Feb 06

Depression Sucks: Are You Aware of How You are Feeling?

Sad Teenage GirlEveryone can feel blue or sad sometimes, but these feelings may only last for a short period of time. However, when a person has depression, it is more than just a feeling of being sad. Depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, along with other symptoms, can interfere with your normal day-to-day routine or activities for a long period of time.

It is important to note that depression is a real medical condition. A person with depression can suffer major depressive episodes that can last for at least 2 weeks or longer.

It is widely believed that depression is caused by an imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain. This can influence a person’s mood.

It is also widely believed that depression probably results from a combination of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological factors. Research suggests that environmental and genetic factors, such as a family history of depression, may make a person more likely to develop this disorder.

Also, there is a type of depression called bipolar disorder:

  • People with bipolar II disorder vacillate between episodes of major depression and at at least one episode of hypomania ie., — mild elation or high — episode.
  • People with bipolar I disorder have a history of at least one manic — extreme elation or high — episode, with or without past major depressive episodes.
  • People with unipolar depression has major depression only, and doesn’t have hypomania or mania.

Some things to take notice of:
If you do have depression, remember: you are not alone. Depression is a common but serious condition that affects more than 15 million people in the United States.

Talking to your doctor may help. Better yet, talking to people who have dealt with depression and have over come it is the better choice.

The health risk factors:
The negative impact of depression also increases the risk of developing coronary heart disease, and people who are depressed after having a heart attack are more likely to die within the following 6 months. Several studies have shown that patients with any disease — diabetes is one example — who are depressed end up needing more medical care, accounting for a disproportionate amount of medical costs.

Psychologists Robert Karasek, PhD, of the University of Massachusetts, and Tores Theorell, MD, PhD, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, have documented that people working in high-strain jobs are more likely to develop high blood pressure, infections, and job-related injuries, as well as heart disease.

Let’s be real, most people have felt sad or depressed at times. Feeling depressed can be a normal reaction to loss, life’s struggles, or an injured self-esteem.  It is not foreign or something to hide.  You don’t have to stay in the closet on this one.

But when feelings of intense sadness — including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless — last for many days to weeks and keep you from functioning normally, your depression may be something more than sadness. It may very well be clinical depression — a treatable medical condition.

How Do you know if you are depressed?
For a diagnosis of depression, these signs should be present most of the day either daily or nearly daily for at least two weeks. In addition, the depressive symptoms need to cause clinically significant distress or impairment. According to the DSM-IV, a manual used to diagnose mental disorders, depression occurs when you have at least five of the following symptoms at the same time:

  • A depressed mood during most of the day, particularly in the morning
  • Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
  • Impaired concentration, indecisiveness
  • Insomnia (an inability to sleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day
  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide (not just fearing death)
  • A sense of restlessness or being slowed down
  • Significant weight loss or weight gain
  • Sadness most of the day
  • Low energy or fatigue
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability, restlessness, or being slowed down
  • Feeling worthless or guilty
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Significant weight change
  • Thoughts about suicide or dying Conclusion:

Recommendations to get overcoming depression:

  • Open up your heart to people.
  • People who have little support — whether it’s help with chores at home or someone to listen sympathetically — are also more at risk.
  • Social support acts as a buffer that enables people to cope better with whatever stresses they face, whether they’re imposed by personality or life situations.

In conclusion, studies show that different risk factors often cluster in the same individual.  For example, in a study of working women, Redford and his colleagues found that those who reported high job strain were also more depressed, hostile, and socially isolated. As in people with high levels of hostility, these other psychosocial risk factors are associated with changes in biological functions, such as increases in adrenaline and cortisol, blood pressure and heart rate surges, higher cholesterol levels, and alterations in the immune system and blood-clotting mechanisms.  All of these changes are felt to lead to disease.

I must add that depression can have another root besides medical, psychological and emotional.  That other root is spiritual and not as in God related.  It is often called a negative or evil spirit that is affecting the person and can be dealt with through prayer.
Hopefully, if you or someone you know is going through depression, you will be able to recognize it.  This article is about awareness so that you can seek the appropriate help before it becomes a problem.



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