What is Depression?

Depression is a serious mental illness that thousands of Americans suffer from every year. Understanding what is depression and how to recognize the signs of depression can help control the disease before it goes too far and results in dire consequences.

People of all ages from teens to the elderly are susceptible to suffer from the mental illness depression. There are several factors than can cause this disease. There are also a variety of signs to watch for to determine if a person may be suffering from depression. However, sometimes these symptoms are disguised by the person with depression and it can be difficult for friends and family to see what is happening before it is too late. Keeping an eye out for the signs of depression can help the person seek treatment early or before the depression has gone too far and results in cases of self mutilation or suicide. Keep reading to find out more about depression, the signs to watch for as well as potential treatment options. 

What is depression?

Many people experience sadness and feelings of distraught or despair. However, depression occurs when these instances last for longer than is healthy or become severe enough the person can no longer operate regularly day to day. There are many causes of depression that can stem from life situations like losing a loved one, losing your job, low self-esteem and others. Some individuals experience chemical imbalances that make them more susceptible to mental illnesses like depression, manic depression (bi-polar), anxiety and  others. Some of the most common feelings associated with feeling depressed include: fatigue, energy loss, difficulty concentrating, making decisions, feelings of sadness or anxiousness, overeating or appetite loss, no interest in activities you used to enjoy, irritability, thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts. Many of these are also considered to be warning signs of depression. If you are experiencing these feelings on a regular basis or for an extended period of time, it is a good idea to seek help as soon as possible. Don’t count on others to find the signs that you are depressed. Do your best to take action and get help.

Warning signs of depression?

Repercussions of depression can be deadly. Often, the depression becomes too much for the person suffering to handle and as a method of escape, they commit suicide. In some even more unfortunate situations, those with the most severe levels of depression kill not only themselves, but their families, friends, co-workers or others. This is just one of the reasons why it is important to know what signs to look for in your family members and friends to ensure you catch on to the signs of depression before they go too far. Here are some of the signs of depression to watch for:

  • Loss of productivity at work, or the person stops showing up at all
  • Frequent illness
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Severe weight loss or weight gain
  • Withdrawn behaviors
  • Acting moody and irritable
  • Not participating in regular activities they used to enjoy
  • Talking about suicide or death frequently
  • Experiences frequent anxiety 
  • Acts like they simply don’t care anymore
  • Self harm or mutilation. Cutting or burning themselves
  • Aggressive behavior

Depression treatment:

If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, get help or encourage them to get help. One of the best ways to treat depression is to seek counseling. Unfortunately most who are clinically depressed do not seek treatment. This is why it is so important for family and friends to watch for the warning signs. In addition to counseling, many who are clinically depressed can take antidepressant medication. This is helpful for those who need to battle levels of depression that exceed simply being able to rely on counseling. However it is important to allow time for the medication to work. It depends on each individual to know how long the medication will take to work. It is also important to make sure and try to put effort into the therapy. While many may have trouble telling their problems to a stranger, remember you are making an effort to help yourself and your loved ones around you. By taking care of your depression, you are not only helping  yourself, you are helping those who care about you.

There are also things you can do on your own to help treat depression. Get up and get moving. Exercise and doing fun physical activities are not only a good way to entertain yourself, they also release endorphins to stimulate your levels of happiness. Get lots of rest and sleep. Sometimes those with depression are overwrought with the pressures of life. Having enough sleep and energy is vital in helping you to be able to combat those pressures. Know and understand that recovery will take time. Be patient with yourself and recovery by taking small steps.

Source: webmd.com,