LLOYD I. SEDERER, M.D.
is Medical Director of the New York State Office of Mental Health, Medical Editor for Mental Health for The Huffington Post, and Adjunct Professor at the Columbia/Mailman School of Public Health.
Full bio can be found here.
Melancholia -- severe depression that is no passing phase or simply a bad day -- continues today to haunt the human condition. No race, ethnicity, age or socioeconomic group is spared its grip. We find depression in every country on Earth. It causes great psychic pain, physical distress, and functional impairment. It aggravates any coexisting chronic health condition, including asthma, heart and lung diseases, diabetes, Parkinson's and other neurological disorders and pain syndromes.
Depressed patients also have twice the risk of developing cardiac and artery disease (CAD) and stroke. They are four times more likely to die within six months of a myocardial infarction (MI or heart attack). They are three times more likely to be non-compliant with treatment -- a reflection of how the illness diminishes our ability to, or interest in, taking care of ourselves, as well as its harmful effects on the body's stress response, immunity and hormones.
Those people with diabetes and depression average health expenditures that are four times greater than those who are not depressed. Individuals with major depression make an average of twice as many visits to their primary care physicians as do non-depressed patients -- not for their depression, but for myriad other symptoms, which are explainable when the depression is uncovered.
Depression is highly associated with the excessive use and abuse of alcohol, prescription pain and tranquilizing medications, and illegal substances. The dysphoria of depression prompts its sufferers to seek relief through these substances. But any relief is short lived and the user finds himself in a deeper hole.
Real-life scenarios and authoritative information are written in a compassionate, reader-friendly way, including checklists to bring to a doctor’s appointment so you can ask the right questions. For readers who fear they will never see the light at the end of the tunnel, this book gives hope and a path forward.