Everyone feels down at times. The breakup of a relationship or a bad grade can lead to low mood. Sometimes sadness comes on for no apparent reason. Is there any difference between these shifting moods and what is called depression? Anyone who has experienced an episode of depression would probably answer yes. Depression, versus ordinary unhappiness, is characterized by longer and deeper feelings of despondency and the presence of certain characteristic symptoms (see below). This distinction is important, because in severe cases, depression can be life threatening, with suicide as a possible outcome. Depressed people may also fail to live up to their potential, doing poorly in school and staying on the social margins. Depression is frequently ignored or untreated; the condition often prevents people from taking steps to help themselves. This is unfortunate, as effective help is available.
Signs of Depression you need to know
1. Loss of pleasure in virtually all activities
2. Feelings of fatigue or lack of energy
3. Frequent tearfulness
Difficulty with concentration or memory
4. A change in sleep pattern, with either too much or too little sleep; the person may wake up in the night or early morning and not feel rested the next day
5. An increase or decrease in appetite, with a corresponding change in weight
Markedly diminished interest in sex
6. Feelings of worthlessness and self-blame or exaggerated feelings of guilt
7. Hopelessness about the future
8. Thoughts of suicide
Solutions to Depression
Friends and family may provide all the support that is needed in mild cases of depression. Having someone who is willing to listen and ask concerned questions can make all the difference. However, even the most caring and involved friends or family members may not be enough when depression is more severe. In such cases, it is important to seek professional help.
Mental health professionals who may be consulted include psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and masters-level therapists. Some may first seek help from a general physician or religious counselor. Each type of professional has their own perspective and expertise, and practitioners of all kinds have experience dealing with depression. The important thing is to seek professional help when symptoms are severe and/or longstanding. In factl, it is wise to seek help even when symptoms are not severe to help prevent depression from getting worse