Depression is not just feeling “blue” or “down in the dumps.”
Although feeling sad is a normal response to losses or changes a person may face, prolonged feelings of sadness or inability to enjoy activities are often key signs of depression. Depression can be a medical problem, just like high blood pressure or diabetes. You cannot get over depression by simply wishing it away, using more will power or “toughening up.”
Day after day, depression can affect your thoughts, feelings, physical health, behaviors, and quality of life. It may also decrease your ability to enjoy pleasant activities.
Symptoms of depression include:
- Feeling down, sad, blue or hopeless
- Losing interest or pleasure in usual activities
- Feeling worthless, guilty, or that you are a failure
- Changes in sleep or appetite
- Difficulty concentrating
- Withdrawing from others
- Tiredness or lack of energy
- Moving or speaking more slowly, or feeling restless
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Depression is not caused by personal weakness, laziness, or lack of will power. Although we don’t know fully what causes depression, we do know that life stresses and medical problems can cause a change in a person’s ability to cope with everyday tasks – thus, leading to depression.
The good news is that depression can be effectively treated with counseling, antidepressant medications, or a combination of both. Also, alternative strategies are currently being studied. The type of treatment and results may vary from person to person as each individual responds differently to these methods of treatment.