How to Know Whether You Are Depressed or Not

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Identify Your Depression This Way

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What is depression? This article contains symptoms, statistics and facts about depression, together with depression types. Information about the disease and the treatment. Useful links for more data.

It is normal to feel down from time to time. Sadness is perfectly normal feeling and tears play important role for our health. But sometimes one might feel exhausted, sad and lonely for too long time without reason. These may be symptoms of a dangerous and overwhelming disease called depression, which can cause feelings of insignificance and desperation, and can have huge impact on your daily life, making you hard to function. There is probability that depression can cause you suicidal thoughts and extreme desire to end your life. So, this is a life treating disease that needs proper treatment.

The signs of depression vary a lot. They may include: feeling of emptiness; apathy; anger; extreme sadness; loss or gaining of weight; loss of appetite; restlessness; irritation; loss of interest in daily activities; sleep changes; loss of energy; self-loathing or reckless behavior; unexplained aches or pains.

If you are experiencing some of these signs, you might have depression and should ask for help. This is especially important if you are having suicidal thoughts or have tried to commit suicide. Major depression, when left untreated, can last up to six months and can be a recurring disease.

Depression may be caused by various reasons, which include:

  • Life events: childhood trauma, such as neglect, sexual abuse, mental or physical abuse; financial difficulties; loss of a loved one, social isolation, separation, rape and catastrophic injury;
  • Alcohol or drug abuse;
  • Mental illness: bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and others;
  • Non-psychiatric illness: nutritional deficiency, hypoandrogenism (in men), hypothyroidism, chronic pain, cancer, stroke, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, Lyme disease, Addison's disease, Parkinson's disease, Cushing's syndrome or neurological conditions;
  • Medical treatments: medications for hepatitis C (as interferon), benzodiazepines (like clonazepam, lorazepam, diazepam), beta-blockers, corticosteroids, contraceptives and others.

5% of the world population suffers from depression. More women suffer from major depression than men but men are more likely to commit suicide. 11% of the adolescents have at least one depressive episode by the age of 18. One person in 15 had made at least one suicide attempt in their life. The number of people, for most countries, who would suffer from depression is 8-12%.

There are many shapes and forms of depression.

Major depression: Not that common type but very intense. May be called also "major depressive disorder". You might be diagnosed with this type of depression if you have five or more symptoms on most days for two weeks or more and at least one of it must be depressed mood or loss of interest in everyday activities.

Persistent depressive disorder: If you depression lasts two years or more years, you probably have persistent depressive disorder. You might have periods of normal mood but you may feel like you have never been healthy.

Atypical depression: If you have this kind of depression, you will experience temporary mood lift when positive events happen. You may also gain weight, have a heavy feeling in your arms and hands and be over sensitive to criticism.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): In the winter the daylight is reduced and this can lead to seasonal affective disorder. This condition affects 1-2% of all people, mostly women and young people. Usually begins in the fall or in the winter and typically goes away in the spring or in the summer. You might feel as completely different person during the cold period of the year.

Peripatum (Postpartum) depression: This type of depression occurs in women in the weeks or months after childbirth.

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): Some women have symptoms of depression at the start of their period, together with mood swings, anxiety, trouble concentrating, fatigue etc.

Psychotic depression: If you suffer from psychotic depression, along with the typical symptoms of depression, you will also have hallucinations, delusions or paranoia.

Treatment for depression includes antidepressants, psychotherapy, stress management techniques, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). The support of family and friends is very important in the treatment process.

For conclusion, depression can be very insidious, precarious and difficult to cure but it is treatable. Remind yourself that you are not your disease and that you will get better with time. Always ask for help even if you are not sure whether or not you have depression. Ask your family and friends for support and never give up. Although depression may seem like everlasting darkness, the light will eventually come back. So, just keep going. You are not alone.

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