Sometimes when times are tough, we feel sad or low. Such a reaction is normal during difficult situations. However, if you experience such feelings deeply for extensive duration of time and still have trouble going about your daily activities, chances are that you are suffering from depression.
While most of us feel moody, low or sad occasionally, some individuals will get the feelings strongly for weeks, months or years and oftentimes without any clear reason. Depression is not just a sad or low feeling – it is a severe illness that affects both mental and physical health. It is estimated that 1 in every 6 people get depression at some point in their lives. One woman in every five women will experience depression and one man in eight men will have the same.
Depression can be very common
In Australia, for example, depression is quite common, and it affects more than a million Australians every year. People of all ages are affected, but adolescents and young adults register the highest depression cases. The rate of depression in women is twice that of men. Depression is a chronic condition, meaning that it develops with time and does not heal fully in many cases however symptoms can be greatly eased with counselling.
Depression is seen through sadness and loss of interest. When the case is moderate, there will be progressive or sudden weight change, difficulty sleeping and appetite loss. Depressed people often feel tired even when they haven’t done much work. They also get easily irritated and suicidal. When severe, depressed people get delusional and hallucinate a lot.
Causes and Signs of Depression
Some common causes of depression:
- Problems in relationships, such as divorce or separation
- Loss of employment
- Drug or alcohol problems
- Having a depressed family member or someone you care for
- Serious or ongoing illness
- Personal factors such as anxiety
- With depression causes differ from one person to another.
Some of the common signs of depression are:
- Loss of interest in things you loved to do
- Feeling sad
- Increase use of alcohol
- Increased frustration
- Changes in weight
- Having a hard time concentrating