Depression is a serious medical condition that can affect anyone. Men, women and children are all susceptible to this disease which can have devastating effects on someone’s daily life. Depression can come on suddenly, for no reason, or it might follow a traumatic experience such as a death or some other traumatic experience.
Symptoms of depression can interfere with a person’s ability to work, sleep, study and enjoy life in a fruitful way. If you find that these symptoms persist for more than a few weeks you should discuss it with your doctor. The symptoms to look for include: sadness, irritability, no interest in hobbies and activities which once were loved, hopelessness, problems sleeping, fatigue, thoughts of suicide or death, feelings of guilt and significant weight change.
Once these symptoms start affecting the way you live your life, it’s time to seek help. M.I., who has had depression on and off for many years says, “I never really knew what was wrong with me. I would have these bouts with trying to cope with life, but all I would end up doing is staying sad and crying all the time. I couldn’t see any way out of what I was dealing with in my life, but I’m glad I hung in there. Being able to find out what was wrong with me and knowing that I could get treatment for it changed my life.”
Depression can also affect the physical health of a person, which is a symptom that is often overlooked. I. A., a depression sufferer shares, “I would get these pains in my arms, shoulder and hands. My doctor told me that he couldn’t find anything wrong. Nothing wrong with my bones or my joints, but the pains never seemed to go away. Now I know it was related to the depression.”
No one knows what exactly causes depression, but some believe it might be caused by an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain, and in that instance you and your doctor might decide that you need to take antidepressants. One form of depression called “Seasonal Affective Disorder” (SAD) uses light therapy as treatment since it’s thought that a lack of sunlight during certain times of the year could be a cause.
If you think depression might be entering your life, don’t wait to get help. There is nothing wrong with asking questions and trying to get help. Many people are too afraid or feel guilty about asking for help for depression. A lot of the world still thinks that depression is “just the blues” or just a person feeling down. Depression is a very real medical condition that is just as valid as having a broken bone that would need to be treated.
“A reluctance to get help can lead to years of disability and not having a good and happy life,” says B.D., “I could have gotten help a long time ago, but I waited for about ten years before taking action. I thought I should have been a person strong enough to beat depression on my own. I sure wish I had made the move toward help instead of waiting.”
Remember, depression is a treatable condition that can get better. You need to take the steps to get the help you need.