Depression & Anxiety

Dr. Zelig has been treating people with depression since he was in graduate school.  While many people are painfully aware of the presence of depression in their life, there are many others who are seriously depressed, yet are unaware of it.  Not surprisingly, this second group is particularly unlikely to seek treatment.

When a person has developed depression gradually, they may be unaware of how limiting this disease has become over time.  Indeed, about 50% of those whom Dr. Zelig treats for depression initially came in complaining of things they felt were unrelated to depression such as poor concentration, insomnia, poor work performance, irritability,  or impaired sexual performance.   They are often dissatisfied with their partner.

Why do some people have limited insight regarding the presence of depression?  A number of factors may be present, including the erroneous belief that depression only impacts people who have had “something bad happen,” in their life.  In reality, negative life events may cause or contribute to depression, but they are not required! Depression is like other physical diseases that cause psychological symptoms.  And while no two people experience depression exactly the same way, all of those affected are being robbed of obtaining their potential.   Another factor that may be present in those with limited insight for depression is that the disorder has gradually developed over years, leaving the person unaware of its increasing prominence in their life.

Depression is a bad news – good news event.  The bad news is that in addition to causing pain, suffering, and impaired relationships, it can also be deadly.  For example, a study published in August 2009 found that the risk depression poses for premature death from causes other than suicide is substantial.  The study was conducted in Norway and calculated the mortality rate of 61,349 citizens (average age = 48) over a 4.4 year period.  At the beginning of the study the authors collected baseline measures of depression, anxiety, and indicators of physical health, such as smoking and the presence (and absence) of various medical conditions.

When the investigators compared death rates at the conclusion of the study, they found  a much higher than average death rate from cardiovascular diseases in the subgroup of people with depression.  Specifically, those reporting depression at the study’s onset had approximately a 40-60% greater chance of death – about the same as nondepressed people who smoked cigarettes.

Now for the good news.  Most people respond to treatment for depression, with the best outcomes typically occurring with people who undergo combined medical and psychological treatment.    If you desire further information about depression, do not hesitate to contact Dr. Zelig’s office. Phone: 801-273-3365 or email (

Reference:  Mykletun, A., Bjerkeset, O., Dewey, M., Prince, M., Overland, S., &  Stewart, R. (2009). Anxiety, depression, and cause-specific mortality: The HUNT Study. The British Journal of Psychiatry, 195, 118 – 125.

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