Depression often lasts for a long, indefinite period of time, and your always feeling ‘down’. When experiencing major depression you may feel four or more of the following:
*Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, helplessness, or hopelessness.
*Persistent pessimism or sadness.
* Lack of concentration.
*Weight gain or loss
*Loss of enjoyment or interest in nearly every aspect of life.
* Over sleeping or Insomnia
*physical symptoms such as stomach troubles, blurred vision. headaches, backaches and constipation. *Irritability, anxiety or agitation.
*Loss of interest in sex
*Lack of energy
*Alcohol and drug abuse.
*Drop in school performance.
*Thoughts of death or suicide.
Feeling down at times for different reasons is a lot different then ongoing depression. Depression can last from just a few weeks to 6 months or more. Major depression, or depressive illness, is a very serious condition that often leads to an inability to function or even suicide. Sufferers of major depression suffer from more than just a depressed mood, they also suffer from more harmful symptoms such as the ones described above. It is a periodic illness, so even though most patients do recover from the first depressive experience, the recurrence rate for major depression is high. It often appears unexpectedly, seemingly unprovoked, and then disappears just as unexpectedly, usually in about 6 to 12 months. Because of the possibility of suicide and the disabling effects it has on the patient, major depression needs treatment. ‘Normal depression’ or depressive reaction often occurs as a result of a certain event such as a family member dying. Depressed moods can often be a side effect to certain medication, physical illness (flu or a viral infection), or hormonal changes (after childbirth or before menstrual periods). The exact causes of major depression are unknown, however, some researchers believe that both forms are caused by a malfunction in the brain’s chemicals (help monitor and regulate moods). The elderly are often misdiagnosed as having senile dementia which is incurable when they are suffering from depression. This is unfortunate as depression is treatable, the success rate is high once the person is correctly diagnosed. A psychiatrist should be consulted in order to be correctly diagnosed, especially if you have any of the above symptoms.
Alternative therapies are complementary to conventional medical treatments and can prove to be very effective. Yoga and acupuncture can be done in addition to other conventional therapies, both have had success in the treatment of depression. Aromatherapy helps ease mental fatigue and help with sleep. Clary, basil, jasmine, chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and rose are essential oils that help alleviate depression. These oils may be inhaled, put in a bath, or on the edge of your pillow (1 - 2 drops). There are many Chinese Remedies for depression - consult a professional herbalist for advice on the one that will suit you. St. Johns Wort is a very popular herbal remedy for depression. Bach Flower Remedies are also popular, Gentian is taken by those who are easily discouraged, gorse for feelings of despair and hopelessness, mustard for depression of unknown reasons and wild rose for apathy. Exercise improves blood flow to the brain, relieves stress and elevates mood and should therefore be part of any therapy for depression. Depressive symptoms are aggravated by nutritional deficiencies, so good nutrition is very important, supplements such as potassium, L-tryptophan, L-tyrosine, zinc, ginseng, B-complex, valerian and lecithin should be taken. A proper diet, vacations, doing things you enjoy, exercise, not overworking and no stress help prevent depression. Professional advice should be sought if you or your child have any suicidal thoughts. Remember there is a noticeable difference between feeling ‘depressed’ and suffering from a depressive illness. If you have low spirits for a short while do not be concerned, but if you feel that you can not lift yourself out of your misery you should seek professional help.
Although most doctors are not opposed to alternative remedies, they feel they should go hand-in-hand with conventional medical or psychological treatment. For example, in cases of mild depression, antidepression medication or sleeping pills will probably be prescribed. With more serious cases a course of antidepressant drugs -lasting for several weeks or even months - may be advised. Anyone who feels suicidally depressed should seek immediate medical help.
Sometimes a course of Psychotherapy will be advised. This involves the patient seeing a psychotherapist at regular intervals, either individually or as part of a group. Alternatively, a GP may send a depressive patient to see a counsellor, who will try to help him to come to terms with his problems and so overcome them.
The information contained in this Site/Service is not intended nor is it implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice or taken for medical diagnosis or treatment