Feelings of sadness and lethargy are quite common, and we’ve all experienced them at some point of our lives. However, sometimes these feelings become too intense and affect our everyday functioning. This is when they are no longer considered a mood condition, but a mental disorder, that is, depression. Not only does this condition affect one’s relationships with friends and family and job performance, but it can also result in physical illnesses, and even suicidal tendencies. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to seek professional help as soon as the first symptoms occur.
Causes of Depression
In order to be able to fight this disorder, it is often necessary to understand its roots, that is, the reasons why somebody feels depressed. Sometimes it is difficult to pinpoint exactly what caused it, since it can be triggered by a web of closely intertwined factors. However, there are some aspects of one’s life that can make them susceptible to depression. These include the exposure to physical, emotional or sexual abuse, loss or death of a loved one, family genetics, serious illnesses, substance abuse, etc. According to Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, depression often occurs along with some other medical conditions. For example, 25% of cancer patients and 50-70% of individuals who suffer from eating disorders simultaneously experience depression.
Symptoms of Depression
Identifying the symptoms of depression while they are still at the earliest stage is extremely important, since they can worsen and result in serious consequences if left untreated. Therefore, it is necessary to recognise the signs as soon as they appear, so as to prevent further development of this condition. National Institute of Mental Health lists the following symptoms of depression: feelings of helplessness, guilt, hopelessness, or pessimism; fatigue and loss of energy; sleeping difficulties (either insomnia, or sleeping too much); difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering; loss of interest in otherwise pleasurable activities; the mood of sadness, anxiety and emptiness; thinking about death or suicide; suicide attempts; often headaches, cramps or other physical problems with no clear physical cause. The diagnosis of depression is not easy, since the symptoms are relatively individual. In order for a psychologist to diagnose it, it is crucial that one should have several persistent symptoms. In addition, depending on the stage of depression, the symptoms may vary.
Seeking help is not easy, especially because people suffering from any mental disorder feel embarrassed and often face condemnation. It is important to understand that mental illnesses require medical assistance just as any other physical condition. This is why depression patients need support from their friends and family who should encourage them to ask for help when they need it. The estimates show that 80% of individuals who are treated for depression show improvement within four to six weeks after the beginning of treatment. There are different types of depression treatments that are applied depending on the individual case. They include psychotherapy and medications, and in more severe cases electroconvulsive therapy (and other brain stimulation therapies). Psychotherapy is usually the first step of treatment where patients can attend individual or group counselling with a psychologist. Professional psychologists in Sydney treating a variety of mental disorders are devoted to improving the life quality of their patients. The first step is making an appointment with a psychologist who will make a diagnosis, suggest further treatment, and be there for any questions. It is important to stress that psychologists are professionals who are there to listen and help; they won’t be judgemental, so don’t hesitate to seek their help if you suffer from depression.
Depression is a serious mental condition that can result in lethal consequences. Fortunately, this disorder is treatable, especially if addressed at the earliest stages. Therefore, it is important to seek professional medical assistance as soon as possible, and provide support to anyone who is suffering from any mental disorder.