Depression is no laughing matter. It's one of the most common conditions in the United States and possibly one of the most under-treated. As more is understood about depression, the stigma is starting to lift from this insidious disease that robs sufferers of their happiness and vitality.
It's not uncommon to "feel blue" from time to time. Losing a job, moving or other stressors can cause mild depression while you adjust. However, if you experience more than the occasional down day, you may be suffering from clinical depression. It can stem from a number of causes, including traumatic events, injuries, the loss of a home or someone close, illness and brain chemical imbalances. Believe it or not, scientific evidence is even finding correlations between inflammation such as that from rheumatoid arthritis to be one of the major contributors.
Here are some symptoms that might be an indication you need to seek professional guidance:
- Feeling hopeless or lacking optimism.
- Feeling constantly sad or anxious .
- Feeling guilty for no reason.
- Perceiving yourself as worthless.
- Feeling helpless or powerless.
- Lacking energy or drive.
- Losing interest in activities that once brought you joy.
- Being indecisive.
- Having trouble focusing or remembering details.
- Disrupted sleep patterns, such as insomnia, sleeping excessively, or waking in the night and worrying.
- Weight loss due to a decreased appetite.
- Weight gain due to overeating.
- Becoming easily angered or feeling irritable.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
- Suicide attempts or self-harming actions.
The good news is that depression is completely treatable. Counseling can help unearth the reasons you may be experiencing the symptoms of depression. Once some of the triggers are identified, you and your therapist can begin to work on coping skills and mindfulness.
In some cases, a chemical imbalance is a contributing factor to your depression. There are many medications that can help you climb out of the darkness and regain your purpose and enthusiasm for life. Your therapist may be able to recommend a doctor that specializes in managing the ravages of depression.
It's important to note that, in the majority of cases, medication only works when augmented with the proper therapy and support.