life has its highs and lows. But depending on life's circumstances
the really low points may suddenly reach the black depths of depression.
Symptoms of depression typically includes
feelings of chronic sadness, indecision, helplessness, or self-destructive thoughts. Depression can also express itself in physical symptoms -- such as increased fatigue, weight gain or loss, or sleep disturbances as the condition worsens.
Depression is most diagnosed
in women, but that may be because men are are more likely to mask their depression in feelings of anger or frustration (or spend endless hours in a "workaholic" frenzy to mask their feelings), thereby making the condition that much more difficult to diagnosis.
Since depression often goes unrecognized (especially in teens and young adults), it's important to read the common signs in order to get them the help they may need.
Typical symptoms of depression usually include:
• Loss of interest in daily activities, hobbies, or social activities
• Self loathing or highly self-critical
• Sudden weight loss or weight gain
• Changes in sleep patterns such as insomnia or oversleeping
• Physical exhaustion or fatigue
• Memory loss or lack of concentration
• Engaging in compulsive or reckless behaviors
• Feelings of hopelessness with no way out of their present circumstances
• Thoughts of physical violence against others or of taking their own life.
When depression may strike
may be associated with hormonal changes in teens or in women battling postpartum depression or when going through menopause. At other times, major life transitions such as grieving
about the death of a loved one, the pain of divorce, or losing a job may bring on major depression.
The loneliness felt by college students away from home for the first time may result in depression. Later on in life, growing old or chronically ill without a strong support system may also bring about feelings of helplessness and depression.
Depending on severity of symptoms, depression can be treated with cognitive therapy (talking about problems with a professional psychologist) and/or a variety of antidepressant drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, or
Although not as prevalent as depression, bipolar disorder is another form of depression commonly experienced as wide mood swings ranging from severe highs to severe lows. In place of antidepressants, a combination of mood stabilizing drugs and psychotherapy remain the main course of treatment.
A more recent
area of research into depression is seasonal
affective disorder (SAD), an emotional reaction to changes in season -- which is often relieved by simply turning up the wattage at home or in work areas during the darker days of winter.
on the Web, learn more about depression in all its forms along
with facts, information and advice on symptoms, treatments,
and where to get support for the illness which can effect
everyone of us, in varying degrees and at any point in our lives...
Mental Health America - Depression - Browse a wealth of basic
information on bipolar disorder and depression with tips and
advice for teens, college students and in the workplace, plus
how to cope with holiday depression & stress, with more
on common mood disorders and postpartum depression.
- Information for teens from KidsHealth.org featuring an interactive
tutorial about teen depression & information on symptoms,
how depression affects brain chemistry, and where to get help.
In English and Spanish.