Everyone has days when they feel a little down. Whether it is due to troubles in life that build up, or hearing some negative news, or just the everyday disappointments of this life, feeling sad or depressed can be normal. What isn't normal or healthy is ongoing depression, feelings of despair, or the inability to carry out one's everyday tasks because of these feelings.

Signs of Depression

Because depression can imitate emotions that are normal, it often goes undetected. Symptoms of depression can range from mild to severe, which makes it even more misunderstood. Many people overlook their symptoms of depression and put off getting professional help. Depression often gets worse over time, however, and many people with depression wait until they have no other place to turn. Depression is described as a general feeling of sadness. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression include (1):
  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

Treatment for Depression

Early intervention is the best way to provide help for someone with depression, and this can happen in a number of ways. Screenings can be done at doctors' offices and public health centers. School officials and teachers can be on the lookout for students with depression. Most importantly, we can all be aware of the signs of depression in ourselves and our loved ones, and get help right away when necessary. May is Mental Health Month, a time for creating awareness for mental illness such as depression. Depression is not always easy to treat. There is no simple combination of medications that will alleviate everyone's symptoms. While some patients need medication or therapy for a short amount of time to recover, others require treatment for the rest of their life. However, it is important to know that there is the hope of healing for depression sufferers. Even though it is natural to want to hide depression, it is imperative that sufferers get help. Those who confront their disorder and seek help right away can begin their recovery and get on with their life more quickly. Read more about treatment options for co occurring disorders here: http://seacliffrecovery.com/addiction-treatment-programs/dual-diagnosis-treatment/
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