is a sustained period of low mood (usually two weeks or more)
that interferes with day-to-day activities and the enjoyment
do you mean by "low mood"?
low mood that comes with depression is characterized by sadness
and loss of pleasure in activities that one normally enjoys.
Alternatively, it can be a feeling of emotional deadness — flat,
empty and indifferent. Unreasonable feelings of guilt or
low self-esteem are often part of a depressed mood. So is
everybody get sad sometimes?
Low moods come and go in the normal course of life. Depression
only becomes an issue when it is prolonged, and serious enough
to interfere with daily activities, relationships, and one's
goals and plans for the future.
does depression affect a person's mental functioning?
people often have trouble concentrating or remembering things.
Sometimes they are indecisive — one patient described
taking five minutes to decide whether to cross the street — or
they are easily confused. It is very common for depressed
people to feel hopeless or to "beat up on themselves" by
thinking negative thoughts about themselves. Thoughts of
suicide are also common.
does depression affect people physically?
people often lose their interest in food and frequently lose
weight. Less often, depression causes people to indulge in
comfort eating and they gain weight. A change in sleep patterns
often accompanies depression. People have trouble getting
a good night's sleep, or alternatively, they sleep much more
than usual and have trouble getting out of bed. Other physical
symptoms may include decreased energy, tiredness, fatigue
and lack of interest in sex.
does depression affect people's behavior?
who are depressed are often listless and withdrawn. They
may withdraw from their normal social activities and spend
an increasing amount of time alone. They may avoid leaving
the house. Their speech can be flat and uncommunicative.
Depressed people may be exhausted and feel like they're "dragging
themselves around." Sometimes they use excessive amounts
of alcohol, caffeine or other drugs in an attempt to make
themselves feel better.
should a person seek treatment for depression?
should seek treatment when the depression has been going
on for an extended period of time (two weeks or more) and
is interfering with their normal day-to-day functioning.
People who are actively planning to commit suicide (as opposed
to simply having thoughts about suicide) should seek treatment
immediately from a mental health professional or the emergency
room of their local hospital.
is the treatment for depression?
is usually treated with therapy, medication or some
combination of the two. Mild depression may lift on its own
or be successfully treated with psychotherapy. Serious, prolonged
depression is usually most effectively treated with a combination
of medication and therapy.
I feel depressed, what can I do to help myself?
are many ways to take care of yourself when you're feeling
mildly depressed. A good rule of thumb is to try to do
the things you don't feel like doing. Here are some tips:
some aerobic exercise. If you are in normal
health, run, ride a bike, or walk briskly for about
20 minutes each day. Exercise releases endorphins,
the body's natural tranquilizers.
time with people you like and respect. Spend
less time alone or with people who bore or irritate
a regular sleep schedule and stick with it. Go
to bed at the same time each night. Get up at the
same time each morning, even if you haven't slept
well during the night. If you take naps, don't nap
longer than 20 minutes.
a healthy, balanced diet. Don't overeat or undereat.
Pick healthy foods that you enjoy.
your doctor for a checkup. There are a number
of physical ailments that can cause depression. A
checkup can screen you for them.
to the movies. Go out to the movies with a friend.
It's better to go to the movies than to stay home
alone watching TV.
some time in nature. Go for hikes in the country
or in your local park.
children playing. If you're not much around
children, a trip to the playground can work wonders.
as many decisions as possible. Try not to make
important decisions when you're depressed.
use alcohol. Drinking may make you feel better
for a few hours. In the long run it makes things
much worse. Alcohol is a depressant.
care of yourself. Though your energy may be
limited, do the best you can to take care of yourself.
Shower and brush your teeth, even if you don't feel
like it. Try to keep the house reasonably clean.
Pay attention to your clothes and grooming.
again, if the depression is serious or prolonged, please
contact a mental health professional.
National Institute of Mental Health - Depression