Regular Sadness vs. Depression
Feeling sad, down, or discouraged are natural human emotions. They’re reactions to the hassles and hurdles of life. We all feel this way at times.
We may feel sad over an argument with a friend, a breakup, or the loss of a job. We might be disappointed about our personal relationships. Or perhaps we feel discouraged if struggling with financial challenges. The death of someone close can lead to a specific kind of sadness — grief.
Most of the time, people manage to deal with these feelings and get past them with a little time and care.
Depression is more than occasionally feeling blue, sad, or down in the dumps, though. Depression is a strong mood involving sadness, discouragement, despair, or hopelessness that lasts for weeks, months, or even longer.
Depression affects more than a person’s mood. It drains the energy, motivation, and concentration a person needs for normal activities. It interferes with the ability to notice or enjoy the good things in life.
Signs of Depression
When people have depression, it affects their emotions and mood. It twists their way of thinking. Depression can also affect people physically, even causing body aches and pains. Not everyone who is depressed shows it in exactly the same way, though.
Here are some of the things people notice with depression:
- Negative feelings and mood. Depression involves feeling a negative, low mood for weeks or more. Someone with depression might feel unusually sad, discouraged, or defeated. He or she may feel hopeless, helpless, or alone. Some people feel guilty, unworthy, rejected, or unloved. Any or all of these emotions can be part of a depressed mood.
Depression doesn’t always cause people to feel mostly sad, though. For some people, depression shows up as a lasting mood of feeling irritable, easily annoyed, angry, or alienated.
- Negative thinking. When somebody has depression, it can cloud everything. The world looks bleak, and the person’s thoughts reflect that hopelessness and helplessness. This can make a person think things will never get better, that problems are too big to solve, that nothing can improve the situation, or that nothing matters.
People with depression tend to have negative and self-critical thoughts. They may believe they are worthless and unlovable — even though that’s not true. Depression can cause someone to think that life isn’t worth living. That can lead people with depression to think about harming themselves or about ending their own life.
- Low energy and motivation. People with depression may feel tired, drained, or exhausted. They might even move more slowly or take longer to do things. It can feel as if everything requires more effort. People who feel this way might have trouble motivating themselves to do or care about anything.
- Concentration. Depression can make it hard to concentrate and focus. It might be hard to complete tasks, pay attention at work, remember what we’ve read, or stay focused on what others say.
- Physical symptoms. People can feel depression in their bodies as well as their minds. Some people have an upset stomach or loss of appetite. Some might gain or lose weight. Some people notice headaches and sleeping problems when they’re depressed.
- Social withdrawing. Because of feelings of sadness and low energy, people with depression may pull away from friends and family or from activities they once enjoyed. This usually makes them feel more lonely and isolated. That can make the depression and negative thinking worse.
If someone has depression, talk therapy with a therapist or counselor is very effective in treating it. Here are some of the ways therapy can help with depression:
- A therapist can help people with depression understand their emotions, put feelings into words, and feel understood and supported.
- Therapy can help people work out problems as well as identify and overcome negative thinking patterns that are part of depression.
- Therapists can help people develop more positive ways of looking at things, increase self-esteem, and become more accepting of themselves.
- Therapists can help people build the confidence to deal with life’s struggles.
Treatment for depression might include talk therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Sometimes, therapists might recommend daily exercise, exposure to daylight, or better ways of eating. A therapist might teach relaxation skills to help someone get a good night’s sleep. All of these things can affect the brain’s production of neurotransmitters.
Bipolar Disorder and the connection with Addiction
Manic-Depressive Illness, better known as Bipolar Disorder, is a very common genetic disorder that in some cases is passed through family members from one generation to the next. People suffering from this disorder or illness may experience very extreme highs (mania) for certain periods of time and then switch to an extreme low (depression) without any cause or life altering events having taken place. Common symptoms of Bipolar Disorder are extreme changes in mood, activity level, energy, etc. Being able to concentrate and staying on task becomes very difficult. In most cases, the ability to function throughout the day is almost impossible. In other cases of Bipolar disorder, the effects are so extreme, you are completely unable to function in any type of relationship, at school, or perform simple job task and others result in suicide or suicide attempts.
In so many young people, feeling alone or like you don’t fit in, is viewed as part of the teenage “experience” and parents like to believe we will all “grow out of it”. People like to turn away from the possibility of their loved ones having an “illness” or “disorder” so they chose to believe manic-depressive behaviors are all a part of the “coming of age” process. If you truly believe you suffer from any of these symptoms, you need to seek medical advice and have a proper diagnosis done. Untreated Bipolar Disorder can cause a lifetime of unhappiness for you and your loved ones.
So many people with untreated Bipolar Disorder seek out drugs as a form of “self-medicating”. They try to level their moods with drugs such as Xanax, Valium, Oxycodone, and so many more. After an extended period of time using these drugs, they “graduate” to other drugs because these are no longer giving them the affects they once had. Their bodies have built up a tolerance and their symptoms of Bipolar Disorder are resurfacing in their lives and again are going untreated. This starts a vicious cycle leading so many people into active addictions. It creates a downward spiral in people’s lives. Many will go years without getting the help they truly need and desire and once this cycle has started, it becomes a very dangerous and scary way to live. Addiction Treatment Mental Health Centers that offer treatment for mental illness and addiction is the best solution in this case.
The causes for this disorder are still unknown and doctors and scientists are still conducting many studies trying to pinpoint the exact cause of Bipolar Disorder. Entering Substance Abuse Treatment for Bipolar Disorder is the most effective way to get the help needed. There are psychiatrists, psychologist, therapist, nurses and doctors with extended knowledge of Bipolar Disorder who specialize in drug and alcohol addictions. Addiction Treatment with Mental Health Services are the best option for creating a successful recovery.
Information contained above is courtesy of http://teenshealth.org/teen/
- National Mental Health Association (NMHA)
NMHA works to improve the mental health of all Americans through advocacy, education, research, and service.
- National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
NAMI offers resources and help for those with a mental illness.
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
This group is dedicated to advancing the knowledge of suicide and the ability to prevent it.
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