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Depression: Who Does It Hurt?

Updated on March 2, 2014

What Is Depression?

According to the Webster dictionary, one definition is “an unwarranted and prolonged condition of emotional dejection”.

People who are depressed often feel like the joy has gone from their lives, and there is no way to get it back. It is not “all in your head”, as chemical imbalances in the body are often major contributors to the psychological and mental fatigue a depressed person experiences.

Who can get it?

Although it can occur at any age, the symptoms do vary slightly in the different age groups. The symptoms can range from an overall feeling of sadness to thoughts of suicide. It can change sleeping/eating habits and interaction with family and friends.

Depression also isn’t fussy about who it chooses as its next victim. It can occur in anyone from children to the elderly, although the symptoms may range.

Age groups and symptoms

Children

  • refusing favourite foods or loss of appetite
  • unsettled sleep
  • change in behaviour and grades at school
  • change in overall behaviour, such as withdrawing, sulking or becoming aggressive

Adolescents

  • alcohol and drug abuse (more significant use than just “experimenting”)
  • change in grades, attendance and behaviour at school - when a good student suddenly starts declining there is cause for concern
  • spending less time with friends and family
  • spending more time alone in their bedroom than before
  • arguing/conflict with parents when there had always been a good relationship
  • problems with the law
  • anti-social behaviour

Adults

  • feeling sad for extended periods
  • significant decrease in pursuing enjoyable activities, such as hobbies, time with friends or sexual activity
  • change in appetite - an increase or decrease in eating, resulting in significant weight gain/loss
  • change in appearance or letting oneself go, so to speak
  • disturbed sleep - not being able to fall asleep/stay asleep or sleeping more than usual
  • being tired or having very low energy - not being able to get through the basic tasks of the day
  • feelings of guilt, helplessness and low self-esteem
  • decision making abilities are affected
  • thoughts of death or suicide

Older Adults

  • loss of spouse or friend
  • declining health
  • reactions to drugs prescribed for other physical ailments
  • isolating self from others

Not all of the symptoms will occur in each age group; or sometimes they will overlap.

What do you think?

Have you or someone close to you sufferred from depression?

See results

Are you or someone you love depressed?

Depression affects people of all ages and walks of life.

I invite you to answer the poll to the right so I can have a better understanding of how widespread this illness is. Don't worry; I only get answers - I do not have access to who participated in the poll or who provided which answers.

Who Does It Hurt?

With all of the information I have provided, it is plain to see the depressed person is most affected. Don't think it stops there though; everyone they come in contact with is affected on one level or another.

  • parents (hardest when it is your child)
  • grandparents
  • other family members
  • friends
  • co-workers
  • hospital staff (when a person is brought in because they attempted suicide - it's worse if they succeeded)

A note to anyone considering suicide:

Your actions affect more than just you. Although you may feel that no one cares, trust me...they do. I spent 6 hours in the ER with my daughter after she had a breakdown and threatened to end her life. It was all her brother could do to get the knife away from her, and keep her safe until I got there (an hour drive for me) to take her to the ER where she could be assessed.

Many people were affected that night, and since then. If you feel like being dead is better, please call someone and tell them your intentions. They will get you the help you need. Don't hurt the ones you love by taking your own life. They will have to live the rest of theirs wondering why. And last but not least, contrary to what you may believe at this point in time, they love you and will miss you.

Why do people get depressed?

Depression doesn’t have only one cause. More often than not, the contributing factors are many. It is difficult for many to understand how a young person, who has so much going for them in life, could be battling depression. (I know I am still trying to figure it out.)

Contributing factors

  • low self-esteem

  • family problems

  • unstable parental relationships

  • stress at school

  • being bullied

  • troubled relationships with peers

  • heredity

  • physiology

  • early experiences

  • life events

  • medical conditions

  • childbirth

  • alcohol or drug abuse

The Truth About Depression

Depression Truths

Watch the video to the right and learn as much as you can about depression. My personal advice is to take the comments below it with a grain of salt, as many are just plain rude (most likely from people who don't understand it).

Treatment Options

The depressed person is not alone, no matter how alone they feel. Finding a treatment plan that works is crucial to a normal, healthy life.

Step One is to be properly diagnosed. Once the diagnosis is made, there are medications that can be taken to elevate or level out mood. Increasing healthy foods and working an exercise program into your routine will help with any side-effects the medications occasionally have (one of which is weight gain, which is a stress factor for many).

Step Two is to faithfully follow the doctor's orders. It is best to be seen and treated by a psychiatrist, as they are trained in the field. They will most likely need to make medication adjustments, so work with them to find the best one for you.

Step Three is to also make regular visits to a psychologist or counselor - they will help work out problems, as well as provide the tools so you can help yourself when you get in a funk.

Step Four is probably the most crucial. Let family and close friends know what is going on so you have the support you need (whether you are the patient or a family member). By having emotional support, the depressed person will gradually realize they have a lot going for them and think less and less about self-harm or suicide.

What happens when left untreated?

In many cases, it is often undetected for years. Depressed people often do not know how to deal with their emotions and feelings, so do not seek professional help. They often feel it is their own fault for feeling the way they do, which can result in some very unfortunate consequences. The sad part is a severely depressed person will often attempt (and many succeed) suicide, leaving family and friends in shock and bewilderment.

When it comes to depression, knowledge is power. If you or someone close to you suffers from depression, I urge you to get the help you (they) need. It is indeed a very scary time when several hours are spent in the ER because a family member has indicated suicidal tendencies.

I am happy to say our situation ended on a positive note, but many are not so fortunate. We still have a long way to go, and I worry every waking moment that things will go sideways once again. Medication is appearing to be helping, but that doesn't lessen the worry any.

Wrapping It Up - For Now

Depression is a life threatening illness. Do not take it lightly.

Seek the help that is needed, even if it means having an ER security guard place the patient under hospital arrest (don't worry, this does not give them a criminal record or court time).

Recognize the symptoms from the list above, and don't be afraid to take charge of your (or family member's) well-being.

Mental illness is very real, but it is usually treatable with a combination of medications, counseling and proper diet and exercise.

Comments

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    • brsmom68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Ziomek 

      4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thank you travmaj for reading and commenting. It is difficult for many to understand as the illness does not appear externally. I have found those with broken bones get more caring responses from others (including family and friends) than those who have chronic pain or illnesses that affect the inside of the body. Too many people are of the mind "if it isn't seen, then it doesn't exist".

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 

      4 years ago from australia

      Depression is so difficult to understand or come to terms with. And yet it is so real and cannot be taken lightly, ever. It's a difficult task understanding anyone suffering from internal turmoil. We just know we should always be there for them. Your hub conveys so much in understanding this insidious disorder.

    • brsmom68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Ziomek 

      4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      teaches12345 - Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I also hope it helps someone - writing this Hub has helped me understand more, and it is so important for family and friends to support them, not pretend it isn't a problem.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      I do know people who suffer from depression. It is not simple to overcome when one experiences the emotional turmoil. Your advice is wonderful and I hope it helps someone to understand what it takes to increase their balance in life.

    • mailxpress profile image

      Michelle Cesare 

      4 years ago from New York

      I'm lucky but I truly believe that there are people who can pull themselves out of a depression without the help of medication. I've always felt doctors relied on prescriptions to fix a chemical imbalance to quickly. Times are changing and even on the news in the area I live there are segments speaking about more strict guidelines to follow before any doctor can just write a prescription. I also feel with people being more aware of what they eat and drink can help disorders not be so severe.

    • brsmom68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Ziomek 

      4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      mailxpress - It is great that you were able to pull yourself out on your own. Sometimes people need the help of medication, especially when it is their body that is lacking in certain chemicals.

    • mailxpress profile image

      Michelle Cesare 

      4 years ago from New York

      I believe that everyone at some point goes through a depressed time. When I was in my late teens to early twenties I went through a depressed time (did not let on how depressed I was) but then finally realized I needed to get certain people out of my life in order to get past it so I did. I believe I'm so happy and content now because I got through it on my own and did it without medications. I feel stages of depression and happiness are just a par for the course of life.

    • brsmom68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Ziomek 

      4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      nybride710 - I have known a few people over the years that seemed like they were happy, only to find out they committed suicide. Mental illness is not something to take lightly.

    • nybride710 profile image

      Lisa Kroulik 

      4 years ago from Minnesota

      I suffered periodic severe bouts for about 20 years. My teenage daughter also went through it for awhile. I am so glad that I'm still here and I never acted on my irrational thoughts. I just lost a 42-year-old cousin to suicide a few days before Christmas.

    • brsmom68 profile imageAUTHOR

      Diane Ziomek 

      4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Thank you @raymondphilippe, @tsmog and @DDE for your comments and support. I have been on the fence about writing this for quite some time, as it is a very touchy subject. I am still trying to understand it myself, but by researching and writing I am gaining a better perspective. There is much to be learned.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Depression is growing each day with all ages and this is such a problem to deal with you have a clear view of depression. Informative, useful and helpful

    • tsmog profile image

      Tim Mitchell 

      4 years ago from Escondido, CA

      A very well written and informative article brsmom68. The information offers a moment of compassionate pause. Being with a diagnosis (dxd) of bipolar disorder I am very familiar with depression. I giggle saying "why naturally . . . after all it was once called Manic-Depression. With that said I believe sharing I could say you are pretty spot on with the advice and I offer a silent Hug to you and your daughter. Thank you for the article of information and sharing.

      tim

    • raymondphilippe profile image

      Raymond Philippe 

      4 years ago from The Netherlands

      Depression is indeed a very real disease. With implications that touch all involved. Seek help if you think you might suffer from it.

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