Article Written by Angelina Zarokian
We all know when something feels off, but sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint what that something is. Maybe you feel persistently sad, or even empty like you’re worthless or don’t deserve hope. Some have been living with these feelings for years.
This is called “depression”, a mental illness that will touch somewhere around 15% of the adult population at some point in their lives. Depression takes many forms, seasonal or postpartum being two of the more common examples.
Depression can also occur alongside other mental health issues. Depression and anxiety are interrelated illnesses that build on one another. When combined with substance abuse, the combination can be deadly. Users may lack the ability to stop themselves from overuse, or may battle feelings of self harm.
Of course, emergency services can and do help in these situations. The key to depression is learning how it affects you, and that you’re not alone.
Depression affects everyone differently, so there’s virtually no single set of symptoms you can ascribe to depression. Instead, you can recognize some of its effects and consider how depression might be affecting you:
Sadness or anxiety that seems persistent
Feelings of emptiness or hopelessness
Lack of enjoyment from hobbies and activities
Lack of energy or constant feelings of tiredness
Generally slow movement
Trouble with decisions (even basic ones)
Oversleeping or never wanting to leave bed
Changes in appetite
Attempting suicide or self harm
Headaches (or other pain) that seems to have no cause
Depression doesn’t just go away on its own, but it also doesn’t have to stick with you. Depression can sometimes feel like a change in your lifestyle, like these feelings represent the foreseeable future of your life.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Treating and Battling Depression
It’s important to approach depression with an open mind, so you can understand what’s happening to you and learn how to treat the problem. Bear in mind treatment is most effective when applied as early as possible.
Medications called antidepressants can be used to treat this illness. Antidepressants improve the way your brain processes the chemicals that induce stress or influence your mood.
Medication works, but there’s a small danger that patients will stop taking it once they begin feeling better. Stopping so abruptly can have other harmful side effects, so speak with your health professional before you make the choice to stop medicating.
Author Bio: This article was written by Angelina Zarokian. Angelina Zarokian is a Psy-D graduand at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She currently works as a Therapist and a Psychological Assistant working with adults and seniors at an assisted living facility as well as at a private practice working with children, couples and adults.