Dealing with Depression

Depression is more than just a case of the "blues." It is a long-lasting and serious medical condition that affects people from all walks of life and from all ethnic and religious groups. It used to be viewed as a disorder that affects only women, but men and children also suffer from depression.

The different forms of depression include clinical depression, recurrent depression and unipolar depression. People with depression experience intense feelings of despair and hopelessness. When they are in the throes of depression, they find it almost impossible to function in their daily lives.  

A more severe form of depression is psychotic depression. Patients with this condition typically require hospitalization.

Symptoms of Depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, typical symptoms of depression include:

-Mood changes

-Feelings of sadness


-Cognitive impairment

-Substance abuse

-Too much or too little sleep

-Fatigue and lack of motivation and energy

-Lack of interest in sexual activity

-Unexplained anger

-Suicidal thoughts or attempted suicides

Depressed men tend to blame others for their feelings, whereas women blame themselves. Women, however, are more likely to seek treatment for their depression. Men, in general, are more resistant to seeking medical intervention.  They are likely to view depression as a sign of weakness, but it is not.

A wide range of treatments are available to help people deal with depression.  Common treatments include the following:

  • Prescription drugs: It usually takes between one and three months before patients begin to feel better.  Drugs carry the risk of dependency or addiction, however.
  • Talk therapy: This can be used in conjunction with prescription drugs or as a standalone treatment. It may be carried out on an individual basis or as a group therapy.
  • Acupuncture: Some depressed people claim to derive benefit from acupuncture treatments.  A study conducted at Stamford University found that acupuncture helped pregnant women who suffered from depression. There are opposing views about the effectiveness of the treatment, however.
  • Dietary changes: According to some reports, eating a balanced diet can alleviate symptoms of depression by providing the proper nutrients to the body.
  • Physical activity: Depressed individuals are usually too unmotivated to exercise, but physical activity has been shown to lessen symptoms. Exercise raises the levels of endorphins in the brain, and this exerts a moderating effect on the individual’s mood and sense of well-being.  
  • Art or music therapy: Some depressed people report being help by this type of treatment.
Ultimately, no-one has to suffer under the dark cloud of depression. Help is available: Depressed individuals or their families and friends just need to take the first step toward seeking treatment.  

Depressed individuals who experience suicidal thoughts should always seek immediate medical attention from their primary physician or the nearest emergency medical facility. If this is not possible, they should call the national suicide hotline.

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