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This is a common mood disorder. Feeling depressed at times is a normal emotion, but excess is a problem.

Depression may follow anxiety or a stressful event - like an accident, loss of a dear one, divorce, loss of a job or a major illness. Genetic facotrs, alcoholism, drug addiction, side effects of medicationsand developmental factors may contribute to it.

More than just the temporary "blues," the lows of depression make it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did.

Hobbies and friends don’t interest you like they used to; you’re exhausted all the time; and just getting through the day can be overwhelming. When you’re depressed, things may feel hopeless, but with help and support you can get better.

Symptoms include sadness, anger, hopelessness, anxiety, inability to concentrate, headache, loss or increse of appetite, irritability and sleep disturbance.

In more severe cases, there may be feelings of worthlessness or guilt, disinterest in work and recreation, withdrawal from activities, lack of sexual interest, agitation, mistrust and suspicion, fear of impending illness or death.

Some patients with depression (bipolar disorders) have manic episodes when they tend to be hyperactive and irritable, but bubble with energy and ideas. Some great artistic works are believed to have been created by manic depressives.

Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don't feel sad at all—they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic, or men in particular may even feel angry, aggressive, and restless.

Causes of Depression

Depression Causes
  • Loneliness
  • Lack of social support
  • Recent stressful life experiences
  • Family history of depression
  • Marital or relationship problems
  • Financial strain
  • Early childhood trauma or abuse
  • Alcohol or drug abuse
  • Unemployment or underemployment
  • Health problems or chronic pain

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms. It’s important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life’s normal lows. But the more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted—the more likely it is that you’re dealing with depression.

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness: A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.

  • Loss of interest in daily activities: No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes: Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.

  • Sleep changes: Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).

  • Anger or irritability: Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.

  • Loss of energy: Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.

  • Self-loathing: Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.

  • Reckless behavior: You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.

  • Concentration problems: Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.

  • Unexplained aches and pains: An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

What can you do?

  • Consult: There are excellent anti-depressant drugs and the doctor will give what suits the individual. Consult your doctor before having any medicine. Psychotherapy or behavioural treatment may be required.

  • Relax: A supportive atmosphere at home and work will also help. Try to divert your mind in other activities which bring out the positive in you. Contributing factors like alcoholism and occupational stress are also treated.

  • Make healthy lifestyle chages: Lifestyle changes are not always easy to make, but they can have a big impact on depression. Lifestyle changes that can be very effective include:
    • Cultivating supportive relationships
    • Getting regular exercise and sleep
    • Eating healthfully to naturally boost mood
    • Managing stress
    • Practicing relaxation techniques
    • Challenging negative thought patterns


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