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BODY WATCH : Free Screening for Depression

October 04, 1994|C.A. Wedlan from wire service reports

Depression affects a person's most productive years and costs society $43.7 billion a year, including $24 billion in lost productivity and absenteeism in the workplace. Symptoms include feelings of sadness or irritability, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, changes in weight, appetite or sleeping patterns, lack of energy and thoughts of suicide. Depression is a treatable illness affecting 17 million Americans, making it more widespread than coronary heart disease or cancer.

Treatment, usually therapy and medication, works for more than 80% of all cases.

Thursday is National Depression Screening Day. Free screening and educational services will be held at a number of Southland sites, including: El Centro Human Services, 972 S. Goodrich Blvd., L.A., (213) 725-1337; DVA Out Patient Clinic, 351 E. Temple St., L.A., (213) 253-5016; UC Irvine, College of Medicine, UCI Medical Center, 101 City Drive S., Orange, (714) 456-7000.

Call (800) 262-4444 for the location nearest you.

Forgetful? Blame Age--Not Dope

You notice a tendency to forget things. You recall smoking a little dope 20 to 30 years ago. So now you suspect that grass you did in your salad days is responsible for the memory lapses. Forget that--researchers are crediting aging for those addlepated moments.

"Those who smoked pot have not forgotten any more than those who did not, nor are they any more forgetful," says Alan Searleman, psychology professor at St. Lawrence University. "The only drug that is demonstrated to be certainly associated with brain damage to areas involving memory is alcohol."

So if you forgot to take the car keys out of the ignition this morning, "It's plain old grown-up weariness brought on by the job, the kids and the mortgage."

Briefly . . .

Free flu immunization for people 60 and older on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Elks Lodge, 4101 E. Willow Ave., Long Beach, (800) 922-0000 . . . The National Council on the Aging and the American Pharmaceutical Assn. offer a one-day "dial-ogue" Thursday on pain management for seniors. Call (800) 789-1009, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

* This health roundup appears in Life & Style on Tuesdays.

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