Depression and how to cope

What do we know about depression?

Is there a difference between sadness and depression?

Does everyone who is depressed thinks about or attempts suicide?

So many questions, but there are answers that can help.

For some people being depressed or having sadness is a situational problem - meaning it will alleviate once the situation gets better. If a person loses his job, then he will feel sadness and have depressive feelings, because of the unexpected change and the loss of income. Another example is the ending a serious relationship, such as an engagement or divorce, can bring on an episode of depression or having to move to another state away from close friends and family, creating an occasion for situational depression to develop. While most people will experience sadness over such events, people with a tendency towards depression will react more strongly, especially in the absence of appropriate coping skills or an adequate support system.

Those are also, the ones who experience depression because it’s hereditary (a primary family member suffered with it) or because of a chemical imbalance in the brain. A lack or rather low supply, of serotonin is the cause for the imbalance. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter, involved in the transmission of nerve impulses to regulate moods, emotions, sleep and appetite urges in a person’s brain. Without it, that’s when everything gets ‘off-kilter’, everything else will be out of order. To correct the imbalance, sometimes medication is helpful, serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Fluoxetine (Prozac) and Paroxetine (Paxil) are used.

What are some symptoms of Depression?

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood

  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism

  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex

  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping

  • Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain

  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts

  • Restlessness, irritability, agitation

  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain

This type of depression which requires medication doesn’t disappear overnight. It is a condition that can linger for years and only gets better, if the sufferer wants to work it out. It’s truly not a hopeless situation. With the help of medication, prayer/meditation, and talk therapy to develop coping skills, the condition can be controlled and/or alleviated. Never give up. There's always hope.

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