In the United States, there are in excess of 20 million people who suffer from depression. It does not discriminate in terms of gender, although women are diagnosed with depression more often than men. Depression can cause people a number of difficulties and problems in their lives that range from social to life-threatening, as it may even lead to suicide or attempted suicide in extreme cases. The best way to combat depression is to understand it. It is a condition that has been surrounded by stigma and is often misunderstood. By understanding depression through a mental health guide, people are best able to seek out and follow the best form of treatment.
What is Depression?
Most people experience moments in life that make them feel down or unhappy. These moments are triggered by happenings in one’s life such as failure to do well on a test or breaking up with a significant other. Generally, these moments come and go and do not drastically alter one’s ability to function. This type of emotion is sadness, and it is a normal part of one’s emotional register.
When one experiences moments of sadness, they often claim to be depressed in an effort to convey how they feel. Sadness is not, however, depression. Depression occurs when one’s “feeling down” extends for longer than what is considered normal, which is generally two weeks. When a person is depressed, their emotions may reach a level where they are no longer able to function and their feelings interfere in relationships, jobs, and other areas of life.
Depression Symptoms and Signs
There are certain telltale symptoms and signs that indicate that a person has depression. Recognizing these signs can help a person get the help that is needed to manage it. Changes in terms of one’s ability to concentrate, sleep, or eat are signs of depression. There may be noticeable weight loss or weight gain. A person who is depressed may express feelings of helplessness, or their outlook on life may be bleak or hopeless.
They may no longer have an interest in normal activities, even those that they previously enjoyed, or they may have little energy for activities and tasks. Self-loathing is another sign of depression, as is behaving recklessly. Reckless behavior may include taking drugs or excessive drinking, driving recklessly, or excessive gambling, for example.
Gender also influences which symptoms a person is more likely to display. Women, for example, are more likely to experience guilt, self-loathing, and changes in appetite. Aggression, anger, disinterest, and sleep changes are common in men who suffer from depression.
Mental Health Guide: Types of Depression
A mental health guide for depression is complex because it takes on different forms for different people. It is important that sufferers and their medical providers understand what type of depression is taking place in order to properly and effectively treat it. Types of depression include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Major depression
- Recurrent depression, known as dysthymia
- Seasonal affective disorder
People who are consistently unable to experience pleasure or enjoy moments in life may be suffering from major depression, which may last six months or longer without treatment. People with bipolar disorder experience changes in mood that includes manic periods in which the person may get little sleep or be hyperactive or impulsive, for example. When suffering from bipolar depression, people also experience episodes of depressed behavior and may switch between depressed and manic stages.
When the dark winter months bring about depression, it is known as seasonal affective disorder and is commonly referred to as the “winter blues.” People with recurrent depression, or dysthymia, often have feelings of depression and moments of feeling normal. Unlike major depression, mild depression lasts as long as two years. Post-partum depression is yet another type of depression that primarily affects women who have just given birth and affects their ability to properly care for and bond with their infant.
Help and Recovery
To combat depression, it is important to seek help. While help in the form of having family or good friends to talk to is important, it is often necessary to seek out the help of professionals such as mental health experts who can provide psychotherapy and other treatments, including medication, if necessary. In some severe cases, a person may need hospitalization, residential treatment, or an outpatient rehab program.
Changes in lifestyle can also prove helpful in treating depression. These changes should include exercising regularly and sleeping on a regular schedule. Adopting healthy eating habits and managing stress are also important when fighting depression. Other changes include learning techniques to relax, associating with positive individuals, and learning to combat negative thoughts.
For a thorough mental health guide about mental health rehab, call Morningside Recovery today at 855-416-8202. You can learn to manage the symptoms of depression with the professionals at Morningside Recovery. Take the first step and make the call today.