Saturday, April 27, 2013

What Causes Depression and Am I Depressed?

More often than not in our teenage years, we are exposed to numerous and sudden inexplicable mood swings, as our body starts undergoing a huge range of hormonal changes. Changes that are needed to prepare us for adulthood.

Not only are there increased social pressures on teens, but the onset of menstruation, for an adolescent girl it introduces them to premenstrual tension/syndrome. The menstrual cramps, the former being a mixture of physical and psychological symptoms, including temporary weight gain, fluid retention, depression, fits of temper and the like. Of these symptoms, depression is perhaps one of the most commonly identified conditions that both males and females experience, particularly with the onset of puberty.

Depression is usually a term often used to define a particularly long period of sadness and lethargy. It can also be used to describe any 'low' point in between periods of 'high' or happiness. A popular expression which many of us may have come across is that depression is in fact, anger lacking in enthusiasm.

However, the real meaning of depression and the reality is that you cannot just 'pull themselves together' and because of this it has the power to disrupt your daily life. Depression is regarded as prolonged sadness, anxiety, unusual mood shifts which can sometimes be accompanied by irrational thoughts, pessimism, and is highly responsible for changes in your eating habits, sleeping patterns and how you interact with other people. Depression can be so debilitating that it can have a detrimental effect on even the simplest daily activities.

Being depressed is deemed as a disorder that should not be left unchecked, it requires treatment and attention because;

1. It may cause withdrawal from friends, family and society in general. This can then lead to unnecessary suffering, increased pessimism, and lower self-esteem.

2. Depression could cause changes in a person's physical behaviour, for example their eating or sleeping may be affected and that could disrupt their regular daily routine. The increase of irrational behaviour causes some people to ultimately result to thoughts of self harm, or even suicide.

If you find yourself displaying that degree of depression, it is advisable that you seek immediate help from a professional. The reason for the urgency is because there are many forms of depression, each varying in degree of abnormality, but it can be treated with the right kind of care. It will also allow you go gain a more accurate diagnosis of your condition. Your results may show that you are simply suffering from a mild form of depression and much more serious forms, like severe or major depression can be ruled out.

What is severe or major depression?

Severe or major depression is also referred to by the medical profession as clinical depression. Clinical depression can come in different forms. It can start out of the blue or build up over a period of time, sometimes weeks, months, or even years.

The following three most common forms of depression are;

繚 Major/Clinical Depression: a number of symptoms that obstruct a person's capability to work effectively, sleep properly, eat regularly or even enjoy anything that might normally bring pleasure such as, hobbies, sex or even social activities with friends and families. These episodes can occur more than once, maybe even several times during one's lifetime.

繚 Dysthymia: is a less intense form of depression that involves longer term chronic symptoms, which are less severe. But like clinical depression it also stops you from functioning fully and stops you from feeling good.

繚 Bipolar (also known as manic-depressive illness): a person will experience periods of depression alternated with periods of euphoria and increased activity, often referred to as mania. Unipolar depression is another name for major depressive disorder and like bipolar requires medical treatment.

Severe depression can be detected by doctors by observing particular behavioural patterns a person displays. The first sign is that of constantly feeling sad or anxious. This may be expressed as feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. Another is constantly feeling, exhausted or tired. You may experience a lack of energy despite the fact that no physical activity has taken place, but at the same time experiencing the feeling of restlessness. You may also find it hard to concentrate or make even the smallest decisions.

Other symptoms that doctors look for is a change in sleeping habits, which may involve difficulty in getting to sleep, waking up too early or sleeping too much. Also, irregular eating patterns which can also lead to drastic weight loss or even weight gain. With these physically noticeable changes and the symptoms listed above, there is a common feeling of being inadequate, despair and guilt. When these symptoms are combined they can lead to thoughts of suicide or obsession over death and dying.

The fact is that doctors are seeing a rise in cases related to depression, it can happen to anyone, even you! So it is important that you better understand depression, the symptoms and how it affects not only you, but also the people around you. There might be people you know that are suffering from some form of depression and understanding it will both allow you to better interact with them, or should you be suffering it will allow you to seek out and benefit from your doctor, local or online support groups or other people who can better help you deal with the disorder and stop you from succumbing to it.

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