What is Depression?
Definition of Depression
So we have all felt sad or even suicidal at time, but that is just part of being human. However, just like the adage goes: ‘too much of everything is bad’, similarly too much of sadness can also be debilitating for the individual. Happiness and sadness are antithetical notions that create a delicate balance in our world. So if being sad sometimes is okay, but when that sadness continues to go on for months then that is when the individual should realize that they have a problem and that problem is called ‘Depression’ and it is high time that they get the right treatment for it as well.
“My life is going nowhere…” “I am absolutely worthless…”
The aforementioned statements are certain thoughts that plague everyone and anyone at some point in their life and we have all felt depressed. However, if an individual has such set notions within their psyche then this mood state is called “Clinical Depression”. Clinical depression is also referred to as “Major Depression” and seems in a perpetual state of low mood.Photo Credit: http://womenshealth.taconeras.net/tag/depresion/
Besides worthlessness they suffer from a displaced guilt and due to their erroneous thought process they globalize a single negative trait, in other words apply one negative aspect to their entire life. For instance, if they are not good at basketball, they may perceive it as a general incapability of playing any sport or they may consider themselves a failure at everything. Clinical depression can be treated using cognitive therapies and the symptoms can also be alleviated using drugs. The most popular drug used to treat depression is Prozac, which is quite effective in getting the job done.
Since too much of everything is bad, too much of happiness can also have a detrimental impact on an individual’s well-being. The condition whereby the individual’s mood oscillates between extreme happiness and sadness is called Manic or Bipolar depression. The elated state is called mania, whereas the flip side of the mood is depression in psychological terms.Photo Credit: http://thebipolarized.com/tag/clinical-depression/
The symptoms occur in an episodic manner that is the individual suffers from episodes of mania and depression one after another and there are phases in between when the individual experiences normal emotions. Bipolar depression is one of the biggest psychological differentials for Major depression and even schizophrenia when the individual is going through their manic episode. Like major depression, bipolar depression can also be treated using medication but Prozac is not advisable since there are episodes of mania as well. Lithium is usually prescribed by clinicians to help stabilize the mood and even talk therapies have known to be effective in dealing with bipolar depression.
One of the most general symptoms of Depression is low mood and further characterized by general irritability and hopelessness. The individual does not feel like partaking in activities that were previously found pleasurable. The individual further experiences lack of sleep and loss of appetite, which consequently results in a marked drop in one’s weight. People suffering from depression experience displaced guilt and arbitrary infer the worst possible scenario.Photo Credit: http://brainblogger.com/2011/12/24/major-depression-in-the-real-world-the-stard-trial/
They also experience digestive problems and have suicidal ideation, which they may or may not act upon. Fatigue is another aspect of depression that needs to be taken into account, which can be explained due to their lack of sleep that causes them to become tired. After insomnia, they then suffer from Hypersomnia, where they sleep for abnormally long hours. Their reality testing and insight is intact, but they have erroneous thought processes and cognitions that exacerbate their condition and further add to their depression.
Clinicians need to be extra cautious when handing out the diagnosis of Major Depression, as a context is necessary to establish that the depression is in fact abnormal. Therefore, the clinician first needs to see how long the individual has been suffering from depression and what aspects of his or her life are triggering it. If an individual is mourning the loss of a loved one then the individual needs to take the necessary measures to manage their emotions and overcome the negativity that the loss of life has filled them with.Photo Credit: http://www.arab-eng.org/vb/t288345.html
However, if the individual has depressed for weeks because the neighbor’s dog died then not only the context but the emotional response needs professional help as soon as possible. Clinicians rely vastly on self-reports and personality assessments to analyze the person’s behavior. Mental health professionals need to see that the individual doesn’t suffer from bipolar depression or a hormonal imbalance. If all these differentials are ruled out only then can an individual be diagnosed as having depression.
While going through the symptoms of depression, it is very easy for an individual to make a self-diagnosis that they are depressed. No matter how many symptoms you may find that coincide with your life, it is highly likely that you are not suffering from major depression and like all human beings; it is indeed just a phase in one’s life where nothing works right, which ends as soon as it begins. Therefore, suffering from clinical depression is entirely different and often people remain in this mood state for months that not only hampers their health, but social life as well. It is a pervasive disorder , which requires professional attention as soon as the person or their loved one identify the fact that they have a problem.
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