Depression, also known as Major Depressive Disorder, is more than just feeling sad or blue. Depression causes changes to your thoughts and behaviors, potentially leaving you feeling slow and unmotivated, focused on thoughts of death and sadness, and unable to enjoy your day-to-day life as you normally would.
Symptoms of depression can vary from mild to severe and include:
- Feeling depressed, sad, empty, and hopeless.
- Disinterest and inability to enjoy activities that you typically enjoy.
- Weight loss or weight gain, loss or gain of appetite
- Disruption in your sleep habits (sleeping way more than usual,
having a hard time falling asleep, waking up hours before your alarm or sunrise and feeling tired and yet unable to fall back asleep).
- Feeling tired and lacking energy.
- Feeling restless or slowed-down, unable to sit still but somehow also unable to accomplish much.
- Feeling excessively guilty and worthless even though the circumstances of your life have not changed.
- Being unable to focus, concentrate or make decisions.
- Thoughts of death or suicide.
The World Health Organization estimates that over 350 million people of all ages, all over the world, suffer from depression. If you are feeling depressed, it’s important to realize that you are not just being lazy, or in a really bad mood. It’s also important to know that depression is treatable; there is help. The American Psychiatric Association affirms, “Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80% and 90% of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.”
Effective treatment for depression includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to help challenge your negative thoughts, which will in turn change the way you feel. Treatment may also include collaboration with a psychiatrist to evaluate if medication in addition to psychotherapy can help.