Depression is a mental illness that is caused by a chemical imbalance within the brain and is characterized by a persistently depressed mood, which causes significant impairment in daily life.
Types of Depression
Depression is a broad term and can either be a stand-alone mental illness or occur as a part of a larger mental illness. For example, battling schizophrenia can cause depression. Individuals with bipolar disorder have periods of depression. Postpartum depression occurs after the birth of a child for some mothers. Clinical depression is also referred to as major depressive disorder.
One individual can display depression completely differently from another individual. Common symptoms can include:
- a general sad mood,
- withdrawal from friends and family,
- and inability to take care of self or others.
Other more subtle symptoms can include
- mood swings,
- lack of interest in activities once enjoyed,
- changes in sleep patterns,
- and weight changes.
There is an increased risk for suicidal ideations (thoughts of suicide) or suicidal attempts in patients who suffer from depression.
What To Do if You Expect You or a Loved One Suffer From Depression
It is important to understand that a clinical diagnosis of depression is made when the symptoms have impaired an individual’s daily living and progress over a six-month time period. However, it is extremely important to always involve a medical professional whenever you feel that you or a loved one are beginning to battle any of these symptoms so that proper care can be received.
It’s never easy to watch a loved one or to be the individual battling depression. Please involve a trusted healthcare professional in what is going on. You are not alone in what you are battling and there are people who can help.