Beating Depression and Gaining a New Perspective

by

 

Depression affects nineteen million Americans each year, which is a whopping ten percent of the population. But despite being so common, there’s a lot of stigma that’s still attached to it. People often choose to battle it alone rather than seek help, which can make them feel lonely and isolated and create a vicious cycle of feeling more depressed. Untreated depression often gets worse with time, and is not likely to just ‘go away’. So it’s paramount to your health and well being to find the right help.

Image credit

What Is Depression?

Depression is a serious condition that negatively affects the way you feel, think and act. It has a range of symptoms which can be either mild or severe and includes feelings of sadness, a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed and feelings of guilt and worthlessness. Depression can affect your sleep, appetite and your ability to think and concentrate- it can negatively impact everything in your life in some way or another. It’s more than just ‘feeling sad’, sadness is a normal reaction to an upsetting event. While depression can be brought on by a sad event, it’s something that is a lot more complex and often people can suffer from depression without it being caused by an obvious upsetting event.

Who Gets It?

Over a lifetime you have a 20 percent, or a one in five chance of having an episode of depression. It has even been referred to as ‘the common cold of mental illness’ just because it is so prevalent. Women are twice as likely to suffer than men, although both genders can be affected. There are no particular types of person that is prone to becoming depressed, and it’s not an indication of weakness or a flawed personality. Depression affects both the young and the old, and has even been observed in children.

What Is The Cause?

The cause of depression is not well understood. It’s believed that hereditary factors can play a role, as well as early life experiences can make people more prone to it. Stressful life events can trigger depression but sometimes there is no ‘cause’ at all, and people who have previously been happy and content in their lives have gone on to develop it. Substance abuse and addiction can often go hand in hand with depression- the true ‘cause’ is likely to be a mixture of biological, cognitive and environmental factors.

What Are The Treatments?

Treatment for depression is based on medication, cognitive changes and emotional healing. A combination of the three is thought to work best, since the medication controls the symptoms and allows people to be able to function in their daily lives. Cognitive therapies such as CBT address the root cause of the problem, and encourage new ways of thinking and coping. Emotional healing increases wellbeing and positivity. Booking in at a mental health treatment center in the beginning can be helpful. You have specialists on hand to guide you through the process and put you on the path to recovery. Once you have learned new ways of thinking and gained a new perspective, you’re much more likely to succeed when you leave and go on to live a happy life.

What Is The Outlook?

Some people may experience short episodes of depression and then recover with no more symptoms. For others it can be a chronic, long-lasting condition that spans over many years or even most of their lives. But seeking help and getting treated means you are much more likely to overcome the illness. Recurring depression is much more likely if all symptoms have not been resolved after treatment. Therefore it’s important to stick with it until you feel better and more positive. That way it’s much less likely to come back.