What is Depression?
Depression is a very misunderstood illness. Unlike having a visible illness that people can sympathize/empathize with, this illness is not tangible, and others can find it difficult to comprehend or sympathize with. Depression can affect all areas of life, including sleep patterns, appetite, thought processes, exercise tolerance, mood, concentration and sex drive.
Depression is a complicated illness, which can involve a number of contributing factors, such as genes, environment, diet, lifestyle, brain chemicals, psychology and personality.
Depressive moods can be brought on by simple things such as long days at work or school or even a disagreement with a peer or family member. Sometimes feelings of anger or a lack of self esteem can manifest themselves for absolutely no reason. It is thought that genes may play a role in the development of depression and that it can be passed down from generation to generation. However, just because someone in the family may have suffered from depression does not mean that it will be passed down to further generations.
Everyone feels sad from time to time, but actual depression is characterized by prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. More often than not these types of feelings wear off. However sometimes these feelings are not easily forgotten and may persist for days and weeks at a time, interfering with their capacity to function normally.
When this happens, depression is no longer an occasional tendency and is instead a clinical disorder.
Clinical depression is an illness, like diabetes. ulcers or high blood pressure. One in four women and one in four men will suffer from clinical depression at some stage in their life. However, because depression can mask itself as a physical illness (like chronic pain or fatigue) it is extremely difficult to diagnose accurately.
There are some signs that a person can look for to help determine if someone they know may be suffering from depression.These include:
|Depressed or irritable mood most of the day—nearly every day|
|Loss of interest or pleasure in activities (such as hobbies, work, sex, or being with friends) most of the day—nearly every day|
|A sudden change in weight or appetite|
|Inability to sleep or sleeping too much|
|Agitation or restlessness (observed by others)|
|Constant fatigue or loss of energy|
|Frequent feelings of worthlessness or guilt|
|Difficulty concentrating or making decisions|
|Frequent thoughts of death or suicide|