Feeling blue from time to time is normal. However, when emotions such as hopelessness and despair appear and just won't go away, you may have depression. Depression makes it difficult to function and enjoy life. Just getting through the day can be overwhelming. No matter how hopeless you feel, you CAN get better.
Depression is a common mood disorder that is affecting more and more people. An estimated 350 million people of all ages experience symptoms of depression.
Some people describe depression as “a black hole”. Others feel lifeless, empty, apathetic. Men may even feel angry and restless. Depression is different from normal sadness - it interferes with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, have fun.
When you’re trapped in depression, you feel as if nothing will ever change. It’s important to remember that feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are symptoms of depression—not the reality of your situation.
Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The despair and hopelessness that goes hand in hand with depression can make suicide feel the only way to escape the mental and physical pain. The warning signs are:
The main forms of depression
There are different forms of depression according to its gravity and reflection on one’s normal activity. Unlike the serious form of depression, where the capability to work, study, sleep and eat; enjoy hobbies, is severely damaged; the dysthymia is less seriously manifested condition, which is expressed in chronic symptoms that prevent one from feeling complete without disrupting its usual activity.
Depression can often remain hidden and can find a manifestation only in activities that normally are not connected with it – workaholism; watching too much tv; avoiding being active and keeping in touch with people or the opposite – completely letting oneself go in terms of entertainment.
While in the depressed state a person can feel the typical symptoms of depression, in the manic stage they can be hyperactive, energetic and prone to talking, which affects their social relationships, their thinking and evaluation. Most people in one or another moment of their lives have been through a “depressive” episode. The only thing that they differ in, is the reasons, the frequency, the gravity of these crises; also the manner in which we deal with them.
What are the reasons for depression?
Like any event in the physic life of a person, the reasons for depression are usually more than one.
Among the external factors that contribute to the depressive disorder, the most common are: physical changes and illnesses, stress factors in the environment and most of all, emotional upheavals such as a personal serous loss, problematic relationships, financial problems and every kind of life change that is connected with severe stress – including life changes that are desired and expected.
The internal reasons for depression are much more difficult to identify. Even though some people are predisposed genetically, this comes second to what happens to us in our individual development and in our interaction with our immediate environment.
The way people respond to negative factors around them is highly subjective and, undoubtedly, some are more prone to depression than others. That is why predisposition or the individual disposition is one of the basic things that are considered when seeking help.
It is beyond doubt that low self-esteem and self-confidence, as well as the overall pessimistic outlook of a person about themselves and the world make them more prone to depression than others. One and the same events and circumstances can trigger a crisis in one person; while in another they may leave them cold.
When we try to find the deeply rooted reasons for that, we inevitably come to the previous emotional experience and most of all, the earliest experience that leaves its imprint on our behaviour and values; on the way we connect with the others, on the way we love, separate and lose.
These imprints or models are transferred imperceptibly in the present and influence our evaluation and reaction to circumstances and events in our life. That is why psychotherapy takes into account the emotional memory and seeks that knowledge that would help the person regain their balance. Most often the reason for the depressive condition is hidden in the combination of hereditary, psychological and environment factors.
A host of studies in universities all over the world show that the cognitive behavioral therapy is just as effective as the antidepressive treatment after a big depressive episode.
Within 20 sessions of individual therapy almost 75% of the patients sense improvement in their symptoms. The combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medicine increases the effectiveness by 85%. What is more, most patients of cognitive behavioral therapy maintain their improved mood within 2 years of monitoring after the therapy is terminated.
Different medicine are effective in the treatment of depression. Usually it takes 2 to 4 weeks to reach a therapeutic level of medicine in the blood stream.
Some medicine can have side effects, which are temporary and fade away with time; or they can be overcome with a combination of other medicine.