It is not unusual for a person to have feelings of sadness from time to time. These feelings of sadness could be a normal reaction when experiencing low self-esteem, a loss of a loved one, a life struggle of some kind. Depressive feelings run much deeper than that and are more intense feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or helplessness that interfere with a person’s quality of life. That is when the question, “What is Depression,” deserves a closer look.
What is Depression? Signs and Symptoms
- Feeling like they are in a depressed state most of the day, especially when they wake up in the morning.
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness overwhelm them nearly every day.
- The person has difficulty concentrating or making solid decisions on a day-to-day basis.
- They have become an insomniac when, on previous occasions, they did not have difficulty sleeping.
- They want to sleep all the time (hypersomnia) when, in the past, they had difficulty with sleeping.
- The person does not express any interest in activities or hobbies that they used to take pleasure in, or they just want to stay home all the time now.
- They have recurring thoughts of suicide or a fear of death, whereas those thoughts of types of conversations were never present in the past.
What is Depression? When Warning Bells Should Go Off:
If you believe your loved one is experiencing depression, there are some things to consider first. One of the key signs is that they are no longer expressing interest in participating in activities and are starting to retreat away from people. This is of particular concern for people who were previously out-going and were the “life of the party” before. If they have all of a sudden become a “shut in” and are no longer showing interest in hobbies or things like personal hygiene, then something deeper could be going on.
Another sign that something is going on is that the signs and symptoms have been consistent for a period of two weeks or longer. This is easier to determine if you are living with the person in question. If you are not living with the person you are concerned about, this becomes a bit more challenging to determine. It is never a good idea to assume someone is going through something when he or she may be experiencing a personal issue that is not depression. That could cause them to retreat further into themselves and cause problems that were not there to begin with.
What is Depression? Is Your Teen Depressed?
Teens will commonly experience feelings of unhappiness throughout their emotional development. However, this should not last for more than two weeks at a time. If you notice your teen experiencing these feelings for longer than that amount of time, they could be experiencing what is referred to as adolescent depression. Because this is such a common issue with teens, their pediatrician or your primary care physician should be able to offer ways to help them cope. If the problem is severe, then there are treatment options. However, many doctors will suggest using a therapist to help teens move beyond this phase of development so they can learn how to cope with these issues when they grow into adulthood.
What is Depression? Does Depression Cause Pain?
The brain has a way of triggering physical symptoms that coincide with depressed symptoms because mood and pain are very close to each other when it comes to how neurotransmitters are fired. Therefore, those who are experiencing depression commonly feel appetite issues, back pain, gastrointestinal issues, joint pain, sleep problems, and other pain problems. Some people with depression have also reported that they move slower, and that their speech is also impaired. When people with depression visit their primary care physicians for treatments for these issues, they are also treated for clinical depression.
Where Can Depression be Treated?
The first place you should visit is your primary health care provider and receive a head to toe physical, including blood work. That way, you are ruling out all medical issues that could be causing depressive symptoms. Your physician will also rule out if medications or any addictive substances could be the cause of your depressive symptoms. Once you have completed this step, your physician will provide you with a referral to a treatment specialist for the depression symptoms you are feeling. Once you receive this referral, it is up to you to make the appointment and take the final step toward treatment for depression and answering the underlying question, “what is depression.”