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Obtaining Life Insurance with Depression

Have you been denied life insurance because of depression? It's all too common, but that doesn't mean you have no choices. Some companies will accept you, depending on your full circumstances.

What Kind of Life Insurance Should I Get for Depression?

This will depend on several factors, such as how long ago you were diagnosed, and what medications you take. Regarding coverage types, your age will be an important factor.

More About Depression

Depression, or major depressive disorders, are common and serious mood disorders. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 264 million people are affected with this illness. Depression is described as feelings of negativity such as sadness, or loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities. If the feeling of hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness lasts for many weeks to months, then it may be something more. Depression can interfere with the quality of life like working, sleeping or eating resulting in various physical and emotional problems. At worst, depression can lead to suicide but fortunately, it is also treatable with different methods.

Types and Symptoms

            Depression can be categorized as mild, moderate or severe depending on the severity of symptoms. Major depressive disorder is the severe form. It is distinguished by the continuous feelings of worthlessness, sadness and hopelessness. For a person to be classified under this type, they must experience at least five of the following symptoms over a 2-week period: diminished interest in regular activities, depression throughout the day, fatigue, loss of concentration, insomnia or hypersomnia, weight loss or weight gain and recurring thoughts of death or suicide.

Persistent depressive disorder (aka dysthymia) is a mild but chronic depression. It also has lesser symptoms than major depression. Under this type, the symptoms last for two years or longer. It can affect the person more because it lasts for a longer period of time. People usually feel the loss of interest in normal daily activities, hopelessness, lack of productivity and low self-esteem.

Postpartum depression is a mix of emotional, physical and behavioral changes after a woman gives birth. It begins 4 weeks after delivery. It is said to be linked to the psychological, chemical and social changes that occur when having a baby. This is also called baby blues. Symptoms of postpartum depression may be: trouble in sleeping, lower libido, appetite changes, severe fatigue and frequent mood changes.

Seasonal affective disorder is a special type of depression wherein it occurs during winter months because of less natural sunlight. This type usually goes away when spring or summer comes. Symptoms under winter depression include weight gain, increased sleep and social withdrawal.

Depression symptoms for children may include refusing to go to school, clinginess, sadness, worry, and irritability. For teens, it could be feeling negative and worthless, poor performance and attendance in school, extremely sensitive, or feeling misunderstood.


            There are several possible causes that can increase the chance of depression. One of which is family history. A person has a higher risk if a family member has a history of depression or other mood disorder. Another cause could be childhood trauma or abuse. These events may affect the way the body reacts to fear and stressful situations.

            Brain structure and chemistry can also cause depression. This is due to there being a greater risk if the frontal lobe of the brain is less active. Neurotransmitters (naturally occurring brain chemicals) may also play a role in depression. Changes in neurotransmitters may alter the function and how they interact in maintaining mood and stability.

            Another cause can be due to hormones. Changes in the balance of hormones may trigger depression. With this, more women are prone to depression than men.

            Substance abuse can also cause depression. Use of drugs and alcohol may precipitate depression symptoms. Major illness can also trigger depression. Other uncommon causes include death or loss of loved one, age or conflict.


            There are different types of tests to diagnose if a person has depression. One of which is the physical exam. The goal of physical examination is to usually rule out other medical causes for depression. Depression can be associated in the following conditions: stroke, cancers, syphilis, head trauma and multiple sclerosis. The physician may try to identify which among the physical conditions can cause depression.

            Psychological evaluation tests are also used to diagnose depression. The healthcare provider may ask questions about a person’s thoughts, sleep pattern, moods, activity level and appetite.

            Laboratory tests include complete blood count to also rule out other diagnoses. The blood test is used to check for things such as thyroid or anemia. Sometimes vitamin D deficiency and thyroid problems can trigger depression symptoms.

Treatment and Medication

            Treatment and medications for depression are easily available. It can help improve the quality of life for those who have it.

            Under medications, the doctor may prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin is a chemical messenger that carries signals within nerve cells and brain. It helps regulate your mood naturally. People with depression usually have low levels of serotonin. SSRis are usually the first-line of medication because it is considered safe and has fewer side effects than antidepressants. Examples of SSRIs are: fluoxetine (Prozac), citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), and vilazodone (Viibryd). Side effects may include: tremors, nausea, nervousness, and trouble sleeping.

Another class of medication is serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). They help improve serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain which may reduce depression. Examples of these drugs are: Venlafaxine (Effexor XR), duloxetine (Cymbalta), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), levomilnacipran (Fetzima). Side effects of SNRIs are drowsiness, dry mouth, constipation and fatigue.

Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) are usually prescribed if SSRIs and SNRIs don’t work. Examples are: trimipramine (Surmontil), imipramine (Tofranil), clomipramine (Anafranil), amitriptyline, amoxapine, desipramine (Norpramin) and nortriptyline (Pamelor). This type of antidepressant has more serious side effects which are: irregular heart rate, seizures and low blood pressure.

Bupropion (Aplenzin, Wellbutrin, Forfivo) is also used for depression. It is a mild dopamine and norepinephrine blocker that is usually used for seasonal affective disorder.

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) are old drugs that treat depression. They work by inhibiting the breakdown of serotonin, norepinephrine and domain. They are not usually prescribed because they often interact with other drugs and foods. Examples of MAOIs are tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil), and selegiline (Emsam).

Aside from medications, psychotherapy is also an option as a treatment for depression. Psychotherapy or talk therapy is often discussing the condition with a mental health professional. This treatment is often accompanied with antidepressant medications.

Other alternative therapies are acupuncture and meditation. Some herbal supplements are also used to treat depression.

An individual must not ignore symptoms of depression. If left untreated, it may lead to panic attacks, social isolation, relationship problems, self-harm and even suicidal thoughts. Treatment and medications are readily available to overcome depression.

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