In commemoration of National Depression Screening Day, we would like to share an archived post explaining depression.
Paula Young, PhD, Family Institute staff therapist and director of The Family Institute Cognitive Behavior Therapies Program, provides her insights on the symptoms of depression, as well as depression treatment options.
What is Depression?
Depression is more than just a passing mood or stress. Depression is a serious mental illness, which affects mood, thought, body, and behavior. In contrast to the normal emotional experiences of sadness, depression is persistent and can interfere significantly with an individual’s ability to function at work or home, or with friends and family. It is more than the blues, yet many still view it as “personal weakness” or a “character flaw.”
Symptoms of depression include a sad or low mood, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, changes in appetite, changes in sleep, low energy, thoughts of hopelessness, worthlessness or guilt, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of death or suicide.
Major Depressive Disorder often begins between ages 15-30 or even earlier. Some people have one episode in a lifetime; others have recurrent episodes. For some, depression is a chronic illness. A less severe type of depression, Dysthymia, involves long-term, chronic symptoms that do not disable, but keep one from functioning well or from feeling good. Many people with dysthymia may also experience major depressive episodes at some time in their lives.
Other Facts about Depression
- Depression may be associated with life events such as significant losses (spouses, children, jobs) or major financial difficulties.
- Personality factors such as undue dependency and low self-esteem may also be associated with a vulnerability to depression.
- There’s an increased risk for developing depression when there is a family history of these illnesses. Where a genetic vulnerability exists, onset probably results from a combination of vulnerability and life experience.
- Depression often co-occurs with medical, psychiatric, and substance abuse disorders. When this happens, the presence of both illnesses is frequently unrecognized and may lead to serious and unnecessary consequences for clients and families.
If you think that you or someone you know suffers from depression, or if you would like additional information, please call The Family Institute at 847-733-4300, ext. 635, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org .