Depression effects a large percentage of Americans. Most cases go undiagnosed and untreated. Without awareness or treatment, depression can be a downward spiral. Antidepressants and therapy are successful paths to treating depression. However, one must first be aware, and willing to get better.
A professional can assist you in getting the help you need, whether that is counseling/psychotherapy, anti-depressant medications, or a combination of the two. For many people, just being able to talk about their problems and get some support can be very helpful. In other cases, medication can be helpful or even necessary for the person to "lift the cloud" and function better.
The most important thing to remember as you help someone with depression is to remain supportive. Blaming the depression on the person, trying to "make them snap out of it" and other confrontational techniques can backfire and make the situation worse.
It is important first to let the person know that you are concerned about her or him, want to help and are willing to be a resource. The way that you help may range from just listening to recommending that the person contact a mental health care provider for assistance.
Studies show that regular exercise -- either aerobic or strength and flexibility training -- can reduce depression symptoms in people with mild-to-moderate depression. Exercise also improves the mood of people with major depression. Some studies even suggest that exercise may work as well as psychotherapy for people with mild-to-moderate depression, although more research is needed. In the meantime, adding exercise to any other treatment for depression, including medications, makes sense.
Exercise is a great way to start with improving one's life. Starting with a goal, a certain number of weekly gym visits would fill that requirement. By making one's self to attend an exercise class or another physical activity with a buddy would definitely help improve the spirit of the depressed.
Depression can leave you feeling helpless and out of control of your life, your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The goal is to get to the point where you feel like you can do something to improve your situation and life. So any changes you can make for the better, though they may not "fix" the depression or make it go away immediately, are definitely worth doing.
Major depression is a highly treatable illness. Between 80 to 90% of individuals who suffer from severe depression are effectively treated and return to a normal level of functioning. Treatment of depression depends on the individual as well as the severity and duration of the illness. Basic types of treatment for depression include antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Often these basic treatment approaches are used in combination. Antidepressants are one of the largest groups of pharmaceuticals produced in the world and the second largest produced in the United States. Currently, over two-dozen antidepressants are on the market.
Considering antidepressants are the largest group of pharmeceuticals produced, think about how many people who must be suffering without help. If most cases of depression are undiagnosed or untreated, then the number of people who suffer from depression are larger than the amount of antidepressants produced.
Some kinds of depression seem to run in families, suggesting a biological vulnerability. This seems to be the case with bipolar depression and, to a lesser extent, severe major depression. However, having a biological vulnerability does not mean you are destined to become depressed. Not everyone in a family develops depression, suggesting that other factors are involved. In addition, depression can occur in individuals who have no family history of depression.
More than twice as many women than men suffer from clinical depression and 25% of women and 10% of men will suffer one or more episodes of clinical depression in their lifetimes. Though clinical depression strikes people of all ages, it strikes most often among those aged 24-44.
Current theory suggests those clinical depression results from complex interactions between brain chemicals and hormones that influence a person's energy level, feelings, sleeping and eating habits. These chemical interactions are linked to many complex causes--a person's family history of illness, biochemical and psychological make-up, prolonged stress, and traumatic life crisis such as death of a loved one, job loss, or divorce. Sometimes no identifiable cause triggers an episode of clinical depression; usually one or more stresses are involved. Medical research has found that people who suffer from clinical depression have changes in important brain chemicals, such as serotonin and norepinephrine. New medications are available that restore these brain chemicals to their proper balance and relieve symptoms of clinical depression.
Feeling sad and depressed is often a normal reaction to a stressful life situation. For example, it is normal to feel down after a major disappointment, or to have trouble sleeping or eating after a difficult relationship break-up. Usually, within a few days, perhaps after talking to a friend, we start to feel like ourselves again.
Clinical depression is very different. It involves a noticeable change in functioning that persists for two weeks or longer. Imagine that for the last three months you've slept more than 10 hours a day and still feel tired, you have stomach problems, you're unable to cope with life, and you wonder if dying would solve all your problems. Or, imagine not being able to sleep more than four hours a night, not wanting to spend time with family or friends, and constantly feeling irritable. And when friends try to reach out to you, you get even more upset and bothered. You lose perspective, and you don't realize that what you're experiencing is abnormal. You want to just "wait it out," and you don't get help because you think it's weak to ask for help or you don't want to burden your friends.
Major Depression, also known as clinical or unipolar depression, is one of the most common mental illnesses. Over 9 million American adults suffer from clinical depression each year. This estimate is likely to be higher since depression commonly remains undiagnosed and untreated in a large percentage of the U.S. population. Major Depression is more than a temporary state of feeling sad; rather, it is a persistent state that can significantly impair an individual's thoughts, behavior, daily activities, and physical health.