Depression is considered as a very serious mood disorder. Some of my best friends suffer from this disorder and, let me tell you, it’s no joke. That said, it also made me realize how uninformed people are when it comes to interacting with people suffering from depression. It’s important to take note that before you help a person suffering from this disorder, you need to know what it is and how to really help.
What is Depression
According to the dictionary, the term depression means “feelings of severe despondency and dejection.”. Basically, it may be described as feelings of anger, loss or sadness and interferes with their everyday activities.
Depression affect people in different ways, which can interfere with their daily work, and result in lower productivity and lost time. As a result depression can influence your love life and some chronic health conditions.
Conditions that can get worse when depressed include:
- Cardiovascular Disease
The important thing to realize is that everyone feels down at some point, and it is a normal part of life. Its also worth noting that events that are upsetting and sad happen to everyone. However, if you, or someone you know, seems to feel hopeless or miserable on a regular basis, it could be signs of depression.
Depression can get worse if a person goes without proper treatment. In other words, depression can be considered as a very serious medical condition. Those who seek treatment often see improvements in just a few weeks.
What are the symptoms?
Depression is more than feeling gloomy, being in a state of sadness or feeling down.
When it comes to major depression, a variety of symptoms can surface. Some might affect your body others affect your mood. And what makes it worse? It comes and goes! Remember that depression affects children, men and women differently.
Symptoms in men may include:
- Mood: Anxiousness, anger, irritability, aggressiveness
- Emotional: Feeling unhappy, hopeless and gloomy
- Behavioral (most common): get tired easily, no pleasure in favorite activities, suicidal thoughts, drinking excessively, using drugs, loss of interest
- Sexual: lack of sexual performance and reduced libido
- Cognitive: Struggle to concentrate and have difficulty completing tasks, delayed responses during a conversation
- Sleep: restless night, insomnia, excessive sleepiness
- Physical: headaches, pains, fatigue, digestive problems
Symptoms in women may include:
- Mood: irritability or frustration
- Emotional: anxious, hopeless, sad and empty
- Behavioural (most common): suicidal thoughts, loss of interest in favourite activities, withdraw form social engagements
- Cognitive: Talking or thinking more slowly
- Sleep: restless nights, waking up early, sleeping too much
- Physical: no energy, changes in weight and appetite, increased cramps, headaches, pain
Symptoms in children may include:
- Mood: mood swings, crying, irritability, anger
- Emotional: intense sadness, feeling worthless or incompetent (e.g. “can’t do anything right”), despair, crying
- Behavioral: avoiding friends or siblings, suicidal thoughts, skipping school, getting into trouble at school
- Cognitive: changes in grades, struggling to concentrate, decline in school performance
- Sleep: sleeping to much or struggling to sleep
- Physical: no energy, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain, digestive problems
Never ignore the symptoms of depression. If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek medical help or talk to a friend if your mood doesn’t improve or if your mood gets worse. It’s no joke; It is a serious mental illness with risks of complications. In other words, if it is a friend, family member or someone you know, it’s important to understand if it is just a bad day or that they might be dealing with depression.
If they are dealing with depression, there are a few things to consider.
How to help a person dealing with depression:
- Never tell them that everything is going to be okay.
- Don’t tell them to get over it or invalidate their emotions
- Do offer silent support and a sympathetic ear
The life of a person suffering from depression can be very difficult but getting the right treatment and support can help improve their quality of life. There are different forms of treatment that can help successfully manage the symptoms. Some may find that combining treatments may work out better. Remember that it is common to combine lifestyle therapies and medical treatments.