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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776
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Dealing With Loss

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The DSM-V Criteria for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) are as follows:

  • Depressed mood or a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities for more than two weeks.
  • Mood represents a change from the person’s baseline.
  • Impaired function: social, occupational, educational.
  • Specific symptoms, at least 5 of these 9, present nearly every day:
  1. Depressed mood or irritable most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective report (e.g., feels sad or empty) or observation made by others (e.g., appears tearful).
  2. Decreased interest or pleasure in most activities, most of each day
  3. Significant weight change (5%) or change in appetite
  4. Change in sleep: Insomnia or hypersomnia
  5. Change in activity: Psychomotor agitation or retardation
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy
  7. Guilt/worthlessness: Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  8. Concentration: diminished ability to think or concentrate, or more indecisiveness
  9. Suicidality: Thoughts of death or suicide, or has suicide plan

Although I am sharing all of these symptoms with you, it is imperative that you see a competent psychologist or psychiatrist to help you figure out what is going on with your father. In the meantime, you should try to get him to walk every day or engage in some type of exercise. I know that this will be difficult, but exercise helps increase endorphins, which is a great way to fight depression or depressive symptoms.

Additionally, if you can try to get your father involved in some kind of activity that he would enjoy, it would be very helpful. Even if you or your husband have to drag your father with you at first, it will help your father begin to lift himself out of the negative feelings he is experiencing. Perhaps your husband or one of your siblings can learn with your father? This has proven to help many men going through a difficult time. Please try to get your father professional help as soon as possible in order to assist him in beginning the healing process.

Hatzlocha!

Dr. Yael Respler

About the Author: Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to deardryael@aol.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.


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