Depression: An Overview

by Claire N. Agard, PhD, CCTP

Have you ever felt like you have no energy and doing day-to-day activities is like dragging a huge load that takes everything out you?  Have you also felt that all you want to do is remain in bed and away from everyone else? If so, you may be depressed.

Depression is a serious and common medical illness. It’s intense sadness that does not wane with time. It really disrupts a person’s ability function effectively.  Hopelessness  helplessness, and sometimes, worthlessness can all occur with depression. Sometimes the depressed person:

  • Has difficulty concentrating. 
  • May find it hard to think/make the simplest decisions.
  • May find it difficult to get out of bed or to do anything. 
  • Has thoughts of death and suicide.
  • Experiences changes in appetite (may overeat or lose his/her appetite).
  • Experiences insomnia (difficulty falling asleep or early morning awakening and inability to go back to sleep).
  • Feels discouraged.
  • Emphasizes somatic complaints (bodily aches and pains) rather than reporting feelings of sadness.
  • Becomes easily frustrated and/or irritated.
  • Loses interest in activities he/she previously enjoyed.
  • Reports decrease in energy level and/or continued fatigue.
  • May ruminate over past failings.

Let’s be honest, you may have thought that you were depressed but felt ashamed to speak with anyone about it. You may even have believed that feeling sad and gloomy almost all of the day, every day, was the manifestation of some personal weakness. The funny thing is that if you had diabetes, a cardiac problem or any other physical complaint, you’d see your GP or primary care physician with no hesitation. That should not be the case because, just like the others, depression is a medical illness. There is absolutely no difference!

Take the self-assessment below to determine if you  may be depressed? If it suggests that you are, get help as quickly as you would for any other illness and remember that we at OneHealth are here to help you to take that first steps to wellness.

© Claire N. Agard

Please contact the author at c.agard@onehealth.org for reprints of this article. 

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