What is DepressionQUESTION: What is depression?ANSWER:
What is depression? Most people would probably describe depression as a period of feeling blue that you just can't seem to get over, but to some people, suffering from a depressive disorder is much more than that. Depression is more than a feeling of being "down in the dumps" or "blue" for a few days. A person who is suffering from a depressive disorder will have a feeling of being "down," "low," or "hopeless" for weeks, months, or even years at a time.
What is depression? Depression is a treatable, serious medical illness. Depression is not a sign of personal weakness or mental instability. Depression is a mental illness just like cardiac disease is a physical illness.
A depressive disorder involves much more than just the mind. It involves the way a person eats, sleeps, and lives. It involves the way a person will view life and the way he or she thinks in general.
The classic signs of depression include, but are not limited to:
- Loss of interest or pleasure in normal day-to-day activities
- Loss or change in sleep patterns
- Feelings of deep sadness
- Loss of concentration (mind wanders)
- Less activity
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Lack of energy
- And in severe cases, thoughts of suicide
A depressive disorder left untreated will eventually affect a person's long term physical and mental well-being. Depression is a treatable mental illness which comes in various forms and types with the three most common forms being - major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder.
Major depression is the most severe form of depression. It may only occur once in a lifetime, but it more commonly occurs various times throughout a person's lifespan. This form of depression is the most debilitating and may interfere with a person's ability to work, study, sleep, or enjoy once pleasurable activities.
Dysthymia is a less severe form of depression. This type of depression involves long-term symptoms of depression, but it does not usually disable a person. It keeps him or her from the general feeling that life is good. People who suffer this type of depression may also experience episodes of major depression throughout their lifetime.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive disorder, is not as common as the other forms of depression. Bipolar disorder is characterized by mood shifts from severe highs to severe lows. Sometimes the mood swings can be seen as a rapid and dramatic change in personality, but more often the mood changes are more gradual. When a person with bipolar disorder is in a low cycle, they will exhibit all the characteristics of a depressive disorder.
There is treatment. This treatment will consist of interviews by a licensed professional as to the cause of the depression. Once a cause is diagnosed, then a treatment regiment can be prescribed.