• Are you feeling sad at most times?
  • Do you cry easily and often?
  • Are you having too many negative thoughts?
  • Do you have feelings of emptiness or hopelessness?
  • Do you irritated or frustrated easily, even over small matters?
  • Do you feel loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities?
  • Are you having sleep disturbances; difficulty falling asleep or sleeping too much?
  • Do you feel fatigued at all times?
  • Even small tasks require a lot of energy?
  • Are you experiencing reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain?
  • Do you feel anxious or restless at most times?
  • Do you feel your thinking has slowed down?
  • Are you having feelings of worthlessness or guilt?
  • Are you having trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things?
  • Are there frequent thoughts of death or suicidal thoughts?

We all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience it briefly and can get over this feeling easily while some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years). Depression is more than just a low mood, which is temporary – it's a condition that affects the physical and mental health, which in turn has an effect on our thoughts, feelings and behavior. Depression is the most common mood disorder. TYPES OF DEPRESSION There are also various types in depression.

  • Major Depression Disorder – It involves low mood and/or loss of interest, as well as most of the other symptoms. These symptoms are experienced most days and last for at least two weeks.
  • Melancholia – In this type the symptoms are usually more severe. Major symptoms in loss of interest and slowing down. Movements, thoughts and speech can be very slow.
  • Dysthymia – is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person with Dysthymia may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms.
  • Psychotic depression – Occasionally people with a depressive disorder can lose touch with reality and experience psychosis. This can involve hallucinations or delusions. They can also be extremely paranoid.
  • Postpartum depression – this is the kind which many women experience after giving birth. They could have feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion. This could make it difficult for these new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or for their babies.
  • Seasonal affective disorder – In this kind the depression episode is during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. This depression generally ends soon after the winter season.
  • Bipolar disorder – This is the kind in which the person experiences periods of depression along with episodes of extreme high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”

CAUSES OF DEPRESSION There is no one cause for Depression. It can affect anyone at any point in their lives including children and adolescents. A number of things are often associated with its development. Depression usually results from a combination of factors both internal and external to an individual.

Some Internal causes:

  • Genetic factors
  • Personality type
  • Dealing with a serious medical condition

Some External causes:

  • Family history
  • Physical environment
  • Social factors
  • Relationship issues
  • Unemployment
  • Loneliness
  • Work stress
  • Dissatisfaction with work
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Traumatic events
  • Drugs and Alcohol abuse
  • Life changing events
  • Adjustment difficulties

TREATMENT No two individual will have the exact same symptoms of Depression and hence every individual responds differently to the various treatment options. DEPRESSION CAN BE TREATED. The earlier that treatment begins, the more effective it is. Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. For severe depression there are other stimulation options available which usually works. The key to successful treatment is usually when the person who is depressed recognizes that there is a problem, seeks out for treatment, and then follows the treatment plan. This can be a difficult process for most people and could require hard work, but it can be done. Establishing new, healthier routines are important. A long-term maintenance treatment can help to prevent a relapse of symptoms.

Be Patient. Be Positive. If Plan 'A' does not work, the Alphabet has 25 more other letters.