What is Depression

Depression is a very common issue that is at epidemic levels in this country and across the globe. We all have heard about Robin Williams who seemed so out going, funny, at the top of his career! But, as we come to find out that he was plagued all his life from depression which he ultimately commit suicide. So tragic, similar story with Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana. He was top of the charts, became wealthy “fame and fortune” yet suffered from depression, turned to drugs and he committed  suicide. A co-worker  whom I knew for many years suffered with depression that he hid very well. The day before he committed suicide, we worked together on a job there were  no signs, always up beat, positive. Yet, behind this wall was a tortured man who apparently felt so trapped he needed to end the misery. He left behind a young child who only knew daddy died.

This story is repeated over and over while it seems to be increasing in frequency yet far too often it ends in the most tragic of ways. People love to say they are selfish, self-centered, evil, sinful. Such an ignorant attitude for these poor people. The real question should be “Why does this seem like the only way out”, or “why didn’t those who knew them most not find help for them?”. Well perhaps fear of being yelled out by the person or not wanting to offend them in some way? When it comes to our love ones or friends we all need to be more than insistent to get some help to them or may lose them in the most tragic of ways.

There are many types of depression, most of which can be treated by Therapy, Doctors, and thru self-help by the individual. They are different types of:

  • Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia) is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered persistent depressive disorder.
  • Perinatal depression is much more serious than the “baby blues” (relatively mild depressive and anxiety symptoms that typically clear within two weeks after delivery) that many women experience after giving birth. Women with perinatal depression experience full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany perinatal depression may make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or for their babies.
  • Psychotic depression occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms typically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
  • Seasonal effective disorder is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This depression generally lifts during spring and summer. Winter depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal effective disorder.
  • Bipolar depression is different from depression, but it is included in this list is because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major depression (called “bipolar depression”). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”

Examples of other types of depressive disorders newly added to the diagnostic classification of DSM-5 include disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (diagnosed in children and adolescents) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Signs and Symptoms

If you have been experiencing some of the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be suffering from depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly
  • Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment

The best thing we can do for our families and friends is to become educated on what depression is plus what to do to help them. One way is to help our loved ones with self-help mental health exercises, such as relaxation, focus, centered, balanced such as some of the scientific products on this page. It is very important to get your friend/family to a licensed therapist who specializes in depression, anxiety, panic attacks! A doctor such as a neurologist, primary care physician or psychologist. Some types of Depression require medication and intense therapy especially when diagnosed. With all treatments that is where they also prescribe self-help (home work) to do when the waves of despair and depression starts.

There are times when people suffer from panic attacks. These can be relatively for most people are for short periods and go away. There are some people that have these episodes more often and need help in dealing with them . 

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