Capturing the Sound of Depression in the Human Voice – KQED Science

In any given year, nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. suffer from a mental illness, yet fewer than half of those suffering receive treatment.

Signs of depression in the human voice might help to diagnose mental health problems Speaking lower, flatter and softer Sounding labored, with more pauses, starts and stops Sounding strained or breathy.

In an attempt to fill that gap, companies are developing digital technology to help doctors diagnose, monitor and treat psychiatric disorders. The behavioral health startup Ellipsis Health, based in San Francisco, uses machine learning to analyze audio recordings of conversations between doctors and patients during exams. The software works as a screening tool to flag patients whose speech matches the voice patterns of depressed individuals, alerting clinicians to follow up with a full diagnostic interview.

Meanwhile, Boston’s Cogito has developed an app to use metadata from patients’ phones to alert health care providers about sudden changes in behavior that might be linked to mental health.

Read on: Capturing the Sound of Depression in the Human Voice | KQED Future of You | KQED Science

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What is depression? – Helen M. Farrell

Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world; in the United States, close to ten percent of adults struggle with the disease. But because it’s a mental illness, it can be a lot harder to understand than, say, high cholesterol. Helen M. Farrell examines the symptoms and treatments of depression, and gives some tips for how you might help a friend who is suffering.

Source: What is depression? – Helen M. Farrell

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Researchers discover marker for postpartum depression risk – UPI.com

Researchers have identified a biomarker in pregnant women’s blood which may indicate their risk for postpartum depression after giving birth.Low levels of the hormone oxytocin are associated with postpartum depression, however the genetic regulation of the oxytocin receptor was found to predict women who may be predisposed for the condition.Researchers said they were not surprised about the biomarker because oxytocin also is known to be important to healthy births, maternal bonding, and mood and emotional regulation.

Source: Researchers discover marker for postpartum depression risk – UPI.com

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Expert Panel Recommends Questionnaire to Help Spot Depression

(HealthDay News) — Part of your next visit to your family doctor’s office should be spent filling out a questionnaire to assess whether you’re suffering from depression, an influential panel of preventive medicine experts recommends.What’s more, people concerned that they might be depressed could download an appropriate questionnaire online, fill it out ahead of time and hand it over to their doctor for evaluation, the panel added.In an updated recommendation released Monday, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force urged that family doctors regularly screen patients for depression, using standardized questionnaires that detect warning signs of the mental disorder.

Source: Expert Panel Recommends Questionnaire to Help Spot Depression

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ADHD and Depression: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Management

To most people, depression means feeling blue or down in the dumps. This is an almost universal experience for people with ADHD. At some point in their lives, they feel down due to the frustration and demoralization of trying to fit into a neurotypical world that makes little effort to understand or accept them. Often this is called secondary, or reactive, depression.

It must be emphasized, however, that “reactive depression” is a normal experience and not something that has gone wrong. It is an accurate perception of how hard and frustrating it is to have ADHD, especially if it is not being treated.

via ADHD and Depression: Diagnosis, Treatment, and Management.

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5 Signs You Might Have Winter Depression – ABC News

Sick of the snow yet? Bad news: There’s more on the way. Much more.

While the flurries are fun for some, an estimated 14 percent of Americans battle the winter blues. And almost half of those people (more women than men) have full-on seasonal affective disorder or SAD – a form of depression more common in the colder months.

via 5 Signs You Might Have Winter Depression – ABC News.

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What does depression feel like?

Image: Dolce Far Niente by John William Godward
Dolce Far Niente by John William Godward

“It was not really alarming at first, since the change was subtle, but I did notice that my surroundings took on a different tone at certain times: the shadows of nightfall seemed more somber, my mornings were less buoyant, walks in the woods became less zestful, and there was a moment during my working hours in the late afternoon when a kind of panic and anxiety overtook me…” – William Styron, Darkness Visible

Sometimes the Depression Self-Screening Tests are just too clinical, and the symptoms don’t really “click” with you. Some of the criteria are general, and if you’re suffering from depression, specifics are easier to understand.

I know that I might not have diagnosed myself with depression just on the basis of those symptoms. I had no change in appetite, and no sleep problems (getting out of bed was what was difficult). Below are some un-clinical symptoms.

    • Things just seem “off” or “wrong.”
    • You don’t feel hopeful or happy about anything in your life.
    • You’re crying a lot for no apparent reason, either at nothing, or something that normally would be insignificant.
    • You feel like you’re moving (and thinking) in slow motion.
    • Getting up in the morning requires a lot of effort.
    • Carrying on a normal conversation is a struggle. You can’t seem to express yourself.
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    Depression in Women and Girls – Causes, Risk Factors

    Women suffer from unipolar (as opposed to bipolar or manic) depression in greater numbers than men do; twice as much by most estimates. Three times as many teenage girls as boys report having experienced an episode of major depression.

    Causes

    The reason or reasons why women have unipolar depression more frequently than men is less definite, due to a great extent to the fact that we don’t fully understand what causes depression, whether in men or women. Depression is a highly individual disease. Each case is different. One person’s depression may be wholly chemical, while someone else’s is brought on by events and stressful factors in her life. Yet another person may suffer depression due to a combination of chemical and environmental factors.

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    Five Excuses that Might Prevent You from Getting Help for Depression

    Frittilaria in a Copper Vase by Van Gogh

    So you know you have depression, or you’re pretty sure you do, but you’re putting off doing anything about it. Procrastinating is a fairly common state of affairs for people with depression. I once put off renewing the registration for my car (before I was diagnosed with depression) and of course it expired, as they do. I ended up getting a huge ticket, about one week’s pay, because I was unlucky enough to be in front of a state cop in stop-and-go traffic. It seems really stupid now that I didn’t get it done, but I do remember the complete lack of motivation that came with my depression.

    Lack of motivation is one of the ways in which depression can screw up your life, especially when it is keeping you from getting professional help for your depression. You may think you have good reasons for not getting help, but are they reasons or excuses? I don’t know if these could be considered the top five excuses, but they’re definitely the ones that I’ve heard most frequently.

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    What is Depression (and What is it Not?)

    Image: Detail from the Women of Amphissa by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema
    Detail from The Women of Amphissa by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema

    “People who don’t know [what depression is], who say it’s self-indulgence, sound callous, but it’s not callousness born of indifference; I think it’s callousness born of ignorance. That kind of ignorance we’ve got to get rid of, and little by little I suppose, we will. You say to them, ‘It’s a pity you don’t know. I’m sure that if you knew, I’m sure that if you knew, not only wouldn’t you say that, you’d try to help in one way or another.”- Mike Wallace, On the Edge of Darkness

    Note:I wrote this a few years ago, and it has made its way around the Net uncredited. If you want to reprint it, please make sure you credit Wing of Madness.

    What Depression Is:

    • Depression is an illness, in the same way that diabetes or heart disease are illnesses.
    • Depression is an illness that affects the entire body, not just the mind.
    • Depression is an illness that one in five people will suffer during their lifetime.
    • Depression is the leading cause of alcoholism, drug abuse and other addictions.
    • Depression is an illness that can be successfully treated in more than eighty percent of the people who have it.
    • Depression is an equal-opportunity illness – it affects all ages, all races, all economic groups and both genders. Women, however, suffer from depression almost twice as much as men do.
    • At least half of the people suffering from depression do not get proper treatment.
    • Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide.
    • Depression is second only to heart disease in causing lost work days in America.
    • Unipolar major depression is the leading cause of disability.
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