Focus on Depression – Part 1.

Focus on Depression – Part 1.

Focus on Depression – Part 1.

It’s been said that everyone gets the blues now and then. People get sad, disappointed, lonely and hopeless during different stages of their lives and for different reasons. One person suffering a job loss, and another moving away from home to attend college, may both may suffer from feelings of loneliness, despair and being overwhelmed.

Some people call this feeling the blues, like Karen Carpenter in her famous song “Rainy Days and Mondays.” She led a life some people only dream of, however, money, riches, fame and travel rarely take the place of good mental health care. Sadly, Karen Carpenter died of anorexia nervosa, another severe mental and physical disorder.

Another famous person with depression is Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys. By the mid-1960s Wilson was one of the giants of rock and roll, but depression robbed him. He spent years alone in his bedroom and in the dark places inside his mind, until he found proper mental health treatment. Today, he’s playing music, releasing albums and touring again.

Other famous people who’ve publicly admitted to having depression are Hugh Downs, anchor of the news show 20/20; Barbara Bush; Betty Ford, who started the Ford Clinic for Drug and Alcohol Addiction rehabilitation: and Patti Duke, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after years of suffering.

These people have had terrible battles with depressive illness and lived to tell their stories. There is proper care and treatment available, if one takes the initiative and seeks help from a doctor, psychologist or hypnotherapist.

But why do some people’s blues stick around? When they’re knocked by life’s tragedies, some people just can’t seem to recover, no matter what they do. These people have intense feelings of sadness, loneliness, mental and physical exhaustion, hopelessness and irritability. These feelings may last for days, weeks, months, even years if not understood and treated. A pep talk or thinking positive thoughts is not enough to bring a depressed person out of this state. Depression affects all areas of one’s life, including relationships with co-workers, bosses, family and friends. lt impedes one’s ability to go to school or work. While debilitating for the sufferer, symptoms of depression can also leave family members and friends feeling helpless and hopeless, not knowing what to do to help.

If left untreated, the depression may worsen. If there is no intervention, the sufferer may feel they can no longer bear feeling so intensely depressed and may attempt suicide. An unsuccessful suicide often leaves people in an even worse emotional state, scarred or brain damaged. Such an attempt should always be followed up with intensive medical and psychological intervention.

Major Depressive Disorder

Major depressive disorder is often called clinical depression; those hospitalized with depression are often diagnosed as clinically depressed. Symptoms of major depression are severe. A diagnosis of major depressive disorder is made if the person has five or more of the following symptoms for more than a two-week period. The individual must have had at least one of the first two symptoms during this two-week period.

  • persistent sad, anxious or empty mood
  • loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable
  • diminished sexual appetite
  • feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • insomnia, early-morning waking or sleeping more than normal
  • significant change in appetite or body weight
  • decreased energy, feelings of fatigue
  • recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • suicide attempts
  • restlessness or irritability
  • difficulty concentrating, remembering or making even simple decisions
  • persistent physical symptoms that don’t respond to treatment
  • headaches, digestive disorders and/or chronic pain

Not everyone who’s depressed experiences every symptom listed here. Again, the first two are the most important. The severity, affect and longevity of symptoms varies from person to person and must be considered in consultation with a doctor. These symptoms can be disabling. Imagine having five or more of them at once. Major depression affects more than fifteen percent of all Americans and Canadians. More importantly, once a person has had a major depressive episode, the chances of a recurrence double unless it’s properly treated.

Dysthymia

Dysthymia is sometimes referred to as minor depression, chronic depression or long-term depression. Dysthymia is quickly becoming one of America’s most common and most serious mental health issues. Unlike major depression, dysthymia is characterized by less intense and more persistent symptoms that may last for years.

To be diagnosed with dysthymia, an adult must have a series of persistent symptoms for at least two years. Children can be diagnosed with dysthymia if they have persistent symptoms for at least one year. Generally, people with dysthymia have no disturbance in appetite or sexual drive, don’t suffer from severe agitation, sedentary behavior or suicidal thoughts and/or actions. The symptoms of dysthymia include:

  • persistent sad, anxious or empty mood
  • decreased interest in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyable
  • feelings of guilt and/or hopelessness
  • insomnia, early-morning waking or oversleeping
  • decreased energy and feelings of fatigue
  • difficulty concentrating, remembering or making even simple decisions
  • persistent physical symptoms that don’t respond to treatment

Dysthymia seems like a less severe problem, but because the feelings associated with dysthymia aren’t as debilitating as those of clinical depression, most sufferers never seek help. They are affected for an agonizingly long time and can live their entire lives feeling miserable, dissatisfied and hopeless. Many people who never receive proper therapeutic treatment, can and do experience episodes of major depression sometime in their lives. A person already suffering from dysthymia who then experiences a major depressive episode, is receiving a “double whammy.” There are more than ten million people in the US with dysthymia and two million or more in Canada. Many develop dysthymia after experiencing a traumatic or life-threatening event, but about twenty-five percent of people with substance abuse problems (drugs and alcohol) have dysthymia or clinical depression. Regardless of the cause, the sooner one receives treatment for dysthymia or depression, the sooner relief can be found.

Source: Alan Eastman, DCH: Anxiety and Depression – Chapter 2

“This book is dedicated to you, the reader.

Picking up this book and reading it shows that you are committed to your true inner journey towards healing. If you suffer from anxiety and depression, then this book is truly dedicated to you for the courage to keep going in spite of the vast criticisms from others in our society. Our society still puts a stigma on people who have anxiety or depression: remember it’s not your fault that you are hurting, however, you can make a decision to seek help despite what anyone says. Getting help means you are a strong person, it means that you wish to feel better. You can do it! I know you can. If you need help, follow the directions and do the exercises in this book, work with a professional counselor and you will be on your way to true health. Good luck and best wishes for your continued improvement.”

Alan Eastman, DCH

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