By Dr. Isaac Schumann
Usually in our adolescence, we are exposed to many sudden and
inexplicable mood swings as a result of our body undergoing
various hormonal changes that prepare us for adulthood.
Aside from increased social pressures, the onset of
menstruation, for example, introduces adolescent girls to
premenstrual tension (or premenstrual syndrome) and the
menstrual cramps, the former being a mixture of physical and
psychological symptoms, including temporary weight gain, fluid
retention, depression, fits of temper and the like.
Of these, depression is perhaps one of the most commonly
identified conditions that both males and females attest to,
particularly at the onset of puberty.
Depression is a term we colloquially use to pertain to any
particular period of prolonged sadness and lethargy. Colloquial
use would even allow us to call depression any 'low' point in
between periods of 'high' or happiness. A popular one-liner,
which many of us are familiar with, even goes as far as saying
that depression is in fact simply anger without enthusiasm.
However, the real essence of depression is the fact that you
can't simply 'snap out of it', and that it has the capacity to
disrupt your daily activities. It is characterized by prolonged
sadness, anxiety, unusual mood shifts accompanied by a degree of
irrational thought, pessimism, and is responsible for changes in
the way we eat, sleep, or interact with other people that in
effect incapacitates us from participating in productive
Depression is deemed a disorder that requires treatment and
attention first because it may be a cause for withdrawal from
society as it gives a semblance of suffering, pessimism, and low
self-esteem. Secondly, depression may cause changes in physical
behavior (like eating or sleeping) that may disrupt regular
daily activities or may be mortally dangerous for whoever
suffers from it. It may also, in effect, harm interactions with
other people, particularly those within the atomic community
(like family and friends).
Lastly, the accompanying decrease in rational thought causes
some people to eventually result to thoughts of harming oneself
or even suicide.
Should you find yourself potentially exhibiting that degree of
depression, it is best that you seek immediate help from a
professional. The reason is because the many forms of
depression, each varying in degree of abnormality it lends, are
currently treatable. It will also allow you to accurately
determine whether you may simply be suffering from a common or
minor depression, which is a mild but similarly prolonged form
of depression, or a severe or major depression.
What is severe or major depression then? Severe or major
depression, which medical experts also call clinical depression,
unipolar depression, or major depressive disorder, is a sort of
depression that necessitates medical treatment.
This is because severe depression is thought to be a result of
a chemical imbalance in the brain. This particular brand of
depression is recognized as possibly hereditary by many
psychiatrists and specialists.
Doctors detect severe depression by particular behavioral
patterns that emerge. The first is that of a constant feeling of
sadness or anxiety. This may be accompanied by feelings of
inadequacy and low self-esteem. Another is when you feel
lethargic, tired, or without energy despite the fact that you
did not engage in any physical activity of any form alongside a
feeling of restlessness. You may also feel a decreased capacity
to concentrate and make decisions.
The more 'telling' signs that accompany the previous symptoms,
which may be attributed to seasonal hormonal imbalances,
strenuous physical activities, or physical sickness for
non-depressive individuals, have a more or less social
implication to them.
If you are suffering from severe depression, you may have a
feeling of being uninterested in usual activities or hobbies and
you may eventually withdraw from them. Changes in your appetite
may also emerge, leading to drastic weight loss.
Another change is in sleeping habits, which may imply
difficulty in sleeping, waking up too early, or sleeping too
much. With these physically notable changes and the previous
general symptoms is a prevalent feeling of inadequateness,
hopelessness and guilt. Altogether, these may lead to thoughts
of suicide or obsession over death and dying.
The fact that depression can happen to anyone including you,
should be enough impetus to better understand depression.
Understanding that people around you (and there are many of
them) suffer from depression will both allow you to better
interact with them, or, should you be suffering from it as well,
allow you to benefit from support groups or other people who can
better help you deal with the disorder and stop you from
succumbing to it.
About the Author: Dr. Isaac Schumann brings to you a life time
of experience in the mental health field
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