What Is Depression?

Depression is a brain disorder. It can affect your thoughts, moods, feelings, behavior, and physical health. Unfortunately, many people still think it is “all in your head” and that if the person would only try harder, he or she could snap out of the depression. This is not true. Doctors now know that it is a medical disorder with a biological basis, just like diabetes or arthritis.

When we talk about depression, it is important to keep in mind that most people will experience some of the symptoms of depression during their lifetimes. It is natural to feel depressed when you lose a loved one, your marriage breaks up, or you are fired from your job. What distinguishes chronic depression from feeling sad about a situation is that depression affects your mood, bodily functions, and daily behavior, and it usually does not go away without treatment.

While a stressful life event can be the “trigger” for depression, many times depression occurs spontaneously without any identifiable, specific cause, read more on https://arbuthnotdrug.com. Depression may occur as repeated episodes over a lifetime, with depression-free periods in between. Or it may be a chronic condition, requiring ongoing treatment over a lifetime. Typically, the first episode occurs between the ages of 25 and 44. It is more common in older people, but it is also more likely to go unrecognized in this age group. Depression rates are lower among married people (especially married men) and those in long-term relationships. It is higher among divorced people and those who live alone.

Recognizing depression is not always easy since depressed people often tend to withdraw from family and friends and isolate themselves. And when they go to a doctor, they don’t complain that they are depressed. Instead, they talk about not being able to sleep, or having no energy. However, certain things that people may notice about themselves, or that someone else may notice about them, may be a sign that something is wrong.

Symptoms of depression

Depression can contribute to a wide variety of other health problems, such as generalized itching, blurred vision, excessive sweating, dry mouth, gastrointestinal problems (indigestion, constipation, and diarrhea), headache, and backache. For a doctor to diagnose depression, you must have the following signs and symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks. The two main symptoms of depression are: Loss of interest in normal daily activities. You feel no interest or pleasure in activities that you used to enjoy, like sports. Depressed mood. You feel sad, helpless, and hopeless and may have crying spells. If you have either one of these, as well as four or more of the following symptoms, you may be depressed:

Significant weight loss or gain

Sleep disturbances

Fatigue

Excessive restlessness

Low self-esteem—feelings of worthlessness and excessive guilt

Thoughts of death

Impaired thinking or concentration

Complications of depression

Depression is not easy to manage. Since many people still view mental illness as a character flaw or a personal weakness, people are often afraid to admit they have it and delay seeking treatment or do not get treated at all. If left untreated, short-term complications of depression can lead to long-term complications. Short-term complications include: Feelings of sadness, fatigue, hopelessness Inability to enjoy family and friends Job troubles Long-term complications include:

Cardiovascular complications

Substance abuse

Hospitalization

Loss of income

Divorce

Suicide

Depressed people don’t usually follow healthy habits, including sensible diet and exercise. Studies have shown that people with depression suffer greater risk of heart disease than people who are not depressed.

The most dreaded complication of depression is suicide. Approximately 10 to 15 percent of patients hospitalized with depression commit suicide.