We hear the term, “depression” used a lot in our culture. We go to therapists to get help with depression. Everyone is saying we are depressed, but what does depression really mean?
Depression is a medical term used to describe the impact of a low mood due to chemical imbalance in the brain, or the impact of ongoing difficult life events or unhelpful ways of thinking about them. It is often termed a whole-body disease, as it affects everything about the person, mind, body, work, social life, spirituality. In short, a diagnosis of depression can disrupt anyone’s life.
It is normal and common for us to be sad, or to have bad days for any reason, or no reason at all. It’s also normal to be sad after a tragic event, like the death of a loved one; that’s not depression, that is normal grieving. When things stretch on for weeks at a time, with no reprieve, that’s when it may be time to talk with someone about those feelings.
Depression will look different in different people. It affects the whole body, so the symptoms will be individual to each person. According to the National Institute for Mental Health, some common symptoms of depression include:
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities
- Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Lack of interest in sexual, decreased libido
- Withdrawal from people or places, like work, church
- Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts
- Restlessness or irritability, angry overreactions
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
Of those, one of the most serious symptoms is thoughts of suicide. Sometimes when we are depressed it is hard to see any way out of it, or even imagine that it is only a temporary state, so suicide becomes a thought. Due to this, depression is something that requires intervention. It’s necessary to seek help from a qualified therapist or counsellor.
College of Allied Educators offers our Graduate Diploma in Counselling Psychology programme, training you to help yourself and others towards a happier life by breaking away from destructive habits and thoughts and developing new, more beneficial ones.
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