While everyone occasionally feels sad or “blue,” these feelings tend to pass rather quickly.
By contrast, someone with depression experiences extreme sadness or despair that lasts for at least two weeks or longer. Depressed individuals tend to feel helpless and hopeless and to blame themselves for having these feelings. Depression interferes with activities of daily living—such as working or concentrating on tasks, or even eating and sleeping. Other possible symptoms of depression include chronic pain, headaches or stomach aches. Some people may feel angry or restless for long periods.
People who are depressed may become overwhelmed and exhausted and stop participating in certain everyday activities altogether. They may withdraw from family and friends. Some depressed individuals may have thoughts of death or suicide.
Can depression be treated successfully?
Absolutely. Depression is highly treatable when an individual receives competent care. Licensed psychologists are highly trained mental health professionals with years of experience studying depression and helping patients recover from it. There is still some stigma or reluctance associated with seeking help for emotional and mental health problems, including depression. Unfortunately, feelings of depression often are viewed as a sign of weakness rather than as a signal that something is out of balance. The fact is that people with depression cannot simply “snap out of it” and feel better spontaneously.
Persons with depression who do not seek help suffer needlessly. Unexpressed feelings and concerns accompanied by a sense of isolation can worsen a depression.
Getting quality treatment is crucial. If depression goes untreated, it can last for a long time and worsen other illnesses. Even people with severe depression benefit from treatment.