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Depression: It's More Than Just The Gloomies

Aug 17, 2007
Most of us have our low moments when we feel lonely, sad and blue. This feeling of sadness - is this depression? No it isn't. Not when it is a one-off emotion.

Depression is when a wave of sadness engulfs you and you stay under for days, weeks, maybe even months. It is a kind of black despair that interferes with your day to day activities, making you want to shun people's company, locking yourself away from the world. It is a kind of negative spell that has you in its grip, affecting every aspect of your life - your family, your social circle, your thoughts, feelings, emotions, actions and reactions. No matter how much a depressed person is convinced to the contrary, he will feel lonely and unloved.

Unfortunately, depression becomes a sort of a vicious circle. The person feels low, starts keeping to himself, feels left out, becomes more of a recluse and there's no way to break out because by that time, even the few friends he might have had have given up on him.

This is especially so when it comes to teenagers. As it is, this is a time of hormonal change and there are feelings of insecurity and irritability that youngsters have to cope with. Add to this the fact that many teenagers develop depression during this time and the effect just gets compounded. Worse, even one's own family might not recognize the signs, passing it off as a growing phase. Teenagers who are depressed could go through the mental torture of feeling absolutely worthless or looking terrible. In many cases, self-afflicted wounds as well as eating disorders could be signs of depression.

How do we know when a person is suffering from depression? Here are a few symptoms to keep a look out for. Along with feeling low all the time, for no rhyme or reason, there will also be a marked tiredness and lack of energy. Things that he liked to do earlier have no charm for him anymore and he finds it difficult to find pleasure in any activity. He can't concentrate and withdraws from family and friends. There is a sudden change - in his weight - he could either lose or put on weight - and in his sleep patterns. This could see him up at all odd hours and sleeping late in the morning. There could also be imaginary aches and pains as well as a sense of worthlessness and despair. Sometimes, the sadness could lead to thoughts of or attempts at suicide.

There are times when all of us have gone through many of these symptoms. However, if more than five of these persist for over 2 weeks at a stretch, it could be concluded that the person is suffering from depression.

Depression can be severe or mild. Sometimes, people just go through one bout and recover. For many however, it is a long-drawn out, probably lifelong suffering. It is a state that warrants immediate medical attention. It should be treated like you would any other life-threatening disease. Most people tend to think people with depression should snap out of it. The fact of the matter is that they cannot, any more than one can snap out of diabetes or high blood pressure.
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