What Is Depression?

Major Effects Of Depression

The Causes of Depression Image

According to the Surgeon General’s statistics, 5.3% adults (17 million Americans) are suffering from clinical depression.

If you are a woman, you have a 20% likelihood of having at least one episode of depression, 7% if you are male.

Although few people talk about it, depression is quite widespread, affecting 1 in 18 people in the USA at any given moment. Depression is expensive too. The lost days of work, income and productivity add up to costing the United States more than $83 billion annually: more than $26 billion in direct medical costs and approximately $57 billion in indirect costs – not to mention the financial and emotional loss due to suicide.

What Causes Depression?

What is Depression?  Depression is the result of the interaction of many factors, including your genetic makeup (signs and symptoms of depression are sometimes passed on in a family the same way blue eyes and curly hair are in family genetics), your diet, your “lifestyle,” how you deal (or don’t deal) with stress, and your basic belief structures.

Signs And Symptoms Of Depression

How to Spot Depression ImageIn addition to feeling blue or “depressed,” there are additional symptoms that may mean you are “depressed”. There may be feelings of guilt, shame, restlessness or sluggishness.

You may find your sleep pattern has changed, that you sleep more, or conversely, that you have trouble sleeping or you may suffer from interrupted sleep waking, or you are up too early in the morning unable to go back to sleep.

You may notice an inability to enjoy things that usually make you feel happy, or you may have feelings of low energy and fatigue. Many people find that it becomes more difficult to concentrate; they experience a loss of appetite, or conversely, a tendency to overeat (emotional eating).

Sometimes, especially in men, we see anger, resentment, and even periods of rage. Depressed people often seem withdrawn and uncommunicative, but many hide behind a positive social mask.

Depression may be triggered by recent stressful events, or may come on subtly, with no identifiable precipitants. Similarly you may notice anxiety and restlessness or a slowing of mind and body. Sometimes a person who is depressed may have thoughts about not wanting to go on living or  ending their lives.

Obviously, your interaction with the world may be impaired in many ways. You feel less creative, your sport or work performance diminishes, and your relationships may sour or end.

Major Depressive Disorder

There are obviously many levels of severity of these symptoms of depression, ranging from mild dysthymia or dysphoria (temporary down mood), through mild depressive reaction, all the way to the more serious diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder. The diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder requires that, in addition to a severe depressed mood and lack of enjoyment of the things that usually bring enjoyment, there be at least four of the eight symptoms below for a period of time:

SIGEMCAPS is a mnemonic device often used by doctors to diagnose depression. A certain number of these symptoms must be present for a certain period of time to warrant a diagnosis of Clinical Depression:

Major Depressive Disorder Image

      • Sleep disorder (either increased or decreased sleep)
      • Interest deficit (anhedonia)
      • Guilt (worthlessness, hopelessness, regret)
      • Energy deficit
      • Concentration deficit
      • Appetite disorder (either decreased or increased)
      • Psychomotor retardation or agitation
      • Suicidality

If you have many of the above symptoms of depression, or any of them that seem severe, it is best to have your condition diagnosed by a competent health care professional. Once you know whether or not you have a severe case of major depressive disorder, or a more subtle dysphoria or dysthymic condition, you can make a better choice for the treatment of depression. Severe depression can destroy your life gradually or suddenly, and can even lead to death. So it should not go unattended.

Although people who have this condition often feel unmotivated to do anything, if you are depressed, it is imperative that you find relief as quickly as possible. Depression has been shown to lead to actual physical deterioration of the brain, often involving actual death of irreplaceable cortical neurons (the cells that do the thinking in your brain).

Remember, although it is the responsibility of your doctor to diagnose your condition, it is your sole responsibility to inform him/her of your symptoms, and it is your responsibility how you will treat your condition.

Fighting Depression

When treating a potentially serious disease such as a Major Depressive Disorder, it is wise to see a skilled professional. Because severe depression can diminish your ability to carefully manage yourself and your relationships, it is wise to see a competent professional to evaluate significant symptoms of depression. If it is not serious enough to warrant professional attention, then it is important that you begin to use tools of self-healing to relieve this condition before it causes serious problems. Having symptoms of stress is like seeing black smoke coming up from the engine of your car – a sign that you should begin to use the tools that can relieve this potentially dangerous condition.

Although antidepressant medications are still felt by many doctors to be the best way of dealing with a major clinical depression, recent research seems to indicate that antidepressants are very often of little or no use in most cases of mild to moderate depression. Instead we are finding that therapeutic interventions that stress relaxation and cognitive behavior change is considerably superior to and more permanent than a drug-only treatment.

In a large percentage of cases, mind-body techniques, including meditation, guided imagery, stress management, and prayer, once learned and used daily, may be all that is needed in fighting depression. On the other hand, after careful consideration, it sometimes proves wise to choose to use gradually increasing doses of medication to provide additional symptomatic relief while more specific self-healing strategies are applied through mind tools. As you learn to apply these tools and your depression lightens, the amount of medication can be gradually and safely withdrawn.

Natural Treatment For Depression

Depression Recovery Image

Dr. Miller’s Escape From Depression program consists of two CDs (or in MP3 format, too). Each presents a number of perspectives, techniques, meditations, and guided imagery audio experiences that he has found effective in his clinical practice. This program may be extremely helpful, even crucial, in the treatment of every form of depression. It weaves vital information based on clinical experience and the latest neuropsychiatric research with powerful self-healing tools like cognitive-behavioral self-therapy, meditation, deep relaxation, self-imagery, self-hypnosis, autogenic training, and prayer.

You will discover a new perspective on the mechanism of depression, delivered in the form of a heart to heart talk. Dr. Miller explains depression as the state of being cut off from your spirit or heart, from those things and people that have real meaning for you. Depression is often a kind of learned helplessness – the result of unfortunate and emotionally overwhelming challenges, such as a personal loss that has not been sufficiently grieved.

Dr. Miller’s program may be used alone, or in conjunction with other medications, supplements, and physical and psychological therapies. Of course it is best to inform your health care practitioner if you are adding this program to a treatment for major depressive disorder, as it may significantly improve the course of your illness.


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