What is Depression?
Depression is a serious medical concern that is much more than just feeling sad. Major depression –prolonged and extreme distress –can begin to affect your quality of life, making it difficult to function properly. Almost 7 percent of the U.S. population is affected by major depression (Source: WebMD)
Stressful situations affect all of us, and sad feelings and emotions are not uncommon. When these feelings start to linger and make you feel hopeless, however, it may be time to consider depression treatment.
What are the Symptoms of Depression?
Depression can manifest itself in many ways. Here are some of the most common symptoms (according to the DSM-IV):
– Poor concentration and decision-making
– Decreased interest in daily tasks
– Depressed demeanor throughout the day
– Decrease in energy
– Poor or no sleep
– Constant thoughts of suicide and death
– Restlessness and irritability
Just because an individual may have these symptoms does not mean they suffer from depression. These symptoms can be a normal reaction to everyday stress, however, they can also be signs of something more serious. Only a professional can help identify whether you are depressed.
Women, in particular, are vulnerable to depression due to societal pressures and a range of other contributing factors such as hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause. In fact, women are twice as likely as men to be affected by depression (Source: National Institute of Mental Health). A family history of mental illness can also increase one’s risk of depression.
Substance abuse and depression oftentimes coexist. Alcoholism and excessive use of mood-altering substances can either be the cause of the depression or a result of it. When you suffer from both substance abuse and a mental health issue like depression, this is called a dual diagnosis.
Suicidal thoughts (ideations) can be common among individuals dealing with depression. For certain people, it may seem like taking one’s life is the only way to escape the hopelessness and despair. Any suicidal thoughts or intentions are a serious medical concern. If you or someone you know has expressed suicidal tendencies, seek professional help immediately.
Rest assured that there are resources available should you suffer from depression. With the right help, you can overcome life’s stressors and regain control of your mental health.