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LEARN TO SPOT CAUSES, EFFECTS

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"Healthy people are in touch with a full range of emotions," Dr. Donnis Reese, director of behavioral medicine at Lakeview Hospital, tells audiences during discussions on depression. "That includes pain and sorrow and sadness, as well as joy."

She is one of several professionals who visit area schools and corporations to talk about symptoms of depression. Depression can be triggered by a number of events and factors, she said, and it's important to recognize both the factors and the symptoms of the frequently debilitating mental illness.Stress is a major factor, whether it's acute or delayed. "When stress goes on for a long time, you wear out. That burn-out is chronic, acute stress. And you may feel hypersensitive and put-upon," Reese said.

Delayed stress can also be a factor. "It's been called post-traumatic stress syndrome and when we think of it, we think of the Vietnam War. But it can be any situation where people need to act `normally' in abnormal situations, like a child who is abused and tries to keep it a secret.

"If I have it and I don't take care of the symptoms, I will in fact develop the illness of depression."

Grief and loss - whether of a loved one or a job, prestige or possessions - can lead to depression and affect people of all ages.

Drug and alcohol usage can start a cycle of depression for the user and his family and friends.

Illness and feelings of isolation and "not making the grade" can lead to depression.

"Remember, to have feelings of depression sometimes and to be able to talk about it is healthy," said Reese. "We certainly don't need to put everyone into hospitals. We don't treat most cases with hospitalization. But people do need to be able to spot depression that isn't a quick case of the `blues.' "