Is This Depression?
Being unhappy isn’t the same as being depressed. Sometimes it can be difficult to know if you are just feeling down or going through something more serious. Depression is a term often used to describe how we feel after a bad week at work, or the Monday morning after a great weekend, or when we just broke up with someone. But major depressive disorder (one type of depression) is much more complicated and is a serious medical condition.
Depression drains your energy, hope and drive. Depression makes it very hard to do what you need to in order to feel better. Just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like going for a walk or spending time with friends, can be exhausting.
No single cause of depression has been identified although it appears that genetic (hereditary), biological (chemicals in the brain), environmental and psychological factors all play a role.
While depression is serious, it is a treatable illness. The majority of people with depression will respond well to treatment, which is most often a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Almost all patients who treat their depression experience some relief from their symptoms.
According to the 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
The scariest reality with depression is its connection with suicide. The uncontrollable emotions and hopeless/helpless feelings often lead people to seek a permanent solution for a temporary problem. If you or someone you know are experiencing thoughts of suicide, get help immediately or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
If you are experiencing several of the above symptoms or want an evaluation for possible depression, please contact me to schedule an appointment.