What is Depression?
Are you suffering from the blues, do you feel depression has set in? Is it hard for you to get out of bed in the morning and do you just want to hide and not talk to anyone? Do simple tasks now seem insurmountable? Have you lost interest in activities you used to love? You might be suffering from depression.
We all feel blue or sad on occasion, but that only usually lasts a few days. Real depression, on the other hand, interferes with daily activities and obligations and affects you as well as those around you.
Major depression is characterized by symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to eat, sleep, study and work, as well as enjoying once-pleasurable activities. The good news is, this is a medical illness, not a sign of weakness and it is treatable!
Minor depression is characterized as lasting for two weeks or longer. One example is postpartum depression which can occur after a mother gives birth and is dealing with hormonal changes along with the new responsibilities of a baby; this affects about 15% of women who have children.
Another includes Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which occurs from the changes in seasons, and appears during the winter, is lifted during the spring and summer. Anti-depressants and light therapy are often traditional treatments for this.
The research concludes it is often characterized by a combination of one’s genetic history, environment, and psychological factors. With technology, we can see that brain images of those who are depressed, appear differently in the area of thinking, sleep, mood, and appetite, but it is hard to figure out why this has occurred.
Signs & Symptoms of Depression
- Persistently sad & anxious
- Feelings of hopelessness & pessimism
- Guilt and worthlessness
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty making decisions and remembering details
- Overeating or appetite loss
- Thoughts of suicide
People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms, and the severity and frequency of the symptoms can vary as well. So it is important to seek a medical professional if you think you may be depressed.
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