Living With and Managing Depression
Depression is one of the most common types of mental illness. It is a disorder that affects a person’s moods and leads to the lingering feeling of hopelessness, sadness, and loss of interest. Depression is also known as major depressive disorder, and clinical depression affects the way a person feels, behaves, and thinks. It can disrupt a person’s daily life to the point where they are unable to function normally. In the most extreme cases, a person might feel worthless and even suicidal. However, there are many treatments for depression.
Unfortunately, depression is often widely misunderstood and is simply written off by people as “a case of the blues.” But this is not the case. Depression usually requires extensive treatment. Fortunately, there are many treatments for depression, and even patient centers that can help people feel better and live healthy lives.
With depression, symptoms may only appear once in a person’s lifetime. However, many people suffering from depression have recurrent bouts of symptoms. In this case, symptoms may occur only occasionally, or every day. Signs and symptoms of depression may include the following:
- Feelings of extreme sadness, hopelessness or emptiness
- Outbursts of anger, frustration, or irritability
- Loss of interest in things that the individual normally enjoys, including favorite hobbies
- Disturbances in sleep patterns, insomnia, or oversleeping
- Feelings of tiredness and fatigue
- Lack of appetite and weight loss, or overeating and weight gain
- Feelings of restlessness, agitation, or anxiety
- Slower thinking ability, speaking, or bodily movements
- Feelings of extreme guilt or worthlessness
- Difficulty concentrating, thinking, remembering, and making decisions
- Recurring thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, or attempts at suicide
- Physical aches and pains, such as headaches or backaches
Many people with depression find that their symptoms are severe enough that they adversely affect their everyday lives. Their work, school, and social life may be impacted, which has a negative effect on their relationships with other people. Additionally, many feel unhappy on a regular basis and may not even understand why they feel that way.
Depression can affect adults, teens, and even children. Symptoms in teens and children may be similar to those that adults experience, but with a few differences. Generally, in teens, symptoms can include sadness, anger, feelings of worthlessness, feelings of negativity, feelings of being misunderstood, extreme sensitivity, poor school attendance and performance, eating and sleeping too much or too little, loss of interest in activities, avoidance of social situations, and even drug or alcohol use.
In younger children, the symptoms of depression can include sadness, worry, clinginess, aches and pains, not wanting to attend school, and weight loss.
When to See a Doctor
If a person experiences any combination of depression symptoms, they should schedule an appointment with their doctor or a mental health professional as soon as possible. Individuals who are reluctant to see a doctor can find some help by speaking with a close friend or family member, or someone else they trust.
There are a variety of treatments for depression. It is also possible to look into patient centers. Depending on the individual, it may be necessary to stay in the hospital or take part in an outpatient treatment program. Treatment options include the following:
- Medications: Medications that may help treat depression include atypical antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, and other medications.
- Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy may help a person to better identify negative thoughts and behaviors and replace them with positive ones, learn how and why their symptoms worsen, learn ways to improve their relationships, and more.
- Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): ECT is a shock of electrical currents to the brain that are supposed to affect the neurotransmitters to alleviate depression. It is appropriate for individuals who can’t take antidepressants.
- Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): TMS is another option for individuals who find that antidepressants aren’t effective.
With the right treatment options, a person can better manage their depression and live a normal life.