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A guide to depression
Everyone feels sad or down at times - it's part and parcel of leading a normal varied life. But if you constantly feel a bit miserable and you find it difficult to enjoy anything, it could be a sign that you are depressed.
Other symptoms can include feeling constantly tired, losing interest in hobbies, your family and friends, and your sex life, feeling tearful, or crying for no good reason, and disturbed sleep - either sleeping too much, or tending to wake early in the morning. Many people with depression have low self-esteem, find it difficult to concentrate or remember things, and have a change in appetite - either eating more than usual, or eating much less. Physical symptoms are common too - vague aches and pains, and worse symptoms from any problems you may already have, such as arthritis or an irritable bowel.
Depression is a genuine illness, and it's not a sign of weakness or that you should just 'pull yourself together'. It known to be linked to a change in levels of the chemicals in the brain, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, that control mood. In some cases there is an identifiable cause, such as bereavement, or a series of stressful life events. It can also be triggered by coping with a long-term illness, or after giving birth. But in many cases it just occurs for no reason at all. This is especially common in people who have a family history of the condition. Trying to cope by drinking alcohol tends to make it worse.
If you think you may be suffering from depression, or someone has mentioned to you that they are worried you are depressed, then see your GP as soon as possible. Be open and honest about how you are feeling - it will help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis. Your doctor may also ask you to fill in a questionnaire about how you have been feeling for the past two weeks - this helps them to judge the severity of your mood change.
Mild depression can often be tackled successfully by lifestyle changes - making sure you get a little more sleep, eating sensibly, cutting down on booze, and most importantly, taking regular exercise.
Mild to moderate depression can also be helped with the herbal remedy St Johns Wort If you decide to give this a try, make sure you buy a registered herbal product, which should come in a packet with a full information leaflet. It is important you read this to check if it is suitable for you, or will interact with any medicines you are already taking.
Treatment available from your doctor for moderate to severe depression includes anti-depressant medication or talking therapy, or a combination of both. Anti-depressant drugs help to boost levels of the chemicals in the brain that control mood. The most common type used are Selective Serotonin Uptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, such as citalopram or fluoxetine. They do not cause an instant change in mood, and usually take at least a week - often longer - to take effect. They are not addictive - you do not get used to them and need an increase in dose, and there is no compulsion to take any extra dose either.
Once you are started on antidepressants you should reckon on needing to take them for at least six months, sometimes longer. It is usually best to stop them gradually, to avoid slight dizziness which can occur if they are stopped suddenly.
There are various different types of talking therapy which can be helpful. Counselling allows you to chat through and obtain advice on coping with any problems that may be troubling you, but if you have a rather negative outlook on life then you may benefit from more structured cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT). Your GP will be able to advise on the type of treatment that is most suitable for you.
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Depression can also be an indicator of some other underlying psychological conditions too. It's not always obvious that you might be suffering from Aspergers Syndrome, *for instance*, as conditions like this can get passed off as simple behavioural traits BUT they do cause greater instances of depression & anxiety among their possible syptoms.
This MSN article is DANGEROUS in that it makes taking SSRIs, like Citalapram, seem like a wonderfully simple cure-all fix. They are not, and I say that both from personal experience and that of friends. SSRIs are known to cause you to feel very lethargic, heavy headed, be unable to concentrate, have poor attention to detail, motivation & drive issues, dietary problems and pose potential fertility risks for both sexes in the medium to long term. It doesn't help that a lot of GPs really still are of the opinion that 'we' are whingers, and dole the drugs out like Smarties to shut us up, instead of providing positive, targetted councelling that can allow people the chance to develop their own mechanisms for coping... and as a patient you're not always aware of, or in a position to insist on, appropriate methods of treatment unless they are suggested - which often they are not.
There is no simple fix, it is different for everyone... If it was simply more sleep, less drink, less stress then it wouldn't be a recognized & medically accepted condition.
Personally, the best thing I ever did was throw the medication away, learn to recognize & understand my condition & it's effects - including the positives of being Aspergers, such as heightened specific skills & talents - and becoming a father, to the loveliest little chap in the World - who provides me with all the reasons I could ever want to keep on trying.
Indviduals can contact their local branch of Mind for help and support. The Oxfordshire branch has a dedicated team of over 100 staff working right across the county.
I was diagnosed with Bi-polar approx. 4yrs ago having suffered off and on with depression most of my life .I tried to" treat" myself feeling ashamed that i couldnt seem to pull myself together as friends and work colleges told me.My CPN says there isnt a stigma attached to depression/bipolar but its surprising how many people ive known who suddenly become very busy or just stop phoning or asking you out for coffee.
I count myself lucky that i have a very good consultant who understands my out bursts and is always at the end of a phone should i need him.As for medication i had two chioces either try what was recommended or just let the" monster" inside me take over.Im glad i made the chioce i did tablets are not my idea of fun but at least i nolonger sleep all day not wanting to get washed or dressed or speak to anyone.
I know how good i am when i can look outside the window and recognise the sun shining,maybe life isnt as bad after all.
I'm 20 and I have recently been diagnosed with depression. I never knew I had it. I would be on the bus traveling to work and if another person looks at me i think they want to hurt me and I would get anxious and move away from them. If the bus goes under a bridge I would think that the top of the bus would hit the bridge. I work in under a train track bridge and everything a train goes overhead the roof would shake and I always thought the roof would cave in and make excuses to my employers to go home. I would shake and my breathing would go wild. I looked up anxiety on Google, I experienced every sympton shown. I kept this from my family for a long time then it got worse and I became aggitated an my attitude got worse so I decided to speak to my parents about the smallest problems I feel. They advised to go doctors which I did the following day and I cried as soon as I started talking about it. From there I realised I had a problem. He conducted a questionnaire which is a simple circle some numbers which they then count and speak with you about treatment based on your score. Mine was a simple talk with him every week and my employers. My employers othered support and spoke with my everyday and kept my enthusiam and spirits up. Speak with your employers and family as they will be able to help you through everything. It's hard at first as you feel, I'm not a child I should grow up and stop being silly but depression is not something that you will be able to handle by your self. It's important to speak to someone as soon as you experience any symptoms. I hope this helps. Stacey
Depression is one of the symptoms of HYPOTHYROIDISM. In fact, the symptoms of depression ape the symptoms of hypothyroidism and therefore the two are regularly, FAR TOO REGULARLY confused and the thyroid missed as a probable cause, and left untreated!
Hypothyroidism, untreated, is a killer, and on the way to that is a living death!
If you have been suffering with depression for more than a couple of months, or indeed if you have to go to the GP for symptoms of depression at all, please insist on a thyroid test! (Having said this, that doesn't necessarily get you totally out of the woods re diagnosis, as the 'normal range' of levels is very wide, and some GPs will not try you on thyroxine even if you are on the cusp of those levels.)
Be aware however, that nowadays they are allowed to, (different from in the early nineties), so don't take a 'normal' but low result as written in stone, and ask if your GP would consider trying you on Thyroxine as a test.
If you have a low reading, and your Dr. won’t, - keep an eye on your list of symptoms, write them down, and if they worsen or get added to, go back and ask for another test, or get another Doctor, someone who will listen! Please note, don’t go to the Doctor when you feel quite well, as any test will come back ok, (even when you are hypothyroid, levels fluctuate immensely and could confuse matters. Doing this is part of the reason the thyroid link is missed, and the hell goes on for countless people.)
Hypothyroidism is a physical disease and is SOOOO easily treated, (tablets the size of saccharine tabs), of thyroxine, and in the UK this is automatically free from charges.
As a generality, (of the properly diagnosed population) Hypothyroidism affects 1:50 female, to 1:1000 male, but is noted widely that this is probably a conservative estimate, and can happen at any age.
I have tried to add a few links to the bottom of this post just to get you started, however it is being stopped because they are being misread as poss spam, (but Google, Hypothyroidism symptoms). PLEASE read them ALL up. IF your depression is caused by hypothyroidism it could save your life, and indeed make life worth living again.
thats makes it so much easier when other people know what your going through
for people who have never had depression,its very hard for them to understand,,its not a illness that can be seen,,its an illness that people can hide,,
my god in thisday and age,it should be written on walls for everyone to see,and try to understand, i do believe that i will have to life with this for the rest of my life and never
get up in the mornings and have that feeling of happiness,,no fear,the worry about how im going to get through the day
i feel so deeply for everyone that suffers from depression,,and wish there was a cure for it like so many other illnesses xxxx
i was diagnosed with depression over four years ago and like others probably had quite a while before that,i have had real lows in which i felt so worthless that for everyones sake and mine i'd be better off out of the picture,but it was the thought of my kids that stopped me doing anything stupid,i have very little self esteem and find it hard to concentrate and focus on even the most trivial things everything seems to be an effort,i don't sleep very well and am always tired it's a struggle to get through the day,another thing is when i'm depressed i get quite aggressive and am horrible to the people around me but i can't see it,it's people around me that let me know and that in turn makes the situation worse,i'd find myself crying for very little reason or no reason at all,some mornings on the way to work i'd cry then put a front on to work mates as if nothing was wrong but they now know about me and are very supportive as are my bosses who accomodate me with work that i can cope with which is a big help,i've been on citalopram and was on it for about three years but even with the dosage increased it stopped working for me so then i was put on flouxetine which helped a bit and has now been increased but feel quite drained all the time and find it hard to concentrate and have very little energy,i've tried a few times to come off them but then hit rock bottom and wanting the easy way out so was put back on them,it's very frustrating trying to explain how you feel and i think unless you've suffered depression you can't quite understand what people go through with it and it makes me so angry when you get someone telling you to just snap out of it,if i could snap out of it i would'nt be depressed - it's an illness FACT i hate being like it but the medication does help,hopefully i'll get some counselling,i used to hate admitting i had depression because of the stigma you get from it but now i find it's best to come clean and try to explain to people how i feel
Unlike every day understandable mood changes or transient sadness , clinical Depressive Illness is serious but thankfully treatable in vast majority of cases. One needs to understand the characteristic biological symptoms and seek help from GP if troublesome symptoms continue unabated for 2 weeks or more. delaying only can make suffering worse and make it more resistant to treatment,
RECONGNIZE THESE BIOLOGICAL SYPMTOMS IF PRESENT - SEEK GP'S HELP SOON.
Poor sleep with broken sleep & early waking.
Feeling worse in mornings improving somewhat as the day goes.
Poor appetite generally.
Weight loss 5% or more in last 2 weeks.
Loss of energy, initiative and libido.
Bodyaches and headaches ( vague but like heaviness, constriction , heart beat awareness , tummy ache ).
Talking therapy may not help in severe cases and anti depressants can transform lives, return it to normal daily living and joys. So NEVER dalay seeking help as GP's are getting better at recognizing & getting the right help from specialists if needed.