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Everything you need to know about depression in four easy answers

November 17, 2009

Continuing the conversation on mental illness, we here at Calvary Comments bring you 4 need-to-know answers on depression, a very common illness, especially as we approach the holiday season.

What is depression?

Depression is all encompassing mental health disorder, affecting your body, mind, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way you eat, sleep, the way you feel about yourself, and the way you think about things-accompanied by a loss of interest in life, decreased energy, and an overall sense of hopelessness. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing sadness, nor is it a character weakness.

Who gets depression?

Although, some people are more susceptible than others, depression is extremely common and can affect anyone, from all walks of life. Depression affects approximately 19 million Americans, and, affects so many people that it has been referred to as the “common cold” of mental illness.

What are the symptoms?

There are many differences in the number of symptoms, their severity, and persistence, all of which can be wildly varied from person to person. Depression causes changes in thinking, feeling, behavior, and physical well-being. Experts generally agree that when you experience symptoms nearly everyday for at least a two week period, you are clinically depressed. Persistent sadness, an overall feeling of hopelessness, worthlessness, a loss of interest in activities/hobbies that were once fun, fatigue, thoughts of death or suicide, anxiousness, and changes in your eating/sleeping habits are all very common symptoms of depression. You might lack motivation, feel “slowed down” all the time, have difficulty controlling your temper or have difficulty making decisions. Social withdrawal and frequent crying are also extremely common for those suffering from depression. Imagine feeling this way all the time, and not being able to do anything to “snap out” of this “mood”. It is this sense of inescapable hopelessness that leads to the thoughts of death and suicide. If you are experiencing any of these common symptoms, please do seek medical attention.

How do you treat depression?

Depression is a very treatable disorder, and 80% to 90% of clinically depressed people are successfully treated when diagnosed. Depending on the type and severity of the depression, treatments include psychotherapy/counseling and anti-depressant medications. Regular exercise is also recommended to uplift one’s mood. For many, the best treatment is considered to be a blended combination of the above. Once treatment has begun, positive thoughts will slowly begin to replace the negative, and after four to six months without symptoms, one can be considered recovered. Unfortunately, two-thirds of those who are depressed never seek treatment and suffer needlessly.

Got more questions? Check out this website or this one for more information about various forms of depression, symptoms, and treatment. Think you might be suffering from depression? Read here on how to seek help.

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