What is depression?
A depressive disorder is a whole-body illness, involving the body, mood, and thoughts, and affects the way a person eats and sleeps, feels about themselves, and thinks. It is not the same as being unhappy or in a blue mood.
Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.
Without appropriate treatment, depressive symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. An appropriate treatment plan can help most people who suffer from depression. 21 million American adults suffer from depressive illness.
Below is a quick list of depression symptoms. If the list sounds familiar, you may want to see a counselor or a psychiatrist.
Depressive mood. Do you suffer from feelings of worthlessness, helplessness, or pessimism for days at a time?
Sleep disturbance. Do you have trouble falling asleep at night or trouble staying asleep—waking up in the middle of the night or too early in the morning? Are you sleeping too much?
Chronically fatigued. Do you frequently feel tired or lack energy?
Isolation. Have you stopped meeting with family or friends? Increasing isolation and diminished interest or pleasure in activities are major signs of depression.
Appetite disturbance. Are you eating far less than usual—or far more? Severe and continuing appetite disturbance is often an indication of depression.
Inability to concentrate. If you can’t seem to focus on even routine tasks, it’s probably time to get some help.
Dependence on mood-altering substances. If you depend on alcohol or other drugs to make it through the day, you may be suffering from depression. Often, the substance abuse causes symptoms that mimic the appearance of clinical depression, but are, in fact, due wholly to the drug use.
Feeling a sense of inappropriate guilt.
Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide or a suicide attempt.
Although depression may occur only once during your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
- Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
- Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
- Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches
For many people with depression, symptoms usually are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others. Some people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.
Dr. Fogelson will help you understand the origins of your depression and will tailor a treatment program for you.
Contact Dr. Fogelson’s office to schedule an appointment to evaluate your depressive disorder.