There have been numerous campaigns asking for more awareness and research into depression. It is a topic that has been frequently talked about in the general public, and not only is it seen as a topic serious for personal interest but also a matter of national health. That being said, let's learn more about depression.
What is depression?
Depression can be defined as a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings, and sense of well-being. To put it simply, depression is when everything seems bleak and dark and you don't feel like doing anything or going anywhere.
The symptoms vary from person to person depending on the severity level and also in terms of duration. A person with mild depression might only have a few of the symptoms listed below, while a person with severe depression may have most or all of these symptoms:
Persistent sadness, anxiety, or empty mood
Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed, including sex
Reduced energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
Insomnia and early-morning waking
Significant weight loss or weight gain (without trying), overeating or appetite loss
Chronic pain and bodily symptoms that do not respond to treatment, including headaches, digestive disorders
Thoughts of death or suicide, wishing to be dead
Depressed people are often irritable or even angry. They may have sudden mood changes - going from feeling okay to being very sad for no apparent reason. They may lose interest in their appearance, feel that they have let themselves and others down, or find it difficult to concentrate on things such as reading a book.
How can one catch depression early?
There are various ways to check if you have depression.
Firstly, there are questionnaires you can take which usually appear online or in magazines. These tests may only be an accurate predictor if you have been experiencing symptoms for a few weeks or months. Some other ways to detect depression include:
Asking yourself how long you've felt this way
Asking yourself how often you feel this way
How does one treat depression?
Depending on the severity of your depression, treatment may include self-help techniques such as regular exercise and talk therapies. In more serious cases medication is necessary. Although there are many antidepressant medications that can effectively relieve symptoms of depression, it is important to remember that these medications can take time to work.
It may take several weeks or even months after you start medication for it to have its full effect, so do not stop taking them once you feel better. If treatment doesn't seem to be working after about six weeks, tell your doctor - they might change your medication or add another one if necessary.
There are many resources available for those who feel they have depression. If you think you may be suffering from this illness, visit your doctor or mental health professional immediately.
Don't let depression take over your life. Although it might seem like there's no way out, it is important to remember that there is help and treatment available!