Almost Nothing Sparks Your Interest
Depression commonly involves a decrease in your energy levels and a loss of pleasure in your favorite hobbies and other things you usually enjoy. As you work toward recovery, youll usually find your interest in these activities slowly begins to return, along with your energy.
With worsening depression, you might notice the opposite.
It may not just seem difficult to find the motivation for exercise, socializing, and other hobbies. Anhedonia, or difficulty experiencing joy and pleasure, is a core symptom of depression.
You might also have trouble mustering up enough energy to go to work or take care of basic responsibilities, like paying bills or preparing meals. Even necessary self-care, like showering and brushing your teeth, might feel beyond your current abilities.
Depression: Recognizing Unusual Symptoms
One reason depression can be hard to identify is that its signs can vary widely from person to person and sometimes be masked by atypical symptoms. For example, some people who are depressed may show it by acting disgruntled, resentful, or irritable. In fact, aggression including outright acts of violence can be indicative of hidden depression, according to a February 28, 2017, report in Psychiatric Times. Depression masquerading as anger may seem surprising at first, but not when you consider that several underlying factors, including alcohol or substance abuse and childhood trauma, have been linked to both.
Similarly, although its not clear why, a person who experiences anxiety is at high risk for developing depression, and vice versa. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that as many as 60 percent of people with anxiety will also have symptoms of depression the same goes for people with depression having symptoms of anxiety. Experts say there is often a genetic predisposition for these co-occurring disorders.
Depression may also manifest psychosomatically, meaning that instead of presenting first and foremost as a mood disorder, the dominant symptom may be things like vague aches, dizziness, headaches, digestive problems, or back pain, according to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Complicating matters is that its often hard to know whether depression is causing the physical symptoms, or if the physical symptoms are causing depression.
Seeking Help For Depression
Get help if you’re still feeling down or depressed after a couple of weeks.
Treatments for depression include psychological therapies and antidepressants.
You can refer yourself for psychological therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy or counselling on the NHS. You don’t need a referral from your GP.
You can talk it through with your GP first if you prefer. Your GP can also tell you about antidepressants.
If you start to feel that your life isn’t worth living or about harming yourself, get help straight away.
- contact Samaritans on 116 123 for 24-hour confidential, non-judgemental emotional support
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Your Soul Needed This Experience To Attain Higher Spirituality
Your soul is always seeking the next higher level of being, the next higher level of godliness and being close to the Supreme Being. All souls want to evolve. The most evolved souls teach others. These teachers seek out lessons and experiences in order to show others ways of coping and dealing with issues. You might be a teacher or an enlightened soul who is helping others by showing them paths through the darkness. Or it might be that in one lifetime your soul made a choice that you regretted in the afterlife. Now you can make a different choice when youre confronted with a similar situation, and by passing that test move up in your spiritual level.
How Can I Find Help
If you think you may have depression, start by making an appointment to see your doctor or health care provider. This could be your primary care practitioner or a health provider who specializes in diagnosing and treating mental health conditions. Visit the NIMH Find Help for Mental Illnesses if you are unsure of where to start.
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Which Types Of Talk Therapy Work Best For Depression
The Society of Clinical Psychology rates several types of psychotherapy as highly effective treatments for depression:
- Behavioral activation therapy The aim of this type of therapy is to reverse the downward spiral of depression by encouraging you to seek out experiences and activities that give you joy.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy CBT focuses on changing specific negative thought patterns so that you are able to better respond to challenging and stressful situations.
- Interpersonal therapy This very structured, time-limited form of therapy focuses on identifying and improving problematic personal relationships and circumstances directly related to your current depressive mood.
- Problem-solving therapy This therapy is a form CBT that teaches take-charge skills that help you solve the real-life problems and stressors, big and small, that contribute to depression.
- Self-management/self-control therapy This type of behavioral therapy trains you to lessen your negative reactions to events and reduce your self-punishing behaviors and thoughts.
How Is Postpartum Depression Treated
The common types of treatment for postpartum depression are:
- Therapy. During therapy, you talk to a therapist, psychologist, or social worker to learn strategies to change how depression makes you think, feel, and act.
Medicine. There are different types of medicines for postpartum depression. All of them must be prescribed by your doctor or nurse. The most common type is antidepressants. Antidepressants can help relieve symptoms of depression and some can be taken while you’re breastfeeding. Antidepressants may take several weeks to start working.
The Food and Drug Administration has also approved a medicine called brexanolone to treat postpartum depression in adult women.6 Brexanolone is given by a doctor or nurse through an IV for 2½ days . Because of the risk of side effects, this medicine can only be given in a clinic or office while you are under the care of a doctor or nurse. Brexanolone may not be safe to take while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Another type of medicine called esketamine can treat depression and is given as a nasal spray in a doctor’s office or clinic. Esketamine can hurt an unborn baby. You should not take esketamine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Electroconvulsive therapy . This can be used in extreme cases to treat postpartum depression.
These treatments can be used alone or together. Talk with your doctor or nurse about the benefits and risks of taking medicine to treat depression when you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
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Misconception: You Can Always Tell If Someones Depressed By Outward Appearances Or Actions
Reality: You cannot always tell that someone is depressed from how they look or act.
Many people with depression are so skilled at hiding their condition that you would never know from the outside.
I have heard people say something along the lines of, But you do not look depressed. Im not sure what exactly people think depression should look like, but depression can look a lot of different ways.
You can wish you no longer existed but look fine to the people around you. This is especially true for someone struggling with bipolar disorder, which includes high moods, called manic episodes, alternating with deep, severe depression.
Sadly, Ive had a friend and a teacher who suffered from bipolar disorder die from suicide. Both were very outgoing and fun to be around much of the time. I remember meeting so many people at their funerals who were stunned and confused. I heard comments like, Hes the last person I would ever have guessed would be suicidal, or, But he was always so happy.
You cannot assume someone is okay based on external appearances.
Find Something To Look Forward To
This is a technique I routinely use as an anti-blues vaccination. When Im down I search for something to put on the calendar that makes me happy and excited. Indeed, this 2007 study showed that people get an emotional lift when they contemplate a future fun event, versus looking back on a fabulous activity from the past. Book a trip, buy concert tickets, plan a partywhatever brings a flush to your cheeks and a rumble of joy to your belly.
My biggest mood turnarounds arise when I begin a project that can potentially create some good in the world and lead to fulfilling connections. For example, Ive volunteered as a mentor to underserved young women who want to write, sought publishing contracts to write a book, taught workshops, submitted a video to do a TedX talk . The point is: stop continually telling yourself nothing good will ever again happenyouve been there, seen that, done that.
The Upshot: Depression is a diagnosable and treatable condition. There’s no reason to suffer in silence or to guess whether or not what you’re feeling qualifies as depression. Your primary care physician can help direct you to someone who specializes in mental health. In the meantime, here’s a guide to the s and a quick assessment . You can also download one of these for more information.
*Names of patients are changed
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Who Is At Risk For Depression
Depression can affect anyone, no matter their age, gender or circumstances. About 16 million Americans experience depression each year.
Women may experience depression more often than men. And your genetics or other health conditions can increase the likelihood that youll have at least one depressive episode in your lifetime.
Signs And Symptoms: How To Identify Depression
If sadness alone isnt a good gauge of depression, what is? According to the American Psychiatric Associations current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , which is the diagnostic guide used by most mental health professionals, if youve experienced at least five of the following symptoms most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks, you may be diagnosed with major depressive disorder , also known as clinical depression.
- Constantly feel tearful, empty, or worthless?
- Have little interest or pleasure in your work, hobbies, friends, family, and other things you once enjoyed?
- Notice dramatic changes up or down in your appetite or your weight not related to dieting?
- Often feel listless or fatigued for no obvious reason?
- Have trouble concentrating or making decisions?
- Find yourself wringing your hands, pacing, or showing other signs of anxious restlessness or the opposite, moving or speaking more slowly than usual?
- Struggle with insomnia or sleep too much?
- Have recurrent thoughts of suicide or death?
To be diagnosed with MDD, one of your symptoms must be a persistent low mood or a loss of interest or pleasure, the DSM-5 states. Your symptoms must also not be due to substance abuse or a medical condition, such as thyroid problems, a brain tumor, or a nutritional deficiency.
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Helpful Things For Christians Walking Through Depression To Remember
Depression is misunderstood by many, and it often carries a stigma. Unless youve gone through depression, it is difficult to comprehend how terrible it is. Finding healing is not easy, and it takes time. No one has all the answers. But these are some helpful things to remember if you are a Christian walking through depression or if you know someone who is.
Try These Five Tips For Decreasing Depression
There isn’t a quick fix as in Boom, youre cured and will never again be beset by the blues. But, there are techniques that can help lift the emotional paralysis and ruminating that often accompany depression. Both of which make it much more difficult to focus on the behavioral changes that are necessary to prevent a relapse. Luckily, there are ways to punch holes in the curtain of unrelenting darkness.
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God Help Me With My Depression
You can turn to God when you are struggling with depression.
Its easy to blame the other guy when things go wrong, when life sucks, or the pain is unbearable. Suffering is never easy, but it isnt the fault of anyone else. If youre Christian, you end up wondering where God is when you need Him the most. The suffering you face is not punishment from the Lord.
Instead, depression can actually help increase your faith and spirituality and bring you closer to Godif you let it. It can be a difficult task, especially with the dark symptoms of depression, but if you trust in the Bible and the Lord you will grow as a person.
If you are feeling abandoned, turn to God and instead reach out to Him. He will open His heart to you, all you have to do is ask.
End The Stigma On Black Men Suffering From Depression
Black men suffer from depression, too. We just dont talk about it nearly as much as we should.
Black men take on the same battles that tens of millions of Americans wrestle with everyday. The only difference is that most of us suffer in silence.
Most of us have been told things such as Black people dont go to therapy or depression is for white people. Neither of these things is remotely truedepression doesnt discriminate. In fact, according to Mental Health America, approximately 7 million Black Americans are suffering from depression at this very moment.
Im one of them, and have been battling depression most of my life.
From an early age I knew there was something different about me. Whether it was the undiagnosed panic attacks that forced me to sit in my schools hallway with my head between my legs as a small child or the night terrors that made me terrified to fall asleep, I recognized that I was experiencing things that my friends werent.
Like many children struggling with an undiagnosed mental illness, I didnt know how to explain what I was feelingor that I couldnt control it. My teachers didnt appreciate my need to sit in the hallway until the sensory overload was over, so I was labeled problematic and repeatedly reprimanded in front of my classmates.
It was then that I first learned how lonely it can be to suffer in silence.
Once I got to college I realized that, no, I hadnt beaten depression.
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How To Tell If You Have Clinical Depression
Clinical depression affects people in different ways.
The symptoms of clinical depression can be complex and vary from person-to-person.
Generally, if you have clinical depression:
- you feel sad, hopeless and lose interest in things you used to enjoy
- you experience these symptoms for at least 2 weeks
- the symptoms are serious enough to interfere with work, social life or family
There are many other symptoms of clinical depression and you’re unlikely to have them all.
Symptoms Of Severe Depression
What are the symptoms of severe depression?
- Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
- Persistent thoughts of something bad happening
- Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
- In very severe cases, psychotic symptoms
- Inability to take care of oneself, such as eating, bathing, or fulfilling family or work responsibilities
Although you might feel that there’s no hope, talk to your doctor about treatment options. Even severe depression symptoms can be treated.
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What Is Treatment Resistant Depression And Is There Any Help For It
If youve tried at least two different antidepressants and your depression hasnt improved, you may be diagnosed with treatment resistant depression . TRD is a serious condition that has been highly associated with suicidal ideation and suicide attempts. Nearly 33 percent of people with TRD attempt suicide in their lifetime, more than double the rate of their treatment-responsive peers, according to a recent report in Psychiatry Advisor. It is not, however, a hopeless condition. A number of alternative treatment approaches are available, including:
Misconception: Depression Is Just An Excuse For Laziness Or Not Doing Your Christian Duty
Variation: You are letting God and your church down if you are too depressed to serve or minister.
Reality: God loves you however much you do to serve Him.
People who are depressed are already dealing with enough without also being shamed for not doing enough.
Churches often rally around people going through physical illness, bringing them meals and showing them grace. Sadly, mental illness is often met with judgment instead of compassion and support.
Not only is this unhelpful, its unbiblical. Depressed or not, your relationship with God is more important than doing or serving. We see this in Jesus interaction with two sisters named Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42 :
As Jesus and His disciples were on their way, He came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to Him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lords feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to Him and asked, Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!
Martha, Martha, the Lord answered, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.
People who are depressed are already dealing with enough without also being shamed for not doing enough.
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Life Events And Depression
Research suggests that continuing difficulties, such as long-term unemployment, living in an abusive or uncaring relationship, long-term isolation or loneliness or prolonged exposure to stress at work can increase the risk of depression.
Significant adverse life events, such as losing a job, going through a separation or divorce, or being diagnosed with a serious illness, may also trigger depression, particularly among people who are already at risk because of genetic, developmental or other personal factors.