Support for those with Anxiety, Depression, OCD and other stress and phobia related problems.

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About Depression - Information for Depression Sufferers

The similarity between anxiety and depression is that they are both, in some ways, essential parts of being human. Life is full of stresses and that means it can also be full of disappointments and unresolved problems.

We all have a store of things in our past which we sometimes feel unhappy about. Most of us overcome our feelings of depression and manage to recover our emotional equilibrium. As with anxiety, sometimes a period of depression can be productive - it can make us think about past failures or disappointments, and consider how we might take steps to avoid similar occurrences in the future. Grief can be seen as a protective reaction too, just like certain types of anxiety. It is a way of retreating from the world when the mind needs time to cope with upsetting change.

If anxiety focuses the mind on a coming threat, then depression focuses the mind and body inwards, on a general thinking-out and adapting to a change of circumstances brought about by an upsetting event. Depression, like anxiety, becomes a problem when it gets out of proportion. Deciding when depression becomes a problem is a difficult decision in many cases. As with anxiety, the best guideline is that when the symptoms of depression begin to take over your life and affect everything adversely, then you might well need help to deal with it.

So what sparks off depression? Depression can be triggered by many things including genetic factors, life events and psychological factors. Some psychologists attribute depression to "learned helplessness", when we feel so out of control in our lives that it seems pointless to even try. Others attribute it to faulty thinking, i.e. the way we view the world affects our moods. Psychoanalytical theories see depression as being a result of aggression turned inwards upon ourselves. Depression can also be caused by biochemical imbalances, for instance an essential amino acid, tryptophan, has been found to be low in sufferers.

Other causes are thought to be environmental pollution and allergies, low blood sugar, drugs - including "social" ones like alcohol, or the pill. Illnesses such as a bout of glandular fever can be a trigger, also an accident or an injury. Surgery, menstrual problems, divorce or separation, or bereavement and the ensuing loneliness, can spark it off, as can fatigue and overwork... So there are lots of reasons why people end up being depressed.

People with minor depression, vulnerable personalities or life stresses, can be helped by careful analysis of the problem, discussion and counselling. Nevertheless, anti-depressants are still the first line of treatment, the idea being that they can correct biochemical disturbances in the brain. Short term treatment on anti-depressants can be extremely effective for lifting someone out of a mood in which they have become trapped, but long-term medication can often prevent a person from looking at other ways to deal with their depression.

Medication does not change the stresses and social factors which trigger depression in the first place, so it therefore makes good sense to learn how to protect yourself from distressing emotions and try to reduce your dependence on medication.

Depression Symptoms

Physical Symptoms of Depression

The commonest and most obvious symptom of depression is sadness. This melancholy is likely to be persistent with a tendency to cry more often, at the slightest upset, or even without an upset at all... more

  • a loss of appetite
  • sleep disturbances, such as restless spells and waking up very early in the morning ... more
Wallsend Self Help Group 2015 Rob Rolls

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