Depression


Depression—a sad or discontented mood—can leave a person feeling lethargic, unmotivated, or hopeless, and in some cases, depression can lead to suicidal ideation. Depression may occur in a severe form, as in major depression, or in a more chronic, mild-to-moderate form, as is the case with persistent depressive disorder.

Depression is much more commonplace in our modern societies than most care to admit, especially as we continue to be pushed into working in dead-end jobs, have bills to pay, combine work and looking after children, etc.


Sources of Depression


A depressive episode can occur as a result of a stressful life change, such as separation or divorce, job loss or change, financial instability, relocation, or a decline in health. Everyday stressors, like social isolation, domestic violence, and the presence of other psychological conditions, can also contribute to depression. Sometimes depression arises as a defence mechanism in order to avoid experiencing painful emotions. Women who have recently given birth may struggle with a problem with postnatal depression in the hours, days, weeks and months following the birth.

Depression’s signs or symptoms are different from the signs or symptoms linked with grief, when feeling emotionally overwhelmed is normal and temporary. Depression may be indicated when feelings of sadness and despair disrupt daily life and persist for more than two weeks.

Those who have experienced trauma or are prone to anxiety may be more likely to experience depression than those who have not, and research suggests that some people may be biologically predisposed to depression due to neurochemical abnormalities. A family history of depression can lead to a person’s inheriting or learning these traits.

Symptoms and Signs


Depression’s symptoms can vary throughout life, between genders, and among cultures. Adolescents, for example, may appear irritable and agitated, women can be more likely to admit to depression than men, and certain cultural groups might mask or display their feelings differently.

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A person experiencing depression is likely to encounter difficulty coping with daily stressors and may feel helpless and alone. In fact, sometimes the most mundane of activities—getting out of bed, bathing, and dressing—can feel like an impossible feat. These challenges can leave a person more susceptible to a decline in positive mood, resulting in a negativity bias that informs all experience.

Depression is associated with emotions such as anger, shame, and fear, and sometimes these sensations can express inside of the body in the form of aches, pains, nausea, and other complaints. People with depression may feel tense, irritable, or weepy, and it is not uncommon to feel intensely fatigued without relief. In severe cases, a person may express no emotion whatsoever, and suicidal thoughts or behaviours are not uncommon.

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Trying to find Therapy for depression symptoms


Depression is one of the most common reasons people seek therapy, and it is highly treatable. Unfortunately, though, stigma surrounding depression inhibits many people from seeking treatment. Because an individual with depression may be viewed as flawed or weak, that person is likely to feel shame regarding his or her condition, and he or she may fear the consequences of disclosing the experience to employers, health care providers, family, and friends.

There are a number of therapeutic approaches that have demonstrated effectiveness in treating depression, including mindfulness-based cognitive therapy and psychodynamic therapy. Regardless of the approach, a trained therapist can help a person view a depressive state without judgment and with curiosity, in an effort to understand and heal the source of the depression. In fact, many times simply identifying the source of depression can enhance treatment outcomes and provide some relief from depression. Therapy also helps people to recognize and access their strength, autonomy, and capacity for change.

Group therapy and support groups have proven helpful to many people experiencing depression. The camaraderie of being supported by a social group can help to alleviate the symptoms of isolation or loneliness that are common in depression.

Major depression and Relationships


Depression can make it difficult for a person to accept comfort from others, sometimes based on the belief that they do not deserve it or that the affection is insincere. Similarly, the lethargy, irritability, and hopelessness experienced by the partner who is depressed may make expressions of love nearly impossible. Depression can also interfere with communication and sexual intimacy in a romantic relationship. Some people may become more distant during depression, while others appear more needy or dependent on their partners.


Medication and other Treatment options


Medications are often employed in the treatment of depression, particularly when the symptoms are severe, and several classes of medications have been developed to improve mood. Note: antidepressants may produce certain adverse reactions that may or may not improve with time. In some cases, the side effects are a worthwhile compromise, particularly for someone whose depression is severe enough to include suicidal thoughts or self-harm behaviours. While antidepressants alone cannot address the emotional and psychological causes of depression, they may help improve talk therapy treatment outcomes.

Other therapies and lifestyle changes that may well alleviate signs of depression - particularly if employed in combination with psychotherapy or medication - include many different Complementary and Alternative Medicine Therapies (CAM), like Hypnotherapy, Naturopathy, Reiki or Vibrational Medicine, and breathing exercise. A study by the University of California showed that 50% of people interviewed preferred to receive Complementary or Alternative Medicine.



Depression: A short video

Depression: Self Assessment Test

content provided by NHS Choices

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