- Mental Health
Depressed People: Facts about Depression
Facts about Depression:
Over 300 million people throughout the world suffer from depression annually. That is a staggering figure. Depression isn’t just a temporary feeling of sadness caused by a circumstance. It can be a life threatening illness that leads to suicide if untreated.
While many of us suffer from periods of melancholy, a person who is clinically depressed may not be able to function in several areas of his life. Work suffers, there is a loss of interest in activities, appetite may diminish and the person may experience vague, somatic conditions. There may be difficulty falling asleep, or perhaps sleep extended periods of time.
There are varying degrees of depression, which is why it is important, if you suspect that you have a depressed mood; or if there is someone close to you experiencing these symptoms, that you seek professional help. A psychiatrist or trained mental health professional would be able to make a clear diagnosis.
How someone suffering from depression may view their world
Types of Depression
With Major Depressive Disorder, a person will experience anhedonia, insomnia, loss of appetite, hopelessness, helplessness, and may not feel that life is worth living. It may seem a chore to get out of bed, due to a low energy and chronic sadness. People who have been diagnosed with MDD may need to start on an anti-depressant medication as a way to elevate the mood.
Dysthymic Disorder is close to the Major Depressive Disorder; however, it is best described as an ongoing melancholy. Someone suffering from Dysthymic Disorder will feel a weight on her shoulders, negativity and a lack of joy in her life. If there was a color for their world it would be gray.
Manic – Depressive Disorder is an illness that is characterized by the highs, (mania), and lows, (depression), that a person experiences. The cycling of this disease can cause great dysfunction and chaos for all who are involved with someone in a manic state. Often, when someone suffering from the upswing of a Manic-Depressive Disorder is stabilized there is a sense of ‘flattening’ of the emotions. What is ‘normal’ for most people seem mundane to a person who has been euphoric. There is great risk for people with a manic-depressive Disorder to slide off of the medications that stabilize them because there is such energy while ‘high’, in comparison to the low.
When someone who is manic-depressive goes to the other side of the spectrum, it is a dangerous place emotionally and they are at great risk of suicide. The darkness seems overwhelming and endless. Hopelessness can seem to last forever and the lack of energy is in stark comparison to when he is experiencing mania.
Preventing a Suicide Attempt
It is important, as a support person, not to minimize what the person is experiencing. Encourage the person to take medications as prescribed, and to see their Doctor regularly. What may seem like a simple disappointment in the average person’s life may be a ‘big deal’ to someone who is suffering from depression.
If the person you know is talking about suicide, ending her life, not wanting to live, giving up, etc. take her seriously. Inpatient hospitalization may be what is required. Being a friend doesn’t mean going along with what the other person wants you to do, necessarily. Sometimes, it means taking action-you just might save a life.
If the person does not say anything overtly about suicide, watch for signs that indicate that he may be planning to end his life, such as: giving away possessions; making burial arrangements, or looking at funeral items on the internet, etc. Increasingly isolated is another indicator of a possible suicidal plan, especially if it is followed by a sudden burst of energy, calmness, or cheerfulness. It may indicate that his plan is in place and he is moving toward a final act.
Don’t be embarrassed to act on the overly cautious side with someone who you may suspect is having suicidal thoughts. Again, you may save a life. It is our nature to go into survival mode, so most people who have the idea that killing themselves is the right thing to do, usually do not want to die and are attempting to reach out for help.
If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from depression please seek help for an evaluation. There are many things that may aid in lifting your mood along with medications. However, sometimes a depression is so severe that it is almost impossible to pull oneself out of this misery without a jump start from medications.
If you suspect that a friend or family member is in need of immediate help call your local crisis line for support. If there is no crisis help line, and there is an imminent danger, call 911 for assistance.
For those who suffer from mental illness the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) is a national support group in the United States. You can call your regional branch to receive information for meetings.
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