simplyenjoy


Depression: More than blues.

More and more depression is being recognized by the general public as a mental health issue needing treatment and understanding. The term “depression” is often used loosely to describe low feelings or passing moods, but the reality is clinical depression is an illness that affects a person’s mind, body and mood. It can be a slow, creeping chronic illness or appear as an acute episode that seems to come on quickly.

Many people dismiss depression as being “all in their head” or feel frustrated that a depressed relative or friend can’t “snap out of it,” but the reality is that depression is very real to those who suffer with it and about 15 percent of people with severe, clinical depression commit suicide.

Clinical depression does not discriminate on the basis of age, race or socio-economic class, but statistics show that those between 25 and 44 are more likely to suffer clinical depression.

Clinical depression can be treated with medication, psychotherapy, or both, and the success rate is about 80 percent. With early recognition and healthy support, most people are able to get on with their lives and overcome the burdensome symptoms of depression.

Breaking Through 3 Myths on Depression

1. Depression is a weakness, not a health problem.

In a recent survey, nearly half the participants believed that depression was a personal or emotional weakness one could just “snap out of.” The fact is that it is not a weakness. It is a mental health problem that can be treated. Untreated depression can lead to more serious physical health issues.

2. Depression is a normal part of aging.

Although aging can be accompanied by events that trigger depression, it can strike at any age, with or without events that could be concluded to be logical “reasons” for depression. Sometimes, depression simply “is.” This can be a tough reality for many loved ones of individuals with depression to understand. If they cannot see or find a reason for the depression, it is more likely to be excused as weakness or “all in their head.”

3. Depression is best dealt with by non-health professionals.

Although a healthy support group and family or friends are helpful to recovery, nothing can replace appropriate evaluation and treatment by a health care professional. The first step is a thorough physical exam to rule out other illnesses. Primary care physicians can help determine the best approach to treatment and refer patients to other health professionals, counselors or social workers.

Signs and Symptoms

The difference between someone who is sad and someone with clinical depression is the duration and severity of the symptoms. For the person with clinical depression, the blues do not go away after a long weekend, a happy turn of events or a favorite activity.

See your doctor if you experience five or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks:

Feel sad, anxious, irritable, nervous or empty.

Sleep too little or too much, trouble falling asleep or waking up.

Appetite and/or weight gain or loss.

Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.

Restless or slowed behavior.

Persistent physical symptoms, such as headaches,  chronic pain, or digestive disorders that don’t respond to treatment.

Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.

Fatigue, loss of energy.

Feeling guilty, worthless or hopeless.

Thoughts of suicide or death.

Change in work style – working slower than usual, missing deadlines, inability to complete tasks, calling in sick often, decreased involvement with work or interaction with co-workers.

If you suspect someone is clinically depressed, the most important thing you can do is to help him or her get appropriate diagnosis and treatment. The second most important thing is to offer emotional support. Be positive and sensitive while maintaining as normal a relationship as possible.

Causes of Depression

Family History: One in four or five people with clinical depression have a relative with a mood disorder, as do about half of those suffering manic-depression.

Environmental Factors: Clinical depression can be triggered by stressful events or traumatic experiences, such as death, severe illness, divorce or job loss. Difficult work conditions, poor supervision at work or an excessive workload, sexual or racial discrimination or an unsafe environment can also contribute to depression.

Chemical Imbalance: Brain chemical imbalances, which may be inherited or acquired, are believed to be the underlying causes of clinical depression. Changes in brain chemicals such as serotonin, nor-epinephrine and cortisol may influence a person’s energy level, emotions, and sleeping and eating patterns.

Psychological Makeup: Are you a negative person? Do you have a negative attitude toward life events? Low self-esteem? Are you easily over-whelmed by stress? These seem to make a person more vulnerable to clinical depression.

Alcohol and Drug Abuse: Some people with mood disorders try to “drown their sorrows” by drinking or using other substances that reduce pain or bring false feelings of happiness. Although they can bring temporary relief, they may make depression worse in the long run. Alcohol itself is a depressant, and one third of those diagnosed with clinical depression also have a dependency on alcohol or drugs. Called a “dual diagnosis ” this constitutes a more complicated problem that requires treatment to address both the depression and the dependency.

depression(Courtesy of Google images.)

Information for this post was gathered through a publication of the Wellness Councils of America . The information is not intended to replace the advice of your physician or health care provider.

Please see your health care provider if you are experiencing any of these issues or talk to a trusted friend, relative or professional if you know someone who is.

You can find more information on clinical depression at:

Mental Health America (MHA) www.mentalhealthamerica.net

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) www.nimh.nih.gov

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) www.nami.org 

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3 Comments so far
Leave a comment

thank you for casting a brilliant light on something so painful and real that has changed the lives of many songwriter-friends of mine. tony

Comment by t h i n g s + f l e s h

Thanks, Tony. Depression has touched my life in very personal ways as well and I see the harm in maintaining an ignorant mindset toward this illness. We never blame people for having cancer, but we can blame people for their mental health issues, which is one of the worst things to do. However difficult it is to grasp the murky realities of this disease, I believe it’s important to give people hope and point them toward resources. Thanks for the message 🙂

Comment by simplyenjoy

wonderful submit, very informative.I ponder why
the other experts of this sector don’t understand this.
You should continue your writing. I’m sure,
you’ve a huge readers’ base already!

Comment by Spencer




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