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Mental Health Blog by Ryan S.

Living life with a mental illness, however I get out of bed every morning and fight; I may not win every day, but I fight. I love helping others who battle mental illness along with family and friends who struggle to comprehend mental illness. I enjoy speaking to one or thousands of people using my own unique speaking method that provides an easy to understand look at mental health along with a bit of fun.

An Overview of Depression

Every year approximately 9.5 percent of the American population suffers from depression. Depression is a grave illness that affects day to day life and destroys families. It is a disorder that controls the mind and its functions causing loss of appetite, sleeplessness, mood swings, and a deep sense of despair. 

The symptoms of depression are varied and the severity changes with time. And, according to experts depression can be an inherited disorder, or caused by life threatening illnesses, or stress. Other causes are certain diseases, medicines, drugs, alcohol, or mental illnesses. Women are seen to experience depression more than men and this is attributed to hormonal swings, menstrual cycle changes, pregnancy, miscarriage, pre-menopause, and post-menopause.

Common symptoms are:

1. An unshakeable sadness, anxiety, or emptiness.

2. Overwhelming hopelessness accompanied by pessimistic feelings.

3. Extreme guilt, feelings of helplessness, and no sense of self worth.

4. Loss of energy, a slowing down of metabolism, and activity levels. Being plagued by constant fatigue.

5. A sense of helplessness along with an increasing inability to focus and indecisiveness.

6. Loss of sound sleep and development of extreme insomnia.

7. Inexplicable weight loss or weight gain. Triggered by loss of appetite or eating binges.

8. Brooding and suicidal inclinations.

9. Irritability, short temper, as well as restlessness.

10. Physical afflictions like headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain for no particular reason.

If you experience any of the above along with a marked change in behavior do consult your doctor. He will give you a thorough examination to rule out physical causes for depression as well as any underlying medical problems. Then if required he will recommend that you consult a psychiatrist or psychologist.

Take matters in hand and try and erase negativity from your mind. Cut out from you life terms like exhaustion, worthlessness, and hopelessness. Change your life by setting yourself a few goals. Try and relax, meditate, and enjoy music. Start new activities that absorb your time as well as interests. Go out and meet people and participate in group activities. Avoid the company of negative people. Make up your mind to enjoy a movie, ballgame, family outing, picnic, or trek. Be positive, self confident, and have faith in yourself. Faith is itself a great healer. Decide to change your world for the better. However do follow the doctor’s advice. Treatment can include: anti-depressant medicines, psychotherapy, as well as lifestyle changes. In extreme cases electroconvulsive therapy or light therapy are prescribed.

If your depression escalates or you are suicidal seek help from your family physician or health care provider. Do call a local health department, a community mental health center, or hospital or clinic. Someone will extend a helping hand and talk you through the crisis.

Types Of Depression

As any doctor or mental health specialist will tell you there are different types of depression. Each of these depression types will manifest themselves in the person in completely different forms. Currently there are some well documented types of depression that various people in the world are afflicted with. Also each of the depression disorders can have similar and different symptoms.

Since each of the depression types vary the severity of their symptoms and the level of persistence can be different for each sufferer. The main types of depression are Major or Unipolar Depression, Chronic or Dysthymia depression, and Manic or Bipolar Depression. Besides the main depression types there are subdivisions of these disorders. As the different types of depression have a completely different effect on each person, the method of treatment must also be individualized.

With Major depression the symptoms are the same as depression, they are however more intense than normal depression symptoms. These symptoms will interfere with the daily activities of the individual. The work, study, eating and sleep patterns can become disturbed. The person will not be able derive any pleasure from their earlier activities. The depressive attacks of Major depression can be debilitating and the quality of life becomes noticeably poorer.

In Major depression the episodes can be either single occurring or recurring. A single occurring episode will vanish after the treatment has taken effect. For a recurring Major depression there will be a phase of Major depression followed by depression. These bouts of depression are followed by perhaps several years of normal depression free life. The attacks can then occur without any warning.

Chronic depression is less severe than either Major depression or Bipolar depression. The symptoms are life long. A person who has Chronic depression can still carry out their lives without any interference from the symptoms. There is a strong possibility of double depression occurring to the individual. Double depression is a mixture of Chronic depression and Major depression.

Bipolar depression is not as common as the other types of depression. The mood swings of this depression are cyclic. That is there are periods of euphoric highs and sad, worthless lows. There are times when the mood changes can be very rapid and dramatic. The symptoms of Bipolar depression include being overactive, having lots of boundless energy, loss of good judgment, feeling invincible amongst others.

All of the depression types have different ways of reacting with different individuals. Each of these depression symptoms need to receive the right sort of treatment. Therefore you should consult a doctor to have your depression diagnosed and treatment begun.

Understanding Depression

Everyone can agree on the fact that depression is a debilitating disease. What we can’t all seem to agree on however, is what this disease does to a person’s ability to think reason and perceive. The problem in coming to an agreement here lies in the many causes and physical reactions to depression.

Common cause of depression include biochemical factors, severs stress, a sense of hopelessness, lack of sunlight and illogical thinking. The biochemical factors and sunlight are physical and environmental conditions that can be corrected with prescribed drugs or light exposure. What however can a person do about stress and feelings of hopelessness, and are these conditions causes of depression or symptoms of depression. It is within the confines of the medical profession that conversations such as this have raged for years.

Some researchers believe that stress and feelings of overwhelming hopelessness are the causes of depression, while others believe they are symptoms of depression. Research conducted supports both conclusions. Further studies have supported lent even more support to the evidence that stress, changes in expectancies, and irrational or hopeless thoughts are a result of depression, not a cause.

But what effect does depression have on our ability to think and reason? Do all our thoughts become illogical and negative? Not all depressed persons experience the same changes in their thoughts, but do all depressed persons experience some change in the thought process? Questions such as these are hotly debated even now, with all the wealth of information available to scientists and doctors. The brain is such a complex machine, that understanding of the processes and the ability to relate certain processes to the application of the masses is slow to come.

In general the depressed person sees the cup as half empty, not half full. That’s not to say that some of the population, without any evidence of depression will still see the cup as half empty. Can you see the difficulty of the situation here? There are many symptoms of depression that exist even within the thoughts of people with no evidence of depression. How do scientists and doctors distinguish, for the purpose of setting clear guidelines? I don’t believe they can.

I believe our thought process is like a fingerprint. Everyone’s is different in some way. No two people will be the same in their thoughts, or in their ability to act on those thoughts. Treatments for illogical and depressed thoughts will always be a tailor-made situation.

Are You Allowing Depression To Take Control Of You?

Feeling sad is very normal for human beings. You feel it when you break-up, lost a job or someone dies. After feeling down, you should soon recover from the sadness and move on with your life. Unfortunately not everyone can do this. Sometimes, for no apparent reason, people get sad for long periods of time. This is considered to be depression.

Depression is considered to be a psychological disorder that can be very harmful. Mild cases of depression would make a person cry for no reason and feel inconsolably sad. People, who have extreme depression, find themselves unable to function normally. They stay at home, do not sleep and even refuse to sleep. The worst depression is when you begin contemplating ending your life because you find no reason to be alive.

Some women, after giving birth, feel depressed because of the enormity of their new responsibility and the sudden changes in their lives. In this case, the condition is referred to as post-partum depression. Other people prone to depression are those who have lost someone suddenly, those who have very poor coping mechanism and those who actually find pleasure in feeling depressed.

If you have been feeling sad for no reasons at all, you should speak with a professional to determine whether or not you have an obsessive compulsive disorder. A psychiatrist would be qualified to diagnose you and even prescribe ant-depressant if you require one. Many depressed patients, unfortunately, become addicted to the medication and find it difficult to feel better without the prescription drug. Basically this can increase your risks of being drug-dependent.

Other less harmful treatment involves hypnotism. The relatively new hypnotherapy works by targeting your subconscious and embedding anti-depression ideas. Since the subconscious actually dictates about 90 percent of the brain’s activity, it is not surprising that hypnotherapy has become effective in treating psychoses like phobias and addiction. Depending on the level of depression, a person can feel its effects after one to five sessions. The treatment is safer, less expensive and less probing.

For people who are depressed, you should first admit that you have the disorder for the treatments to be effective. You should also make sure that your commitment does not waver. Life is too short and too beautiful to be sad all the time. By getting help, you are giving yourself a new lease in life. It will also free you permanently from depression’s bad effects.

The Ups And Downs Of Depression

Clinical depression is known to impact the lives of one out of every six people in their lifetime. But the sad reality is that the medical community still does not entirely understand exactly what causes depression to occur in one person and not in another.

Yes, we do know that depression is hereditary.

Depression can often be found to run throughout the generations of the same family invading the DNA molecules which make up a particular family’s genes. This causes the family members to be more susceptible to depression.

However, there is another school of thought that says perhaps the real reason we see depression run in families is that it is also environmental in that it all depends on how the children are raised. If they see the affects of depression encroaching on the lives of their family and they see the results then they will learn to deal with life the very same way.

Even though we are quite clear that depression runs in families, depression is also seen in those without any family history. Stress resulting from a variety of issues, trauma, or even prescription medications or illegal drugs have all been known to cause depression.

Riding the ups and downs of depression can leave you even more exhausted that the last wave of depression you faced. Depression is known to run in cycles. You may feel completely fine one day and the next day you may be completely and utterly unable to get yourself out of the bed and out of your night clothes. The dramatic ranges of emotions are well documented in cases of depression.

Many healthcare providers and scientist alike believe that many suffering with depression manifest a chemical imbalance of Norepinephrine and Serotonin which are the feel good neurotransmitters found in the central nervous system and in the brain.

These neurotransmitters work to help control feelings of happiness and well being. The neurotransmitter Norepinephrine is thought to be a stress hormone; while Serotonin is thought to control hunger, overall moods, sleep and sexual feelings.
When these chemicals get out of whack they are thought to cause depression.

So if you think about it, when these neurotransmitters are out of balance it only makes sense that the roller coaster ride of depression would result. As these levels of these chemical rises and falls thereto go the emotions and feelings associated with them.

The real question is why do some people experience peaks and valleys with their chemical make up while others seem to be more stable. Again, it begs the question is it really the environment in which you were raised or is it truly the ebb and flow of the neurotransmitters that alter feelings causing the dramatic impact of depression.

Do you mirror your family because that is all you know how to do, it is the only way you know to respond or is it that you are genetically and chemically bound to your family and because of that simply have no choice of being impacted by depression.

We need more research and time to study this issue before there is a definitive answer. What we do know is that regardless of the reason why, we do know that depression tends to run in families and if you have a family member that has dealt with the issue then you should be aware of the possibility that you too could be fighting the same battle one day.

Be aware, seek help early and learn what you can do in order to prevent depression before it takes control of your life.

Living with Depression

Depression is a psychological, biological and environmental problem that has affected millions of people, both directly and indirectly. People suffering with depression often have difficulty functioning normally, and frequently experience problems in their everyday lives as a result. The emotional toll of depression can shatter families; result in a loss of employment and in some occasions end in suicide. While there is no cure for depression, treatment options are available that can help sufferers of depression lead normal, happy lives.

Depression changes the way in which a person is able to think, feel and view the world around them. These changes produce adverse effects on behavior directed towards others and towards one's self. If a person experiences feelings of sadness or malaise which continue over a long period of time, it is likely that he or she suffers from some form of depression. Recognizing the symptoms of depression is the first step toward recovery. Those who feel they may have depression should consult their physician.

Once a diagnosis has been made and a treatment program initiated, the next step is to recognize the effect that depression has on the mental processes that govern one's behavior. Understanding the mechanisms of depression can help people who are coping with this often debilitating illness. Of the treatment options available today, all involve either talk therapy, medication or a combination of both. It may take several weeks or even months before a treatment plan can produce any obvious positive results. During this time, having an understanding of the nature of this illness can be highly beneficial. Realizing that depression is a treatable affliction can promote rational thinking and a diminished emotional response toward the symptomology of this unfortunate condition.

There are several resources available on the Internet which can help sufferers recognize the symptoms of depression and give advice on how to cope with it once a treatment plan has been established. Through treatment, understanding and the support of others, living with depression can be made substantially less difficult. Many who have suffered from depression go on to lead healthy, productive lives.

Tips To Beating Depression

Everyone has days when they are down, worn out and just not feeling all that happy.

That's OK, you need to have days like this, otherwise how would you know when you are happy. You need to have something to contrast your happiness with. What is black without white?

Even though you know that sadness is a part of life, let's try to make it a small part of life.

With that said, here are a few tips to help you feel better when you are feeling down in the dumps. They are easy to do, easy to practice every day and they work!

1. Stand up straight, sit up straight. When your body is in alignment your energy can flow and when your energy is flowing freely, you can flow.

2. Smile! Yes, just smile. Easy to do and effective.

3. Repeat positive affirmations. Things like "I feel good", "Positive energy flows through my body", "I see the good in all".

4. Listen to some music that you like. It doesn't have to be anything specific, just something you enjoy. Certain types of music work better than others, but experiment and see what works for you. Studies have shown that Classical music and new age music work best.

5. Take some time out for yourself, relax and read a book, do something for yourself.

6. Meditate. Meditation is an excellent habit to develop. It will serve you in all that you do. If you are one who has a hard time sitting still, then try some special meditation CDs that coax your brain into the meditative state. Just search for "Meditation music" on Google or Yahoo and explore.

Our outside work is simply a reflection of our inside world. Remember there is no reality just your perception of it. Use this truth to your advantage. Whenever you are sad, realize that it is all in your mind and you do have the power to change your perception.

These tips will lift you up when you are down, but don't just use them when you are sad. Try and practice them everyday, make them a habit. You will be surprised at how these simple exercises will keep the rainy days away.

On a final note, if you are in a deep depression that you can't seem to shake, please go see a doctor. This is your life and don't take any chances. You can also call Hotline numbers.

 

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