Health

Are You Depressed?

February 13th, 2014 by

depressionThe word ‘depression’ gets tossed around in everyday talk: ‘I’m depressed that I need to stay in tonight,’ ‘I’m depressed that Christmas is over’ and so on. Feeling sad or miserable at times are perfectly normal emotions, and considered necessary for humans to experience from time to time. These feelings quickly tend to pass as our spirits are lifted and our attention is transferred to a new focus. However if your sadness descends into deep unshakable darkness which lasts for extended periods and interferes with daily life, you may have depression in the medical sense of the word.

Depression in a mild form can make life a struggle, as you lose sight of purpose and meaning, making everyday tasks and responsibilities seem like deep burdens. Severe clinical depression can be debilitating, and indeed life threatening, as the will to live diminishes, and suicidal thoughts dominate the mind.

Symptoms of depression include losing touch with reality, a constant sense of despair, feeling helpless and disconnected and avoiding social events and activities that you usually enjoy. Common physical symptoms include trouble sleeping, loss of sex drive, unexplained lack of energy and loss of appetite.

There are an endless list of recognised causes of depression including life events, genetics, past experiences, chemical changes in the brain, poor diet and loss.

What can you do to help yourself conquer depression?

  • Keep active – research shows that regular exercise can boost the happy chemicals in the brain and help beat mild cases of depression and anxiety with the rush of endorphins.
  • Connect with others – Staying connected with friends and family can help to re-establish a sense of reality and purpose. Feeling depressed often causes an individual to break away from social occasions, and then the cycle is perpetuated.
  • Try to break the cycle – Identify when you are feeling at your lowest and try to break your usual habits of closing yourself off or recoiling into your shell. Try to occupy your thought process by engaging with other people, a hobby or exercise.
  • Pay attention to your needs. Set yourself goals to establish a purpose. They may be career goals, personal goals or physical fitness goals. Commit to them and maintain your focus.
  • Address your diet to ensure that you are getting the best nutrients to build yourself ‘up.’ See *link to blog to 10 health rules to abide by daily* Studies show that brain chemistry and function can be affected considerably by ‘junk food’ heavy and nutritionally redundant diets.
  • Be cautious of alcohol and drugs which can exacerbate depression.
  • Speak up! Speak to those people that you trust such as a parent, sibling or partner. There is nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed of.
  • Visit your GP for advice or healthcare professional for advice. Or if you would prefer to go down the alternative therapy route, nutritional therapy, reflexology or acupuncture may be worth considering.
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  • Alternatively, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Here are some useful contacts to call on:

Samaritans

24 hour helpline: 08457 90 90 90

Web: www.samarians.org

 

Mind

Info line: 0300 123 3393 (Monday-Friday 9am-6pm)

www.mind.org.uk

 

Depression Alliance

Tel: 0845 123 2320

www.depressionalliance.org

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