Depression is a condition in which a person feels discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life in
general. When these feelings last for a short period of time, it may be a case of "the blues." But when such feelings last for more than two weeks and when the feelings interfere with daily activities such as taking care of family, spending time with friends, or going to work or school, it's likely a major depressive episode.
Signs and Symptoms
Sadness is only a small part of depression. Some people with depression may not feel sadness at all. Depression has many other symptoms, including physical ones. If you have been experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms for at least 2 weeks, you may be suffering from depression:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
- Restlessness, irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms like headaches, back pain, muscle aches and joint pain, and chest pain
Types of Depression
There are several types of depressive disorders.
Major depression: Severe symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life. An episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person has several episodes.
Persistent depressive disorder: A depressed mood that lasts for at least 2 years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for 2 years. Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique circumstances. They include:
Psychotic depression, which occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false beliefs or a break with reality (delusions), or hearing or seeing upsetting things that
others cannot hear or see (hallucinations).
Postpartum depression, which is much more serious than the “baby blues” that many women experience after giving birth, when hormonal and physical changes and the new responsibility of caring for a newborn can be
overwhelming. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.
Seasonal affective disorder(SAD), which is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. The depression generally lifts during springand summer. SAD may be effectively treated with light therapy, but nearly half of those with SAD do not get better with light therapy alone. Antidepressant medication and psychotherapy can reduce SAD symptoms, either alone or in combination with light therapy.
Bipolar disorder is different from depression. The reason it is included in this list is because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extreme low moods (depression). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high moods (called “mania”).
Diagnosing and Treating Depression:-
- Look for the signs of depression.
- Have your doctor explore possible medical causes behind your depression.
- Research depression to get a full understanding.
- Try talk therapy.
- Consider taking prescription medication.
- Try alternative therapies or remedies.
- Making lifestyle changes.
- Sleep well, exercise, eat healthy, restore any neglected grooming.
- Maintain a good support network.
- Changing your behavior.
- Changing your negative thinking patterns.