Monday, July 1, 2013

Anger - A Warning of Depression

Depression is a condition that affects a person's mind and body. There are two main classes of depression. First, there is "contextual depression" which is understandably brought about by events that would cause most reasonable people to be temporarily effected. Examples of these events would be: a recent trauma, break-up, death or other situational event. This type of depression is considered "normal" and time-limited. It is triggered by something outside the person. Second is "clinical depression" which is a biological condition, caused by chemicals is the brain, primarily Serotonin and sometimes Norepinephrine. This type of depression is evident even in the absence of outside events.

When a person is depressed with either contextual or biological depression, all aspects of their life can be affected including eating, sleeping, working, all relationships and how a person thinks about themselves. People who are clinically depressed cannot simply "snap out of it, get over it or pull themselves up by their boot straps." Without appropriate treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months or years.

At some point in their lives, 10%-25% of women and 5%-12% of men will become clinically depressed as reported by The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Often depression can go misdiagnosed or under-diagnosed as a result of how it is reported. Reports are based on the symptoms people experience and their ability to communicate these symptoms cohesively to their health care practitioners.

Anger is a common symptom of depression but is often overlooked as mere "moodiness". Women frequently exhibit depression through typical symptoms such as: withdrawal, hopelessness, tears, increased/decreased sleep and agitation. Men often exhibit depression symptoms in more atypical ways such as: anger, reckless behavior and substance abuse. When the underlying issue of depression is treated, along with any secondary issues such as increased alcohol consumption, we consistently see anger decrease.

Depression causes suffering for those that are depressed as well as their family and friends who often don't understand what is happening and don't know how to help. If someone you know is an 'angry person," don't rule out the possibility that they may be struggling from the unaddressed issue of depression. There are different types of depression and a variety of treatments which including psychotherapy, exercise, guided imagery, medication, journaling and good nutrition. Seek help from a well trained clinician and explore the possibility of allergies as well as other context driven triggers.

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