Feeling sad is a normal human emotion, especially after a tragic life event. However, if the unhappy feeling persists day after day, it could be a sign of depression. Depression is an episode of apathy or sadness in combination of other symptoms that lasts at least two consecutive weeks and that interrupts daily life. It is important to keep in mind that depression is not a sign of a negative personality or weakness.
There are three major symptoms of depression. The first symptom is a loss of interest in life and a sad mood. This is more than just feeling down for a day or two. People who suffer from depression lose interest in activities that they once enjoyed and can feel worthless, guilty, and have recurring thoughts of suicide or death. The second symptom is physical problems, such as insomnia, decreased energy, excessive sleep, and persistent aches or pains. The last symptom is changes in appetite which can lead to changes in weight. Some people who suffer from depression lose their appetite all together, where others have increased appetite.
Anyone can be at risk for developing depression, but people who have a family history of depression have a higher risk. Women are twice as likely to become depressed as men. While experts are not exactly sure what causes depression, it may have something to do with altered chemical function and brain structure. There are many triggers that can cause depression, such as medications and losing a loved one, but a person must be biologically prone to depression in order for it to be triggered.
There are many treatments available for depression. Along with medication, many people have also seen great results with physical exercise. Social support helps to fight the feeling of loneliness that is associated with depression. No matter if it is joining an exercise class or just spending more time with family, having a strong group can help to fight off the negative effects of depression. It’s likely to feel like there is no hope if you have lived with depression for a period of time, but research shows that through talk therapy, medication and lifestyle changes, your mood can considerably improve.
Contact Community Presbyterian Counseling Center in San Ramon, California for more information on depression and how to deal with the disease. A therapist may be able to help you create a step by step plan to reduce symptoms and look at the underlying reasons for why you are feeling depressed.