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Monday, September 22, 2014


An estimated 14 million American Adults  are living with  major depression

Common symptoms of depression can make work and daily life almost impossible. Depression can skew your view of the world, making everything seem hopeless. Depression can make you feel utterly alone.

But you're not. Major depression affects about 14 million American adults, or about 6.7% of the population 18 or older in any given year. This blog post will help you recognize some of the symptoms of depression.

Most people feel low or sad occasionally, but people are not considered mentally ill if they are able to continue with a daily routine. However, when depression seriously affects a person's job or interpersonal relationships, mental health professionals consider these individuals to have a depression disorder. Such depressions may persist, deepen, and eventually interfere with the ability to lead a normal life. If you or someone in your family has occasional periods of sadness (the blues) that last a few days or weeks, you probably don't have a depression disorder.

A depressive episode can occur after a specific emotional blow such as a death of someone you love, and the end of a marriage or love affair, or a major financial loss. Depression is an excessive emotional reaction to loss. Sometimes the losses are internal, such as loss of self-esteem or loss of hope.

People at particular stages in their lives seem especially susceptible to depression. The adolescents, middle-age, and the years after retirement are critical periods. Many people find the transition from adolescence to adulthood difficult, especially when there are intense family conflicts or educational/work pressures. Loss of fertility or virility in middle-age may seem like loss of sexuality, a loss can trigger depression; conversely, depression can cause a loss of interest in sex. A person in late middle age may brood over the realization that he or she can advance no further in a career.

The changes that often come in later life—retirement, the death of loved ones, increased isolation, medical problems—can lead to depression. Depression prevents you from enjoying life like you used to. But its effects go far beyond mood. It also impacts your energy, sleep, appetite, and physical health. However, depression is not an inevitable part of aging, and there are many steps you can take to overcome the symptoms, no matter the challenges you face.

Depressive illness among older people is extremely common. This may be related to many factors, including the death of friends, a recognition of the physical limitations of aging, and the realization that death is in the foreseeable future.

Severe depression may be accompanied by a chemical change that affects the way the brain functions. Some physicians disagree, however, as to whether these chemical changes the depression in question or are are the results of a deep, prolonged depression.

What are the symptoms?

  • Symptoms of depressive illness include overriding melancholy and other changes. It is common for the depressed person to become apathetic about the outside world or withdrawal. It is also common for the person to have difficulty concentrating. They may also lose interest in or have trouble with eating, sleeping, and sex. Sometimes indigestion, constipation, and headaches appear. A depressed person may be preoccupied with his or her body and have imaginary physical illness. All depressed people have severe psychological symptoms. They may lose touch with reality, may feel guilty and worthless without cause, may believe that they are being persecuted, and may have hallucinations. When acute anxiety accompanies the depression, the resultant restlessness and anxiety may mask the more common symptoms.
  • Intensity of symptoms often varies with the time of day. Typically, a depressed person wakes up early with almost no mental clarity but improves as the day progresses. Put some people have the worst symptoms at night. As the disorder progresses, depression may deepen until it never lifts. The person then becomes totally withdrawn and may spend most of the time in bed.

Depression can make people feel profoundly discouraged, helpless, and hopeless. Anxiety can make them agitated and overwhelmed by physical symptoms -- a pounding heart, tightness in the chest, and difficulty breathing.

What are the risks?

  • Approximately 15% of the population is likely to experience at least one period of depression severe enough to require medical help. Often, however, symptoms may not be specifically identified as a depressive illness. Some types of depression tend to run in families. Many time families and physicians often do not recognize depression until the condition is greatly advanced.
  • The most serious risk of depression is of course, suicide. Although it is all to common in all age groups, depression and suicide are particular problems of older people. Sometimes depression can resemble and be confused with dementia. This confusion is common but particularly counterproductive since depression is often reversible with effective treatment. The family of a depressed older person may think that he or she has senile dementia and seek no treatment for depression. Young people may express their depression in rebellion or in antisocial behavior.

What is the treatment?

  • Self -Help: Productive activities - such as a vacation, a hobby, or some sport - may help you pull out of a mild depression, as may spending time with others. Regular exercise has been shown to be effective for mild to moderate depression. Discontinue these measures and consult your physician if you're feeling of depression persist or gets worse. If a member of your family seems to be severely depressed, try gentle but firm persuasion to get him or her to see a physician. Threats of suicide should always be taken seriously and considered an emergency.

  • Professional Help: Treatment depends on the type and severity of symptoms. If you go to your family physician with symptoms of depression, they may refer you to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional for treatment. Treatment may consist of medication, psychotherapy, or a commendation of both. Antidepressants, which are often used in treatment of depression, can usually begin to provide relief within 2 to 3 weeks. In severe cases a psychiatrist should always be involved, especially when there is a risk of suicide. The physician or mental health professional may advise hospitalization, because in a hospital you can be monitored more easily, you can be prevented from harming yourself, and drug treatment and psychotherapy can be supervised. 

What are the long-term prospects?

  • People with depression almost always recover. Prompt treatment speeds recovery and lessens suffering. Unfortunately, some types of depression tend to recur. Yet many people who have repeated episodes of severe depression managed to function by getting treatment in the early stages of each episode. Some people with recurring episodes of depression need long-term medication and/or psychotherapy.

What should be done?

  • If you recognize the symptoms in other people, try to persuade them to accept medical help. If you are feeling low and unable to cope, see your physician or a mental health specialist.

Depression is a serious illness that affects a person's body, mood, and thoughts. It can strike anyone, destroying both family life and the life of the person who is depressed. Symptoms include restlessness and irritability; feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness; and persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment. Treatment for depression often involves medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.