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Depression – the facts

Depression symptoms, information and help to get better

There are many forms of depression, which can have a negative affect on moods and emotions, thinking patterns and how a person views life as a whole, physical fitness and energy levels, the ability to concentrate and/or sleep and interest in sex. At the lower end of the scale, it could describe a period of being in low spirits, which could impact the quality of things that people do, but wouldn’t affect the day to day activities that they carry out. At the other end of the scale, depression can affect a sufferer in a much more adverse way – stopping the normal functioning in life and sometimes the loss of life if the person gives up on life completely.

Symptoms of depression

Psychological symptoms:

• Depressed mood, which incorporates feeling low, sad, guilty or numb

• Increased anxiety and worry about things that may not have caused anxiety in the past

• A low self esteem

• Crying and sadness

• Persistent negative thoughts about themselves and life around them. This can be distracting and the lack of concentration it causes can affect their memory, which in turn makes them feel frustrated.

• Increased anger and feeling irritable, perhaps with an increased intolerance of others

• Confusion and inability to decide and be clear about goals

• Decreased enjoyment of activities or lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyed

• A reduced sex drive

• The inability to enjoy or take part in activities and confusion about life can lead to self criticism where they can believe that they are worthless, inadequate, bad, useless and disliked

• A sense of hopelessness can prevail in severe cases where there is a strong belief that there is no hope of being happy gain and no point in carrying on. They get into the rut of not feeling any desire to help themselves and this can lead to consideration or carrying out of their suicide. (suicidal thoughts and actions is also a symptom of borderline personality disorder)

• Psychosis (loss of reality, delusions, hallucinations, feeling of running on automatic) can occur if the stress and anxiety gets too much. (this is also a symptom of borderline personality disorder)

Physical symptoms:

• A loss of energy is common, with the person feeling tired very often

• Eating patterns can be affected, with the person either eating much more or less than usual

• IBS and constipation can occur, as the stress levels affect the gut and bowel.

• General fitness is reduced, and aches and pains are very common

• The menstrual cycle can be affected

• Lack of sleep – either difficulty getting to sleep or waking up very early – this will also affect the persons energy levels and can turn into insomnia

• Loss of interest in sex

Social symptoms:

• All these negative symptoms can affect a persons abilities and concentration at work

• Withdrawing from social activities and friends, due to irritability, lack of motivation and inability to concentrate.

• Not taking part in previous past times

• Difficulties in relationships with family, friends and work colleagues

What can affect the chances of getting depression?

• Possibly an underactive thyroid – those with an underactive thyroid have slower metabolic rates than others, which can cause lethargy, weight gain and depression

• Some recreational drugs can influence the chances of depression

• Physical illness, low fitness levels and poor diet can all promote depression

• Losing a parent when young

• Those who have a very low self esteem

• Single mothers who do not have much support

• Those with a repetitive cycle of negative life experiences (divorce, moving house or job, loss of earnings etc)

• Unemployment – when for a long period

• Those who live in Cities

• Abusive or neglectful childhoods

• Those who do not have a supportive network

• Unresolved mourning of the death or loss of someone close

• Major life changes such as changing jobs, divorce etc

• Loss of job or status

Depression forms a vicious circle – depression can lead to feeling more depressed that you are depressed and negative thoughts about oneself and the world can get out of control and the depressive symptoms can get more severe as time goes on, if the cycle is not stopped. Whatever caused the depression in the first place can get lost, as the depression reeks havoc on ones life.

Thought processes that can occur

Black and white thinking – everything is black or white, with no grey areas – good or bad with no in between or mix. If you fail an exam, you may think ‘I’m useless’ which is not true, you just failed one exam. Someone does something you don’t like and you think ‘He’s a horrible person’ when there is no proof of this.

Generalising – when something is wrong, one might think that EVERYTHING is wrong, when it is not the truth. A negative thought is carried over into many other areas and positive things can be thought of as negatives. Looking on the dark side of everything and jumping to conclusions.

Living by rules – Making unrealistic rules and expectations about our lives and how we should be can lead to disappointment, guilt and a feeling of failure.

Catastrophising – When an event occurs, we might see if for far more than it is – how bad or how awful. In this case, the prediction of failure or real disaster are over estimated

Some other types of depression are:

Bipolar Disorder (previously named manic depression)

This disorder is defined by a cyclical change of mood from mania (severe highs and excitability) and depression (low mood).

Psychotic depression

When depression is very severe, it can lead to delusions and possibly hallucinations (psychosis). Psychosis can also occur when someone has tried to dissociate from an upsetting event. Trying to forget about an event, but not dealing with it can make psychosis to occur.

Post natal depression

Depression which occurs between 2 weeks and up to a year after giving birth,

SAD (seasonal affective disorder)

Usually linked to the winter, this depression occurs with lack of sunlight. The person will wish to sleep more and eat more carbohydrates.

So far, you can see some of my mental health ‘beat the stigma’ campaign by using the drop down boxes on the top banner of this website or my articles down the left side.

And more information check out the rest of my site.

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