A Few Things You Need to Know About Depression
An estimated one in 10 US adults report depression, one of the most prevalent disorders in the country. It usually affects our ability to function at work, home, relationships, and social roles. To shed some light on this subject, we have put together some information that will help you understand this condition better.
There’s usually a lot of confusion around this topic as people use the term “depression” to refer to any type of negative feeling such as loneliness, sadness, demoralization, etc. However, when a health provider uses the word depression, they are not referring to a mood but rather a mental disorder.
There are multiple types of depression. The most common ones are Major Depressive Disorder, Dysthymic Disorder, and Seasonal Affective disorder. These most commonly affect college and university students.
What are the symptoms?
If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
Since depression varies from person to person, not everyone experiences every symptom. Also, their frequency and severity will depend on the individual and their particular illness.
How is it treated?
Even in the most severe cases, depression disorders can be treated. The most common types of treatment are medications and psychotherapy. However, in some cases, brain stimulation therapies may be an option to explore.
What can I do to help?
Here you have a few tips that may help you or a loved one during treatment for depression:
- Try to be active and exercise.
- Set realistic goals for yourself.
- Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative.
- Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.
- Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately.
- Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced, or changing jobs until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
- Continue to educate yourself about depression.