Today we are releasing our newest course entitled, Depression: Lifting the Veil. Depression goes much deeper than just occasional feelings of sadness. We all go through ups and downs in our mood and sadness is a normal reaction to life’s struggles, setbacks and disappointments. We hear people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but clinical depression is a serious illness that disrupts every aspect of a person’s day-to-day life. It interferes with work, study, eating habits, sleeping patterns and social life. Physical health can start to deteriorate. Depression sufferers can experience the intense waves of sadness for weeks, months, and years at a time. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, and the person gets very little to no relief.
“A Black Hole of Despair”
Individuals who suffer from clinical depression often describe it as living in a “black hole of despair” where they face overwhelming feelings of impending doom. Other people who are depressed don’t feel sad at all—they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic. Men in particular report feeling angry, aggressive, or restless. A person in the midst of a major depressive episode may experience a number of these emotions and without help they’ll often worry that there’s no light for them at the end of the tunnel. Clinical depression can take several different forms. The first step in helping someone to find the best treatment approach for their illness is determining what type of depression they have.
Do You or Someone You Know Suffer From Depression?
How do you know you have depression? According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association a diagnosis of major depression is made when the sufferer has five or more of the following symptoms over a two-week period. Symptoms can be based on the feelings the individual suffering from depression has or can be based on observations made by someoneelse. The following are the typical symptoms of major depression:
- Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day, such as feeling sad, empty or tearful.
- Diminished interest or feeling, having no pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day.
- Significant weight loss when not dieting, weight gain, decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.
- Insomnia or increased desire to sleep nearly every day.
- Either restlessness or slowed behavior that can be observed by others.
- Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day.
- Feelings of worthlessness, or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day.
- Trouble making decisions, or trouble thinking or concentrating nearly every day.
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or a suicide attempt.
Winning the Battle
If left untreated depression can be life-threatening, but with a careful balance of medication, counseling, lifestyle, diet modifications and social support, people are winning the battle. There will still be depressed days, but in time, the person will learn the coping skills necessary to regain their ability to function and enjoy life.