Life is about living with what it could offer. There could be many ups and downs in life that could lead us to different feelings. Life could give us happiness but sadness as well. There could be numbers of problems that life could offer but if you are going to let these issues define your life you might lead yourself to depression. And you wouldn’t want to be depressed, right? And so how are you going to avoid depression? Through understanding what it is along with its signs, symptoms, causes as well as treatments you might, therefore, experience a happier life instead. The first way to overcome depression is to have an idea of what it is all about.
So what is depression? In simpler terms, depression could be the feeling of being sad, unhappy, and blue or down. Almost all of us could be depressed and so feel these feeling once in a while. Due to struggles, setbacks as well as disappointments that life offers it would be normal to have reactions like sadness and downswings in mood. And most people would use the term depression in order to explain the said kinds of feelings however depression could be more than those. There are numbers of ways on how to describe or define depression. Some would say that it is about living in a black hole or having this feeling of impending doom. But some depressed people are not sad rather they feel empty, lifeless, apathetic or worst they could be aggressive or angry. With that, it is clear that depression is far more different from the normal sadness you might feel every day in your life. Depression can engulf your life, therefore, might interfere with your ability to work, studying, eating, having fun and a lot more. There would be unrelenting and intense feeling of helplessness, worthlessness and hopelessness.
To further understand depression and know whether you are depressed or not, you must also be aware of signs and symptoms of it. But depression might vary from a person to another yet having typical signs and symptoms. And there might also be some symptoms that could be part of the normal lows of life. There is a fact that the more symptoms that you have, the stronger they are and the longer they last the more chance of dealing with great depression. Once the symptoms are already overwhelming and disabling, it might be the perfect time of seeking for help.
Some of the common signs and symptoms of depression could include the following:
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness–you feel like everything will not be better, and there is nothing that you could do just to improve your current situation.
- Loss of interest in numbers of daily activities–you have no interest in your former pastimes, hobbies, social activities and a lot more. You almost lost your ability to feel pleasure and joy.
- Weight or appetite changes–there would be significant weight gain or weight loss.
- Sleep changes–you might experience insomnia, waking early hours in the morning or also oversleeping known as hypersomnia.
- Irritability or anger–you might feel agitated, violent or restless. You might have low tolerance level, having short temper and almost everyone gets on your nerves.
- Energy loss–you might feel fatigue, sluggish and even physically drained. You might feel that your whole body is heavy and so even those small tasks are so exhausting therefore taking you a lot longer to complete the tasks.
- Self-loathing–you might experience intense feelings of guilt or worthlessness. You might harshly criticize yourself for the mistakes and faults.
- Reckless behavior–you might be engaged in escapist behavior like substance abuse, reckless driving, compulsive gambling and dangerous sports.
- Concentration problems–making decisions, trouble focusing and remembering things.
- Unexplained pains and aches–there would be an increase in physical complaints like back pain, headaches, stomach pain, aching muscles and a lot more.
Those are among some of the most common symptoms and signs of being depressed. If you experienced some of those maybe it’s the time for you to make ways on how to avoid depression instead lead yourself to a better situation and be a lot happier.
In addition to depression, fear and stress could as well be experienced. There are many effects of being depressed. If you are depressed, you might also experience anxiety and fear with regards to facing life. Anxiety and fear are results of being depressed about life. If you are depressed, you might not have the courage to face what life could offer. If you are depressed, you could as well lose the chance of being happy about great things life offers. There are numbers of disadvantages once you are depressed. Why choose to be depressed if you know you could be happy? Though life is offering numbers of problems or struggles that should be faced still being happy and positive will lead you to a life you couldn’t ever imagine having. Being happy and positive could be keys to achieving longer life too far from any fear, stress or depression. We all have the ability to be happy but if we are to let depression defines our life then we are as well taking the happiness away from us.
Depression could ruin your life and so preventing yourself from being depressed should be considered. There are numbers of ways on how you are to avoid depression, along with stress and fear, and those ways would be discussed later. It would be a choice whether you want to be stuck with depression or you are to opt doing ways on escaping with it. To live life with depression could be a nightmare. You have the choice of waking up and starting a new day with all the positive things in life. Being depressed is actually not a disease that could kill anyone but a choice that could ruin everything.
Depression is one of the most widespread mental disorders in the world – an estimated 400 million people suffer from the condition and over 50% of all people who commit suicide are affected by it. These statistics are extremely alarming, especially when considering that suicide takes more lives than war, murder and natural disasters combined.
Major depressive disorder, the most severe form of depression, is classified as a serious mental illness that requires medical attention and treatment. Over the years, antidepressants have been the most commonly prescribed treatment for depression, and the general opinion is that they are safe and effective.
However, in recent times, antidepressants have raised a multitude of concerns due to their wide range of side effects which include suicide, sleep disturbances, weight gain, increased relapse rates and loss of sexual desire, just to name a few. Many patients who have taken antidepressants have had their depression worsen over the long-term through a process called antidepressant-induced chronic depression. The FDA has even instructed all antidepressant drug manufacturers to add a black warning label (the most serious one) to their medication.
A recent article published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology says, “The weight of current evidence suggests that, in general, antidepressants are neither safe nor effective; they appear to do more harm than good.”
Dr Mark Hyman, eight-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, openly says in an article published on the Huffington Post, “Antidepressants don’t work… the pharmaceutical industry and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have deliberately deceived us into believing that they DO work. As a physician, this is frightening to me.”
There is a great deal of confusion around the idea of depression. The term “depressed” or “depression” has been used to describe everything from the state of the economy (such as the 1929 Great Depression) to how people feel after a break-up or an exhausting day at the office.
In everyday conversation, the term is associated with temporary feelings of sadness or dejection, but the truth is that depression is much more profound than that. We all experience feeling sad, dejected or blasé from time to time. Those feelings are normal and simply part of the vicissitudes of life.
However, in a clinical context, the word depression is entirely different. It doesn’t merely denote a brief spell of sadness or feeling down in the dumps. Depression is first and foremost a crippling form of mental illness – its precise label is major depressive disorder, but we call it depression for short. Depression isn’t what happens when your team loses a game of football or when a pickpocket steals your brand new IPhone. It is not an ephemeral change in emotions or an indication of weakness either. Depression is a long lasting low mood that interferes with day-to-day life to the point where it becomes an unbearable burden.
Major depressive disorder is a serious condition that over time damages the brain and the body. Unfortunately many people still confuse this condition with mere feelings of sadness and the advice that we hear so often (“suck it up” or “just snap out of it”) stems directly from this misunderstanding.
Depression affects approximately 14.8 million Americans each year, and the average age for the symptoms to manifest is around 32 years. This roughly translates to about 1 in 10 Americans suffering from varying levels of the illness, and this number is projected to increase by up to 20% in the coming years.
People who suffer from depression often find themselves paralyzed by it. They no longer take pleasure in the hobbies and relationships that they once enjoyed and find it difficult to function normally in daily life. Depression often feels like a quiet despair, a downward spiral with no light at the end of the tunnel where you can easily end up questioning your entire purpose in life.
What Causes Depression
Depression is often a reaction to devastating life changes such as the death of a loved one or a painful divorce, but the following factors can be catalysts as well:
- Psychiatric illnesses: A major depressive disorder often works in combination with other mental illnesses such as anxiety, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
- Non-psychiatric illnesses: Patients who struggle with diseases like cancer, diabetes, or Addison’s disease sometimes grapple with depression as a result. A nutritional deficiency can also cause a rather low mood.
- Medical treatments or drugs: Certain prescribed medications can lead to depressive symptoms. The use of sleeping pills is correlated to the rise of such symptoms. Prescription drugs for ailments such as high blood pressure are also likely causes.
- Hepatitis C: Patients who undergo interferon therapy are at risk of developing major depressive disorder.
- The weather: Lack of sunlight exposure can cause you to feel a little gray over an extended period of time. This is why some people struggle with depressive symptoms during the winter when the daylight supply is insufficient.
- Substance abuse: Individuals who consume drugs, alcohol, and/or nicotine are at higher risk of developing major depressive disorder.
- Diet: Certain foods can exacerbate depressive symptoms. This will be discussed further in the Nutrition section of this book.
Symptoms of Depression
In order to find out if you or a loved one is suffering from major depressive disorder, here are specific symptoms to look out for:
- Extreme changes in appetite: Suddenly feeling ravenous or exhibiting very little appetite are both possible symptoms of major depressive disorder.
- Excessive weight loss or gain: In line with the previous symptom, individuals suffering from depression tend to either gain or lose weight in a short period of time.
- Abnormal sleeping patterns: These include insomnia, waking up during the night for no apparent reason, or even hypersomnia (oversleeping).
- Lack of interest: Depressed people often feel as though they no longer enjoy the everyday activities that used to bring them so much joy and happiness.
- Lower libido: The desire to engage in intimate relations is considerably lessened.
- Loss of energy: Feeling exhausted and drained all the time. Even small tasks such as placing clothes in the hamper or even getting out of bed may seem extremely demanding.
- Inability to concentrate: Difficulty in remembering things or focusing can also be a symptom of depression.
- Broken self-esteem: Depression is often accompanied by pronounced feelings of worthlessness that can destroy one’s self-esteem.
- Aches and pains: Major depressive disorder can cause increased occurrences of headaches, stomach pain, and back pain.
- Increased agitation or irritability: Constantly feeling on edge and becoming short-tempered are also symptoms.
These symptoms may seem overwhelming, and if you happen to be experiencing them, don’t worry. Depression is beatable, and the next few steps will show you exactly how to overcome this condition without using any prescription drugs.