SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
- Persistent sadness; feeling anxious or empty.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Changes in weight or appetite.
- Feeling restless or irritable.
- Loss of pleasure or interest in activities.
- Fatigue and loss of energy.
- Feeling guilty, hopeless or worthless.
- Persistent physical symptoms that don't respond to treatment
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
DEPRESSION DIFFERS FROM OCCASIONAL SADNESS
Everyone has a time in their life when they feel sad or blue.. Most people grieve over experiences they find upsetting such as death, divorce and illnesses. These feelings pass with time and are to be expected. Depressed individuals tend to feel helplessness and hopeless and blame themselves for having these feelings. They tend to become overwhelmed and stop participating in certain everyday activities. They may withdraw from family and friends. They also may have thoughts of death or suicide.
DEVELOPMENT OF DEPRESSION
Depression can begin very early in adolescence, for males and females. Forming an identity, confronting sexuality, separating from their parents, and making decisions for the first time, can be very traumatic experiences for teens. Studies show that female high school students show a higher rate of depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and adjustment disorders compared to males. Male students show higher rates of disruptive disorders. For adult males and females, rates of major depression are lowest among the married and highest among the separated or divorced. However, the quality of the marriage may contribute to symptoms of depression. The lack of an emotionally intimate, confiding relationship has been shown to be related to depression in married women.
CAUSES OF DEPRESSION
Changes in the body's chemistry can influence mood and thought process. Significant transitions and major life changes may also be a major contributing factor. The signs of depression are not always immediately recognized, so you should see a trained mental health care professional for evaluation and diagnosis. Anyone can suffer from depression at any age.
TYPES OF DEPRESSION
Initial symptoms may not always seem significant, but left untreated, they can escalate to emotional pain and misery, impaired productivity at work and strained relationships with family and friends.
I . (SAD) Seasonal Affected Disorder.
Typically with this form of depression a person feels the symptoms more in the winter and they diminish in the spring. This form of depression typically affects women more than men.
- Manic-Depressive Illness, also called bipolar disorder, equally affects men and women. During manic episodes, a person becomes overly agitated, euphoric, irritable, talkative, and may spend money irresponsibly and also get involved in sexual misadventures.
- During the low points a person will feel alone, hopeless, helpless and have thoughts of death and suicide.
- Dysthymia involves symptoms similar to those of major depression and are longer lasting (minimum of two years). A person suffering from this type of depression is lacking in zest and enthusiasm for life. He/she a joyless, fatigued l ife that almost seems a natural outgrowth of his/her personality. It’s often referred to as "double depression" during a major depressive episode.
It is unfortunate that feelings of depression are often viewed as a sign of weakness. In reality, it is a signal that something is out of balance. The fact is, people cannot "just snap out of it," and feel better spontaneously.
People who suffer from chronic depression and do not seek treatment suffer needlessly. Unexpressed feelings and concerns accompanied by isolation can worsen depression. The importance of quality professional health care cannot be over emphasized.
RECOVERING FROM DEPRESSION
Counseling helps people indentify the factors contributing to depression. Having one episode of depression greatly increases the risk of another episode. Through counseling/ therapy people can learn skills to avoid unnecessary suffering from later bouts of depression. The support and involvement of family and friends is very important when someone is depressed. Depression can impair a person's ability to function in day to day activities. Working with an experienced and qualified professional counselor helps those suffering from depression to regain control of their lives.