This information was taken from an article posted on helpguide.org. on depression. The article was written by Melinda Smith, M.A., Joanna Saisan, M.S.W., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D.
It's well worth reading if you sense that you might be struggling with any form of depression. Many forms are discussed in the article. It is important to know just what you are dealing with and get the proper help you need. You don't have to be alone with it. There is plenty of information and help available. It's a common problem in our society today.I see many people for help with depression. There are many approaches and techniques that target specific aspects of depression. It can affect ones life on many levels - mental, emotional, physical, creative, relationship and spiritual wellbeing. Contact me if you feel overwhelmed and need some help to recovery from depression. Let's get you back on your feet, fully engaged in your life.
What is depression?
Depression is a common and debilitating mood disorder that is affecting more and more people around the world. An estimated 350 million people of all ages experience symptoms of depression and about 13 percent of Americans take antidepressants—a figure that jumps to 25 percent for women in their 40s and 50s.
More than just sadness in response to life’s struggles and setbacks, depression changes how you think, feel, and function in daily activities. It can tire or deplete you and interfere with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and enjoy your life. Severe depression can be intense and unrelenting.
While some people describe depression as sadness or “living in a black hole,” others don't feel much at all. They feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic, or men in particular may even feel angry and restless. No matter how you experience depression, left untreated it can become increasingly debilitating. In addition to medication, there are now lifestyle changes that are proving just as effective in relieving mild to moderate forms of depression.
Am I depressed?
If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms—especially the first two—and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from depression.
you feel hopeless and helpless
you’ve lost interest in friends, activities, and things you used to enjoy
you feel tired all the time
your sleep and appetite has changed
you can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult
you can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
you are much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual
you’re consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless behavior
What are the signs and symptoms of depression?
Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms. The more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted—the more likely it is that you’re dealing with depression.
Signs and symptoms of depression include:
Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping.
Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.
Depression and suicide risk
Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness that goes along with depression can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain. If you have a loved one with depression, take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously and recognize the warning signs:
Talking about killing or harming one’s self
Expressing strong feelings of hopelessness or being trapped
An unusual preoccupation with death or dying
Acting recklessly, as if they have a death wish (e.g. speeding through red lights)
Calling or visiting people to say goodbye
Getting affairs in order (giving away prized possessions, tying up loose ends)
Saying things like “Everyone would be better off without me” or “I want out”
A sudden switch from being extremely depressed to acting calm and happy
If You Are Feeling Suicidal...
When you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, your problems don’t seem temporary—they seem overwhelming and permanent. But with time, you will feel better, especially if you reach out for help. There are many people who want to support you during this difficult time, so please reach out for help!
Read Suicide Help or call 1-800-273-TALK in the U.S. or visit IASP or Suicide.org to find a helpline in your country. In Toronto it is 416 408-4357 (408 Help Line)
What causes depression?
Risk factors that make you more vulnerable to depression include:
Loneliness and isolation
Lack of social support
Recent stressful life experiences
Family history of depression
Marital or relationship problems
Early childhood trauma or abuse
Alcohol or drug abuse
Unemployment or underemployment
Health problems or chronic pain
The cause of your depression helps determine the treatment
Understanding the underlying cause of your depression may help you overcome the problem. For example, if you are depressed because of a dead end job, the best treatment might be finding a more satisfying career, not taking an antidepressant. If you are new to an area and feeling lonely and sad, finding new friends will probably give you more of a mood boost than going to therapy. In such cases, the depression is remedied by changing the situation.
Recovering from depression requires action, but taking action when you’re depressed can be hard. The key is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there, trying to do a little more each day. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there by making positive choices for yourself.
Reach out for support
Isolation fuels depression, so the first step is to reach out to friends and loved ones, even if you feel like being alone or don’t want to be a burden to others. The truth is that most people are flattered if you trust them enough to confide in them.
The simple act of talking to someone face to face about how you feel can be an enormous help.
The person you talk to doesn’t have to be able to fix you; he or she just needs to be a good listener, someone who’ll listen attentively without being distracted or judging you.
If you don’t feel that you have anyone to turn to, it’s never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.
When you’re depressed, just getting out of bed can seem like a daunting task, let alone exercising. But regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication in countering the symptoms of depression. It’s also something you can do right now to boost your mood. Take a short walk or put some music on and dance around. Start with small activities and build up from there.
Aim to exercise for 30 minutes or more per day—or break that up into short, 10-minute bursts of activity.
You don’t need to train at the gym or run mile after mile. Pick an activity you enjoy, so you’re more likely to stick with it.
The most benefits for depression come from rhythmic exercise—such as walking, weight training, swimming, martial arts, or dancing—where you move both your arms and legs.
Adding a mindfulness element is particularly effective, especially if your depression is rooted in unresolved trauma. Focus on how your body feels as you move—the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, for example, or the wind on your skin.
Eat a healthy diet
If support from family and friends and positive lifestyle changes aren’t enough, seek help from a mental health professional. Treatments for depression include:
Therapy can help you better understand your depression and help motivate you to take the action necessary to prevent it from coming back.
Medication may be imperative if you’re feeling suicidal or violent. But while it can help relieve symptoms of depression in some people, it isn’t a cure and is not usually a long-term solution. Medication also comes with side effects and other drawbacks so it’s important to learn all the facts to make an informed decision.
Get more help for cultivating supportive relationships and balancing stress to help your depression with the FEELING LOVED book.LEARN MORE »
The full article can be accessed at: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-signs-and-symptoms.htm?utm_source=Helpguide%27s+Newsletter&utm_campaign=fd9728438c-May_Newsletter05_17_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_672cb82703-fd9728438c-114233777