Most people experience depression at one point or another. This temporary period of depression is normal, and usually goes away with time. Major depressive disorder, on the other hand, is a long-term medical illness that affects how people behave, feel, and think. Those coping with this illness have trouble going about their day-to-day lives, feeling isolated and unworthy of their friendsÕ and relativesÕ attention and affection. Much like diabetes or high blood pressure, major depressive disorder is a chronic illness that requires long-term treatment. Because depression is an often misunderstood and stigmatized illness, many people believe those struggling with the illness should Òsnap out of itÓ or simply get over it, but itÕs not that simple.
Some of the common symptoms of depressions include feelings of sadness or unhappiness, lost of interest and pleasure in normal activities, insomnia or excessive sleeping, changes in appetite, agitation or restlessness, and reduced sex drive. Major depressive disorder can also cause slowed thinking, speaking, and body movements, trouble thinking or concentrating, memory loss, unexplained physical pain, headaches, and fatigue. Depression affects everyone in different ways, and age, gender, genetics, and cultural background may all play a role in how it affects each individual person
There are certain risk factors that increase a personÕs likelihood to suffer from depression. If you have a close biological relative who suffers from depression, you are more likely to experience it yourself. Other risk factors include: being a woman, having a traumatic childhood, having a serious or terminal illness such as cancer, abusing drugs or alcohol, and taking medications used to treat other illnesses.
While there is no cure for major depressive disorder, there are treatments that can be very effective in helping patients live a normal life again. Anti-depressant medications are very common and can usually relief many depression symptoms. There are several different types of medications on the market, so it may take some trial and error to find one most effective. Long-term therapy can also be very helpful in helping patients understand their depression and learn ways to manage their symptoms. For severe, chronic depression, electroconvulsive therapy is gaining popularity, and inpatient treatment programs can offer the intensive support and counseling needed to get symptoms under control and manageable.
Suffering from major depressive disorder does not make a person weak. It can strike anyone for a huge range of reasons. And while those suffering from this illness may feel helpless, there are treatments available that can help relieve symptoms and make it possible to return to a normal life. |Living with depression can be extremely difficult. Those struggling with the illness often feel as though life isnÕt worth living; it is incredibly hard to find joy in everyday life, and normal problems and frustrations are overwhelming. People dealing with depression find it hard to get out of bed in the mornings. They lose interest in friends and family, their interests and passions, even the drive to take a shower and get dressed every day. Socializing is almost impossible when you feel worthless and empty, so as a result, they isolate themselves and push away their loved ones.