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DEPRESSION EXPLAINED

Do you think that you may have symptoms of depression? Not just feeling sad, lonely, or depressed as we all do at times because feeling depressed is a normal reaction to loss, life’s struggles, or an injured self-esteem. But are you finding these feelings more and more overwhelming and lasting for long periods of time? Are these feelings keeping you from leading a normal, active life? If so, that’s when it’s time to seek medical help.

Web-MD (http://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-treatment-options) point out how; ‘If left untreated, symptoms of clinical or major depression may worsen and last for years. They can cause untold suffering and possibly lead to suicide. Recognizing the symptoms of depression is often the biggest hurdle to the diagnosis and treatment process.

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Unfortunately, approximately half the people who experience symptoms never get diagnosed or treated for their illness!

Please take a few moments and read through the following article prepared by Cherrywood House offering residential sobriety in South Africa.

DEPRESSION SYMPTOMS

According to the American National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Overeating or appetite loss
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

WARNING SIGNS OF SUICIDE WITH DEPRESSION:

  • A sudden switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy
  • Always talking or thinking about death
  • Clinical depression (deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating) that gets worse
  • Having a “death wish,” tempting fate by taking risks that could lead to death, such as driving through red lights
  • Losing interest in things one used to care about
  • Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
  • Putting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, changing a will
  • Saying things like “It would be better if I wasn’t here” or “I want out”
  • Talking about suicide (killing one’s self)
  • Visiting or calling people one cares about

If you or someone you know is demonstrating any of the above warning signs of suicide with depression contact your doctor or any local mental health professional right away, you may even go to the emergency room for immediate treatment.

All depression types are not the same. Major depression, also known as clinical depression, and chronic depression, also known as dysthymia, are the most common types. But there are also other types of depression with unique signs, symptoms, and depression treatment.

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WHAT IS MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depressive disorder is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once-pleasurable activities.

There are times you may feel sad, lonely, or hopeless for a few days. But major depression — clinical depression — lasts longer and is disabling. It can prevent you from functioning normally. An episode of clinical depression may occur only once in a person’s lifetime.

More often, though, it recurs throughout a person’s life. In addition, with major depression, one of the symptoms must be either depressed mood or loss of interest. The symptoms should be present daily or for most of the day or nearly daily for at least two weeks. Also, the depressive symptoms must cause clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning. The symptoms cannot be due to the direct effects of a substance — drug abuse, medications — or a medical condition, such as hypothyroidism, nor occur within two months of the loss of a loved one.

WHAT IS CHRONIC DEPRESSION OR DYSTHYMIA

Chronic depression, or dysthymia, is characterized by a long-term (two years or more) depressed mood. There are also symptoms present that are associated with major depression but not enough for a diagnosis of major depression.

Chronic depression is less severe than major depression and typically does not disable the person. If you have dysthymia or chronic depression, you may also experience one or more episodes of major depression during your lifetime.

WHAT IS ATYPICAL DEPRESSION

The key symptoms of atypical depression include:

  • Overeating
  • Oversleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection
  • Moods that worsen or improve in direct response to events

Regular (typical) depression, on the other hand, tends to be marked by pervasive sadness and a pattern of loss of appetite and difficulty fall or staying asleep.

For in-depth information, see WebMD’s AtypicalDepressionhttp://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/depression-treatment-options

WHAT IS BIPOLAR DEPRESSION OR MANIC DEPRESSION

Bipolar disorder — sometimes referred to as manic depression — is a complex mood disorder that alternates between periods of clinical depression and times of extreme elation or mania. There are two subtypes of bipolar disorder: bipolar I and bipolar II.

With bipolar I disorder, patients have a history of at least one manic episode with or without major depressive episodes. With bipolar II disorder, patients have a history of at least one episode of major depression and at least one hypomanic (mildly elated) episode.

For in-depth information, see WebMD’s Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression).

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DEPRESSION TREATMENT

Once you have a depression diagnosis, your doctor will discuss the different depression treatment options with you. The kind of depression treatment that’s best for you depends on the type of depression you have. For example, some patients with clinical depression are treated with psychotherapy, and some are prescribed antidepressants. Others are prescribed antidepressants and psychotherapy.

Whatever depression treatment your doctor prescribes, it’s important to understand that there are no “instant” solutions. You may have to try different antidepressants to find the most effective drug for you. In addition, you’ll have to take the antidepressant for several weeks to see if it benefits you at all.

Being patient is important.