Depression as a Hidden Illness
Depression is a debilitating and potentially devastating condition that can rob you of your energy, ambition, enthusiasm, lust for life and will to live. Almost everyone experiences some degree of depression from time to time, but chronic, persistent depression that lasts for an extended period of time and does not go away is a serious condition that requires treatment. Many people assume that depression is simply a matter of attitude, and depressed individuals are often counseled by friends and family to “cheer up” and “pull yourself together.” This advice is not helpful, since real depression is a clinical condition that cannot be overcome by sheer force of will. Left untreated, depression can destroy a person’s future. Unfortunately many depressed individuals do not recognize the disease or are ashamed or unwilling to admit they need help.
Symptoms of Depression
The following symptoms may be signs of depression:
- Lack of energy
- Loss of interest in life
- Loss of interest in former pursuits, hobbies, pastimes and interests
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite
- Loss of sex drive
- Feelings of guilt, hopelessness or profound regret
- Difficulty concentrating
- Psychomotor retardation, or a slowing down of thought, speech and reactions
- Thoughts of suicide
Treatment for Depression
Medication is often a first-line treatment for depression. Antidepressant medications may be effective in reducing symptoms of depression, but this approach treats only the symptoms and does not address the underlying causes of depression. Patients may come to rely on the medication to hold the symptoms of depression in check and is also likely to suffer a recurrence of the depression, if he or she stops taking the medication or develops a tolerance for it. Many antidepressants induce a “rebound effect” when use is discontinued, meaning that the depression returns and is worse than it was before the patient started taking medication.
Counseling for depression addresses the underlying causes of the disorder, helping the patient to come to terms with the past and understand the issues that have brought about the depression. Counseling will also help the patient cope with stress and other problems in healthy and constructive ways.
Questions about Depression?
If you suffer from depression and would like help finding treatment, we can connect you with the best resources available. If you think you might have depression but aren’t sure, our staff of trained professionals can discuss your symptoms with you, answer any questions you may have and provide a free assessment. Call our toll-free 24 hour helpline today.