Everyone gets a little upset when things don’t go as they wished. It’s common for people to have this kind of reaction to the disappointments, losses and separations that happen in everyday life. However, there is a difference with sadness and depression. Depression is a major illness that prevents one from partaking in activities that are usually enjoyable. It interferes with their daily life and can be extremely hard to recognize since it has many faces.
Who Gets Depressed?
Depression can hit anyone at anytime as a result of a life stress or a medical illness. About 15 million Americans suffer from it every year. Over the course of a lifetime, one in seven will have at least one bout of depression. It’s a complex disorder that can stem from many different factors. It could be genes, imbalances in the chemicals that brain cells use to communicate with each other, hormones, or simply life experiences. Depression can occur at any age and it isÂ twice as common in women as men.
Symptoms of Major Depression
Those with depression tend to not only feel sad and hopeless, but anxious or irritable as well. Physical symptoms are common , including problems with sleep, appetite, and bowel function. Aches and pains are typical, as is weight loss. But if physical symptoms are severe or if the mental changes are atypical, then depression can be harder to diagnose.
The following is a guideline that lake mary doctors use to diagnose depression:
At least one of these two symptoms should be present, for at least 2 weeks:
- Depressed mood.
- Severely diminished interest in, or pleasure from, activities that are usually enjoyable.
In addition, at least four of these seven symptoms should be present, again for at least 2 weeks:
- Substantial change in appetite, weight loss, or (less commonly) weight gain amounting to about 5% of body weight in 1 month.
- Insomnia or (less commonly) excessive sleep.
- Fatigue or loss of energy.
- Diminished physical activity or, in contrast, agitation.
- Impaired ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions.
- Diminished self-esteem with feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt.
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
If you have some of these symptoms from above, ask your central florida physician about treatment.
Other Types of Depression
Dysthymia is a type of depression that lasts for at least 2 years. It’s less severe than major depression and many people mistake it for a gloomy personality. It’s common for dysthymia to turn into major depression since many don’t get treatment.
People usually have reactive depression when there is a major life stress or loss. They are preoccupied with the stressful event, and often find it impossible to think of anything else. They often feel hopeless, worthless, and helpless like those with major depression. These symptoms are much less severe than major depression and generally subside within 6 months as the situation resolves and the individual develops better coping strategies.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD).
About 10% of all depressive illnesses occur in a seasonal pattern, usually beginning in the fall and resolving in the spring. Sadness and fatigue are two major symptoms, but SAD is usually accompanied by overeating, weight gain, and excessive sleeping. This type of depression is more common in the north and has been attributed to a lack of daylight.
New mothers may develop symptoms of major depression within 1 month of delivery. This may be due to changing hormone levels. Therapy is important to protect both the mother and child.
Bipolar disorder (manic depressive illness) and psychotic depression.
These are major mental illnesses that require special treatment by experts.