatments for depression.
Treatment for depression is covered by most insurance plans. Contact your insurance company to learn about your benefits. If you don't have insurance, or if it doesn't cover depression services, visit your local clinic or health center, where cost may be based on income.
To find a mental health provider near you, visit the Web site for the National Mental Health Information Center.
Always consult your physician for more information.
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There's a reason hamburgers and mashed potatoes are called "comfort food." Many people turn to food when they're anxious, stressed, or in the dumps. Emotional eating can lead to eating more high-fat foods, extra pounds -- and may even be linked to some eating disorders. Turning to food in times of need is a hard habit to break, but there's help.
Keeping a food diary is a good way to find out not only if you're an emotional eater, but also what prompts your binges. Write down what you eat and your mood at the time. Common feelings and situations linked to emotional eating include:
Most people occasionally eat for reasons other than hunger. But if emotional eating becomes a pattern or habit, it's time to take action.
Find other ways to react to emotional situations. For instance, take a walk or play with the dog when you feel anxious. Identify hobbies you enjoy, like reading or sports, to help take your mind off macaroni and cheese. Slash stress from your life by learning time management skills and relaxation techniques, spending time with friends and family, or connecting with a support group.
If you start to feel more stressed or depressed, or can't control your eating despite your efforts, talk with a health care professional. Counseling or other treatments can help you break the cycle.