Depression is experienced by a high number of people at least once in their lives. We live stressful and busy lives, and when major events occur that add to the burden, we begin feeling miserable and down. Feeling down or low can be a normal response to events such as a relationship break up, losing a job, or having someone we are close to die. This may however, last a short while before we return to our usual selves. When those feelings become too intense or too prevalent and persistent then this could be depression.
Depression can make it difficult for a person to accept love and comfort from others, which is sometimes based on their belief that they do not deserve it or that the affection is not genuine. Similarly, the irritability and hopelessness experienced by the partner who is depressed may make expressions of love nearly impossible. Depression can also interfere with communication and relationships with family and friends. Some people may become more distant during depression, while others appear more needy or dependent on their family, or partners in particular.
The intimate partners, and families who share their lives with loved ones that are experiencing depression, may benefit from counseling or family therapy themselves. It can help them learn how to best support the person with depression and themselves.
It includes constantly feeling down or hopeless, and also having little interest in the things you used to enjoy. You may become irritable or angry frequently, feel tired and lethargic a lot of the time, and generally feel out of everything. Some people sleep too much, others find it difficult to sleep. Usually there is a feeling of loneliness in the way you feel everything. You may feel disconnected from others, and sometimes feel sort of empty , while also experiencing feelings of low self-esteem. Your concentration might be weak. Weight loss & gain might occur, and one’s sex drive may be affected. Some people may have a lot of suicide related thoughts.
Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand, so feeling both at the same time is considered normal. It is hard not to panic when we are feeling so low. Anxiety can be quite strong, with heart palpitations, feelings of nausea, often with pain in the chest or stomach cramps. These feelings may be fleeting or present most of the time.
1. Major depression
Major depression involves low mood and/or loss of interest and pleasure in usual activities; everyday, for a period of 2 weeks at least.
2. Dysthymic disorder
The symptoms of dysthymia are similar to major depression but are less severe. However, in the case of dysthymia, symptoms last longer.
This is the term used to describe a severe form of depression where many of the physical symptoms of depression are present. One of the major changes is that the person can be observed to move more slowly.
4. Psychotic depression
Sometimes people with a depressive condition can lose touch with reality and experience psychosis. This can involve hallucinations or delusions such as believing they are bad or evil, or that they are being watched or followed.
5. Cyclothymic disorder
Cyclothymic disorder is often described as a milder form of bipolar disorder. The person experiences chronic fluctuating moods over at least two years, involving periods of hypomania and periods of depressive symptoms, with very short periods of normality between.
6. Bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder, earlier known as 'manic depression', is when a person experiences periods of depression and periods of mania, with periods of normal mood in between.
7. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
SAD is a mood disorder that has a seasonal pattern. The cause of the disorder is unclear; however it is thought to be related to the variation in light exposure in different seasons throughout the year.
Counseling or talking therapy has been proven effective in treating depression and anxiety. Talking with a therapist or counselor helps to understand what is going on, and to develop some strategies to enable you to cope and work towards feeling better. Sometimes medication may be required in addition to counseling or therapy. This may also be suggested later by your therapist or counselor, as it is often useful to begin therapy and then consider medication at a later stage.
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