Why It’s Important to Thrive and Not Just Survive

We Spend a significant amount of time as doctors monitoring for adverse outcomes. 

We use the absence of disease as an indicator of health. 

But the mere absence of disease is not enough to proclaim good health. 

If we only monitor for the absence of disease, we miss the things that are most important in our patients’ daily lives. 

The things I’ve found to be most important in my life, and often lacking in my patient’s lives are…

Being happy, having a sense of purpose and meaning, and having good relationships which are sometimes ignored if overt signs and symptoms of disease are not present. 

Being “well” is a state of complete mental, physical, and social wellbeing. 

Having a purpose in life is associated with reduced mortality risk, so is life satisfaction. Things like loneliness and social isolation are associated with increased mortality.

When these needs are met people not only live longer but they live with intention. 

Let’s Look beyond the absence disease 

How to Tell if You Have Depression

Images that show what it feels like to suffer from mental illness. Bringing the inside to the outside.

Depression is not always easy to spot, and in a world filled with social media it always seems like everyone is living their best life. 

In the most severe states people can have suicidal thoughts and profound hopelessness. The symptoms can be mild, moderate, or severe. Depression can affect anyone. 

Depression is an illness like any other disease (diabetes, hypertension, heart disease) that affects thoughts, feelings, physical health, and behaviors. 

People with major depressive disorder have several of these symptoms every day or nearly every day for 2 weeks or more. 

Here are some signs that you may have depression 

At least one of the following, loss of interest in things you previously enjoyed or depressed mood  

At least 3 of the following 

  • Feeling slow or restless 
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Increased or decreased appetite
  • Suicidal thoughts 
  • Problems concentrating, making choices, or remembering things 
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much 
  • Having low energy 

Potential physical signs of depression include 

  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension 
  • Digestive symptoms 
  • Sexual problems 
  • Feeling “keyed up”

This can be summed up in the mnemonic SIGECAPS taught to medical students everywhere. The mnemonic comes from the prescription a doctor might write for a depressed patient

 SIG:  1 energy capsules per day 

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