11-11-2010Many people suffer from seasonal Depression for the winter months. Depression afflicts anyone through out the year, at any time and does not discriminate!! It's agony affects all of the family members involved!! Get the facts about this disease by going to any of the online MD web sites or health facts.com............
What is Depression?
How Do I Get Help for Depression?
Most people have felt sad or depressed at times. Feeling depressed can be a normal reaction to loss, life's struggles, or an injured self-esteem.
But when feelings of intense sadness -- including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless -- last for days to weeks and keep you from functioning normally, your depression may be something more than sadness. It may very well be clinical depression -- a treatable medical condition.
What is depression?
According to the DSM-IV, a manual used to diagnose mental disorders, depression occurs when you have at least five of the following nine symptoms at the same time:
a depressed mood during most of the day, particularly in the morning
fatigue or loss of energy almost every day
feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day
impaired concentration, indecisiveness
insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day
markedly diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day
recurring thoughts of death or suicide (not just fearing death)
a sense of restlessness -- known as psychomotor agitation -- or being slowed down -- retardation
significant weight loss or gain (a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month)
How long do these signs have to be present before they are diagnosed as depression?
With major or clinical depression, one of the key signs is either depressed mood or loss of interest. For a diagnosis of depression, these signs should be present most of the day either daily or nearly daily for at least two weeks. In addition, the depressive symptoms need to cause clinically significant distress or impairment. They cannot be due to the direct effects of a substance, for example, a drug or medication. Nor can they be the result of a medical condition such as hypothyroidism. Finally, if the symptoms occur within two months of the loss of a loved one, they will not be diagnosed as depression.
What are some common feelings associated with depression?
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, people with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms. How severe they are, how frequent, and how long they last will vary. It depends on the individual and his or her particular illness. Here are common symptoms people with depression experience:
difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
fatigue and decreased energy
feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
insomnia, early morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
no pleasure left in life any more
overeating or appetite loss
persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
While these are common symptoms of depression, they may also occur in patterns. For example, a person may experience depression with mania or hypomania -- a condition sometimes called manic depression. Or the symptoms may be seasonal as in the case of seasonal affective disorder.
There are several types of manic depression. People with bipolar II disorder have at least one episode of major depression and at least one hypomanic -- mild elation or high -- episode. People with bipolar I disorder have a history of at least one manic -- extreme elation or high -- episode, with or without past major depressive episodes. A patient with unipolar depression has major depression only but does not have hypomania or mania.
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