Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Understanding Depression As A Mental Illness

Depression is characterized as a neurological disorder that directly affects mental, emotional and physical health. It can range from mild to severe and affect both children and adults. Although signs such as withdrawal and despair may be apparent in some people, there are many other ways that people express their feelings of sadness. Excessive or irrational anger is often an overlooked sign of sadness that many people may mistake for an inability to control emotions. If left untreated, sadness and despair can lead to extreme physical health problems and thoughts of suicide.

Untreated mental conditions can lead to problems with sleep patterns and lead to eating disorders. Individuals may suffer from insomnia or excessive sleep and may experience a lack of energy as a result. Difficulty with concentration and the inability to make clear, rational decisions are a major side effect of irregular sleep patterns. Sadness is often associated with extreme weight loss; however, excessive weight gain can be an indication of unhappiness or feelings of despair. Some people turn to food as a source of comfort while others obtain no pleasure in eating. People that use food for comfort and gain a significant amount of weight may develop more feelings of sadness as a result of the weight gain.

Feelings of anxiety and hopelessness can cause serious problems in every aspect of life including personal relationships and work life. These feelings can lead to violent behavior or exclusion. Children of parents with mental disorders may become neglected and develop feelings of rejection or abandonment. Depressive illnesses are often the result of biological factors such as family history. This is important to consider as many children of parents with mental disorders have a higher chance of developing a neurological disorder than children that come from a family with no history.

Children with psychological disorders may display their emotions of sadness differently. Severe behavioral problems are the most prominent indication of unhappiness. They may often get into trouble at school, become involved with alcohol or drugs and withdraw from family and friends. They often display irritability rather than sadness. Treating a mental illness in an adolescent is essential to their growth and well-being. Teenagers are more often at risk of committing suicide than adults are due to the underdeveloped brain and the inability to rationalize sensibly under stressful situations.

Mental disorders are not always hereditary. Stress-related factors such as a death of a loved one, loss of job, financial conditions, divorce and an illness or disability can cause despair and sadness. Recognizing the symptoms early on can help those who are suffering from a mental disorder get the treatment they need to feel better. Depressive episodes may occur without any obvious stress-related triggers. Most people experience brief feelings of sadness; however, recurring episodes are not normal and considered the best indication of a mental illness.

The symptoms of a mental illness may vary among men and women. Men may experience irritability, sleeplessness or have a loss of interest in activities they once found pleasurable. Depressive feelings in women tend to be more noticeable while men find activities such as work to avoid their feelings or having to talk about it. Men may indulge in reckless behavior such as drugs or alcohol and may become verbally or physically abusive to others.

Depression is a very serious condition but is also very treatable through a variety of treatment options. Medication, psychotherapy and support groups are effective in treating mental illnesses. An antidepressant used in conjunction with counseling or support groups is the most common method of treatment and can reduce the risk of any recurring depressive episodes. A mental health professional can help a patient learn coping techniques to deal with the illness effectively. Therapy may also be helpful with recognizing the things that may be contributing to the depressing feelings and discovering new behaviors to avoid these triggers.

Copyright (c) 2012 Embracing Depression

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