Depression can be overwhelming and it can be an extremely daunting task for a depressed person to discuss their feelings with friends, family, or their doctor. This can often lead to the position where the sufferer, although feeling isolated and alone, often resists seeking help. It is an illness that can affect anyone and should not be perceived as a sign of weakness. It is, therefore, extremely important that any sufferer of depression is encouraged, by family and friends, to seek treatment.
Depression manifests as feelings of sadness, pessimism, hopelessness and general lack of interest in life. Almost everyone has times of feeling down but these feelings usually pass quickly. However, in some cases, these feelings are more severe and persistent. If depression occurs without any apparent cause, persists and deepens, then this may be a symptom of an underlying psychiatric illness.
Depression may be the result when the body is exposed to constant stress that the sufferer may find overwhelming. There are many stressors that can cause depression such as allergies to environmental factors, nutritional deficiencies or excesses, work related stress, etc.
Who Is Affected by Depression?
Depression is the most prevalent psychiatric illness with between 10 and 15 percent of people having an episode at some time in their lives (usually in the milder form). Depression is more common in women, affecting about one in six as opposed to one in nine men. There may be a predisposition towards depressive disorders, although it is unclear to what extent genetic factors play a role.
What Are the Symptoms of Depression?
A person may be suffering from clinical depression if they experience a low mood continually for more than two weeks.
Symptoms vary with the severity of the illness.
In mild depression the main symptoms are: –
- Variable mood.
- Crying, for no apparent reason.
In more severe depression: –
- Loss of appetite.
- Hypersomnia (sleeping all the time).
- Loss of interest in life.
- Loss of concentration.
- Low self-esteem.
- Extreme agitation.
- Contemplation of suicide.