Depression & Facts
Everybody feels hopeless, down, bummed, blue, or pessimistic every now and then, but that’s normal. Depression on the other hand is often called “The Common Cold of Mental Health”, as it is a “whole-body” illness which involves the body, thoughts, and mood. It influences the way of eating and sleeping, the way of feeling about oneself, and the way one thinks about things.
Depression or depressive disorder is very different from a passing blue mood. It is not a mark of personal weakness or a condition that can be wished or willed away. People with this disorder cannot simply “pull themselves together” and get better. Individuals, who do not seek treatment when they have depressive disorder, can have their symptoms last for weeks, months, or years. Proper treatment can help the majority of people who suffer from depression.
Symptoms of depression may differ from person to person and can also depend on the severity of the depression. Depression causes alterations in thinking, behavior, feeling, and physical health.
o Changes in thinking. One may experience difficulty with focus and decision making. Others account trouble with short term memory; they forget things all the time. Depression is characterized by negative thought, pessimism, excessive guilt, poor self-esteem, and self-criticism, which are all common. A few people have self-destructive thoughts during more severe depression.
o Changes in Feelings. One may feel sad for no reason at all, and some describe that they no longer enjoy activities that they once found delightful. Lack of motivation, becoming apathetic, feeling slowed down and tired all the time, and sometimes irritability and a hard time controlling the temper are common experiences in change of feelings.
o Changes in Behavior. During depression, changes in behavior are mirrors of the negative emotions experienced, they may act more indifferent because that’s how they feel, and some do not feel comfortable with other people so social withdrawal is usual. The chronic sadness causes excessive crying, which is common, and some complain about everything as a result of lack of sexual activity. In extreme cases, some people abandon their personal appearance, event their personal hygiene. Someone under depression does not do very much, as a result, work productivity and household responsibilities are neglected, and some even have a hard time getting out of bed.
o Changes in Physical Health. Chronic fatigue, even with excessive sleeping, is common. Some can’t sleep, or don’t sleep very well and these people just lay awake for hours or awaken a lot of times during the night and stare at the ceiling. Others sleep for long hours, even most of the day and they still feel tired. A lot of people suffering from depression lose appetite, complain of aches and pains, feel slowed down, and others are restless and can’t sit still.
Depression is present if these symptoms are experienced for at least several weeks, but it is not a good idea to diagnose yourself, so seeking the help of an expert as soon as possible is highly recommended. Proper diagnoses and treatment is essential because depression is treatable. Instead of worrying if you have depression, do something about it and get the help needed.
Victims of depression describe it as “a black curtain of despair coming down over their lives.” They couldn’t be more apt. In fact, many people diagnosed with depression have perpetual bouts of listlessness, where they feel like they have no energy to do anything or they can’t concentrate. Others may experience feelings of irritation even though there seems to be no reason for feeling so.
The symptoms of depression vary from person to person. So sometimes it is difficult to diagnose. However, if you have been feeling “down” for more than two weeks already, and these feelings are starting to interfere with your life, it is time for you to see a doctor who specializes in mood disorders to determine if you have what they call “clinical depression.”
Recognizing the Signs
It has been observed that people who have gone through depression tend to experience another episode sooner or later. It is possible that you have one episode today and the next few weeks, and then you experience some of the symptoms again before the next full-blown episode. If you learn to recognize these early triggers or symptoms, then you may be able to keep the depression from worsening.
Working with your Doctor
Working with your doctor can help you learn to manage depression. There are many medications used to treat the mood disorder and you ma have to try a few different ones to find out which one works best for you. In addition to that, your doctor may also recommend a therapist for you and/or suggest that you make a few lifestyle changes.
There many different types of medications used to treat depression and they are known collectively as anti-depressants. These medications have been known to work for many people in many different ways. That is why it is important that you consult the help your doctor when choosing which treatment is best for you.
But whatever medication you chose in the end, always the first step towards getting better and staying better is taking your medication exactly as prescribed by your doctors. It may also help if you keep in mind the following treatment tips:
• It takes time for anti-depressants to work, so do not be impatient. Some antidepressants may start to make you feel better in just a couple of weeks. However, the full anti-depressant effect of the drug may not be seen until the passage of several weeks.
• Even if you feel better, keep taking your anti-depressant for as long as your doctor tells you to. Your doctor may recommend that you continue using the anti-depressant in order to help lower your chances of becoming depressed again.
• There are some people who only become depressed once. But there are others who have been depressed before or have several risk factors, in which case, they may need longer term treatment with medication.