Depression Is A Real Illness
Because most people get depressed from time to time, there is that eternal
question if depression is a real illness. The answer is: yes. The clinical
one, that is. It has been said that about one out of eight United States
residents will likely become clinically depressed. Some experience it once
in a lifetime, while others have multiple episodes. This is a fact: if a
person gets depressed for the first time, there is a 50 percent chance that
he will fall to the same predicament again. And come the second time, there
is the threat that he will go into a third depressing episode.
Depression is a real illness as it involves the mental, emotional and even
physical faculties of the person. It is not just a transient sad feeling
that will go away when one wills it to. There are symptoms and signs as well
as corresponding treatment. If not handled properly and immediately, it may
escalate to worse conditions. Like any other illness, depression has also
There are three types of depressive disorders: major depressive disorder,
bipolar disorder and dysthymic disorder.
Major depression is a culmination of all the symptoms and signs that
intervene with one's capability to act normally. It can happen once, but
recurring episodes are possible.
Its less severe counterpart is dysthymia which is characterized by the same
symptoms of major depression, only they do not totally interfere with one's
activities. A person who has dysthymic disorder can suffer major depression
sometime during his life.
Bipolar disorder is also a type of depression that involves drastic mood
changes, from being very high one minute to severely depressed the next. The
manic cycle can make the person hyper and overenthusiastic but it changes as
soon as the depressed cycle hits. The depressed cycle encompasses all the
symptoms of depression.
Because depression is an illness, there are symptoms. Again, they are the
1. Persistent "empty" feeling
2. Unbelievable hopelessness
3. Feeling guilty and worthless all the time
4. Lack or loss of interests in activities that used to bring joy to the
patient and this includes sex.
5. Prominent fatigue
6. Has a difficult time making decisions
7. Development of sleep problems
8. Loss of appetite and drastic weight change or loss
9. Suicidal attempts and thoughts.
10. Pronounced irritability
11. Physical aches and pains that have no physiological basis
The good news is at the end of this dark tunnel called depression, there is
hope. Treatment is available in three types: psychotherapy, antidepressant
medicine and the combination of the two. There are also times when
electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and light therapy are employed. We will
discuss these in depth in an upcoming article. Dr. Isaac Schumann brings to
you a life time of experience in the mental health field