Depression may be described as feeling sad, melancholy, dismal, unhappy, miserable, or down. Many individuals may feel periodic sadness during a distressing situation or transition. Clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration affect one’s life for a couple of weeks or longer. Anyone can develop depression, even kids. Clinical depression tends to manifest differently in children and adolescents than in adults.
The following factors may play a role in depression:
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Certain medical conditions, including underactive thyroid, cancer, or long-term pain
- Certain medications such as steroids
- Sleeping problems
- Stressful life events, such as:
- Breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend
- Failing a class
- Death or illness of someone close to you
- Childhood abuse or neglect
- Job loss
- Social isolation (common in the elderly)
Depression can change or distort the way people perceive themselves, their life, and those around them. People who have depression usually see everything with a more negative attitude and tend to be hopeless about their lives and their future. They cannot envision that any problem or situation can be solved in a positive way. As a result, some individuals with depression may feel that they wish their life would end.
Symptoms of depression can include:
- Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
- Becoming withdrawn or isolated
- Difficulty concentrating
- Dramatic change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and guilt
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Trouble sleeping or too much sleeping
Depression can appear as anger, irritation and discouragement, rather than feelings of sadness.
If depression is very severe, there may also be psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions.
Treatment for depression may include psychotherapy and/or medication. Either way, seek assistance from a professional psychologist immediately if you or someone you know may be suffering from depression. Hope is available.