‘I am depressed’, a statement we often hear during a casual talk. The term depression that is used so often is a serious medical condition in some people. It can affect a person in such a way, that it can drive them towards suicide. Let us know more about this clinical manifestation that can turn around the life of an affected individual.
What is Depression?
Feeling low at times is a part of life. However, when this feeling starts sucking every bit of happiness and hope from one's life, it is can be considered as a sign of depression.
Depression tends to last for more than a week or two and one finds it very difficult to cope with the uneasy feeling. It begins to interfere with one’s normal life. One begins to lose all interest in life’s pleasures as well as activities. Research has found that clinical depression is one of the most common mental illness affection million of people worldwide.
Depression is a mood disorder that can be divided into different categories. One may suffer from a mild but chronic case of depression called dysthymia or one may develop manic depression. Depression is definitely treatable, but the treatment duration depends on the severity and the approach of the patient to the condition.
Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms associated with depression tend to last for more than two weeks. These symptoms alter the behavior of the affected person and decrease their capacity to function normally. Some of the symptoms of depression an affected person may exhibit include:
- An irritable, blue, tearful or irritable mood
- Loss of interest in regular activities or hobbies that the person used to enjoy
- Feeling empty at all times
- One feels as if they are living in a black hole
- Feeling of impending doom hanging over their heads
- A person feels apathetic
- Anger or restlessness at all times
- Helplessness, hopelessness and loss of self-worth
The symptoms that underline depression as a major depressive disorder include:
- Loss of interest and pleasure in life
- Loss of weight or weight gain without any changes in diet
- Problems sleeping (one may sleep too much or suffer from sleeplessness)
- One may become highly aggressive or restless or may become very slow, lethargic
- Loss of interest in sex
- Avoiding people
- Thoughts of death and dying
Why Does One Become Depressed?
There are many events in life that may make one depressed. Every person has his/her individual capacity to deal with the stress in life. Some people at one point may snap emotionally and develop depression. These events that may lead to depression include some of these:
- Death of a close one within the family, friends or even a pet
- Loss of job or business
- Heartbreak or divorce
- Inability to have children
- Emotional or mental trauma
- A life threatening disease like cancer
- Hormonal imbalance
- Lack of personality or developing severe complex issues
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Traumatic childhood
- Abusive relationship
There are countless things that may cause one to be depressed. It can affect anyone for any reason.
When To Seek Help?
In order to be helped oneself from this unpleasant clinical feeling, it is necessary to recognize signs of depression. These signs include:
- The feeling of depression, sadness, hopelessness worsens
- One finds the condition is affecting their ability to work, their job as well as their personal relationships
- One develops thoughts of death or suicide
How Can I Get Treatment for Depression?
- Talk to someone in your family or friends about your feelings. Mere talking can at times help you relieve the feelings of helplessness and sadness. Do not bottle the feelings inside you. Find an outlet for these feelings by sharing your pain with someone who understands and supports you. At times crying over the shoulder of a friend also helps one heal the emotional pain within.
- Do not get holed up in your house or work. Even though you may not feel like it initially, go for walks, exercise or even join a club. Physical fitness will play a major role in helping you get over depression
- eep yourself busy. You can clean around the house, start a new hobby or try a new activity that is different from your routine life.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs. They will make you more depressed and cause more problems in your life.
- Have a healthy diet and sleep well. If having trouble sleeping, listen to some soothing music or read a book. Even watching television will help you unwind, get your mind off depressive thoughts and help you get some sleep.
- The best thing to overcome depression is facing your problems. Running from them will make matters worse. If you know the issue troubling you, make sure you take steps to correct it and help make things easier for you.
Clinical Treatment for Depression
There are many medical treatments for depression. These include counselling that helps you clear your mind of the thoughts and confusion in your mind. Some may benefit from cognitivebehaviortherapy that helps one identify new ways of thinking and behaving. One may be advised about joining support groups or bereavement counselling where people with similar issues meet and help each other overcome their loss.
Other than this, a doctor may prescribe antidepressant drugs to help reduce the feelings of agitation and anxiousness. These drugs will alter your mood and help you feel and sleep better.
This was some information on depression. If you notice someone around you exhibiting these signs, talk to them. Do not leave such a person alone. Many times it is hard to spot the signs of depression. Talk to your relatives, close ones, spouse, siblings, parents or even friends. There is always a solution for every problem. Build a strong support system around you to help overcome depression. Do not let your feelings take control over your life.
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Written by: Saptakee sengupta
Date last updated: February 28, 2015