Have you ever asked yourself the question, “am I depressed”? Perhaps it is time to think about asking for some support. Things may turn out to be not so severe but a lot can be gained from some professional counseling.
Depression refers to a mental condition wherein a person experiences an overwhelming feeling of general sadness. Most people feel sadness after a sad event or a loss. However, this is normally a temporary feeling or state of being. If the sadness persists for a longer time, or if the feeling of sadness subsides briefly only to resurface again, then this is called chronic depression, or dysthymia. Chronic depression is considered to be a milder form of depression, though it often lingers for a longer period of time. People with dysthymia are usually able to carry on their daily tasks adequately enough, but these people might seem constantly unhappy and find themselves often asking, “am I depressed”?
Doctors are not sure what causes dysthymia. This form of depression is thought to be triggered by brain changes which involve the chemical serotonin. Serotonin aids the brain in coping with emotions. Aside from a possible imbalance of chemicals in the brain, some other factors associated with dysthymia include substantial levels of stress and heredity.
The symptoms of dysthymia are similar to that of major depression although not as intense. These symptoms include difficulty in getting to sleep, lack of energy or fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, guilt or self-hate, physical and mental sluggishness, difficulty in concentrating, agitation, restlessness, irritability, becoming withdrawn and isolated, changes in appetite, often accompanied by sudden weight gain or weight loss, a lack of interest in everything, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, and constant thoughts of suicide or death.
While dysthymia is a serious condition, it can also be treated. This form of depression is usually treated by a combination of talk therapy, referred to as psychotherapy and medications, or antidepressants. The drugs help in correcting the chemical imbalances in the brain as well as alleviate the symptoms of sadness. Psychotherapy, on the other hand, resolves the personal issues involved or that may be the cause of the depression.
Although treatment is available, it is often wiser and better to prevent depression. Prevention often includes maintaining a healthy and safe lifestyle and also aims to eliminate stress. Abstinence from alcohol and illegal drugs will help greatly as these substances often make depression worse and might also lead to thoughts of suicide. Doing the following might also make one feel better: Get more exercise, have adequate sleep, get involved in group activities, talk to people you trust about your feelings and try to be around caring and positive individuals.
It is very important that one must not underestimate depression. The ‘am I depressed’ question must be addressed with promptly. Chronic depression, mild as it might be could also prove to be a hindrance to one’s life if allowed to continue.