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Conquering Depression

Aired February 19, 2005 - 16:00   ET


ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good afternoon. I'm Andrea Koppel at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta. Today's special edition of ANDERSON COOPER 360, conquering depression begins in a moment. But first here's a check of what's happening now in the news.
It is a second deadly day of attacks in Iraq. Violence on the holiest period of the year for the country's Shiite majority has claimed at least 16 lives. A U.S. soldier is among the victims; 10 attackers were killed as well.

A message to North Korea, the U.S. and Japan are urging the country to go back to six-party talks about its nuclear weapons program. The standoff was at the top of the agenda during a meeting between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and their Japanese counterparts.

And the hockey season may not be totally on ice. Three days after it was canceled, the NHL and the players' association are back at the negotiating table in New York. The key sticking point is a proposal by the owners to cap the salaries of their teams.

We'll have another check of the headlines in 30 minutes. ANDERSON COOPER 360 begins right now.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: A world-famous heart surgeon who lived to save lives, kills himself after battling demons of depression.


DR. MARYANNE CHRISANT: I never knew he was depressed to the extent that he was. There wasn't a hint.


COOPER: Tonight, is someone you know hiding their thoughts of death behind a happy face?

Desperate patients turning to extreme measures to conquer depression. Tonight electroshock therapy.


DAVID SCHAAT, ECT PATIENT: It's brought a lot of new emotions, euphoric feelings, happy feelings that I'm not used to having.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: How this drastic treatment may be able to cure the mind when all else fails.

Taking a bite out of the blues. Can food help you keep depression away? Tonight, the depressed body.


MATT GRIMES, BATTLES DEPRESSION: I have to a lot of times to push myself to get up and get going.


COOPER: How the disease takes its physical toll and the diet you can use to fight back.

And breaking the silence, pregnant and depressed.


MARY JOE CODEY, WIFE OF ACTING GOV. OF NJ: We're supposed to be happy, considering, joyful and excited.


COOPER: A look at the dark side of pregnancy no one seems to want to talk about.

ANNOUNCER: From the CNN broadcast center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.

COOPER: Welcome to this special edition of "360," conquering depression. Researchers say an estimated 34 million Americans, men women and children, will suffer from serious depression in their lifetime. What's truly frightening however is that half of those people never seek treatment. The result is a domino effect in which depression takes a toll, not only on the person who has it but on that person's family and their friends.

It doesn't have to be this way, however. Depression is treatable. Over the next hour we're going to show you how and introduce you to some people who have overcome it. We begin with a man you probably know well. CBS 60 MINUTES correspondent Mike Wallace, who struggled with depression and thoughts of suicide, a struggle he and his wife Mary have faced together.

When did you realize first you were actually depressed?

MIKE WALLACE: I was on trial for my life, Anderson. I was in a liable trial.

COOPER: The Westmoreland case.

WALLACE: The Westmoreland case. I was on trial for $120 million in a libel suit brought against me, George Carl (ph), the producer and CBS. Little by little, I was finding it difficult to sleep, difficult to eat, et cetera, et cetera. It was just miserable.

COOPER: Did you know it was depression? Did you realize he was depressed?

MARY WALLACE: No. I knew nothing about depression. What happens when somebody is depressed, and you're the wife or the mother, the son or something, you think you're doing something wrong and you think you can fix it, and so you try this and that and it doesn't work. This is what's so hard about living with a depressed person, because you think it's your fault.

WALLACE: She would get up every morning and accompany me down to the courtroom, Federal courthouse and I dreaded going down there, because you know, when the defendant in a libel trial sits there and hears every miserable thing -- you're a liar. You're a fraud. You're a cheat, you are et cetera, et cetera and little by little, for whatever reason -- and I had done pieces about depression before, but I never fully understood.

COOPER: You had done reports on it, but you didn't feel it in your gut that that's what you had?

WALLACE: No. I didn't know what the dickens I had. And the doctor said to me at the time - I didn't go to a psychiatrist at the time -- he said, c'mon, Mike, c'mon, get over it. You're OK.

COOPER: Your doctor said, get over it?

WALLACE: In effect.

MARY WALLACE: He said -- I think you even asked if there's some place to go and be treated for whatever is wrong, and the doctor said that would be very bad for your reputation.

WALLACE: I can't tell you how tough it is, you're copeless, you're hopeless, your self esteem leaves you.

COOPER: You're suicidal at times? You thought about suicide?

WALLACE: Of course. Of course.

COOPER: Did you actually visualize it? Did you make plans? Or was it just sort of impulses?

WALLACE: Oh, no, no, you think about plans, how would you off yourself. Pills? The -- you begin to think about, well, maybe if I put a bag over my head or something. You're sick.

COOPER: Did his depression rub off on you?

MARY WALLACE: Oh, yes, I even started a little group. I found some other women who had husbands that were depressed, and they were so discouraged. This breaks up more marriages than anything, and we all had the same problems. We didn't know what to do. We thought we were responsible and I hired a psychiatrist to get the group together and say it's not your fault. COOPER: I want to show you something that your executive producer Don Hewitt said about your work. Let's watch.


DON HEWITT: It's too much of soft cuddly Mike Wallace. He goes back on the other side and becomes tough mean, nasty --

WALLACE: You don't trust whites, you've said so. You don't trust Jews, you've said so. Well, here I am.


COOPER: Was your work affected?

WALLACE: Of course. Look, what you try to do is to mask it, but you don't mask it successfully. I would do an interview with somebody like you and I are sitting here talking. I didn't know what in the dickens the questions were that I was asking and I didn't hear the answers. You were doing it basically by rote. And the people who are - the producers who were working with me, and it's a very collaborative undertaking, as you know, they would say, well, Mike is just -- he's not very pleasant to begin with but, c'mon, let's help him and they did. They helped me through it.

MARY WALLACE: It certainly affects whose ever there, I suppose the people Mike worked with or the family, your family, anyone you're around. It's like a big black cloud.

WALLACE: Now people come to me, because they know I've been public about it a long time and they'll come and tell me. It can be cured. If you stay on your medications, if you get a good shrink, if you are open about it, it can be cured.

COOPER: Mike Wallace and his wife Mary.

Seeking out that cure can mean antidepressants. It can mean talk therapy. We were also surprised to learn that when all else fails, some patients are even trying a new approach to an old treatment. Coming up, the truth about electric shock therapy.

Also ahead, depression and pregnancy, why some women supper extreme sadness during what's supposed to be the happiest time of their lives.

And a little later, depression fighting diet, is that possible? We'll look at the foods that may improve your mood.


COOPER: Welcome back to this special edition on "360" on conquering depression. There's so many treatments for depression today, prescription drugs, a variety of therapies, but for some nothing seems to work and they are turning to a treatment you may not even know still exists. CNN's Gary Tuchman takes a look, a new look at an old treatment. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A life spent in misery.

DAVID SCHAAT, ECT PATIENT: I'm bipolar, so I have manic depression.

TUCHMAN: David Schaat has considered killing himself. He's now in a Utah hospital as a last resort, about to undergo a psychiatric procedure that's long carried a stigma. It's best known as electroshock therapy, electrically shocking the brain to produce a seizure, a procedure many only know from its portrayal by Jack Nicholson in the movie "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest."

DR. LOWRY BUSHNELL, UNIV. OF UTAH, NEUROPSYCHIATRIC INSTITUTE: It's understandable to see why some people may think that this is a bit like the Frankenstein monster in the castle on the hill. We have an image problem, but the reality is not that at all.

TUCHMAN: This is the reality say the doctors treating David Shaft.

BUSHNELL: This will be the stimulation itself and his face will flinch. Now he's having a seizure.

TUCHMAN: The seizure lasts just over 30 seconds. Anesthesia stops David from convulsing anything like Jack Nicholson. Doctors aren't exactly sure why the treatment, also called electroconvulsive therapy or ECT, works, but --

BUSHNELL: It seems as though the closest thing is the equivalent of rebooting the brain's operating system.

CHERYL SHERMAN, ECT PATIENT: I've been on medication for years and it just doesn't work.

TUCHMAN: Cheryl Sherman is also undergoing ECTs.

BUSHNELL: She's having her seizure at this point.

TUCHMAN: The Wyoming resident says she once bought a machete to end the life she felt was no longer worth living.

BUSHNELL: ECT is done on over 100,000 people a year in the United States. Many, many of those people would not survive without it and those that did, most would have tragic lives.

TUCHMAN: Leonard Roy Frank doesn't buy any of it. He was forced to undergo ECT 42 years ago when the shock was harsher. He says years of his memory were completely erased.

LEONARD ROY FRANK, FORMER ECT PATIENT: This is an effective way of destroying personality, destroying consciousness, stripping consciousness. TUCHMAN: State legislators throughout the country including here in Utah have received proposals asking for electroconvulsive therapy to be banned. Bills have been passed imposing some limitations, but so far no state has declared ECT as illegal. Cheryl Sherman says she has minor memory loss, but feels better than she can ever remember. Does it scare you that you feel so good?

SHERMAN: It's kind of unnerving because you expect the other shoe to drop and have it all go to hell on you.

TUCHMAN: This is also strange territory for the Schaat family.

SCHAAT: It's brought a lot of new emotions, a lot of euphoric feelings, happy feelings, that I'm not used to having.

TUCHMAN: The treatment does not come with a lifetime guarantee. It does come for many, though, with a great deal of hope. Gary Tuchman, CNN, Salt Lake City, Utah.


COOPER: Dr. Harold Sackheim believes electroconvulsive therapy can provide that hope for many patients. He's the chief of the department of biology, biological psychiatry at the New York State Psychiatric Institute and a professor at Columbia University. He spoke with Heidi Collins.


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let me just ask you, we know this is not a cure for chronic mental depression, so why do it? What is it supposed to do?

DR. HAROLD SACHHEIM, CHIEF OF THE DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGICAL PSYCHIATRY: Well, unfortunately none of our treatments in psychiatry are cures. The best what we can offer is symptom relief. We can make people, help people feel better. And for the people who come to ECT, they are so profoundly ill, so profoundly depressed, really wishing that life were over, that that can be turned around. People can be given new hope.

COLLINS: We did see those different stories in Gary Tuchman's piece there talking about trying to end their lives. How common is it, then to use what we're calling ECT?

SACHHEIM: Well, in the United States, the estimates are at about 100,000 patients receive ECT every year. Because the treatment involves a series of treatments, that makes ECT more common than appendectomy, coronary bypass and even hernia repair.

COLLINS: So who makes a good candidate then? We've already determined that this is chronic, I mean, severe mental depression.

SACHHEIM: There are two main considerations in thinking about ECT for an individual. The first is how severe the depression is, how bad is it and how has the individual done with other treatments? Ironically ECT is a very unusual treatment, because the people who have the most severe illness and often those who haven't done well with previous treatments, tend to do very well with ECT.

COLLINS: So talk a little bit about this misconception of it. Maybe it was years ago, we heard one of the people in Gary's story talking about 40 years ago he had electroshock. Some people may think that you get the shock and then the treatment is over, but this is not true. I would imagine there's quite a bit of follow-up.

SACKHEIM: As we had indicated, because our treatments help with symptom relief but are not cures, most of the serious psychiatric illnesses require long-term treatment afterwards. And so ECT is done to get you through the crisis, to get you out of that very serious depression and then other things, like treatment with medication, psychotherapy and sometimes additional ECT are used to help people maintain that well-being.

COLLINS: But there is quite a margin, isn't there, for how much it will help or hurt people? I mean, we've got the national mental health association saying that the results of ECT are either damage for life or you're saving the life. So how do you find just the right therapy for these individuals?

SACKHEIM: I think that's a very important question Heidi and the question is, how bad can the damage be with ECT? What do you have to give up and how common is that? ECT has undergone remarkable progress over the last several decades and we're now at the point for the vast majority of people where the effects on thinking and memory are truly minimal. Just within the last two years, a new form of ECT has been introduced that radically changes the effects on cognition. There may still be, like with any treatment in medicine, individuals who are going to have severe side effects. There's always a risk of that. What we can say is we've really reduced that markedly for the typical patient who goes through ECT.

COLLINS: We appreciate your time here very much, Dr. Harold Sachheim, offering some hope for some patients. Thanks so much.

SACKHEIM: Thank you.

COOPER: Next on this special edition of 360, the first lady of New Jersey shares how she battled post partum depression, fighting thoughts of suicide, even thoughts of killing her newborn son.

Plus, masking depression, a successful doctor seemingly happy and confident takes his own life. Is someone in your life hiding their pain?

And a little later, dark outside? Feeling dark inside, how to conquer wintertime blues.


COOPER: Most pregnant women hope they'll have nine months of excitement and happiness, maybe a little morning sickness, swollen feet, but something unexpected is happening to some women who are expecting and very few of them are talking about it. CNN's senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta talks with one woman who's battles the demons of depression even as she's expecting a bundle of joy.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: It's the dark side of pregnancy that no one seems to talk about. Not the joyful expectancy or anticipation, but sadness, fatigue, even profound depression. Thirty five year old Kim Allard suffered all those feelings in silence during her pregnancy.

KIM ALLARD, SUFFERED DEPRESSION DURING PREGNANCY: We're supposed to be happy and serene and joyful and excited and we're not supposed to talk about the things that are hard about pregnancy.

GUPTA: And it was hard when Allard's lifelong history of depression hit during her second trimester. For weeks at a time, she dreaded going to work, socializing with friends. Everything normal became a chore.

ALLARD: At one of the worst points, food didn't even seem that interesting. There were actually times when I had to remind myself to eat.

GUPTA: A 2001 study in the British medical journal indicates that depression during pregnancy may be more common than post partum depression. The problem is...

ALLARD: Some of it is hard to tease out from the hormonal upheaval of pregnancy.

GUPTA: It's probably not just hormones when moms have experienced depression before or had a family history. If the pregnancy is complicated or inordinately stressful and left unchecked, depression could cause problems not only for mom, but for the baby as well, like preterm delivery and low birth weight.

DR. ZACHARY STOWE, EMORY UNIVERSITY: We're not talking about the sniffles. We're talking about something that can truly have an impact on the pregnancy.

GUPTA: For more serious cases, some experts suggest taking antidepressants, but it's not known yet how these drugs will impact the fetus. Antidepressants during the third trimester could cause problems such as jitteriness when the baby is born.

DR. LORI ALTSHULER, UCLA: So to add now to that burden in a very depressed woman whose doctor has made the decision with them that they need to be on medication, that they may additionally be harming their baby by causing a withdrawal syndrome in the child.

GUPTA: With all these to weigh, Kim Allard decided to see a therapist. In her case, talk therapy alone worked. One of the best decisions she ever made. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, Atlanta.


COOPER: What Kim Allard experienced during her pregnancy, many women suffer from after their babies are born. Mary Jo Codey, the wife of New Jersey's acting governor, was one of those women with post-partum depression. She had struggled with regular depression for most of her life, but things got so much worse after the birth of her first child 20 years ago, so bad she even had what she called scary thoughts, like drowning her infant son. Heidi Collins talked with the first lady of New Jersey about her battle.


HEIDI COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Let's talk about when you first realized that you indeed had post partum depression, with that label on it, if you will.

MARY JOE CODEY, WIFE OF ACTING GOV. OF NJ: I didn't expect to have post-partum depression at all. It took me three years to get pregnant with my son, so the last thing I expected was post-partum depression, but the pediatrician in the hospital said to me sometimes women after they give birth have post partum depression and I think that you might have it, because you seem very withdrawn and I thought he was crazy, because I couldn't imagine having post partum depression. I couldn't wait to have the baby. It's just that I was withdrawn and I didn't want to see anyone, but I thought I was just tired.

COLLINS: Can you paint a picture for us of what that's like? I mean, this is, the birth of a baby, it's a joyous time. This is probably something that you thought you were going to be feeling.

CODEY: Right and I saw the look on my husband's face when my son was born and I saw joy in his face and I thought, where's mine? I mean, I couldn't wait for the moment, and I felt nothing. I felt no joy, but I didn't realize the depression had set in already, right after his birth.

COLLINS: And there's a process to it, it seems. You say you were feeling withdrawn, sort of a feeling of indifference.

CODEY: I had a feeling of indifference, which I thought was strange especially for me, because I love kids. I couldn't wait, but the indifference went to irritability because after I - like people were calling me and sending me gifts. My husband was a senator already so I was getting a lot of flowers and that was like, I wanted everyone to go away and leave me alone.

COLLINS: Those things bothered you.

CODEY: They bothered me. I just wanted to be left alone. I didn't want to see anyone. I don't want to talk to anybody and I wanted to get in a dark closet just to be left alone.

COLLINS: You talk about those feelings going from indifference to irritability to at one point, some scary thoughts when you were working with and bathing, all the things you do for a brand new little boy.

CODEY: Those are intrusive thoughts that people that have severe post partum depression can experience. They're not intentions. They're horrible thoughts that terrified me. They're pretty hard to shake and I got them like 10, 12 times a day and finally I wanted to go to the hospital just to make sure the baby would be OK.

COLLINS: One of those scary thoughts that you had mentioned when you working...

CODEY: They're terrifying thoughts.

COLLINS: ... of Kevin. You had thought about...

CODEY: They're terrifying.

COLLINS: ... putting him into the microwave. That was the breaking point for you when you said that's it.

CODEY: No more, no more would I try to stay home.

COLLINS: You also had thoughts of suicide though.

CODEY: Right. I think when you're taking care of your baby and you have those thoughts and the hospital didn't work for me and they couldn't find the right medication for me, those were comforting thoughts to me. I wasn't afraid to commit suicide and if you think you're going to hurt your baby, wouldn't you much rather hurt yourself? It was a way out for me.

COLLINS: What type of treatment actually worked for you, though? After you'd gone through all this, you came up with a diagnosis, what worked?

CODEY: A certain type of medication called an MAO inhibitor worked for me and when it worked it worked in two weeks. So in two weeks time I went from being suicidal to being fine. It took a year for them to find the right medication for me and I think the important part of -- an important thing for mothers to remember is they have to hang in with the medication. They have to give it six weeks and if it doesn't work, you have to try a different one for six weeks and then they can combine them. I think the important thing is hang in there. And I think an important thing for new mothers too is to realize that they have a severe post partum depression, it's no indicator of what kind of mom they're going to be. They could be a wonderful mom and suffer from post partum depression. And I think when you have a brand- new baby and you're having these horrible thoughts, you think what kind of mother am I? What kind of human being? But I met so many wonderful mothers that have gone through this, wonderful mothers.

COLLINS: Those are very helpful thoughts. Mary Jo Codey, the first lady of New Jersey, we appreciate your time here tonight.

CODEY: Thank you.

COOPER: A world-famous heart surgeon who lived to save lives, kills himself after battling demons of depression.


I never knew that he was depressed to the extent he was. There wasn't a hint.


COOPER: Tonight, is someone you know hiding their thoughts of death behind a happy face?

Taking a bite out of the blues. Can food help you keep depression away? Tonight, the depressed body.


I have to a lot of times push myself to get up and get going.


COOPER: How the disease takes its physical toll and the diet you can use to fight back. 360 continues.


KOPPEL: Hello, everyone. I'm Andrea Koppel at CNN's world headquarters in Atlanta. We'll return to Anderson Cooper's special on conquering depression, but first here is a look at what's happening now in the news.

Water logged California is suffering another drenching. A storm that was sitting off the state's northern coast is hitting the central and southern part of the state hardest. Heavy rains have collapsed a store roof in Burbank, closed a highway and raised fears of mudslides.

Iraqi police have arrested a suspected insurgent they believe is linked to terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al Zarqawi. Police took the man into custody today after a raid in western Baquba.

At least 16 victims and 10 attackers are dead in the latest series of insurgent assaults in Iraq. A man rode a bike into a funeral tent and then blew himself up in one of several attacks in Baghdad. Another suicide bomber killed a U.S. soldier and three Iraqis.

Former Presidents Bush and Clinton are touring regions of south Asia devastated by a recent deadly tsunami. The current President Bush asked them to lead the U.S. effort to generate private aide for the survivors. Wolf Blitzer will interview the two presidents tomorrow and noon Eastern on LATE EDITION. We'll have another check of the headlines for you in 30 minutes. Now back to ANDERSON COOPER 360.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR, ANDERSON COOPER 360: Welcome back to this special edition of 360 on conquering depression. Coming up, what some are calling a depression-fighting diet, healthy foods you can eat that may improve your mood, but first a look at the dangers of masking depression.

It's often true that people who are depressed hide the problem from those closest to them, hide the inner turmoil they're feeling. Dr. Sanjay Gupta introduces us to a man, a doctor who saved countless lives, but ended up taking his own.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Around the holidays last year, I sat down with one of the best-known pediatric heart surgeons in the country. Seemingly happy, confident and successful, he was the guy who saved lives where other doctors turned away.

DR. JONATHON DRUMMOND-WEBB: I tell the parents, I'm going to do the best I can for the job. I've got to find an option. Are we backed up against the wall? I mean, you know, it's cliche you're between a rock and hard place, but you have to find a way out for this kid. You can't throw up your hands and walk away from it.

GUPTA: But Dr. Jonathon Drummond-Webb did throw up his hands and walk away. CNN aired the story on December 23rd. Three days later I was horrified to learn that he had written a note to his wife and then took enough pills to stop his own heart forever. He died. It was the day after Christmas.

DR. MARYANNE CHRISANT, FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE: I know that Jonathan struggled with some demons, but I never knew that he was depressed to the extent that he was. He was very upbeat. He was excited about the CNN show. There was a lot of future talk and present talk and it was just a normal, very upbeat conversation and there wasn't a hint.

GUPTA: There usually aren't any clues, especially with doctors.

It's remarkable how physicians can function at work, containing everything and hiding their depression.

GUPTA: Dr. Herbert Hendin is a psychiatrist at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a group seeking greater awareness of depression, especially in the medical community.

DR. HERBERT HENDIN, AMR. FDN. FOR SUICIDE PREVENTION: There's no evidence that they necessarily have more depression than other people, but they certainly don't seek help for it with any significant degree.

GUPTA: Probably because of simple things like not enough time or worries that seeking help might affect a license or insurance coverage. But it may also have to do with the stigma that still chases people with depression, especially people who are responsible for the lives of others.

MICHAEL RUHLMAN, AUTHOR, "WALK ON WATER": A personal like that, a person who operates on babies' hearts has to be in control all the time, has to be in charge.

HENDIN: But they don't see themselves the way the outside world would judge them objectively and they are always focused on what they think are their inadequacies, their failures.

GUPTA Despite the countless lives Dr. Drummond-Webb had helped, even one failure could counteract all of that.

CHRISANT: When a patient dies, that's when I would see him very depressed and angry at himself. If only he had done X, Y or Z or had been there to do X, Y or Z.

GUPTA: We may never know for sure why Jonathon Drummond-Webb decided to end his own life, but we can say for certain that many patients will feel the loss.

DRUMMOND-WEBB: I just really try and show compassion and just try and be as nonjudgmental towards everything that I can and respect everybody's right to a happy existence and to happiness. So - I don't pray for guidance. I mean I just come and do the best that I possibly can, all the time.


COOPER: A terrible loss. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now to talk more about this. It's so terrible that a guy who seems so high- functioning. If he is having suicidal thoughts, how can he be functioning at such a high level still?

GUPTA: Yeah, it's impossible to tell Anderson. It's just a very tragic story. I've had friends, residents when I was training as a doctor who did the same thing and you just don't know. I mean, I think it's almost two lives. They're functioning on one hand, and they're having this incredible pain on the other hand. That's sort of the philosophical part of it. Also I think there's a stigma, as I mentioned. They just can't talk about it because they're responsible for taking care of other people. How can they have something wrong with them which makes it even harder for them to talk about it.

COOPER: And yet they're seeped in the medical community. They have access to doctors so easily, you would think if anyone could seek help, they could.

GUPTA: You would think so and I think that's starting to change. You've talked a lot about depression. There's still a huge stigma and I think in some ways, ironically more so in the medical community and that access that you talked about, in some way works against them. Because they have knowledge of these medications as well. They have access to these medications, which is how a lot of doctors end up killing themselves. They get the medications.

COOPER: So what are warning signs? People, I mean, there's so many people out there who have suicidal thoughts, who act out on it. What should people watch for?

GUPTA: It's difficult but there are some clear warning signs for everybody, not just doctors, things like increased agitation, you can see some of the signs there, increased agitation, social withdrawal, making excuses for not getting your work done. One thing that's important is, I think Anderson everybody has down days from time to time. What you're really talking about is when these symptoms persist longer than two weeks and that's a bit arbitrary but that's what they usually say. They don't find things interesting anymore. The things that you find interesting now, you just don't have any interest in them anymore. Why not? I think that's worth pursuing.

COOPER: Everything seems overwhelming. Everything, you lose interest in what -

GUPTA: That's right.

COOPER: the things you normally like. What should people around you do though? I mean it's a difficult thing to talk about. It's not the kind of thing people talk about in polite company. Should we bring it up to the person?

GUPTA: A lot of people have had mixed thoughts about that. Should you mention suicide to someone that you think is suicidal? Will that somehow implant the thought? Most psychiatrists and we've talked to a lot of people about this say no. Don't them how to do it. Don't say, listen, are you thinking about buying a gun or are you thinking about taking pills? But rather talk about what's leading to these feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, so bringing up the word suicide, even talking about it, not a bad thing, trying to address what's really the problem here is important. Again there are tons of resources available. There's medications available. There's talk therapy, even supplements and alternative therapies available. There's help out there, and that's takes away some of the hopelessness for people.

COOPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks very much. Also, we want to let you know, anyone out there, if someone you know needs help or if you need help, you can call the national suicide prevention life line. That number is 1 800 273-TALK, 1 800 273-TALK. Operators will connect you to the nearest available mental health provider. You can also check out their Web site,

Coming up next on conquering depression, one woman's personal story of darkness, her battle against winter blues and how she is finding the light.

Plus the mind/body connection, how your body may know you're depressed before you do.

And a little later, a real happy meal, the foods that can fuel happiness. Be right back.


COOPER: Well, the days are short, the nights are long and the cold dreary weather keeps you inside. Welcome to the dark days of winter. For some it's a nightmare, because the darkness leads to depression. Here's CNN's Gary Tuchman with a look at how one woman is seeking the light.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On the other side of a townhouse window on this snowy, gloomy day in Maine, sits a woman who has fought demons because of the weather like this.

SHEILA DOBSON, SUFFERS FROM SAD: I had thought about suicide from the age of 12, started making suicide attempts at the age of 17, just feeling totally worthless.

TUCHMAN: Sheila Dobson has long suffered from depression, but the serious aspect of it being seasonal affective disorder. It's appropriate acronym is SAD. During the worst days of her SAD, Sheila would not get out of bed.

DOBSON: I felt negative. If it was dark outside, I felt dark inside.

TUCHMAN: In the dead of winter in this part of Maine, it looks like midnight at 4:30 in the afternoon. There are just over eight hours of sunlight in the entire day, that is when you can see the sun at all. At the Ingraham Mental Health Crisis Center in Portland, there are many calls from people like Sheila. Often they're suffering from the more common wintertime blues. In other cases though, they're among the estimated 6 percent of Americans afflicted with seasonal affective disorder.

DR. JOHN SANTOPIETRO, INGRAHAM MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS CTR: The feelings of hopelessness have gotten to a point where people are really unable to manage, can't get to work, can't maintain in their relationships, and can become suicidal.

TUCHMAN: A light box is typical therapy for S.A.D.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don't even have to be looking straight at it, for about half an hour a day at the same time every day, typically in the morning is a good time, is when you can use it.

TUCHMAN: Medications are also often prescribed, so is counseling. Sheila Dobson's condition has improved with all those therapies, as well as her own touches like a lighted year round Christmas tree.

DOBSON: It just gives me a good feeling. It just perks me up.

TUCHMAN: Sheila still suffers, but because of her treatment --

DOBSON: I believe I have to have it under control. I believe I've got it to the point that I'm away from being at the lowest point.

TUCHMAN: Gary Tuchman, CNN, Portland, Maine.


COOPER: There are many ways to get depression under control. Respecting the mind/body connection. That's coming up, how to recognize the signs that your body is fighting the blues.

And the diet you can use to try to fight back, a real happy meal to help you conquer depression.


COOPER: When you break a leg or you pull a muscle, you pretty much know right away because your body tells you with pain, but did you know that your body might also tell you that you're depressed? Dr. Sanjay Gupta looks at the connection between mind and body.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A walk in the park is more like a trudge and a nice day might be viewed in darkish hues when 46-year old Matt Grimes becomes depressed.

MATT GRIMES, BATTLES DEPRESSION: Sometimes I'm even struggling to make it out into the day. It's like I have to a lot of times push myself to get up and get going. Once I get going, normally I'm OK, but it's kind of like, sometimes it's a real struggle to do just everyday things.

GUPTA: His depression would have a tight grip on his mind and eventually his heart. Ten years ago he was diagnosed with clinical depression, six years later, blockages in his heart. Dr. Viola Vacarino believes there's a link. She heads a study at Emory University finding strong connections between markers for depression and later heart disease.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The more depressed the people are, the more abnormalities we are finding.

GUPTA: No doubt the mind and the body are connected and we're proving it more than ever before. A recent study found that women with depression also had high levels of insulin resistance which can lead to Type II diabetes and a National Institutes of Health study finds that women who are depressed had significantly higher rates of bone mass loss than women who were not depressed.

DR. PHILIP GOLD, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH: Premenopausal women who are quite young who have episodes of major depression had lost a significant amount of bone, some a neck bone (ph) that would qualify for osteoporosis.

GUPTA: One reason may be that depressed people generate large amounts of a hormone called cortisol (ph). It's released when you're stressed and when you're depressed.

GOLD: In depression, where this stress response gets locked in the on position, then bone is lost well over time, perhaps continually and ultimately enough bone is lost so that it becomes pathological.

GUPTA: And the result is depression of the body's immune system, the body's ability to fend off disease.

GRIMES: I think when the spirit is broken, it affects your bodily function.

GUPTA: As Matt Grimes discovered, he's turned to both mental and physical therapies in the hope of a brighter future.


COOPER: And Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us now. There have been recent studies actually linking osteoporosis to depression. How connected are they?

GUPTA: Very connected and it's amazing. There's a lot of connections between the mind and body that people knew I think instinctively for some time but are stumbling upon. We talk about endorphins and things like that, that your body naturally producers, but when you're depressed, you actually produce a stress hormone called cortisol. I lot of people have heard of this but the impact on the bones is actually pretty profound. They did studies on premenopausal women, women in their 30s and 40s and found they could actually decrease the amount of bone production by 15 to 20 percent putting them at risk not only for osteoporosis, but also for fractures later on. So much strong is the link that they actually say women who are depressed, taking antidepressants should probably also be on calcium supplements, so it all sort of comes around, the whole mind body.

COOPER: There are a lot of people who don't want to take antidepressants, who shy away from any kind of medication like that. What other options are there for treating depression other than the antidepressants?

GUPTA: People say that we overmedicate our society as it is, so there's been a lot of push away from drugs per se. Talk therapy is something that you and I have talked about and it is an option, a good one for a lot of people.

COOPER: And there's many forms of that, cognitive therapy, behavioral, all sorts of things.

GUPTA: Right, not just these sort of lying down on the couch, tell me how you feel. But it's advanced beyond that. It's worth pursuing for a lot of people but supplements as well. There's something called DHEA, which is sort of a hormonal supplement. You can buy it over the counter in a lot of places and that has been shown to improve mood. Your diet, exercise, things like that can help as well. I always hesitate to offer those up, because people think, well, I already know all that, but the truth is that if you use your - harness your body's own natural endorphins, you can make yourself feel a lot better.

COOPER: All right. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, thanks.

GUPTA: Thank you.

COOPER: Well, if your body is battling depression, as Sanjay just said, there is a diet that maybe you can use to fight back. Get the details on what some are calling the real happy meal next on this special edition of 360, conquering depression.


COOPER: Welcome back to conquering depression, a 360 special. One way you might improve your mood is by eating the right foods. Heidi Collins talked about these real happy meals with registered dietitian Elizabeth Somer. She's the author of "Food and Mood, the Complete Guide to Eating Well and Feeling Your Best."

HEIDI COLLINS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I want to start by looking at the food that people should avoid. In fact, you say key stressors are sugar and caffeine, so I will not tell you what I had just before the show started, even though some people think that in the short term these types of foods lift their spirits or their energy.

ELIZABETH SOMER, AUTHOR, "FOOD AND MOOD": That's right. The quick fixes, the things we go to do give us a temporary lift, but it's just that, a temporary lift. In the long run, that lift is followed by a crash and then within an hour or two, you feel worse or just as bad as you did before and you end up creating a spiral where you go back to the coffee or you go back to the cola, you go back to the sweets for that rush again and you ride this roller coaster ride that fuels your depression and your fatigue rather than lifting you out of it.

COLLINS: But we're not just talking about fatigue or stress. I mean we're talking about depression. So tell me where it changes from just feeling tired and it moves all the way to depression and something that should be treated.

SOMER: Well, it's a whole continuum. I mean fatigue and depression go hand in hand. You never see a perky, depressed person, and some people just battle just everyday blues. Some people have clinical depression. But we do know is the studies find, regardless, there are studies from the University of Southern Alabama, that have found that if you cut out the caffeine and the sugar, up to two thirds of people with clinical depression report that first their fatigue begins to lift and then their depression begins to improve as well. And keep in mind, we're consuming more sugar than any living creature has ever consumed on the history of this planet, about 30 teaspoons of added sugar a day and it's in foods that aren't even sweet, three to four teaspoons of sugar in flavored oatmeal. There's up to nine teaspoons of sugar in soda pop, seven teaspoons of sugar in sweetened yogurt.

COLLINS: Let's talk about some of the nutrients and mood supporters, then, that have a beneficial effect on mood if you will. They include these - omega-3 fatty acids, folic acid and B vitamins, complex carbohydrates, water. Take us through these.

SOMER: OK. Well, along with getting rid of the caffeine and the sugar, start focusing on the mood boosters, the omega-3s are the fats that you find in say fatty fish like salmon. And we have evidence now to show that possibly consuming two to three servings of fish or taking fish oil capsules, about one gram of omega-3s every day, can help lift mood over the long haul. It won't be you eat fish for lunch and you feel better by dinner, but in the long haul, that you'll have a better mood, less likely to develop depression, possibly even lower risk for things like suicide. Then there's the folic acid, B-12, B-6 or 3B vitamins that also have been associated with mood. When those nutrients are low, we see an increased risk for depression. When they're high, a lower risk.

COLLINS: So Elizabeth, before we let you go, I want to make sure that you are able to hit the one thing that people can do as far as a quick fix for keeping their mood up.

SOMER: You know, there is no quick fix when it comes to mood and eating. It's how you eat over the long haul. But one thing you can do is eat breakfast. People that eat breakfast and I'm not talking about a donut and coffee. I'm talking about say a bowl of whole grain cereal with a glass of orange juice, have a better mood, less likely to battle fatigue, less likely to battle even thinking problems over the long haul. So make sure that you start the day off with something as simple as a five minute breakfast of a bowl of cereal.

COLLINS: Got it. We appreciate your time very much, Elizabeth Somer, a registered dietitian for us here tonight. Thanks again Elizabeth.

SOMER: Thank you.

COOPER: I'm Anderson Cooper. Thanks for watching this special edition of 360. Remember, you can watch 360 Monday through Friday 7:00 p.m. Eastern right here on CNN.


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