One of the most common psychological problems affecting nearly everyone either through personal experience or through a family member is depression. In America over 17 million adults experience a period of clinical depression each year. This illness interferes with everyday normal functioning and often causes problems with work, social and family life. The pain it causes isn’t just suffered by the person with the disorder but also by their nearest and dearest. Not only can the life of the depressed person be destroyed so can the lives of those within the family.
Depression causes tremendous emotional pain and disrupts the lives of millions (directly and indirectly). It also has an impact on work productivity and absenteeism and has a negative impact on the economy, costing an estimated $44 billion each year.
Depression affects the social behavior and the sense of physical well being. It is a psychological condition that changes how a person thinks, feels and behaves. Everybody has felt sad at one time or another but that is not depression nor is the tiredness felt through working too hard or the feelings of discouragement felt when faced with serious problems. Once the stress has been adjusted to, these feelings usually pass within a few days or weeks. But these feelings could be depression if they linger, intensify and begin to interfere with work, school or family responsibilities.
Anyone can be affected by depression and once correctly identified, most people diagnosed with depression can be successfully treated. Unfortunately because many symptoms of depression mimic physical illness such as appetite and sleep disturbances depression is not always diagnosed.
For depression to be successfully treated it first has to be correctly diagnosed.
Almost two thirds of depressed people do not get proper treatment. There are many reasons for this one of which is the symptoms are just not recognized as signs of depression and therefore go un-noticed. Another reason is that because depressed people are often tired they are seen as weak or lazy. Social stigma is another reason that depression goes untreated. It is seen as a ‘mental’ health problem. And sometimes people are so disabled by the illness that they are unable to reach out for help. Sometimes symptoms are mis-diagnosed as physical problems and then other times the individual symptoms are treated rather than the under lying cause.
The fact that so many people either are mis-diagnosed or never seek medical help is really unfortunate as those that do get help and treatment almost 80% with depression make significant improvements in their mood and life adjustment.
There are several types of depression the most serious type being major depression. This is because of the number of symptoms and the severity of those symptoms.
Dysthymic disorder refers to a low level of depression that lasts for at least two years.
The depression caused in response to a major life stress or crisis is known as Adjustment Disorder with Depression.
Bipolar depression includes high and low mood swings and has a variety of other symptoms not present in other depressions.
Your Independent guide to Depression
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