Everyone feels “down in the dumps” or “blue” sometimes. Feeling sad is a normal part of life. But when sadness interferes with everyday functioning, we are talking about a more serious and fairly common problem of depression. Depression impacts normal life functioning for a person and their family and serious depression can destroy many relationships at work, in a marriage, and with family and friends. It is estimated that 9.5% or 20.9 million American adults suffer from depressive illness. People are often afraid to admit that they have a serious problem but much of the suffering associated with depression is unnecessary.
Do these symptoms sound familiar?
- Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
- Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
- Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
- Restlessness, irritability
- Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain.
If any of these behaviors are occurring in your life, then you may be dealing with depression. However, there is good news! The symptoms of depression are treatable and can be managed through expert therapy and medications. Unfortunately, many people do not recognize that depression is treatable and go without help for too long. Undiagnosed depression can be life altering and life threatening. Finding a therapist who is able to treat depression and help a person get out of the “fog” that being depressed can create is an important step to getting the assistance needed and could save a life.
Depression impacts mind, body and spirit. It affects eating, sleeping and feelings of self worth. Remember, depression is not a sign of weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away. People with depression cannot simply "snap out of it" and get better. A depressed person needs support, gentle guidance and a listening ear. Friends and family members can help a depressed person by helping them get into treatment and find a therapist who will work in collaboration with the person dealing with depression, their family as well as a physician to create a helpful and workable plan.
Nowadays, depression and its effects on an individual’s well-being is clearly understood. However, the creation of a partnership with a therapist who is knowledgeable and experienced with this illness is essential to achieve the best outcome.