Depression What Is It?
Depression is a physiological condition that causes feelings of sadness, social anxiety, low self-esteem, helplessness, and hopelessness. It is common for people who are depressed to lose interest in many important aspects of life including work, school, friendships, family, sex, and social relationships.
You might be depressed without realizing it. You might feel weak and sick without realizing that you are depressed. You may have visited many doctors with little success of finding an explanation for your symptoms.
You might not feel sad, people might not believe you, and you may be feeling lost. No matter the case, it is important that you keep looking for answers: depression is a real illness that requires treatment, medication, and therapy for a successful recovery.
Depression can be difficult to understand and discuss, especially with friends and family. You might worry about judgment from your peers and whether society will treat you differently. Your condition might cause you to feel lost or isolated. Because of your fears and sense of being alone, you might not know how to confront and overcome the symptoms of your specific condition.
In reality, depression is common and affects millions of people. Having depression does not mean that you are suicidal, and the condition did not occur as a result of your own faults. It's not "all in your head." You are not alone, and your doctor, family, and friends are able to provide the support system that you need.
Symptoms & Warning Signs
Depression is a very personal illness, so symptoms might be different from person to person. You might feel a sense of dejection for an extended time period that ranges from a few days to years. For most people, the onset of depression is gradual: the condition will begin subtly and then worsen over time.
Common symptoms include feelings of anxiety, insomnia, unusual vivid dreams, excessive fatigue, loss of confidence, panic attacks, diminished self-worth, feelings of hopelessness, appetite loss, overeating, decreased sex drive, and excessive drinking. Physical symptoms include back pain, headaches, and body aches. It is common for people to avoid seeking medical attention until the symptoms become unbearable or severe.
Causes & Risk Factors
All kinds of people of all ages are at risk for depression. Many people who are elderly experience depression, and depression is common for people who are dealing with financial, health, or family problems.
For the most part, the causes of depression are unclear. It is believed that a variety of factors cause people to become depressed. No matter the case, it is never your fault.
Research suggests that depression results from physical conditions involving the nerves and brains. Low levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine can cause symptoms of fatigue and depression. Irregular sleep patterns, drugs, and alcohol can also cause depression.