Sunday, June 3, 2007

Living With and Understanding Depression

Faye B. Roberts

Living with someone who is depressed is very challenging. Understanding depression is very difficult for a person who is not depressed. It is hard to comprehend how depression alters brain function and more importantly the thought process of a depressed person. It is a very serious medical illness that can be life threatening. It is still a mystery but is linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain with the lack of the hormone serotonin as well as a hereditary factor.

Serotonin is a hormone found in the brain as well as other parts of your body. It has two important purposes in the body. The first is to act as a neurotransmitter which is necessary for communication between nerve cells. The second is a vasoconstrictor which is a powerful constrictor of the blood vessels. The lack of serotonin in the brain is thought to be a cause of depression. It can also be referred to as or 5-hydroxytryptamine.

Body temperature, sleep, mood and behavior, appetite and physical coordination are body functions regulated by the nerve cells that utilize this hormone. Realizing this you will be able to see why the symptoms relate to serotonin.

Symptoms of Depression

1 Change in Sleep patterns - difficulty sleeping, waking early or oversleeping, not wanting to get out of bed
2 Change in weight - more often weight loss, but can be weight gain
3 Depletion of self esteem - feelings of worthless, useless, and undeserving
4 Loss of identity - isolation from social supports, not wanting to communicate
5 Lack of concentration - focus, commitment and follow through
6 Feelings of anxiety- anxious and panic attacks
7 Disturbing thoughts - death or dying, or suicidal thoughts
8 Low energy - fatigue, lack of motivation

Understanding depression is knowing that it is a lot more than moodiness or the feeling of being "down in the dumps" for a short time frame. Know that this is not something that a person can change at will or that they brought on themselves, but is indeed a mental illness. A person might have supportive friends, a good job, financial security and a loving family yet still feels unhappy or as if life is not worth living. Sometimes being depressed can arise for what seems like no specific reason at all. It can be originated by a traumatizing life event or it can creep up over time.

A variety of treatment methods are available for this illness, including counseling and anti-depressant medications, but the first step is always to get a physical assessment by a professional to determine if you have a depressive illness. Working together you can develop a personal treatment plan, as all forms of depression are not treated in the same manner.

The cause of depression and what triggers it are constantly being researched to discover what the actual cause is of this potentially disabling disease. Maybe someday we will closer to fully understanding depression and the mystery surrounding this illness.

Faye B. Roberts is an independent researcher and author on depression and is assisting others in their quest to understand this serious illness. Discover a new way of thinking and coping with depression that will change the way you look, feel and live your life. Visit Facts On Depression

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