uppose you are feeling lonely. You notice you do not have an intimate relationship, and that makes you feel lonely. But is it the absence of the relationship that makes you feel lonely? Or do you feel lonely when you pay extra attention to the fact that you do not have the relationship you desire. When you are engrossed in a really good movie or a compelling book, you completely forget that you are lonely. But if you stick your head up and notice you are all alone, or if you notice a happy couple and it is the opposite of your own situation, then your loneliness quickly returns and you feel depressed. The word ‘depressed’ is a very common, everyday word. Almost all of us feel depressed. The ups and downs of life are common and normal and most people can recover quite quickly in dealing with depression…but some are not as fortunate.
Research shows that, 9.5 percent of the population, or about 20.9 million American adults, suffer from depression. Even Winston Churchill was not an exemption. Depression is a serious medical illness that involves the brain. It’s more than just a feeling of being “blue” or “empty” for a few days. They persist and interfere with everyday life.
Depressive illnesses often interfere with normal functioning and cause pain and suffering not only to those who have a disorder, but also to those who care about them. Serious depression can destroy family life as well as the life of the ill person. But much of this suffering is unnecessary.
Depression can run in families, and usually starts between the ages of 15 and 30. However, not everyone who is depressed or manic depressive experiences every symptom. Some people experience a few symptoms, some many. Severity of symptoms varies with individuals and also varies over time.
Most people with a depressive illness do not seek treatment, although the great majority even those whose depression is extremely severe can be helped. Coping with depression is possible and there are many options. Thanks to years of fruitful research, there are now antidepressant medications and psychosocial therapies such as cognitive or behavioral, “talk”, or counseling that ease the pain of depression.
Depression can sometimes be caused by a chemical imbalance and medications are often used to correct this imbalance. A physician can prescribe the appropriate medications or refer a depressed person to another doctor who is more knowledgeable. There are several antidepressants available and sometimes more than one medication may be suggested. The physician may prescribe which medications to use based on several factors such as how has depression affected the activity, eating, sleep and interests patterns of a person.
Other components, such as anxiety, will also help determine which, if any, medication to use. Sometimes a trial and error method may be used to find the most effective medication for the depressed person which can often result in greater emotional distress.
Unfortunately, many people do not recognize that depression is a treatable illness. If you feel that you or someone you care about is one of the many undiagnosed depressed people, there are ways and steps that may save your own or someone else’s life.