Most people will at some point in their life experience depression. The most dramatic sign is a lack of pleasure in normally pleasing activities and lacking energy. Depression is not always debilitating, you may continue doing your regular routines, but it takes more effort. You are experiencing major depression when your symptoms are severe enough that it interferes with your ability to follow through with your daily routine. We may consider the difference between normal depression and major depression as having more severe, longer lasting, and chronic impairment in ability to function. With major depression, you may feel like a prisoner of the emotional state and think it will never end. These strong negative thoughts can lead to suicidal thoughts or a death wish for something to happen that will remove you from the misery.
Depression can undermine our capacity to live life to its fullest.
Symptoms of Depression
- Feelings of sadness
- Uncontrollable crying
- Feelings of hopelessness/and helplessness
- Increased irritability
- Thoughts of self-harm
- Loss of energy, motivation
- Change in appetite and sleep patterns
- Poor concentration
Possible Causes of Depression
There can be environmental or situational factors – such that the depressed mood is triggered by the stress of changes or losses such as ones’ job, divorce or death of a friend or loved one.
There can be biological factors – If there is an imbalance in the chemicals in the brain, the result can be changes in thought, behavior and emotion. Hypothyroidism, medications, chronic pain or medical illnesses can have a biological relationship to depression.
There can be genetic factors – Medical research have found a link between family history and the development of a mood disorder. Therefore, if there is a family member that suffers with chronic depression, you can have a predisposition to having a mood disorder. Approximately 25% of people who experience depression have a relative with some form of depressive illness.
If you experience depression there are a number of proven interventions that can assist to improve your quality of life.