Depression is probably the most
unpleasant experience a person can endure. It is far more difficult to
cope with than a physical ailment. In times of crisis, our bodies need
the extra adrenaline which causes the all-too-familiar symptoms we
associate with nervousness, including racing heart, increased blood
pressure, dry mouth and jitteriness. Depression and nervousness
are, first of all, normal emotional reactions which we all experience.
Anxiety is a protective emotion. It allows us to know when we
are in trouble and prepares us for an appropriate response.
Although we sometimes feel a person may
have "a right to be depressed", we should remember that many people go
through tremendous emotional stress without ever becoming clinically
depressed. Clinical depression is unhappiness which has crossed
over a critical boundary and become a chemical problem with the brain.
There are signs and symptoms
indicated when a person is suffering from depression. These common
signs and symptoms of depression fall into six broad categories;
Emotional, Psychological, Social, Cognitive, Psychiatric and Physical. Emotional involves a feeling of sadness, depressed mood, anxiety,
irritability and the result of a normal reaction to a specific event,
usually brief, such as loss of a job; Psychological is the result of
an emotional conflict which cannot be resolved. These may
develop from childhood, or as a person matures; eg. a woman in a bad
marriage who cannot make up her mind to leave, torn between her "love"
or "dependency", and the unpleasantness she is experiencing every day
or it may be psychological as in feelings of guilt, worthlessness,
hopelessness and that recovery is impossible. The sufferer lacks
interest in his usual activities and the world around him, and often
has oppressive guilt feelings and self-pitying self-absorption. Social
sense when there is isolation, withdrawn behavior and poor job
performance resulting to low productivity rate; Cognitive meaning obsessional thinking, decreased memory and poor concentration;
Psychiatric, experiencing delusions, paranoid fears and
hallucinations; and Physical or "Clinical" Depression, results when
the stressors the individual experiences cause actual chemical changes
in the brain. These chemical changes are usually present as
physical and/or behavioral changes, including constipation, mood varies
during the day, decreased sex drive, oversleeping or insomnia, not
enough energy or tired, negative thoughts, hypochondriasis, feeling
agitated easily and occasionally suicidal thoughts or actions.
While the most severe of the rest, "Clinical" Depression is also the
most treatable. Positive response to appropriate antidepressant
medication is as much as 80 to 90 percent. The other
depressions, when unresolved, may become "Clinical" Depressions.
"Clinical" depression, also known as
"major" depression, may also be inherited as a primary illness,
requiring no precipitating events to manifest itself. This
genetic form of the disease may cause depressive symptoms chronically
or, to a lesser extent, make the individual more vulnerable to
developing symptoms of major depression under stress. Like
diabetes, or patients with high blood pressure, these individuals
require chronic medical attention and should avoid situations which
may aggravate their condition. However, there are treatment
which may be done with medication or psychotherapy, or a combination
of both, to stabilize this so called "chemical imbalance" that the
person is suffering.