Knowing About And Dealing With Depression
February 6, 2013

Depression 101 – Symptoms And Treatment

Connie K. Ho for — Your Universe Online

Heartbreak. A death in the family. All these things can lead to the blues, otherwise known as depression. Affecting one in five Americans, problems related to anxiety and depression can be difficult to overcome. Even so, there are particular signs that can distinguish the treatment options that are available for those suffering from depression.

To begin, an individual who is suffering from depression or anxiety may feel a sense of sadness for a prolonged period of time. This sadness may be mixed with feelings of pessimism, guilt, or hopelessness. People who are depressed may also appear to be more irritable, restless, or have decreased interest in activities and things they used to find enjoyable. Other health issues related to depression include insomnia, overeating or appetite loss, as well as thoughts of suicide or attempts at committing suicide.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it´s important for individuals to seek assistance in combating anxiety and depression. While individuals may feel embarrassed or shameful, depression is a true medical condition that can be treated. For individuals who suffer from these various symptoms or for people who find friends or families falling prey to these health problems, there is treatment available to help work through these issues. Adults may seek out antidepressant drugs, psychotherapy, or a mix of the two; it is important that an appropriate medication be prescribed for a particular condition. As every individual is different, it may take trial and error to find the right medication that works. Some antidepressants may cause side effects as well.

Apart from treatment, the Mayo Clinic offers a number of self-care steps. For example, getting enough exercise and sleep can have a positive effect on attitude. Physical activity, such as jogging, swimming, gardening, or walking, can help decrease depression symptoms. Sleep is essential for physical and mental health as well.

If depression is not treated, there may be significant consequences. The Mayo Clinic reported that complications related to depression can include alcohol abuse, substance abuse, family conflicts, relationship difficulties, social isolation, self-mutilation, or even premature death.

Last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) planned events on World Mental Health Day to bring more awareness to the issue. The organization noted that over 350 million people around the world suffer from depression and a recent WHO study discovered that approximately five percent of people in the world suffered from depression in 2011. WHO hopes to provide improved access to treatment and to stop the stigmatization associated with mental health disorders.

“We have some highly effective treatments for depression. Unfortunately, fewer than half of the people who have depression receive the care they need. In fact in many countries this is less than 10%,” remarked Dr. Shekhar Saxena, who serves as the Director of the Department for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, in a prepared statement. “This is why WHO is supporting countries in fighting stigma as a key activity to increasing access to treatment.”