The hardest part about depression is asking for HELP.
Recomeneded reading: The Mindful Way through Depression
by: Mark Williams, John Teasdayle, Zindel Segal, and Jon Katbat-Zinn
If you would like a referal or would like to talk, please contact me.
What is Depression?
Article from WebMD
How Do I Get Help for Depression?
Most people have felt sad or depressed at times. Feeling depressed can be a normal reaction to loss, life's struggles, or an injured self-esteem.
But when feelings of intense sadness -- including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless -- last for days to weeks and keep you from functioning normally, your depression may be something more than sadness. It may very well be clinical depression -- a treatable medical condition.
What is depression?
According to the DSM-IV, a manual used to diagnose mental disorders, depression occurs when you have at least five of the following nine symptoms at the same time:
· a depressed mood during most of the day, particularly in the morning
· fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
· feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
· impaired concentration, indecisiveness
· insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day
· markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day
· recurring thoughts of death or suicide (not just fearing death)
· a sense of restlessness -- known as psychomotor agitation -- or being slowed down -- retardation
· significant weight loss or gain (a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month)
How long do these signs have to be present before they are diagnosed as depression?
With major or clinical depression, one of the key signs is either depressed mood or loss of interest. For a diagnosis of depression, these signs should be present most of the day either daily or nearly daily for at least two weeks. In addition, the depressive symptoms need to cause clinically significant distress or impairment. They cannot be due to the direct effects of a substance, for example, a drug or medication. Nor can they be the result of a medical condition such as hypothyroidism. Finally, if the symptoms occur within two months of the loss of a loved one, they will not be diagnosed as depression.
What are some common feelings associated with depression?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms. How severe they are, how frequent, and how long they last will vary. It depends on the individual and his or her particular illness. Here are common symptoms people with depression experience:
· difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
· fatigue and decreased energy
· feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
· feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
· insomnia, early morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
· irritability, restlessness
· loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
· no pleasure left in life any more
· overeating or appetite loss
· persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
· persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
· thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
While these are common symptoms of depression, they may also occur in patterns. For example, a person may experience depression with mania or hypomania -- a condition sometimes called manic depression. Or the symptoms may be seasonal as in the case of seasonal affective disorder.
There are several types of manic depression. People with bipolar II disorder have at least one episode of major depression and at least one hypomanic -- mild elation or high -- episode. People with bipolar I disorder have a history of at least one manic -- extreme elation or high -- episode, with or without past major depressive episodes. A patient with unipolar depression has major depression only but does not have hypomania or mania.
Is depression difficult to diagnose?
It is estimated that, by the year 2020, major depression will be second only to ischemic heart disease in terms of the leading causes of illness in the world. But patients with depression sometimes fail to realize (or accept) that there is a physical cause to their depressed moods. As a result, they may search endlessly for external causes.
In the U.S., about 14.8 million adults suffer from major depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. The suicide risk in people with this type of depression is the highest rate for any psychiatric state. For people between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death. Unfortunately, most people with clinical depression never seek treatment. Left undiagnosed and untreated, depression can worsen, lasting for years and causing untold suffering, and possibly suicide.
Are there different types of depression?
There are a number of different types of depression including:
· major depression
· chronic depression (dysthymia)
· bipolar depression
· seasonal depression (SAD or seasonal affective disorder)
· psychotic depression
· postpartum depression
Can depression have physical symptoms?
Because certain brain chemicals or neurotransmitters, specifically serotonin and norepinephrine, influence both mood and pain, it's not uncommon for depressed individuals to have physical symptoms. These symptoms may include joint pain, back pain, gastrointestinal problems, sleep disturbances, and appetite changes. The symptoms may also be accompanied by slowed speech and physical retardation. Many patients go from doctor to doctor seeking treatment for their physical symptoms when, in fact, they are clinically depressed.
Where can I get help for depression?
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression, seek your health care provider's advice for treatment or referral to a mental health professional.