Understanding Depression

Depression is a disturbance in mood characterized by varying degrees of sadness, disappointment, loneliness, hopelessness, self-
doubt, and guilt. Most people tend to feel depressed at one time or another.  Some people may experience these feelings more
frequently or with deeper, more lasting, effects. In some cases, depression can last for months or even years.

The most common type of depression is what is referred to as "feeling blue" or "being in a bad mood." These feelings are usually
brief in duration and have minimal or slight effects on normal everyday activities.

In the next level of depression, symptoms become more intense and last for a longer period of time. Daily activities may become
more difficult...but the individual is still able to cope with them.  It is at this level, however, that feelings of hopelessness can become
so intense that suicide may seem the only solution.

A person experiencing severe depression may experience extreme fluctuations in moods or even a desire for complete withdrawal
from daily routine and/or the outside world.

Symptoms of Depression                                                                                                                                 

Depression may affect one's life in any of the following ways:

•    Changes in Feelings and/or Perceptions.
•    Crying spells or, lack of emotional responsiveness.
•    Inability to find pleasure in anything.
•    Feelings of hopelessness and/or worthlessness.
•    Exaggerated sense of guilt or self-blame.
•    Loss of sexual desire.
•    Loss of warm feelings toward family or friends.
•    Changes in Behavior and Attitudes.
•    Lack of interest in prior activities and withdrawal from others .
•    Neglect of responsibilities and appearance.
•    Irritability, complaints about matters previously taken in stride. Dissatisfaction about life in general.
•    Impaired memory, concentration, decisiveness, and confusion.
•    Reduced ability to cope on a daily basis.
•    Physical Complaints.
•    Chronic fatigue and lack of energy.
•    Complete loss of appetite, compulsive eating.
•    Insomnia, early wakefulness, or excessive sleeping.
•    Unexplained headaches, backaches, and similar complaints.
•    Digestive problems stomach pain, nausea, indigestion.

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