What is Depression?

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Most people now understand that there is a difference between being a bit down for a few hours, which may happen to most of us fairly regularly, and suffering from depression.

True depression is when low mood and/or anxiety becomes prolonged and hard to overcome without treatment. the fact that some people feel that being depressed carries a stigma makes this difficult too

Why Do Some People get Depressed?

The short answer is that nobody knows.

Depression may occur in some people but not others in the same circumstances. Genetic pre-disposition and personality type may play a part.

Depression is definitely sometimes a response to prolonged periods of stress  or the loss of a person or job, especially when this causes anger

Sometimes there is no obvious cause for depression and sometimes there are many.

Depression can also take slightly different forms: see our page on Types of Depression for further information.

Who is Most at Risk?

The following factors are particularly, but not exclusively, associated with depression:-

  • Major life changes, even those that are expected or positive
  • Suffering abuse or experiencing conflict with loved ones
  • Having substance abuse issues
  • Being socially isolated for whatever reason
  • Having other chronic illnesses, especially chronic pain
  • A history of depression amongst relatives.

This is not to say that typical sufferers are ‘inadequate‘ in any way. Lots of high-fliers are vulnerable to depression, especially if they set very high standards for themselves and others and are very busy and thus prone to stress.

Symptoms of Depression

There is no test for depression. To Read more about symptoms visit What does Depression Feels like

Physically depression is associated with a decrease in serotonin levels in the brain, and in the long term an area of the brain called the hippocampus may be smaller, either as a cause or as a result of depression.

However, these changes cannot easily be seen in a living person.

The diagnosis of depression hence depends on behavioural symptoms.

What Can You Do to Help Yourself?

Firstly, make sure you can forgive yourself for being depressed.

Beliefs such as ‘Only mad people get depressed!‘ and ‘I shouldn’t be depressed when much worse things happen to other people‘ are inaccurate and unhelpful. It is up to you whether you want to tell everyone what is happening to you, but don’t feel ashamed.

Depression is exhausting and you may need time off work to recover, but your colleagues will cope and you won’t be of use to anyone until you feel better.

Depression often feels like a horrible black hole from which you will never escape and where time passes very slowly. It is tempting to think that this is reality and your previous happiness was just a delusion. Try to remind yourself that these terrible feelings are not ‘real’ but the result of a chemical imbalance and that they will pass.

It is very hard to motivate yourself to do anything when you are depressed and everything feels very difficult, rather like trying to wade through treacle.

If you can, try to stay in touch with your favourite people, even if it is just via a few short messages, as that will make you feel less alone.

Read more at: https://psychologicalguide.com/


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