The Truth about Depression
Depression: what is it? Is it really something you can control? How much does it really affect someone? Why do people suffer from depression? Several of these questions are brought to the attention of various professionals such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, and physicians, but not enough people seek the truth. Depression is commonly viewed as a bad day; people either believe they have control, or they can just snap out of it. However, depression is more than a bad day. It could be caused by a chemical imbalance, genetics, family history, or trauma. All of these may cause symptoms; yet, there are successful treatments available such as medications and/or psychotherapy.
A bad day- what does it consist of? Maybe things did not go the way one planned them with friends. The telephone call never came. Perhaps a teacher surprised the class with a pop quiz. There are many more causes to create a bad day. Nevertheless, that is all it is, just a bad day. A definition of depression is "an emotional state in which there are extreme feelings of sadness, dejection, lack of worth and emptiness" (Depression, n.p.). When an individual feels "depressed," he or she believes that he/she can simply snap out of it by thinking happy thoughts to replace the bad thoughts, or do something nice for him/herself such as going to a movie. After all, a positive experience is just the thing to change the negative thoughts. Certainly, it is just in the head, and it can be controlled! Unfortunately, depression is a lot more than just a few bad days or sad thoughts. Snapping out of it is harder than it sounds. "Depressed people are not merely unhappy but profoundly miserable" (Hales, 19). Depression causes individuals to feel and act out of control. Depression cannot be controlled, however, since it controls its victim until the problem is addressed and professional help is sought.
Most symptoms of depression are frequently overlooked. However, when one has the opportunity to learn about, or more seriously, when opportunity is forced on the person, the symptoms become much more obvious. The symptoms of depression range from mild to severe. Twelve commonly known warning signs are the most identified:
Depressed people lose interest in food, friends, sex, favorite activities, or any form of pleasure.
Lack of enthusiasm, energy, or motivation
Social withdraw or isolation
Sadness or hopelessness
Confusion or difficulty with decisions
Drop in school performance
Eating or sleeping problems
Low self-esteem or guilt
Drug and/or alcohol abuse
Problems with authority
Anxiety or phobias
Perfectionism and restlessness (APA, 327).
The DSM-IV states that if five or more of these symptoms exist in one's life for a span exceeding two weeks, this is considered an episode of depression. "When you are depressed, nothing works out the way you hope. Whatever you try to do seems to go wrong. After a few...