Depression is an overused word to describe how someone may be feeling. It is often used to describe moments of sadness or disappointment, where those descriptions may be more on target and more clearly define a course of action.
Clinical depression is more than feeling bad for a few days; it is a common, yet serious, illness that affects almost 10% of Americans each year. Unfortunately, only one-third of sufferers seek treatment even though getting assistance can help 80 percent of all people who are affected. Although depression is a real medical illness, many people still mistakenly believe it is a personal weakness. Events such as the death of a loved one, divorce, financial strains, moving to a new location or significant loss can contribute to the onset of clinical depression. It is not only negative events that can trigger depression. It is often the sum of many events, even good ones like getting married or finding a new job.
If you have experience 5 or more of the symptoms below for more than 2 to 3 weeks it is time to talk to your doctor and/or a counselor.
o Do you feel sad or irritable?
o Have you lost interest in activities once enjoyed?
o Have you experienced changes in weight or appetite?
o Have you experienced changes in sleeping pattern?
o Do you have feelings of guilt?
o Are you unable to concentrate, remember things, or make decisions?
o Have you experienced fatigue or loss of energy?
o Have you experienced restlessness or decreased activity noticed by others?
o Do you feel hopeless, or worthless?
o Have you had thoughts of suicide or death?
Clinical depression is one of the most readily treatable illnesses, and getting treatment can truly save lives. The most common ways to treat depression are with antidepressant medication, psychotherapy (talk therapy), or a combination of both.