Every brand-new day offers an opportunity for us to make our life worth living. That’s twenty four hours a day which is equivalent to one thousand four hundred forty minutes or eighty six thousand four hundred seconds. All those numbers make for a single day. That’s more than enough to make wonderful things happen. Or otherwise.
Because as the world turns and the demands of our fast-paced lifestyle gears for even greater challenges, expectations become high and seem unreal that people find themselves in situations getting overwhelmed, anxious, stressed and depressed.
“In any given 1-year period, 9.5 percent of the population, or about 20.9 million American adults, suffer from a depressive illness.”¹ According to the National Institute for Mental health, the economic cost for this disorder is high, but the cost in human suffering cannot be estimated.
Depression is a Serious Illness. Many people do not recognize depression. It’s not just a feeling of being “low” or “down” which people think will pass or disappear in a few days. It’s not something that you thought you have just made up in your mind. Depressed people cannot will themselves to get better.
When an intense feeling of sadness occurs, or discouragement, hopelessness, sometimes even despair that lasts for more than a week and stretches to months or even longer, that is depression. It is an illness that involves the body, mood and thoughts. Oftentimes, it interferes with the way a normal individual functions such as eating, sleeping, self-esteem and point of view. It can cause pain and suffering not only to the people who have the disorder, but also to those who care about them. When depression becomes serious, it can destroy a person’s life and the lives of those around him, such as his family and loved ones. Yet, such suffering is needless and can be prevented.
Types of Depression. There are different forms of depression. Three of the most common types of depressive disorders are the following: Major depression is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities. Such a disabling episode of depression may occur only once but more commonly occurs several times in a lifetime. Dysthymia is a less severe form of depression that is long-term, with chronic symptoms that do not disable, but keep one from functioning well or from feeling good. Many people with dysthymia also experience major depressive episodes at some time in their lives. The third type of depression is bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, manifested by mood changes in cycle: severe highs (mania) and lows (depression). There are times that the mood swings are dramatic and radical, but in most cases they are gradual. An individual in the depressed cycle can have any or all of the symptoms of a depressive disorder. When in the manic cycle, the individual may be overactive, overtalkative, and have a great deal of energy that affects thinking, judgment, and social behavior. This may result in unwise business decisions, embarrassing situations or haphazard romantic sprees. If left untreated, mania may worsen to a psychotic state.
However, within these types there are variations in the number of symptoms, their severity, and persistence.
Treatment Options. However, some of those who are aware of their depression do not think that it can be treated. If people with depressive illness will only seek treatment, even those whose depression is extremely severe can be helped.
A depressive disorder is not like a passing blue mood which can be willed away. Symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years and appropriate treatment can help a great deal. There are now anti-depressant medications and psychosocial therapies such as cognitive/behavioral, “talk” or interpersonal sessions that ease the pain of depression.
Antidepressant medications can help people realize significant recovery from their depression. These drugs should not be construed as magic potion or happy pills but prescription-only drugs that are to be strictly taken under a medical supervision by a licensed doctor.
The best treatment option depends on the kind of depression a person is going through. It is also important to know its history, the person’s age and preference. For kids, psychological treatment is usually preferred while adults with severe depression would require antidepressants or a combination of therapy and medications.