Depression is a serious illness that requires treatment. People suffering with depression may have trouble with daily life for long periods of time.
Different forms of Depression:
Major Depression: Consists of severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to sleep, eat, study, work, and generally enjoy your life. Often, people can have multiple episodes of major depression in their lives.
Dysthymic Disorder: Also called dysthymia, this is a disorder that causes depressive symptoms that last a long time (2 years or more) but are less severe than those of a major depression.
Minor Depression: Symptoms are less severe and may not last as long as dysthymia or major depression.
Signs & Symptoms of Depression
Everyone is different and displays different symptoms. But generally, symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or anxiety
- Feeling sad or empty
- Loss of interest in favorite activities/hobbies
- Lack of concentration
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Overeating or not eating enough
- Thoughts of suicide
- Headaches, pains, cramps, digestive problems
Causes of Depression
Brain Chemistry: It has been shown that people who have depression have different brain chemistry than those without it.
Genes: People with a family history of depression can be more likely to develop the illness.
Stress: Stressful situations such as relationship problems or the loss of a loved one can certainly trigger depression.
Helping a Loved One Who is Depressed
- Help them to see a doctor or mental health professional
- Offer your support and understanding
- Be patient and encouraging
- Never ignore serious comments
- Talk to them and listen carefully
- Invite them for walks, meals, and outings
Helping Yourself if You are Depressed
- Seek or continue treatment. Take baby steps and go easy on yourself
- Break up large tasks into more manageable small ones
- Do not make important life decisions until you feel better
- Spend time with friends and family
- Talk about your feelings
** Always keep in mind that we are ALL susceptible to changes in our feelings & emotions, whether they are mild or severe. If you were taught that “a real man handles it himself” or to “keep your emotions to yourself”, you were misinformed and you need to re-align your thought process. We are human, and we are designed so that our emotions play an integral part in how we function. They deeply affect us, both mentally and physically. There is no way to avoid that.
Pay attention to them, and if you or someone you know is in crisis, get help quickly.
- Call your doctor
- Call 911 for emergency services
- Go to the nearest hospital emergency room
- Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)