The word depression can be confusing. Is often used to describe normal emotional responses. At some point in their lives, everyone may feel blue. However, when the symptoms persist for longer than a couple of weeks, a person may be suffering from depression. Depression is an illness. It is extremely common, one of the most common illnesses seen in all of medicine.
One in 12 people can expect to develop depression at some time in their lives. It is a mysterious illness affecting the entire mind and body causing a person to feel miserable in many ways. Unfortunately, it may be confused with other illnesses. For example, people who think or be told they have “low blood sugar”, “vitamin deficiency”, “low sugar”, “menopause” or “are all run down and need a rest” may actually have depression causing their trouble.
Unfortunately, depression is not well understood. The cause is unknown. We used to think it was due to something unhappy in a person’s life or to some purely psychiatric cause. We now know, however, that this disease happens to people who have no reason to be depressed, and who have no psychiatric illness. In other words, this is a disease often affecting normal and healthy people.
A person who suffers from this illness may have a multitude of symptoms, which may have a profound impact on their personal and professional relationships. Usually, they will feel tired all the time, even when they have not even worked or exerted themselves very much. They’ll be just as tired on days they’ve rested as on days they haven’t. Sleep will be off in one or two ways. They may go to sleep and then wake up during the night and remain awake. Alternatively, they will sleep too much, often requiring naps during the day. They will feel irritable and become upset very easily over little things that usually would not be upsetting. They’ll often feel very sad for no reason, and in fact, may break into tears without knowing why. A normal sex drive will be very much decreased; in fact, it may go away altogether. They may have headaches, usually like a pain going down into the neck. They’ll find it difficult to enjoy things and will feel little enthusiasm, even for things usually enjoyed. Abdominal symptoms such as constipation or diarrhea are common just as losing or gaining weight. They may find it difficult to concentrate, make decisions, study, or just get things done. Often they’ll have feelings of worthlessness, sinfulness or guilt. Worst of all, severe depression makes some actually not feel like living at all.
Depression can be serious. However, many people fail to recognize the symptoms and do not get the help they need. Depression is one of the most treatable mental illnesses with up to 80% to 90% of depressed people responding to treatment. Nearly everyone gets some relief from their suffering. If you feel like you may suffer from depression, seek help from your doctor. If you feel someone you know has this illness encourage him or her to find medical treatment.