Depression is much more than just feeling sad or unhappy, it’s a mental illness that dulls practically every single activity that we engage in over a sustained period of time. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR; APA, 2000) defines depression as having a depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure in activities we do every day that lasts for a minimum of two weeks. However in order to accurately diagnose this mental illness, during these two weeks of depression or major depressive disorder as it is commonly known as, the individual must show any five of the following symptoms:
- Feeling sad or down for the majority of a day
- Losing interest in most or all activities
- Picking up or losing excessive amounts of body weight
- Struggling to fall asleep or sleeping too much
- Feeling agitated and irritated
- Feeling lacklustre and experiencing a lack of energy
- Constantly feeling guilty or insignificant
- Lack of concentration and becoming unable to think clearly or make decisions
- Constantly thinking about death
If you can relate yourself or a loved one to any 5 of the above symptoms, then it’s best to seek professional psychological help as soon as possible. If you are still want to know more about this mental illness, here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about depression.
Is Depression a Common Illness?
Depression is indeed a common illness and it can happen to anyone of us at any point in our lives. In fact, the World Health Organisation (WHO) says that “Globally, more than 350 million people have depression”. One of the most unbearable factors of depression is the worry that nobody will ever know what you are going through. However, it’s important to keep in mind that we and the people that love you the most are standing fully behind you through this torrid time and we are here to help.
Can a Normal Doctor Treat Depression?
Depression is a mental illness that can often be misinterpreted by general practitioners as the symptoms suffered are very common in many other illnesses. Your family doctor might give you anti-depression medication to help treat the symptoms of depression, which for some may work, but for others, psychiatric help may be required or in some cases even both. In order to best ascertain what type of depression treatment is best suited to you, seek help from a mental health specialist or give us a call and we can provide you with free confidential and expert advice.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from Depression?
It’s hard to accurately determine how long it will take to recover from depression as it depends on the nature and severity of the mental illness suffered by the patient. It could take a few weeks to a couple of months and recovery from it will most likely be a slower process than what we would preferably want. However, the good news is that once you or a loved one is in depression treatment, they will be in the best hands possible to ensure that they live happily again.
The World Health Organisation (WHO): http://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/notes/2012/mental_health_day_20121009/en/
National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI): http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64063/