There are several questions and answers about the illness called depression. Please read
all of these carefully, since it is very important that you understand this illness as thoroughly as
What is depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that affects most of the activities of daily living. The most
common effects are on sleep, eating, energy, and sex drive. We have been able to identify many
of the chemical changes in depression. Depression does the same thing to our mood and
whether the cause is internal or external in nature.
What causes depression?
Scientists can now identify a over 400 neurotransmitters in the brain. When we are under
prolonged stress, depression often results in a shortage of one of these chemicals. Most often the
chemicals are seritonin, dopamine, or non-epinephrine. The most common medications replace
and enhance these neurotransmitters. We do know that depression is one of the most common
diseases, and that left untreated, has a mortality rate of the 18% (1/6). This is a disease that
strikes every generation of normal, healthy people.
Does having a depression mean that a person is mentally ill or going crazy?
No, but it will very often make people think they are.
Is it a common illness?
Yes, it is the most common illness seen in all of medicine; however, it is often confused with
other illnesses. For example, many people who think or are told they have "low blood", vitamin
deficiency, sinus headaches, low sugar, menopause, "the change," "burnout," and "all run-down
and need rest," actually have a depression causing their troubles.
What symptoms can a depressed person exhibit?
People with a depression can experience the following symptoms:
- They will feel very tired all the time, even when they have not even worked or exerted
themselves very much. They will be just as tired on days when they have rested as on days when
they have worked hard.
- Their sleep will usually be affected in one of two ways; They will either go to sleep and
wake up during the night and remain awake, or else they will sleep too much all the time, even
during the day.
- They will feel very irritable. They will get upset very easily over little things that ordinarily
would not upset them.
- They will often feel very sad for no reason, and, in fact, will often break into tears without
- Their normal sex drive will be very much decreased, in fact, it will often go away
- They will often have a headache, perhaps not very severe, but present most of the time.
Almost any chronic pain elsewhere, such as in the abdomen or back, can be caused by
And these pains are not imaginary; they are quite real and often severe.
- They will find it difficult to enjoy things. They will feel little enthusiasm, even for things
used to look forward to.
- They will often be constipated, or have other digestive symptoms such as abdominal pain or
diarrhea. They may lose or gain weight.
- They will find it difficult to concentrate, to make decisions, to remember things, to get
- They will often feel like they are ineffective and worthless, even though they know they
have no reason to feel that way.
Is this really a serious illness?
Yes. In a mild depression, people will often think they just have a case of spring fever, or that
they are just getting a little older, but their efficiency will still be affected. In a more severe
depression it can be quite serious. This is the illness that can cause a very healthy and happy
person to decide to commit suicide.
Can a person do anything to fight this disease?
Not by his/her own efforts. This is a disease over which a person has no control, and it will do
no good to "try to fight this myself."
Are there any effective treatments?If any of this sounds familiar and you feel you may be depressed,
Very much so. There are several drugs that are usually very effective against depression. They
are also quite safe compared to most medicines.
click here to find a therapist in your area.
Depression left untreated can destroy your life and the lives of those around you.
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