Many people who have never had firsthand knowledge of mental illness have very little understanding of the subject. The mentally ill are not much different from anyone else with any other illness. They most certainly did not ask to be ill and they wish it was not true more than anyone else was.
Depression, anxiety and other unseen illness that affect the mind are as real as cancer or heart disease. They are not only mental illnesses or illnesses of the brain but also physical illness that hurt as much as any other physical disorder, leaving their victims feeling anguish few can imagine - a pain one cannot escape from that never lets up or loosens its grip on you.
Below you will find a selection of articles designed to help further your understanding and knowledge of treatments and the causes of depression, which might help improve the quality of life of a loved one or someone who is personally facing depression. Few families understand the devastating effects which untreated mental illness has on the home like those with a loved one facing these.
There is hope though for those who have these ailments, and there are treatments that are both effective and long-lasting. You do not have to go through life with the pain you are feeling right now. It can end with a positive and brighter future. Search through the sections on this site which best suit your situation and find help from your nightmare today.
Depression is not the same as sadness. Being sad is a normal reactions to life's disappointments, setbacks and struggles, and sadness is a temporary emotion. People who are depressed might or might not feel sad. They might instead feel empty, lifeless, angry, or anxious, or a combination of these. Sadness is caused by something unpleasant happening, for example losing a job or a beloved pet, but when clinical depression takes hold there might not be any reason at all. Depression can interfere with work, sleep, studying, eating, having fun, and pretty much every aspect of your day to day life.
The hopeless, helpless, miserable feelings that overwhelm somebody suffering from clinical depression are intense and constant, offering little or no relief. A depressed person cannot 'snap out of it' because depression is an illness. Nobody chooses to feel this way. Clinical depression is a medically recognized illness, which makes you experience feelings of sadness, guilt, worthlessness, anxiety, stress, irritation, and more. It can strike anybody at any age, and there is no shame whatsoever in having depression.
Fighting depression is possible but you need to realize that different things work for different people, so it might be a case of needing some trial and error before finding the right answer. Some people treat depression with medication, and perhaps counseling too. Other people find that making a few simple lifestyle changes, such as eating more healthily or taking up a new exercise, can work wonders. You cannot cure depression in an hour and there is no happy pill which can 'fix' you.
If your depression is caused by a hormonal imbalance you might find that treating that issue will cure the depression, or you might find that the depression is only present during the winter months when there is a lack of natural light. Depression is different in everyone, which is why we offer a variety of remedies that you can try. If the first thing you try does not work, then you can try something else, until you feel your spirits lifting and happiness returning to your life.
Although a lot of doctors prescribe medication as soon as someone comes into their office and claims to feel very sad, this is not the only way to treat depression. Some people dislike taking medication, some have horrible side effects which are as bad as the depression itself, and others are unable to combine antidepressants with other medication they are currently taking. Natural treatment is preferable to medication because it is kinder to the body and in many cases free. Some people find that an hour of exercise a day releases those feel-good chemicals in the brain and really soothes them.
Others find that taking up something relaxing like yoga or walking helps, or sharing their experiences of depression in a depression group or on a depression forum website. If you have seasonal affective disorder you might find that a light therapy lamp helps. There are various natural treatments that you can try, and hopefully you can find something which works, lifting your spirits and making you feel normal again.
Anxiety and Depression Treatment
Mental Health Problems
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Geriatric Depression - Depression in the Elderly
Depression can strike anyone at any time. It can be mild, moderate or severe. Depression is a frequently misunderstood illness and just because it is not obvious like a broken leg does not mean the pain is not there. Millions of people suffer from depression but there is help out there.
If a loved one is suffering from depression, there are things you can do to help. The most important thing is to try and be understanding and non-judgmental. Nobody chooses to have depression but it happens just the same. There is not always an obvious cause since depression can be caused by how the brain is wired. Just because somebody seems to have a great life and no obvious problems does not mean they are not a candidate for depression, just like anybody else. Depression is not permanent - there are treatments available.
Depression Causes and Symptoms - What is Depression
Symptoms of Depression - How to Help a Loved One with Depression
Emotional Eating - What is it and How to Treat It
How a Stressful Lifestyle Can Lead to Depression
The Cause of Depression
A Closer Look at Depression in Women vs Men
The Best Person Who Can Diagnose Depression
Things That Cause Depression to Lookout For
Why Depression is an Illness
How to Handle Depression in a Relationship
Why Some Say Depression is Not an Illness
How do You Deal with Depression
Men and Women with Depression How Are They Different
What Depression Feels Like
Interesting Facts about Depression
The Masks of Depression - How to Identify Depression
Understanding Depression in Men Vs Women
A Look at Some Depression Facts and Statistics
How to Diagnose Depression
Treatments for Depression - 10 Symptoms of Depression
Why am I so Depressed - Depression and You!
Depression through History
We all get anxious from time to time because it is a normal reaction to stress. However, when anxiety becomes an irrational dread of everyday situations, this is an anxiety disorder. The five best known types of anxiety disorder are generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and social phobia (also called social anxiety disorder).
Anxiety disorder symptoms include excessive worrying, irritability, headaches, sweating, difficulty breathing and trouble with concentrating or being able to relax. Treatments for anxiety disorder are available and researchers are working on the discovery of new, better anti anxiety medications and treatments.
Social Anxiety Disorder and Panic Attacks - What is Anxiety
Overcoming Anxiety and Depression with Coping Strategies
Speech Anxiety Strategies
Coping Strategies for Anxiety Sufferers
EMF and the Damage it Can Cause
What is Anxiety Disorder - A Closer Look When Things Go Haywire
All about Generalized Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
The Physical Symptoms of Anxiety
The Fine Line between Depression and Anxiety
What is an Anxiety Disorder
There are various treatments for depression available and these depression treatments include antidepressant drugs, counseling, natural treatments, talking therapies, and lifestyle choices. The best depression treatment is often to use a combination of depression treatments. The best treatment for depression depends on the individual. Anxiety treatment is similar but anxiety disorder is different from depression.
Anxiety treatments include medication and behavioral therapy, namely cognitive behavior therapy and exposure therapy. Anxiety treatment often works faster than depression treatment but there are different types of anxiety and the anxiety symptoms and treatments for one person might be different from what another anxiety sufferer needs. Natural treatment for anxiety can also work well.
How to Beat Depression - Natural Remedies for Depression
Depression Self Help - A Usser's Guide to Self Help for Depression
Rhodiola Rosea - a Natural Anxiety Soother
The Top Four Herbal Remedies for Depression
6 Natural Cures for Depression that You can do at Home
Create a Diet for Depression
Easy Depression Beating Tips
The Best Treatments for Depression
Fighting Depression with Positive Thinking
Ways to Treat Depression
Some of the Treatment Options for Depression Available Today
The Natural Way - Holistic Treatment for Depression
The Current Treatments for Depression
Inpatient Depression Treatment Centers
A Look at Inpatient Treatment for Depression
How to Chose Treatment Centers for Depression
Relaxation Techniques for Anxiety
Some Depression Treatments without Medication
Try Some of These Ways to Fight Depression
Anxiety Depression Treatment Centers
How Breathing Exercises for Anxiety Can Help
Some Handy Coping Skills for Depression
Some Ways to Deal with Depression
Here are Some Treatment Options for Depression
One Small Step, One Gant Leap toward Recovery!
So How is Depression Treated
How to Treat Depression Naturally
A Look at Some New Treatments for Depression
Alternative Treatments for Depression
We All Need Somebody to Lean On
Remedies for Anxiety and Depression
Residential Treatment for Depression
Some Depression and Anxiety Treatment
Overcoming Anxiety and Depression
Ways of Coping with Depression and Anxiety
There are Many Ways on How to Combat Depression
Some Helpful Treatments of Anxiety Attacks
Counseling for Depression and Anxiety
A Look at Homeopathic Treatment for Depression
Some Ideas for Self Help with Depression
Mental health is a state of emotional and social wellbeing, in which we can cope with the normal stresses of life, including being able to work productively and maintain normal relationships. People can suffer from mild, moderate or severe mental health problems and there are many different ones, including depression, anxiety disorder, paranoia, seasonal affective disorder and more.
Mental health is far better understood now that it was in the past where straitjackets and lunatic asylums were the only answer and depression meant "crazy". Now we know better and there are various treatments available nowadays for people with mental health problems, including medication, talk therapy, group therapy, counseling or a mixture of these treatments, depending on the individual's specific needs.
How Come Some People are Always Happy
Mental Health Funding Cuts
Are Mental Health Rehab Centers Correct for You
When Mental Health Rehabilitation Centers are Necessary
Finding Qualified Inpatient Mental Health Treatment
Individual Insurance for Mental Health
A Guide to Mental Health Treatment Centers
A Look at Mental Health vs. Mental Illness
Benefit of Mental Health Residential Programs
Some Information about Mental Health Continuing Education
So what are some Mental Health Disorders Symptoms
Is a Long Term Mental Health Facilities Right for You
Mental Health Counseling Career Field
Programs in Mental Health Counseling
What to Expect from Mental Health Counseling Services
Why Mental Health Retreats for Women Might be Right for You
What does it take to be a Licensed Mental Health Counselor
A Degree as a Mental Health Counselor
Education of the Mental Health Counselor
The Mental Health of College Students
Mental illness is an umbrella term for a variety of mental problems. Mental illness does not mean a person is crazy and most mental illnesses can be controlled or cured. Sometimes our bodies go wrong, which results in physical illness and sometimes the same happens with our minds.
Mental illness, whether it is depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, postpartum depression or another kind, is treatable and there is help out there for people suffering from mental health problems who want to be cured. The different types of mental illness mean that there is not one treatment which is suitable for everyone. Rather, each sufferer must be examined and diagnosed so the correct treatment can be given.
Prejudice Against an Invisible Illness
Is Mental Illness Real? The Reality about Mental Illness
Glenn Close on Mental Illness
Some Common Treatments for Mental Illness
The National Association of Mental Illness
Understanding Depression and Mental Illness
Substance Abuse Vs Mental Illness
History of Mental Illness Treatment
Treating Dual Diagnosis
The Gripping Fear of Mental Illness
How to Cope with Mental Illness
Some of the Early Signs of Mental Illness
Is Mental Illness Hereditary
A Life with Mental Illness
Complications of Diabetics and Mental Illness
Borderline Personality Disorder Treatment Ideas
Are Mental Illness Support Groups Right for You
The Many Myths of Mental Illness
Are there Any Support Groups for Mental Illness
Talking to Oneself Mental Illness or Not
Different Types of Therapy for Mental Illness
What is the Most Common Mental Illness
The Myth of Mental Illness
So what's the Real Story of Homelessness and Mental Illness
Counseling, antidepressants and various other therapies can be used to treat depression and other mental health problems. There are depression tests online to check for depression and the results of these can be useful. If you are worried about depression or another type of mental health problem, you should visit a healthcare professional.
Don't worry about wasting their time because you are not. If you are depressed, help is there for you and you deserve it. There are different types of medication available for people with mental health problems and you might have to try several before you find the right one. Also, counseling and other types of talking therapies can help.
Mental Health Problems
Adult Nightmares - Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Health Insurance with Mental Health Coverage
What about People with Mental Disabilities
So What Causes Mental Disorders Anyway
Mental Health Disability Benefits
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition when the sufferer has both extreme highs and extreme lows. The highs are like a mania and the sufferer might be overactive, over-talkative and take risks they would not normally take.
The lows are similar to clinical depression and the person might be withdrawn, depressed, uninterested in life and tearful. Medications for bipolar disorder work in a different way than depression drugs because the moods need to be stabilized, rather than lifted.
Bipolar Disorder - Manic Highs and Deep Lows
A Look at the Difference between Bipolar I vs Bipolar II
Children Who Suffer with Bi-Polar Disorder
The Causes of Bipolar Disorder
Famous People with Bi-Polar Disorder
A Closer Look at Treatment for Bipolar Disorder
The Concerns of the Dually Diagnosed Individual
Bipolar Disorder Treatment Centers
A Look at Bipolar Disorder Treatment Centers
Prevalence of Bipolar Disorder
Some Facts about Bipolar Disorder Treatment
Bipolar Disorder Diagnostic Criteria - DSM-IV R and Bi-Polar
What Are the Treatments for Bipolar Disorder
Available Therapies for Bipolar Disorder
The Use of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Bipolar Disorder
What is the Prognosis of Bipolar Disorder
Learning How to treat Bi-Polar Disorder in Today's World
Medications for Bipolar Disorder Stabilization
Treatment Methods for Bi-Polar Disorder
A Look inside the Treatment of Bipolar Disorder
The Genetics of Bipolar Disorder What are They
Determining If Bipolar Disorder Is a Disability
A look at Some Jobs for People with Bipolar Disorder
Does Your Child Have Childhood Onset Bipolar Disorder
What you need to know about Bipolar Disorder and Pregnancy
The Five Types of Bipolar Disorder
All about Bipolar Disorder and Creativity
Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition when the sufferer has both extreme highs and extreme lows. The highs are like a mania and the sufferer might be overactive, over-talkative and take risks they would not normally take.
Most people who experience a traumatic event will have some symptoms but if you still have symptoms several weeks after the event which make it hard to function in your day to day life you might be suffering from PTSD. Reliving the traumatic event, avoiding situations that remind you of the event, feeling keyed up or feeling numb are all PTSD symptoms. Cognitive behavior therapy works well for many PTSD sufferers.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - PTSD Symptoms and Treatments
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and its Treatment
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Treatment Guidelines
Best treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Exploring the Work of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
Help for People with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Research
Soldiers Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: The Reality
Treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder, which is also known as winter depression or SAD, is a mood disorder where people have normal moods in the summer months and depressed moods in the winter months.
These mood variations are believed to be related to light and in artic countries such as Finland, almost 10% of the residents suffer from SAD. 1.5% of people in Florida suffer from SAD but 9% in the north of the US suffer from it, which seems to prove the light theory. Bright light treatment, SSRIs and negative air ionization are popular treatments. About 20% of SAD sufferers go on to have bipolar depression if left untreated for SAD.
Seasonal Affective Disorder
All about Seasonal Affective Disorder and Its Symptoms
Signs of Seasonal Depression to look out for
Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder
Why do Some People Get Seasonal Affective Disorder Depression
Seasonal Affective Disorder DSM
A Closer Look at Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatments
So what are Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatments
Some of the Many Treatments for Seasonal Affective Disorder
Treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder
Depression after pregnancy is known as postpartum depression. It is quite a common illness with about 13% of pregnant women and new mothers suffering from it. Hormonal factors are known to influence mood and a pregnant woman or nursing mother has different hormones than a childless woman.
Estrogen and progesterone are hormones which increase during pregnancy and return to normal after childbirth. This large and sudden change in hormone levels is thought to cause postpartum depression. Baby blues is common and lasts for a few days after the birth whereas postpartum depression is more severe and can last for months.
The Different Symptoms of Clinical Depression in Women
Severe Depression Symptoms in Women
Post Partum Depression Treatment
All about Postpartum Depression and its Treatment Options
Signs of Clinical Depression in Women
How Long Can Postpartum Depression Last
Anti-depressants and Postpartum Depression
What are the Postpartum Depression Risk Factors
Some Insightful Statistics on Postpartum Depression
A Look at Women and Mental Illness
The Definition of Postpartum Depression
How long does Postpartum Depression Last
Ways of Coping with Postpartum Depression
Depression Following the Birth of a Baby
What about Postpartum Depression after Miscarriage
Medication Alternatives for Treating Postpartum Depression
Some Treatment of Depression in Women Ideas
What are the Causes of Postpartum Depression
The elderly are at risk of depression the same as younger people are. In fact, the elderly can suffer from severe depression, especially if they are isolated, lonely, in constant pain or suffering from a terminal disease.
Age-related medical problems or the death of a spouse can lead to depression. Many people think that depression is a normal part of aging but it is not. Depression can happen to children, teens, adults and the elderly and they all deserve the same amount of care and treatment to help them feel better.
Geriatric Depression Scale
What Causes Depression in the Elderly
Why Depression in Older Adults is Different
GDS Geriatric Depression Scale
The Elderly Adult and Depression
The Kinds of Treatment of Depression in the Elderly
Depression and the Elderly, How to Help Them
Coping with Depression in the Elderly
Depression in Old People
A Look at Elderly Mental Health Issues Today
Teen depression can be difficult to diagnose because up and down moods are common in teenagers, as a result of the stresses of growing up, sex hormones and conflicts with parents.
However, some teens do suffer from clinical depression and this might be a reaction to a disturbing event such as a death, failure at school or a breakup with a girlfriend or boyfriend. Teenagers with low self esteem are at risk of depression when they encounter stressful events. A persistent low mood, substance abuse, failure at school or failing relationships at home are all possible depression symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of Depression in Teenagers
Treatment for Depression in Teenagers
So How Many Teens Suffer from Depression these Days
Treatment of Teenage Depression
Things to Look out for in Teens and Depression
What Causes Depression in Teenagers
Understanding the Signs of Teen Depression
What are some of the Symptoms of Depression in Teens
What is the Best Treatment for Teenage Depression
A Look at Depression in Young Adults
Some Causes of Depression in Teenagers
Getting Help for Depressed Teenagers
So what are the Signs of Depression in Teenagers
What are the Reasons for Depression in Teenagers
Do You Know Someone Who Needs Help for Teenage Depression
Six million males in the United States are currently suffering from depression but men are less likely than women to seek help. A lot of men mistakenly think that depression is a sign of being weak rather than a medical illness and some men try to mask the depression with overwork, substance abuse, irritability or anger issues rather than seek help for the depression itself.
Depression is an illness which can affect men and women of any age. Four times as many men die from suicide in the United States as women, perhaps because they are afraid to admit to their depression or feel like a failure rather than somebody suffering from an illness they cannot control.
The Truth About Male Depression - What is Male Depression
What Makes Depression in Men Over 40 Unique
Male Post Partum Depression - The Untold Story
Causes of Male Depression
Why Male Depression and Anger Seem to Go Together
A Closer Look at Depression in Men Over 50
A Closer Look at Some of the Symptoms of Male Depression
How Depression Comes Between Relationships
If you are interested in depression stats, you might be shocked at some of the numbers. Approximately 9.5% of American adults suffer from depressive disorders every year. This totals about 18.8 million people and the government statistics on depression only cover the people who seek treatment. Many more suffer alone. 15% of the populations of most developed countries suffer from chronic depression.
The fastest growing group for antidepressants are pre-school kids and 4% of pre-school kids (about 1 million) are clinically depressed. The rate of increase of depression in children is a whopping 23% per year, according to the government statistics for depression. The statistics of depression in kids is particularly worrisome.
30% of women are thought to be depressed. Men's figures used to be a lot lower but now more men that are depressed are seeking treatment, the statistics of depression in men are rising. However, 92% of depressed African American men do not seek treatment.
54% of people believe that depression is a personal weakness and 41% of depressed women are too embarrassed to ask for help. A shocking 80% of depressed people are not currently having treatment and 15% of depressed people will kill themselves. Postpartum depression statistics show that 10% of pregnancies will end this way.
Depression results in more sick days from work than any other illness and cost employers over $51 billion annually in lost productivity, not including pharmaceutical and high medical bills.
When looking at the facts about depression and the statistics of depression, perhaps the scariest is this: by the year 2020, depression is forecasted to be the second largest killer after heart disease. Depression is also a contributory factor to fatal coronary disease.
Antidepressants only work for between 35% and 45% of the population. Recent figures indicate that this could be as low as 30%. Standard antidepressants including Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil have been recently revealed to be more risky than previously thought and are linked to violence, psychosis, brain tumors, abnormal bleeding, and suicide.
All antidepressants except Prozac have been banned in the UK for children. There is no evidence available that SSRI medication works on people under eighteen years old. Placebo antidepressants have been proven to work as well as antidepressants, which prove that natural therapies and self esteem techniques, can work just as well as drugs in most depressed people.
Most doctors advise a combination of antidepressants and therapy but cognitive behavior therapy has a relapse rate of 80% in the long term.
80% of people who visit doctors do so because of depression or depression related ailments, since depression can lead to symptoms like headaches, tiredness and more.
However, in spite of this sobering information, you must not give up because depression is treatable, no matter how severe it is or how low you might feel right now. With our natural help depression kit, you can achieve the state of happiness you found impossible with antidepressants or counseling alone and see the world as a happy place once again.
The girl in this picture is struggling with depression. She might be feeling sad, guilty, tearful, angry, irritable, or even suicidal, but you cannot tell just how bad she is feeling from a simple glance. This is why it is so important to talk about your feelings if you are depressed, or to listen with compassion to others who are depressed if they trust you and confide in you. Depression might not be as visible as a broken leg, but it is no less agonizing. Just because depression is invisible does not mean it does not exist. Depression is real, and unfortunately very common.
Self esteem is a person's evaluation or appraisal of their worth and importance. Someone with low self-esteem might feel that they are not important, that they are insignificant or that they have to pretend to be different in order for people to like them. Self-esteem is different from self-confidence. Self esteem is about how we feel now and self confidence is how able we think we are to perform in the future.
Our self esteem is with us from birth and we are at our most vulnerable as children, between the ages of two and seven. At this age, we are trying to understand the difference between ourselves and other people. In a loving family, a child is encouraged to be themselves and they are supported in the decisions they make.
Children learn to adapt their behaviors to be acceptable in their family group. This also happens in nature and ensures the survival of animal groups. With animals and the offspring, self-esteem is not the same as in humans but animals decide the roles according to their genders, strength, and place within their community.
Children might modify their natural behavior to please adults and receive more love and affection. An example of this might be a naturally boisterous child toning down their behavior if the parents find it troublesome. The rules of society strongly affect how children act and a female child might not feel accepted if she is boisterous, like a male child might not feel accepted if he has feminine traits such as crying a lot or being timid.
Of course, every child is different but these standards seem to have stuck with us. A sensitive, shy child might find it hard to fit into a noisy, boisterous family and the child will have to hide this part of themselves to fit in. This is the child's first experience of a relationship and the child will strive for the same approval in future relationships. Such a child will have lower self esteem if he does not feel accepted for who he is.
We all want love and approval from those who matter to us but sometimes we need to change who we are in order to do this. The results of this change can be low self-esteem and perhaps anxiety, which we try to ignore. The anxiety is because we are not being ourselves and we might think, "maybe they won't like me" or "maybe I shouldn't do what I want to" in a difficult situation and this can make the anxiety worse.
Depression feels different to everyone, and we all deal with it in different ways. Some of the emotions associated with depression include sadness, anger, irritability, fear, or anxiety. Somebody with bipolar disorder might experience periods of mania followed by crashing lows. Depression is not always visible but it can cause physical symptoms too like headaches, muscular aches, and chest pain. Depression is treatable and there are natural remedies which can make a lot of difference. If you are suffering from depression, be brave and take the first step today to eliminate the pain of it. You deserve freedom from depression.
Although depression is first and foremost a mental illness, there are physical symptoms to look out for too, some of which are caused by the depression and others which are part of the depression. Pain can be depressing and depression intensifies and causes pain, so the two go hand in hand in many cases. Pain and depression actually share common pathways in the emotional area of the brain and the same chemical messengers control mood and pain. Many depression sufferers never seek help because they do not understand pain might be a symptom of depression.
Headaches are a common depression symptom, along with back and neck pain, joint aches, muscle pain, digestive problems, exhaustion, fatigue, weight changes, and sleep disturbances. Depressed people often either eat a lot more than usual or a lot less, and this can cause the digestive issues. Also, trouble sleeping resulting from the depression can manifest as exhaustion and fatigue. Someone with depression is several times more likely to suffer from chronic pain than someone who is not depressed.
Physical symptoms are not always linked to depression, just like not every depressed person will have migraines or muscle aches, but depression and physical symptoms often do go hand in hand, and you might find that seeking help for your depression will also decrease or eliminate the physical symptoms. Some physical symptoms associated with depression, such as chest pain, should be checked out. Just because you suffer from depression does not necessarily mean your chest pain must be down to that.
Depression is one of the most misunderstood illnesses. Part of that misunderstanding comes from people using the word 'depressed' when they just mean they feel a bit sad or they have had a bad day. It is normal to feel down occasionally, when things go wrong or when someone or something upsets you - that is part of life.
However, when despair and bleakness take hold and you cannot shrug them off, this might be something more than life's usual ups and downs. The lows of depression can interfere with living a normal life and everyday tasks can see overwhelming. Clinical depression can make everything seem hopeless and pointless. The first step to take when dealing with depression, whether you are depressed or someone else in your family or friends circle, is understanding more about this debilitating disease, and then finding the best treatment for depression.
There are various types of treatment for depression. Your doctor might advise antidepressants or counseling, or a combination of both. You might wish to try some natural alternatives first, such as St John's Wort, increasing your exercise, improving your diet, or talking to your loved ones about your depression and socializing with your friends more.
Different treatments work for different people, there the best treatment for depression is whatever works for you. This is not necessarily what worked for your friend with depression or your grandfather who had depression. Just because you do not react to the first treatment you try does not mean you should give up or you are untreatable.
If you decide to go down the medication route, then it might take some time to find out what type of medication is best for you and what dosage you require. Some medications can take months before you feel any different and others might make you feel worse. Some might give you unpleasant side effects and you might not be able to take medications at all if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Your doctor will often recommend first the antidepressant which helps most people or which he or she has had the most experience with and the most success with.
You can combine other therapies with medication, such as counseling or natural therapies like changing your diet or making other lifestyle changes. It can be dangerous to combine natural medications like St John's Wort with pharmaceutical ones like Celexa® or Prozac® so talk to your doctor before taking any additional supplements. You might want to take a daily multivitamin tablet though, just to ensure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs.
The main thing to bear in mind when finding the best depression treatment is that there is no one treatment which works for everybody. As impossible as curing your depression might seem, it is not impossible but it might take time and be a long road. It helps to have a support group or loving family around you, and to talk about your depression with anyone who understands or is compassionate and kind. The road to recovery might be long and difficult, but there is light at the end of the tunnel, and you will find the best depression treatment for you, even if you have to try a few that do not work first.
If someone you know is depressed, of course you will want to help them. With many illnesses, a cheerful 'cheer up' or 'you'll be OK' can help, but depression is not like that. Depression is widely misunderstood, which means that people who do not suffer from it cannot imagine the mental anguish of feeling low for no particular reason.
Saying 'it will be fine' or 'smile' are not helpful. In fact they can make the sufferer feel even worse, reminding them how powerless they are to control their emotions.
Saying that you understand is something else you might wish to avoid, because unless you suffer from depression yourself, you cannot understand the feelings associated with it. Do not tell the depressed loved one to 'snap out of it' or 'think themself lucky because they have a nice life' - depression is not about what is going on in your life. The black mood is irrelevant. Depressed people can have wonderful lives, but still feel the black dog of depression on their shoulder.
It is perfectly fine to ask the depressed person if they have been taking their meds. If they say no, do not get angry, but offer to get them a glass of water so they can take it. Do not lecture them either, since this does not help.
Never call their doctor or counselor behind their back either, unless they are suicidal, in which case make that call as soon as you can. Calling the doctor in secret will just violate the trust your depressed friend has in you.
Your friend has depression. His doctor knows that and has prescribed medication, therapy or both. Just because your friend still seems depressed does not mean the doctor has not prescribed the right care. Popping a pill does not alleviate depression the way popping a painkiller can get rid of a headache. The road to recovery is often a long process.
You can say you are sorry about the depression - not that you 'understand' but that you are sorry. It is perfectly fine to be sympathetic even if you do not know how depression feels firsthand. It is not your fault you do not have the disease and not the depressed person's fault that they do.
Be supportive. Let your friend cry or shout. Tell them they are loved and special, and perhaps offer to take them out for the day or even take a short walk together.
Your non-judgmental support is very helpful, and you should never take it personally or be disheartened if you cannot bring your loved one out of their depressed state. It is no reflection on how good of a friend or family member you are. Depression is what it is, and while medication and other activities can control it to some extent, unfortunately it is not possible to make it disappear just like that.
Depression used to be known as 'melancholia' and it has a long history. Depression symptoms were described at least as far back as classical times, if not before. In Ancient Greece it was believed that the disease was caused by an imbalance in the four 'humors' (basic bodily fluids) and the word melancholia comes from 'melas' meaning black and 'khole' meaning bile.
This theory fell out of favor for a while but was then accepted again in Rome, with the symptoms being sadness, despondency, dejection, and sometimes also fear, obsessions, anger, or delusions.
In the 11th century melancholia was described as being a depressive mood disorder where the sufferer might be suspicious or have phobias. In medieval Europe, a disease called 'acedia' meaning lack of caring or interest was identified. The symptoms were having low spirits and wanting to be alone.
In 1638 Robert Burton, an English scholar, suggested that melancholy could be overcome with enough sleep, a healthy diet, meaningful work, talking with a friend, and listening to uplifting music. During the 1700s, the humor theory was challenged and German physicial Johann Christian Heinroth believed melancholy was a soul disturbance caused by inner moral conflict.
The words melancholia and melancholy were used interchangeably until in the 1800s, when the word melancholia was used to refer to the disorder and the word melancholy was used to refer to a brief mood or feeling.
The word depression comes from the Latin verb 'deprimere' which means pressing down. The word became more widely used in the second half of the 1800s. Melancholia was linked with educated, highly intelligent men until around this time, but the newer concept was also associated for the first time with women, who were simply termed 'hysterical' before if they displayed depression symptoms.
Emil Kraepelin, a German psychiatrist, referred to all depressive disorders as 'manic-depressive' although he did differentiate between internally caused (feeling low for no apparent reason) and externally caused (reacting to a sad event) cases.
Sigmund Freud claimed depression could result from loss and was worse than grieving or mourning. He also suggested what happened early in one's life plays a part in whether they will be susceptible to depression in later life.
In the mid-1900s Austrian psychiatrist linked depression to feelings of meaningless and futility, and psychologist Rollo May said the disorder was the inability to envision or build a future.
Researchers in the mid-1900s thought depression was caused by a brain neurotransmitter chemical imbalance. Manic-depression, the old term for bipolar depression, was distinguished from major or clinical depression (the lows without the highs) in the 1960s.
Just half a century ago, depression was believed to be something caused by your biology, or a reaction to something stressful or upsetting, and debate raged for most of the 1900s about whether there is any different between depression which has no apparent cause or depression which is caused by an upsetting event.
Although depression can be difficult to treat, at least these days there is a lot more understanding and a lot more help available. As little as a century ago it was a huge stigma and that of course would have made sufferers feel even worse.