What is Depression?
You can just go to Google and type in depression and realize there is a plethora of information on depression. On this date of writing there are over 140 million sites with the keyword, depression, associated with it. But what really is depression? What are the Depression cures? What are the symptoms of depression? I hope this article will help define some of those questions.
Some people describe depression as a black veil over their face when observing the world. These people say the world is losing its color, brightness, and vividness. It is interesting they say this because depression has been shown to affect all the sense and vision being the most powerful one.
What is depression then? Depression in the psychological sense is a feeling of sadness, blues, or moodiness, but can be a serious medical and psychological condition. Depression is severe despondency or dejection according to the dictionary. In the financial market a depression is a low in economic activity. In geographical or engineering terms it is a place that dips down from the normal surface. Depression means a low space. This is defiantly true of depression in the mental health sense. A person with depression feels “low.”
Many psychologists, including myself, refer to depression as the “common cold” of the mental disorders. Everyone will get depression at some time. However, it is the ability to recognize and get yourself out of the depressed stated that will determine if it will be “normal” depression or “clinical” depression. Clinical depression comes in different types, but the most commonly referred to type is Major Depressive Disorder.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, approximately affects 5-8 percent of the population at any given time. This means that at any one time 25 million people have the symptoms to meet the criteria of depression.
Depression is the equal opportunity destroyer. It affects men, women, children, older adults and all races. Everyone is at risk of having depression.
There are a few types of depression, but this article will mainly focus on Major Depressive Disorder. I hope to follow this article up with other articles on other types of depression in the future.
Symptoms of Depression
According to the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorders IV-TR (DSM) people that have Major Depression will have a depressed mood more often than they are not depressed. Childhood depression and teen depression can be demonstrated by irritability.
There is a markedly diminished interest in the activities that the person previously enjoyed. A person with depression may have liked to do exercise or travel, but when they are depressed they will not want to leave the house. Sometimes they may just wish to lie in bed and not have to even leave the bedroom.
There is usually a change in eating habits. The person will either not find enjoyment or fulfillment in eating and therefore, will just not want or have the desire to eat. Some people have reported to me when they feel depressed they will eat more. They will go and eat and not even be thinking about the food or the process of preparing the food. These people are finding some happiness in the eating process even for the moment.
The Depressive symptoms will also affect the sleep of the individual. They may have insomnia, where they cannot get to sleep with ample amount of time trying. The person may also experience hypersomnia. This is where they want to sleep all the time. Either one is diminishing the quality of life and therefore, is detrimental to the progress of the person.
The person with severe depressed symptoms will also have symptoms of fatigue or loss of energy most of the time. Again this goes with the not wanting to leave the house or not even get out of bed. They feel drained all the time. Other people may see this as laziness and therefore will not look at it as the person is suffering from a depressed state of being.
There are concentration problems that are associated with Major depression. The desire to spend time on one subject or project can be just too much for the person. On top of that the person is more likely to be thinking about the triggers to depression and not the subject that needs the attention at that time.
According to Aaron Beck, the prominent psychologist, depression is accompanied by the thoughts of Hopelessness, Helplessness and Haplessness. This collectively is known as the cognitive triad of depression. Hopelessness is referred to as the depressed person inability to see any hope in the future as it related to things getting better in their lives.
They feel helpless. The person feels like no one, especially themselves can help them. Beck’s reference to Haplessness means the person does not feel any joy. Beck went on to say the person sees the cognitive triad form the perspective of others, themselves and globally. This means there is no hope for them anywhere. When they get to this point, an intervention is necessary because the person is at risk for suicide.
Treatment of Depression
There are as many treatments of depression out there as you can imagine. Some are wild and crazy and some are based on empirical evidence. Regardless, this is not an article of new and undeveloped treatments of depression. However, I want to introduce some of the ways people are dealing with depression.
Medications. There are many medications on the market to help combat depression. I will list a few of the types here:
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI). The most common brands of SSRI’s are Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Celexa, and Lexapro.
- Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRI). The most common brands are Cymbalta and Effexor.
- Welbutrin is a Norepinephrine and Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitor (NDRI).
- The Atypical Antidepressants are Remeron and Trazadone.
- Tricyclic Antidepressants
- Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOI’s).
To make the antidepressants most effective they should be combined with psychotherapy. This is where the person will talk with a trained psychotherapist to deal with the causes, triggers, and future consequences of the depression. Sigmund Freud called psychotherapy the “talking cure” but I refer to it as the “working through cure.” It takes some hard work.
There has been some more recent research indicating acupuncture for depression can be very helpful. I don’t propose to know much about this yet, because the data is still coming, but the results are looking pretty good. The acupuncture for depression must still be combined with medication therapy and psychotherapy to be most effective.
Other Resources about Depression
As I stated at the beginning of this article there are many resources about depression, over 140 million alone on Google. Some resources are better than others. The National Institute of Mental Health is a valuable resource. The National Alliance of Mental Illness is a great resource. I also recommend the Mayo Clinic. They are doing some great research there.
However, I want to put my greatest recommendation to help find information with your local psychologist, psychiatrist, and community mental health centers. These people will be working with YOU, not research. Every person with depression will be different and taking the time to let these people get to know you and your situation will allow them to give you the best advice on your depression. Depression cures can be found for you with the proper treatment plan. Get the help you or your loved one need as soon as you can. Depression can be treated better earlier on.
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