7 Things You Need to Know About Depression12:34
Most people don't realize it, but you can gain some control of your brain's biochemistry if it becomes dysfunctional, which can have a huge impact on your mood and behavior. That control comes mainly through medications, but lifestyle also plays a big role, too.
Depression is treatable.
Many people suffer from debilitating depression for months or even years, and if you're one of them, you may believe that a "normal" life is--and always will be--beyond your grasp. Depression is treatable, though--and with a combination of counseling and medication, most people are able to completely regain their quality of life. However, it's also important to understand that psychoactive drugs are not one-size-fits-all. Antidepressants narrow the range of emotion so that you can't feel as low. However, some people claim that antidepressants can reduce their ability to feel life's highs as well. The answer is finding the right medication in the right dose for each person--and this can take time."
Depression is not a cause for stigma.
Depression is not something to be ashamed of. While clinical depression is very different from a disease like cancer, they have one major thing in common: No one chooses to suffer from either, and no one can power through these ailments unaided. Untreated, depression can be just as devastating to you and your family as any other major illness. Ignoring depression can ruin your life and even lead to suicide. Today, scientifically we know more about it, and more and more people are becoming aware of its symptoms. Well-known figures including Terry Bradshaw, George Stephanopoulos, and Mike Wallace, to name a few, have also opened up about their own struggles with this illness in order to raise awareness and dispel myths."
Depression can also hurt your family.
If you're lacking energy or if you're anxious, irritable, or in pain, your family will notice. And their daily lives--in fact, their basic well-being--will be impacted, too. Your spouse and children might feel that they have to walk on eggshells around you, for example, and might become anxious themselves because they can't ease your burden. You won't be able to give them the attention, support, and love that you used to, either. And remember that if your kids see you moping around every day, they will be much more likely to grow up the same way, thinking that an unhappy life is simply the norm. That's not something any father wants to leave as a legacy for his children...and then for their children after them as well.
Depression can damage your physical health.
You may consider depression to be a disorder that's rooted in the brain. But that doesn't mean it can't affect your body, too. Depression is accompanied by a loss of energy. It can also cause muscle pain, joint pain, digestive problems, headaches, reduced sex drive, and more--and it's easy to see how those symptoms can disrupt your life. If you're depressed, it's very possible that you'll feel exhausted and in pain all of the time. It's actually not uncommon for patients to be misdiagnosed at first because they and their doctors think that the unpleasant symptoms have another cause. That's why it's very important to understand that depression isn't just 'in your head,' and to be completely open with your doctor.
There's a connection between depression and stress.
Stress is so prevalent that we tend to ignore it and write it off as normal, despite the fact that we've all heard the statistics about how chronic stress can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health problems. But did you know that long-term stress can also increase your risk of becoming depressed? While depression can be related to genetics, it can also be caused by long-term stress--especially if you're not handling it well. When you're constantly worn down, anxious, and unhappy, you're essentially training your brain to be that way--and eventually, your brain's biochemistry becomes locked into this pattern. Exercise is the best mood manager because it naturally releases endorphins and plays a crucial role in mood management."
Men experience different symptoms from women.
If you were asked to picture depression, you'd probably think of someone who is quiet, sad, apathetic, and lethargic. Those symptoms are characteristic of depression, but they're more commonly seen in women. Because most people don't realize that depression manifests differently between the sexes, many men fail to even suspect the true nature of what is bothering them. Women are likely to internalize their negative feelings and blame themselves for their problems, while men more commonly act out on their emotions. Depression manifests itself differently in men because their emotional circuits and brains are designed differently. So instead of getting tearful, a man who is depressed might become irritable, hostile, and fatigued. He might dive into his work or a hobby until he literally can't carry on. He's also likely to blame other people or other circumstances for his problems, rather than admit that he is experiencing troubling symptoms.
Depression is more prevalent than ever.
The number of people being diagnosed with depression is increasing--and that includes men. Studies show that each generation is more likely to become depressed than the one that came before it--and more likely to become so at an earlier age, too. Not surprisingly, antidepressant use continues to grow. You can be prone to depression because of your genetics, but also due to life circumstances.