Freddie Flintoff health: The Top Gear star’s hidden condition – symptoms to look out for
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The public saw Freddie Flintoff as the gregarious, laid-back cricket player. Yet, underneath it all, the star was struggling with his mental health.
In a tell-all BBC One documentary, Freddie Flintoff: Hidden Side of Sport, the 42-year-old spoke about his depression.
“When things are going well that’s OK,” he began. “When they’re not, that’s challenging to your personal identity.”
He continued: “If I had turned around [in the dressing room] and said, ‘Look lads, I’m really struggling,’ it would have sent shock waves.”
The father-of-four – to Rocky, Holly, Preston and Corey – wanted to shed a light on the condition that plagued him for years.
Speaking to the Mirror, he said: “It’s something I don’t mind talking about nowadays, but 10 years ago it was a different story.”
An extremely complex disease, Web MD identified a number of factors that may increase the chances of developing this condition.
Any form of abuse – physical, sexual or emotional – can increase a person’s vulnerability to clinical depression later in life.
Bereavement, interpersonal conflicts, isolation, and substance abuse can all contribute to depression.
In addition to these elements, certain medications can increase a person’s risk of the disease.
Those reportedly linked to the condition include isotretinoin (acne medication), the antiviral drug interferon-alpha and corticosteroids.
A genetic predisposition to depression may be possible, as well as feeling depressed due to serious illnesses.
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Depression is defined as “constant sadness or lack of interest in life” – people with this condition may feel helpless, hopeless and worthless.
According to the DSM-5, a manual doctor’s use to diagnose depression, certain symptoms must occur for at least two weeks.
You don’t need to check off the whole list, as only five or more qualify as depression – with the timeframe in mind.
Symptoms include a depressed mood for most of the day, especially in the morning.
A lack of energy is apparent almost every day; or you feel worthless or guilty almost every day.
You have a hard time focusing, remembering details, and making decisions.
Sleep hygiene is disturbed, whereby you can’t sleep or you sleep too much.
You have almost no interest or pleasure in many activities; or you often think about death or suicide.
Restlessness could be a symptom, as well as losing or gaining weight.
People with depression may feel cranky, or stop feeling hungry (or eat too much).
One might have sad, anxious or “empty” feelings, and the body may suffer from aches and pains.
Treatments involve exercising, a healthy diet, good social connections, therapy and medication.
If you think you have the sympotms of depression, speak to your GP.
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