Depression is a disorder affecting mood and general outlook. Sometimes called “the blues,” it’s characterized by a loss of interest in activities or feeling sad and down. Even though most people feel sad or down for brief periods throughout life, clinical depression is more than just feeling sad. Depression is a serious medical condition and people usually aren’t able to just get over a depressive state. When you’re going through a tough time it’s normal to feel down for a while, emotions like sadness and grief help make us human. But if you’re feeling sad or miserable most of the time over a long period of time, you might have depression.
The causes of depression are not completely know and may not be down to a single source. Depression could be due to a complex combination of factors that include: Genetics, Biological - changes in neurotransmitter levels, Environmental, Psychological and social/psychosocial.
If left untreated, depression can have serious consequences that can affect every aspect of your life. Having thoughts of death and suicide are symptoms of depression. If depression is left untreated, these thoughts can get worse. Sometimes, you or a friend might feel like suicide is the only way out, the only way to escape the pain. This isn’t true.
Often, to alleviate the symptoms, people turn to self-medicating with substances. The truth is that drugs and alcohol not only worsen symptoms, but they can also increase the chances that you get addicted to these substances. Combining drugs and alcohol with depression is a dangerous mix, which can increase the risk for suicide and further your depression.
Depression and stress are closely related. Stress hormones speed heart rate and make blood vessels tighten, putting your body in a prolonged state of emergency. Over time, this can lead to heart disease. Depression and stress may have a negative impact on the immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections and diseases.
Depression can affect the appetite. Some people cope by overeating or binging. This can lead to weight and obesity-related illnesses like type 2 diabetes. Others lose their appetite or fail to eat nutritious food. Eating problems can lead to stomachaches, cramps, constipation, or malnutrition. Symptoms may not improve with medication.
Its important to keep a check and self examine. Below are few questions to keep an eye.
1. How often have you been bothered by feeling down, depressed irritable, or hopeless over the last to weeks.
2. How often have you been bothered that you have little interest or pleasure in doing things over the last two weeks?
3. How often have you been bothered by trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or sleeping too much over the last two weeks?
4. How often have you been bothered that you have poor appetite, weight loss, or overeating over the past two weeks?
5. How often havr you been bothered by feeling tired, or having little energy ovrr the last two weeks?
6. How often have you been bothered by feeling bad about yourself over the last two weeks?
If you're dealing with some hard things that are making you feel down right now, that's pretty normal. Things should look up as you deal with them, but you should keep an eye on it and talk to your doctor about it.