What Is Depression?

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By Mia Ingui 

It can affect anyone, at any time or place, no matter what his or her circumstance. That is the most terrifying part of a mental disorder such as depression. It is a common word in our language, used often to describe our moods. Yet, it is never used appropriately. Felling depressed and going through a depression are actually two different things. Really understanding depression is difficult if you have never experienced it, but here are some answers to questions regarding depression.

Q: What exactly is depression?

A: Depression is typically defined as intense feelings of sadness, loneliness, or helplessness that last for days, even weeks or months. If your feelings of sadness are affecting your ability to function normally and last for longer than just a few moments, you may be experiencing a clinical depression, which is a medical condition than can be treated.

Q: How do I know if I have depression?

A: There is actually a manual to help treat depression, describing the symptoms in all of their severities. Usually one would be diagnosed with depression if they are experiencing five or more of these symptoms:

– A depressed mood during most of the day, particularly in the morning

– Fatigue or loss of energy almost every day

– Feelings of worthlessness or guilt almost every day

– Impaired concentration, indecisiveness

– Insomnia (an inability to sleep) or hypersomnia (excessive sleeping) almost every day

– Diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities nearly every day

– Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

– A sense of restlessness

– Significant weight loss or weight gain

Q: How do I seek help for my depression?

A: Talk to your doctor or someone close to you. Admitting that you may have depression is the first step to treating it.