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Donít Let Depression Get You Down

By Michael Plontz
(Page 1 of 2)  

Caregiving can sometimes be a depressing venture. Not only does it usually involve someone we love deteriorating before our eyes, our own lives become completely rearranged. Believe it or not, the fact that the holidays are right around the corner can make even those not in a caregiving situation depressed. Imagine what that does to a caregiver.

Depression can range from feeling a little blue to obsessing about death and suicide. It is not just a single disorder, but a group of psychiatric illnesses. This group of illnesses may affect your body and mind, and your mood and behavior. Although it is a serious condition, it is very treatable. Two symptoms to watch out for, and that doctors watch out for, are a loss of pleasure in daily activities and continuous feelings of hopelessness and sadness. Women have a 50% greater chance of being diagnosed with depression and some types of depression may run in families.

The three most common types of depression are major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder. Major depression may have many symptoms that affect a personís ability to carry out necessary everyday activities such as eating, working and sleeping. Other once-pleasurable activities seem insurmountable. A person can usually go on from day to day, but may have a ďdisabling episodeĒ one or two times in his or her life.

Dysthymia is long term or chronic depressive symptoms. These symptoms may not be disabling, but usually prevent the person from felling good and functioning well. Major depressive episodes may be experienced by people with dysthymia. 
Bipolar disorder, sometimes called manic-depression, is often a chronic condition. It causes the afflicted to experience cycles of depression, mania, lethargy, and exuberant happiness. These mood changes are normally rapid and dramatic.
More detailed symptoms of dysthymia and major depression include the following:

    Memory, concentration, and decision-making problems

    Feeling irritable and restless

    Appetite changes-eating more or less


    Feeling hopeless and pessimistic

    Feeling anxious, empty or sad

    Feeling tired or less energetic

    Thinking of death and suicide or even attempting suicide

    Losing the ability to enjoy activities that used to be enjoyed (e.g. sex)

    Physical symptoms that donít improved with treatment


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