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Depression—Symptoms and Treatment (2)
By: Beth McHugh 2006
“Tom’s depressed because Katie’s gone away and won’t be able to come to his party tonight”.
“I’m so depressed because I spent the whole day shopping for a present for Kyle and I couldn’t find anything!”
Like many psychiatric terms, the word “depression” is often used in everyday language to express a normal, everyday, human experience. Clinical depression is, however, not a normal, everyday human experience, yet it is surprisingly common in the community. But, unlike the above examples, true depression cannot be quickly alleviated by a quick shot of retail therapy or a trip to the cinema with a friend.
Depression is not just a sad mood that will pass with a sudden change in circumstances. It is a serious illness that affects the entire body, and it is important for the sufferer or the family of the sufferer to seek medical help as soon as possible.
Depression may occur for any number of reasons. It may occur suddenly after a loss or trauma, or more commonly, it may slowly develop over a series of weeks or months, often so slowly that the person concerned, as well as their family and friends, do not initially recognize the condition for what it is. By this stage, the condition might be quite advanced, and quick intervention is required.
Depression may also go undetected for long periods of time because it may manifest primarily as a physical illness. Trips to the local doctor may take the form of a raft of vague and often changing physical complaints, but the underlying root cause of these illnesses, (which are, in fact, real) is depression.
Given that depression will affect us all, either directly or indirectly,
throughout the course of their lives, it is unfortunate that, as with
all forms of mental illness, there is a stigma attached to the condition.
Apart from failure to correctly diagnose depression, it is the stigma
associated with mental illness s that also prevents many people from
seeking help. It is often only when the person has broken down completely
before treatment can begin in earnest.
In future articles, we will look at several of these treatments.
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