Depression 101: Do I Have It?
Depression is a debilitating mental health disorder that affects 1 out of 10 Americans, according to a study by the center for disease control in 2012. Depression can be debilitating and interfere with functioning in their life. Depression is more than just feeling sad or blue once in awhile. Depression is a clinical disorder that has clearly defined criteria for a diagnosis. In order to have a diagnosis of depression, a person must meet several symptoms that have lasted over 2 weeks in the past year. The following are symptoms most commonly noticed in someone with major depression:
Do you have these symptoms?
The Causes of Depression
Depression can be caused by genetics, environment, psychological or environmental factors. Many times, it is a combination of several factors. Major depression can cause difficulty in relationships, employment, finances and even can cause issues with physical health, and depression can also act as a catalyst for the onset of other medical conditions such as arthritis, cancer, and diabetes to name a few. Alternatively, medical conditions can also bring on depressive symptoms. For example, when you are feeling physically weak, it impacts your emotional well being and energy levels - Each components of depression. If you are in chronic pain, it would make sense that you would feel depressive symptoms such as lack of motivation, difficulty sleeping, and invasive thoughts.
Common Medical Complaints of The Depressed
Migraines or Headaches. One of the most common physical complaints of depression is headaches. Those with a history of migraines can have an increase in frequency, duration, or magnitude of pain when accompanied by depression.
Aches and Pains in muscles, joints or back. Stress and depression can cause aches and pains in the body. In addition, depression can increase existing pain symptoms such as arthritis, and the most common complaints are pain in shoulders, neck and upper and lower back.
Chest pressure or pain. During depression, panic attacks may increase, which can cause pressure and tightness in the chest. Stress relating to depression can cause pressure in the chest or increased sensations as if having a heart attack.
Stomach and gastrointestinal problems. Increase in feelings of nausea, diarrhea, or constipation are common complaints. In addition, there may be a change in appetite such as eating more or less of an appetite.
Lack of Energy. Regardless of how much sleep, depression is linked with a feeling of being exhausted. This lack of energy might make it difficult to complete tasks, or even get out of bed in the morning. This lack of energy may lead to failure to complete tasks at home or work. Even small things like making a meal or running an errand become a challenge.
Change in sleep patterns. There are noted changes in sleeping. There may be issues falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up too late or too early.
Having depression can impact all areas of a person’s life. A person can have issues with their relationships, employment, finances and health. Functioning day to day can be a challenge. If you or a loved one is demonstrating depressive symptoms, there is help. The current preferred method of treatment is a combination of psychotherapy and psychotropic medication. Medication can help to manage the physical response to depression, while counseling can help the person to process issues behind depression and to learn new skills to manage depressive symptoms. There are many private practices, health clinics and even professional help online and in most major cities. Also, low or zero-cost support groups are usually offered at hospitals or churches.
- Kim B.
An Estimated 1 in 10 U.S. Adults Report Depression. (2011, March 31). Retrieved February 4, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsdepression/
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