• Thank you friends readers and passers-by for your continuous support to my blog. I will not be able to update often now and many articles and short story left hanging in the draft box due to the pressure of time lately but nevertheless I am trying to cope with it and will post few as time goes by.

    Pleasant day and have a good life.

    Love

    Sanaa

    Good things come to those who wait.
    Better things come to those who try.
    Best things come to those who believe.
    Desired things come to those who pray.

    "Islamic Thinking"

    A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
    Lao Tzu

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Know Yourself…Help Them…Depression Kills

Lately there are many incidences throughout the world been reported on killing and random shooting in public. Why this happen? Many cases been reported and the findings of the issues is mental related disorder or its starts with depression.

In Hollywood there are many reported cases of depressions leading to committing suicide by taking overdose drugs and alcohol. The recent reports and still fresh in our memories are the late Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston. They are the huge name in the entertainment industries, million copies of record sold, they are famous, they are rich, so what is lacking is their life?

What is depression and what causes them?

From my readings depression starts with small issues which a person feel a burden to themselves and their incapability to deal with it. The common depression issues is work related, family and relationship. Depression starts small and will become a mental and health problem if not treated. Depression sufferers various from one problem to the other and the healing process and knowing the roots of the problem is very essential.

If a person known with childhood or upbringing problem, someone close to them are able to define it and should allow them to help. The main issue of stopping any help is the sufferers itself. They refused to admit the problem and normally lead to arguments. Once the situation continues it might lead to suicidal behaviour.

I do think people depressed each day due to the pressure of their surrounding. Only few with really positive thinking and happy-go-lucky people survived in this world of demand. The cause of depression mainly comes from families, friends and work colleague and environment. The expectations from one person to another may lead to depression too. Basically this happens in a relationship either between husband and wife and their families and building a relationship between a man and a woman.

Early detection of depression behaviour of any sufferers might prevent them into refuge. The symptom in depression sufferer is lack of energy, being alone, stop doing what they love to do and etc. It is beneficial for the depression sufferers to admit and accept that they need help. The process will be complicated if the sufferers refused to admit and accept help and it might lead to a deeper depression and commit suicide.

Below there are 3 articles about depression. I sincerely hope we are able to read every single line of the article and help others. Our assistant to the depression sufferers might be small but it will be beneficial. Please do not hide them…help them although the perception of our community is as such by saying any depression sufferers are mentally ill. Yes, no doubt it will lead to that but early detection and help will definitely help their futures. Please do remember, depression happens in a child too.

Don’t you want to know why?

It is time for our society admit depression is an illness affecting us. It is not just you and me but global. Be a friend and sincere friend to them by giving our helping hand. Minimize depression and give hope to a new life.

Sanaa 02/10/12

Keynotes:

Depression in men

Depression is a loaded word in our culture. Many associate it, however wrongly, with a sign of weakness and excessive emotion. This is especially true with men. Depressed men are less likely than women to acknowledge feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness. Instead, they tend to complain about fatigue, irritability, sleep problems, and loss of interest in work and hobbies. Other signs and symptoms of depression in men include anger, aggression, violence, reckless behavior, and substance abuse. Even though depression rates for women are twice as high as those in men, men are a higher suicide risk, especially older men.

Depression in women

Rates of depression in women are twice as high as they are in men. This is due in part to hormonal factors, particularly when it comes to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), postpartum depression, and perimenopausal depression. As for signs and symptoms, women are more likely than men to experience pronounced feelings of guilt, sleep excessively, overeat, and gain weight. Women are also more likely to suffer from seasonal affective disorder.

Causes and risk factors for depression

Loneliness
Lack of social support
Recent stressful life experiences
Family history of depression
Marital or relationship problems
Financial strain
Early childhood trauma or abuse
Alcohol or drug abuse
Unemployment or underemployment
Health problems or chronic pain

Compiled by : Sanaa 02/10/12

*****

Depression may be described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps. Most of us feel this way at one time or another for short periods.

True clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for weeks or longer.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The exact cause of depression is not known. Many researchers believe it is caused by chemical changes in the brain. This may be due to a problem with your genes, or triggered by certain stressful events. More likely, it’s a combination of both.

Some types of depression run in families. But depression can also occur if you have no family history of the illness. Anyone can develop depression, even kids.

The following may play a role in depression:

Alcohol or drug abuse

Certain medical conditions, including under active thyroid, cancer, or long-term pain

Certain medications such as steroids

Sleeping problems

Stressful life events, such as:

Breaking up with a boyfriend or girlfriend

Failing a class

Death or illness of someone close to you

Divorce

Childhood abuse or neglect

Job loss

Social isolation (common in the elderly)

Symptoms

Depression can change or distort the way you see yourself, your life, and those around you.

People who have depression usually see everything with a more negative attitude. They cannot imagine that any problem or situation can be solved in a positive way.

Symptoms of depression can include:

Agitation, restlessness, and irritability

Becoming withdrawn or isolated

Difficulty concentrating

Dramatic change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss

Fatigue and lack of energy

Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness

Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and guilt

Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed

Thoughts of death or suicide

Trouble sleeping or too much sleeping

Depression can appear as anger and discouragement, and not feelings of sadness.

If depression is very severe, there may also be psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations and delusions.

Signs and tests

Your health care provider will ask questions about your medical history and symptoms. Your answers and certain questionnaires can help your doctor diagnose depression and decide how severe it may be.

Blood and urine tests may be done to rule out other medical conditions with symptoms similar to depression.

Treatment

In general, treatments for depression include:

Medications called antidepressants

Talk therapy, called psychotherapy

If you have mild depression, you may only need one of these treatments. People with more severe depression usually need a combination of both treatments. It takes time to feel better, but there are usually day-to-day improvements.

If you are suicidal or extremely depressed and cannot function you may need to be treated in a psychiatric hospital.

MEDICATIONS FOR DEPRESSION

Drugs used to treat depression are called antidepressants. Common types of antidepressants include:

Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs), including fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), fluvoxamine (Luvox), citalopram (Celexa), and escitalopram (Lexapro).

Serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), including desvenlafaxine (Pristiq), venlafaxine (Effexor), and duloxetine (Cymbalta).

Other medicines used to treat depression include:

Tricyclic antidepressants

Bupropion (Wellbutrin)

Monoamine oxidase inhibitors

If you have delusions or hallucinations, your doctor may prescribe other medications.

WARNING: Children, adolescents, and young adults should be watched more closely for suicidal behavior, especially during the first few months after starting medications.

If you do not feel better with antidepressants and talk therapy, you may have treatment-resistant depression. Your doctor will often prescribe higher (but still safe) doses of an antidepressant, or a combination of medications. Lithium (or other mood stabilizers) and thyroid hormone supplements also may be added to help the antidepressants work better.

St. John’s wort is an herb sold without a prescription. It may help some people with mild depression. However, it can change the way other medicines work in your body, including antidepressants and birth control pills. Talk to your doctor before trying this herb.

CHANGES IN MEDICATIONS

Sometimes, medications that you take for another health problem can cause or worsen depression. Talk to your doctor about all the medicines you take. Your doctor may recommend changing your dose or switching to another drug. Never stop taking your medications without first talking to your doctor.

Women being treated for depression who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant should not stop taking antidepressants without first talking to their doctor.

TALK THERAPY

Talk therapy is counseling to talk about your feelings and thoughts, and help you learn how to deal with them.

Types of talk therapy include:

Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches you how to fight off negative thoughts. You will learn how to become more aware of your symptoms and how to spot things that make your depression worse. You’ll also be taught problem-solving skills.

Psychotherapy can help you understand the issues that may be behind your thoughts and feelings.

Joining a support group of people who are sharing problems like yours can also help. Ask your therapist or doctor for a recommendation.

OTHER TREATMENTS FOR DEPRESSION

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is the single most effective treatment for severe depression and it is generally safe. ECT may improve mood in people with severe depression or suicidal thoughts who don’t get better with other treatments. It may also help treat depression in those who have psychotic symptoms.

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) uses pulses of energy to stimulate nerve cells in the brain that are believe to affect mood. There is some research to suggest that it can help relieve depression.

Light therapy may relieve depression symptoms in the winter time. However, it is usually not considered a first-line treatment.

Support Groups

You can often ease the stress of illness by joining a support group whose members share common experiences and problems.

Expectations (prognosis)

Some people with major depression may feel better after taking antidepressants for a few weeks. However, many people need to take the medicine for 4 – 9 months to fully feel better and prevent the depression from returning.

People who have repeated episodes of depression may need quick and ongoing treatment to prevent more severe, long-term depression. Sometimes people will need to stay on medications for long periods of time.

Complications

People who are depressed are more likely to use alcohol or illegal substances.

Complications of depression also include:

Increased risk of health problems

Suicide

Calling your health care provider

If you have thoughts of suicide or harming yourself or others, immediately call your local emergency number (such as 911) or go to the hospital emergency room.

You may also call a suicide hotline from anywhere in the United States, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-999-9999.

Call your doctor right away if:

You hear voices that are not there.

You have frequent crying spells with little or no reason.

Your depression is disrupting work, school, or family life.

You think that your current medications are not working or are causing side effects. Never change or stop any medications without first talking to your doctor.

Prevention

Do not drink alcohol or use illegal drugs. These substances can make depression worse and might lead to thoughts of suicide.

Take your medication exactly as your doctor instructed. Ask your doctor about the possible side effects and what you should do if you have any. Learn to recognize the early signs that your depression is getting worse.

The following tips might help you feel better:

Get more exercise

Maintain good sleep habits

Seek out activities that bring you pleasure

Volunteer or get involved in group activities

Talk to someone you trust about how you are feeling

Try to be around people who are caring and positive

*****

Dealing with Depression
SELF-HELP AND COPING TIPS

Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to do what you need to feel better. But while overcoming depression isn’t quick or easy, it’s far from impossible. You can’t beat it through sheer willpower, but you do have some control—even if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key is to start small and build from there. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day.

IN THIS ARTICLE:
The road to recovery
Supportive relationships
Negative thinking
Taking care of yourself
Exercise
Healthy diet
Getting extra help

The road to depression recovery

Recovering from depression requires action. But taking action when you’re depressed is hard. In fact, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like going for a walk or spending time with friends, can be exhausting.

It’s the Catch-22 of depression recovery. The things that help the most are the things that are most difficult to do. But there’s a difference between difficult and impossible.

Start small and stay focused

The key to depression recovery is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there. Draw upon whatever resources you have. You may not have much energy, but you probably have enough to take a short walk around the block or pick up the phone to call a loved one.

Take things one day at a time and reward yourself for each accomplishment. The steps may seem small, but they’ll quickly add up. And for all the energy you put in to your depression recovery, you’ll get back much more in return.

Depression self-help tip 1: Cultivate supportive relationships

Getting the support you need plays a big role in lifting the fog of depression and keeping it away. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression. But the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. However, isolation and loneliness make depression even worse, so maintaining your close relationships and social activities are important.

The thought of reaching out to even close family members and friends can seem overwhelming. You may feel ashamed, too exhausted to talk, or guilty for neglecting the relationship. Remind yourself that this is the depression talking. You loved ones care about you and want to help.

Turn to trusted friends and family members. Share what you’re going through with the people you love and trust. Ask for the help and support you need. You may have retreated from your most treasured relationships, but they can get you through this tough time.

Try to keep up with social activities even if you don’t feel like it. When you’re depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell. But being around other people will make you feel less depressed.
Join a support group for depression. Being with others who are dealing with depression can go a long way in reducing your sense of isolation. You can also encourage each other, give and receive advice on how to cope, and share your experiences.

10 tips for reaching out and building relationships

Talk to one person about your feelings.
Help someone else by volunteering.
Have lunch or coffee with a friend.
Ask a loved one to check in with you regularly.
Accompany someone to the movies, a concert, or a small get-together.
Call or email an old friend.
Go for a walk with a workout buddy.
Schedule a weekly dinner date.
Meet new people by taking a class or joining a club.
Confide in a counselor, therapist, or clergy member.
Depression self-help tip 2: Challenge negative thinking
Learn about hidden sources of depression

Roadblocks to awareness

Depression puts a negative spin on everything, including the way you see yourself, the situations you encounter, and your expectations for the future.

But you can’t break out of this pessimistic mind frame by “just thinking positive.” Happy thoughts or wishful thinking won’t cut it. Rather, the trick is to replace negative thoughts with more balanced thoughts.

Ways to challenge negative thinking:

Think outside yourself. Ask yourself if you’d say what you’re thinking about yourself to someone else. If not, stop being so hard on yourself. Think about less harsh statements that offer more realistic descriptions.
Allow yourself to be less than perfect. Many depressed people are perfectionists, holding themselves to impossibly high standards and then beating themselves up when they fail to meet them. Battle this source of self-imposed stress by challenging your negative ways of thinking

Socialize with positive people. Notice how people who always look on the bright side deal with challenges, even minor ones, like not being able to find a parking space. Then consider how you would react in the same situation. Even if you have to pretend, try to adopt their optimism and persistence in the face of difficulty.
Keep a “negative thought log.” Whenever you experience a negative thought, jot down the thought and what triggered it in a notebook. Review your log when you’re in a good mood. Consider if the negativity was truly warranted. Ask yourself if there’s another way to view the situation. For example, let’s say your boyfriend was short with you and you automatically assumed that the relationship was in trouble. But maybe he’s just having a bad day.

Types of negative thinking that add to depression

All-or-nothing thinking – Looking at things in black-or-white categories, with no middle ground (“If I fall short of perfection, I’m a total failure.”)

Overgeneralization – Generalizing from a single negative experience, expecting it to hold true forever (“I can’t do anything right.”)

The mental filter – Ignoring positive events and focusing on the negative. Noticing the one thing that went wrong, rather than all the things that went right.

Diminishing the positive – Coming up with reasons why positive events don’t count (“She said she had a good time on our date, but I think she was just being nice.”)

Jumping to conclusions – Making negative interpretations without real evidence. You act like a mind reader (“He must think I’m pathetic.”) or a fortune teller (“I’ll be stuck in this dead end job forever.”)
Emotional reasoning – Believing that the way you feel reflects reality (“I feel like such a loser. I really am no good!”)

‘Shoulds’ and ‘should-nots’- Holding yourself to a strict list of what you should and shouldn’t do, and beating yourself up if you don’t live up to your rules.

Labeling – Labeling yourself based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings (“I’m a failure; an idiot; a loser.”)
Depression self-help tip 3: Take care of yourself

In order to overcome depression, you have to take care of yourself. This includes following a healthy lifestyle, learning to manage stress, setting limits on what you’re able to do, adopting healthy habits, and scheduling fun activities into your day.

Aim for 8 hours of sleep. Depression typically involves sleep problems. Whether you’re sleeping too little or too much, your mood suffers. Get on a better sleep schedule by learning healthy sleep habits.
Expose yourself to a little sunlight every day. Lack of sunlight can make depression worse. Make sure you’re getting enough. Take a short walk outdoors, have your coffee outside, enjoy an al fresco meal, people-watch on a park bench, or sit out in the garden.

Keep stress in check. Not only does stress prolong and worsen depression, but it can also trigger it. Figure out all the things in your life that are stressing you out. Examples include: work overload, unsupportive relationships, taking on too much, or health problems. Once you’ve identified your stressors, you can make a plan to avoid them or minimize their impact.

Practice relaxation techniques. A daily relaxation practice can help relieve symptoms of depression, reduce stress, and boost feelings of joy and well-being. Try yoga, deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation.

Care for a pet. While nothing can replace the human connection, pets can bring joy and companionship into your life and help you feel less isolated. Caring for a pet can also get you outside of yourself and you a sense of being needed—both powerful antidotes to depression.

Do things you enjoy (or used to)

While you can’t force yourself to have fun or experience pleasure, you can choose to do things that you used to enjoy. Pick up a former hobby or a sport you used to like. Express yourself creatively through music, art, or writing. Go out with friends. Take a day trip to a museum, the mountains, or the ballpark.

Push yourself to do things, even when you don’t feel like it. You might be surprised at how much better you feel once you’re out in the world. Even if your depression doesn’t lift immediately, you’ll gradually feel more upbeat and energetic as you make time for fun activities.

Develop a wellness toolbox

Come up with a list of things that you can do for a quick mood boost. Include any strategies, activities, or skills that have helped in the past. The more “tools” for coping with depression, the better. Try and make a few of these ideas each day, even if you’re feeling good.

Spend some time in nature
List what you like about yourself
Read a good book
Watch a funny movie or TV show
Take a long, hot bath
Take care of a few small tasks
Play with a pet
Write in your journal
Listen to music
Do something spontaneous

Depression self-help tip 4: Get regular exercise

When you’re depressed, exercising may be the last thing you feel like doing. But exercise is a powerful tool for dealing with depression. In fact, studies show that regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication at increasing energy levels and decreasing feelings of fatigue.

Scientists haven’t figured out exactly why exercise is such a potent antidepressant, but evidence suggests that physical activity triggers new cell growth in the brain, increases mood-enhancing neurotransmitters and endorphins, reduces stress, and relieves muscle tension—all things that can have a positive effect on depression.

To get the most benefit, aim for 30 minutes of exercise per day. But you can start small. Short 10-minute bursts of activity can have a positive effect on your mood. Here are a few easy ways to get moving:

Take the stairs and not the elevator
Park your car in the farthest spot in the lot
Take your dog for a walk
Pair up with an exercise partner
Walk while you’re talking on the phone
As a next step, try incorporating walks or some other enjoyable, easy form of exercise into your daily routine. The key is to pick an activity you enjoy, so you’re more likely to keep up with it.

Exercise as an Antidepressant

The following exercise tips offer a powerful prescription for boosting mood:
Exercise now…and again. A 10-minute walk can improve your mood for two hours. The key to sustaining mood benefits is to exercise regularly.

Choose activities that are moderately intense. Aerobic exercise undoubtedly has mental health benefits, but you don’t need to sweat strenuously to see results.

Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic (and not intermittent). Walking, swimming, dancing, stationery biking, and yoga are good choices.

Add a mind-body element. Activities such as yoga and tai chi rest your mind and pump up your energy. You can also add a meditative element to walking or swimming by repeating a mantra (a word or phrase) as you move.
Start slowly, and don’t overdo it. More isn’t better. Athletes who over train find their moods drop rather than lift.

Depression self-help tip 5: Eat a healthy, mood-boosting diet

What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Aim for a balanced diet of protein, complex carbohydrates, fruits and vegetables.

Don’t skip meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every 3-4 hours.

Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, or comfort foods such as pasta or french fries. But these “feel-good” foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy.

Focus on complex carbohydrates. Foods such as baked potatoes, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, oatmeal, whole grain breads, and bananas can boost serotonin levels without a crash.

Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.
Consider taking a chromium supplement. Some depression studies show that chromium picolinate reduces carbohydrate cravings, eases mood swings, and boosts energy. Supplementing with chromium picolinate is especially effective for people who tend to overeat and oversleep when depressed.
Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in stabilizing mood.
Foods rich in certain omega-3 fats called EPA and DHA can give your mood a big boost. The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, and some cold water fish oil supplements. Canned albacore tuna and lake trout can also be good sources, depending on how the fish were raised and processed.
You may hear a lot about getting your omega-3’s from foods rich in ALA fatty acids. Main sources are vegetable oils and nuts (especially walnuts), flax, soybeans, and tofu. Be aware that our bodies generally convert very little ALA into EPA and DHA, so you may not see as big of a benefit.
Some people avoid seafood because they worry about mercury or other possible toxins. But most experts agree that the benefits of eating 2 servings a week of cold water fatty fish outweigh the risks.
Depression self-help tip 6: Know when to get additional help
If you find your depression getting worse and worse, seek professional help. Needing additional help doesn’t mean you’re weak. Sometimes the negative thinking in depression can make you feel like you’re a lost cause, but depression can be treated and you can feel better!

Don’t forget about these self-help tips, though. Even if you’re receiving professional help, these tips can be part of your treatment plan, speeding your recovery and preventing depression from returning.

*****

Understanding Depression
SIGNS, SYMPTOMS, CAUSES, AND HELP

Feeling down from time to time is a normal part of life. But when emptiness and despair take hold and won’t go away, it may be depression. The lows of depression make it tough to act and enjoy life like you once did. Just getting through the day can be overwhelming. No matter hopeless you feel, you can get better. But first, you need to understand depression. Learning about depression—including its signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment—is the first step to overcoming the problem.

IN THIS ARTICLE:

What is depression?
Signs and symptoms
Depression and suicide
The faces of depression
Types of depression
Causes and risk factors
The road to depression recovery

What is depression?

We all go through ups and downs in our mood. Sadness is a normal reaction to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness.

Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don’t feel sad at all—they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic, or men in particular may even feel angry, aggressive, and restless.

Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.

Are you depressed?

If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms, and they just won’t go away, you may be suffering from clinical depression.
you can’t sleep or you sleep too much
you can’t concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult
you feel hopeless and helpless
you can’t control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try
you have lost your appetite or you can’t stop eating
you are much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual
you’re consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless behavior
you have thoughts that life is not worth living (Seek help immediately if this is the case)
Signs and symptoms of depression
Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms. It’s important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life’s normal lows. But the more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted—the more likely it is that you’re dealing with depression. When these symptoms are overwhelming and disabling, that’s when it’s time to seek help.

Common signs and symptoms of depression

Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.

Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.

Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.

Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).

Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.

Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.

Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.

Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.

Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.

Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain.

Depression and suicide

Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness that goes along with depression can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain. Thoughts of death or suicide are a serious symptom of depression, so take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously. It’s not just a warning sign that the person is thinking about suicide: it’s a cry for help.

Warning signs of suicide include:

Talking about killing or harming one’s self
Expressing strong feelings of hopelessness or being trapped
An unusual preoccupation with death or dying
Acting recklessly, as if they have a death wish (e.g. speeding through red lights)
Calling or visiting people to say goodbye
Getting affairs in order (giving away prized possessions, tying up loose ends)
Saying things like “Everyone would be better off without me” or “I want out”
A sudden switch from being extremely depressed to acting calm and happy
If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, express your concern and seek professional help immediately. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life!

If You Are Feeling Suicidal…

When you’re feeling extremely depressed or suicidal, problems don’t seem temporary—they seem overwhelming and permanent. But with time, you will feel better, especially if you reach out for help. If you are feeling suicidal, know that there are many people who want to support you during this difficult time, so please reach out for help!

The faces of depression

Depression often looks different in men and women, and in young people and older adults. An awareness of these differences helps ensure that the problem is recognized and treated.

Depression in men

Depression is a loaded word in our culture. Many associate it, however wrongly, with a sign of weakness and excessive emotion. This is especially true with men. Depressed men are less likely than women to acknowledge feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness. Instead, they tend to complain about fatigue, irritability, sleep problems, and loss of interest in work and hobbies. Other signs and symptoms of depression in men include anger, aggression, violence, reckless behavior, and substance abuse. Even though depression rates for women are twice as high as those in men, men are a higher suicide risk, especially older men.

Depression in women

Rates of depression in women are twice as high as they are in men. This is due in part to hormonal factors, particularly when it comes to premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), postpartum depression, and perimenopausal depression. As for signs and symptoms, women are more likely than men to experience pronounced feelings of guilt, sleep excessively, overeat, and gain weight. Women are also more likely to suffer from seasonal affective disorder.

Depression in teens

While some depressed teens appear sad, others do not. In fact, irritability—rather than depression—is frequently the predominant symptom in depressed adolescents and teens. A depressed teenager may be hostile, grumpy, or easily lose his or her temper. Unexplained aches and pains are also common symptoms of depression in young people.

Left untreated, teen depression can lead to problems at home and school, drug abuse, self-loathing—even irreversible tragedy such as homicidal violence or suicide. But with help, teenage depression is highly treatable.

Depression in older adults

The difficult changes that many older adults face—such as bereavement, loss of independence, and health problems—can lead to depression, especially in those without a strong support system. However, depression is not a normal part of aging. Older adults tend to complain more about the physical rather than the emotional signs and symptoms of depression, and so the problem often goes unrecognized. Depression in older adults is associated with poor health, a high mortality rate, and an increased risk of suicide, so diagnosis and treatment are extremely important.

Postpartum Depression

Many new mothers suffer from some fleeting form of the “baby blues.” Postpartum depression, in contrast, is a longer lasting and more serious depression triggered, in part, by hormonal changes associated with having a baby. Postpartum depression usually develops soon after delivery, but any depression that occurs within six months of childbirth may be postpartum depression.

Types of depression

Depression comes in many shapes and forms. The different types of depression have unique symptoms, causes, and effects. Knowing what type of depression you have can help you manage your symptoms and get the most effective treatment.

Major depression

Major depression is characterized by the inability to enjoy life and experience pleasure. The symptoms are constant, ranging from moderate to severe. Left untreated, major depression typically lasts for about six months. Some people experience just a single depressive episode in their lifetime, but more commonly, major depression is a recurring disorder. However, there are many things you can do to support your mood and reduce the risk of recurrence.

Dysthymia (recurrent, mild depression)

Dysthmia is a type of chronic “low-grade” depression. More days than not, you feel mildly or moderately depressed, although you may have brief periods of normal mood. The symptoms of dysthymia are not as strong as the symptoms of major depression, but they last a long time (at least two years). These chronic symptoms make it very difficult to live life to the fullest or to remember better times. Some people also experience major depressive episodes on top of dysthymia, a condition known as “double depression.” If you suffer from dysthymia, you may feel like you’ve always been depressed. Or you may think that your continuous low mood is “just the way you are.” However, dysthymia can be treated, even if your symptoms have gone unrecognized or untreated for years.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

There’s a reason why so many movies and books portray rainy days and stormy weather as gloomy. Some people get depressed in the fall or winter, when overcast days are frequent and sunlight is limited. This type of depression is called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Seasonal affective disorder is more common in northern climates and in younger people. Like depression, seasonal affective disorder is treatable. Light therapy, a treatment that involves exposure to bright artificial light, often helps relieve symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder: When Depression is Just One Side of the Coin

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is characterized by cycling mood changes. Episodes of depression alternate with manic episodes, which can include impulsive behavior, hyperactivity, rapid speech, and little to no sleep. Typically, the switch from one mood extreme to the other is gradual, with each manic or depressive episode lasting for at least several weeks. When depressed, a person with bipolar disorder exhibits the usual symptoms of major depression. However, the treatments for bipolar depression are very different. In fact, antidepressants can make bipolar depression worse.

Depression causes and risk factors

Some illnesses have a specific medical cause, making treatment straightforward. If you have diabetes, you take insulin. If you have appendicitis, you have surgery. But depression is more complicated. Depression is not just the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, and is not simply cured with medication. Experts believe that depression is caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors. In other words, your lifestyle choices, relationships, and coping skills matter just as much—if not more so—than genetics. However, certain risk factors make you more vulnerable to depression.

Causes and risk factors for depression
Loneliness
Lack of social support
Recent stressful life experiences
Family history of depression
Marital or relationship problems
Financial strain
Early childhood trauma or abuse
Alcohol or drug abuse
Unemployment or underemployment
Health problems or chronic pain

The cause of your depression helps determine the treatment
Understanding the underlying cause of your depression may help you overcome the problem. For example, if you are depressed because of a dead end job, the best treatment might be finding a more satisfying career, not taking an antidepressant. If you are new to an area and feeling lonely and sad, finding new friends at work or through a hobby will probably give you more of a mood boost than going to therapy. In such cases, the depression is remedied by changing the situation.

The road to depression recovery

Just as the symptoms and causes of depression are different in different people, so are the ways to feel better. What works for one person might not work for another, and no one treatment is appropriate in all cases. If you recognize the signs of depression in yourself or a loved one, take some time to explore the many treatment options. In most cases, the best approach involves a combination of social support, lifestyle changes, emotional skills building, and professional help.

Ask for help and support

If even the thought of tackling your depression seems overwhelming, don’t panic. Feeling helpless and hopeless is a symptom of depression—not the reality of your situation. It does not mean that you’re weak or you can’t change! The key to depression recovery is to start small and ask for help. Having a strong support system in place will speed your recovery. Isolation fuels depression, so reach out to others, even when you feel like being alone. Let your family and friends know what you’re going through and how they can support you.

Make healthy lifestyle changes
Lifestyle changes are not always easy to make, but they can have a big impact on depression. Lifestyle changes that can be very effective include:

Cultivating supportive relationships
Getting regular exercise and sleep
Eating healthfully to naturally boost mood
Managing stress
Practicing relaxation techniques
Challenging negative thought patterns

Build emotional skills
Need Help Building Emotional Skills?
Helpguide’s Bring Your Life into Balance mindfulness toolkit can help.

Many people lack the skills needed to manage stress and balance emotions. Building emotional skills can give you the ability to cope and bounce back from adversity, trauma, and loss. In other words, learning how to recognize and express your emotions can make you more resilient.

Seek professional help

If support from family and friends, positive lifestyle changes, and emotional skills building aren’t enough, seek help from a mental health professional. There are many effective treatments for depression, including therapy, medication, and alternative treatments. Learning about your options will help you decide what measures are most likely to work best for your particular situation and needs.

Are antidepressants right for you?

Medication can help relieve the symptoms of depression in some people, but they aren’t a cure and they come with drawbacks of their own. Learning the facts about antidepressants and weighing the benefits against the risks can help you make an informed and personal decision about whether medication is right for you.
Effective treatment for depression often includes some form of therapy. Therapy gives you tools to treat depression from a variety of angles. Also, what you learn in therapy gives you skills and insight to prevent depression from coming back.

Some types of therapy teach you practical techniques on how to reframe negative thinking and employ behavioral skills in combating depression. Therapy can also help you work through the root of your depression, helping you understand why you feel a certain way, what your triggers are for depression, and what you can do to stay healthy.

Look for the related articles on depression as suggested:-

Depression TreatmentFaces of DepressionSuicide PreventionResources & References
Depression Treatment

Dealing with Depression You can’t beat depression with sheer willpower, but you can make a huge dent with simple lifestyle changes and other coping tips.

Helping a Depressed Person Learn how to avoid becoming depressed yourself while caring for a loved one who is depressed

Depression Treatment Learn about the many effective ways of dealing with depression including therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.

Antidepressant Medications Make informed and personal decisions by learning the facts and weighing the benefits against the risks.

Compiled by : Sanaa 02/10/12

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