Depression affects millions of people around the world. Experts estimate that 9.5% of Americans are currently suffering from the condition. Depression can worsen if left untreated; as many as 15% of clinically depressed individuals will attempt suicide if the condition is allowed to continue. Fortunately, successful treatments are available for those who seek help.
Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms of depression vary greatly depending on age, gender and social status. However, there are some universal symptoms. Depression causes feelings of intense sadness, helplessness and lack of power. You may feel as though you will never be happy again. Many people lose interest in activities they once held dear. Others develop escapist tendencies and may try to bury themselves in work, drugs or alcohol.
Depressed individuals may lack energy to perform even the most basic tasks. Personal hygiene and housekeeping skills may suffer. Some may seek solace in food and gain a considerable amount of weight while others may lose interest in food altogether.
Interpersonal relationships become too difficult to manage as people close to you try and fail to help. Friends and family members drift away and spouses may throw up their hands in frustration. Depression can affect every facet of your life.
Tests for Depression
There is no clinical test that can offer an accurate depression diagnosis. Rather, doctors use reported symptoms and input from those closest to you in order to come to a conclusion.
Many people are ashamed to admit to feeling depressed. This leads to a large population of those with undiagnosed clinical depression. Depression is a medical condition not unlike strep throat or the flu. There is no shame in seeking treatment.
Treatment of Depression
Pharmaceutical companies have made great strides in developing medication to treat depression. However, a multi-pronged approach often works better than medication alone. A combination of medication, mental health counseling and family support yields the best results.
Your doctor can refer you to a therapist specializing in depression counseling. Getting to the root of the problem and understanding why you feel the way you do can be incredibly beneficial. Understanding that your feelings are not your fault will help you to heal.
Clinical depression does not “go away” on its own. Medical intervention is necessary in order to experience the best possible outcome. There is no shame in contacting a medical professional about your feelings of sadness. Treatment for depression works!