Sunday, March 25, 2012

Do I have depression?



Depression impacts over 30 million adults. Depression can be caused by a serious event like abuse, or illness, but it also can come on for no apparent reason or a chemical imbalance.  Depression often causes people to withdrawal and isolate. Some times this looks like someone hiding in their room for days, not getting up to take care of themselves, or other times it is more hidden, and  people keep it as an internal battle. This is different than just feeling sad temporarily. 

www.aakp.org  has a great list of symptoms for depression:

1.       Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
a.       “No matter how hard I try, I just don’t feel happy or satisfied.”
2.       Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
a.       “What’s the point? I will never feel any better and this is all just waste of time.”
3.       Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
a.        “I have nothing to offer anyone anymore. I’m so useless.”
4.       Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
a.        “No, I think I will stay home because I don’t really care about playing cards anymore anyway.”
5.       A decrease in normal energy levels or feelings of constant fatigue
a.       “I just can’t get going.” or “I have no energy to even talk right now.”
6.       Trouble concentrating or making decisions
a.       “I sit here and try to read and I get stuck on the same paragraph over and over.”
7.       Unexplained restlessness or irritability
a.       “I feel so crabby all the time.  The littlest things upset me.”
8.       Difficulty with sleep, such as an inability to get to sleep, stay asleep or excessive sleep
a.       “I can get to sleep alright, but I wake up every night around 2:00 and I can’t fall back to sleep.”
9.       Changes in appetite evidenced by weight loss or weight gain
a.       “I look at food and it just turns me off.” or “When I feel this way I think eating will make me happier.”
10.   Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide, or attempts to commit suicide (If your loved one ever makes a remark about harming himself, take it seriously and contact your doctor immediately.)
a.       “You know a lot of people would be better off if I were just gone.”
11.   Persistent physical symptoms, such as backaches, headaches or stomach problems that do not respond to conventional medical treatment
a.        “I know the doctor says I am fine, but I just ache all over.”

If you think you have depression it is important you seek help. Depression can be debilitating and seriously impact your work and home life. Counseling has shown to decrease depression by 85%. This means your situation can improve if you are willing to pursue help!

For tips on how to help a love one with depression go to: http://www.webmd.com/depression/recognizing-depression-symptoms/helping-depressed-person.

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