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What is Depression

What is Depression

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Beating the Monday morning blues
Beating the Monday morning blues

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Published by: Prof. Lakshman Madurasinghe on Mar 01, 2008
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06/27/2012

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WHAT IS DEPRESSION
?
 
Prof.Lakshman Madurasinghe, PhD
You find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning. If you have responsibilities forother family members you let them shift for themselves. You are becoming indecisiveand even forgetful. Your ability to concentrate seems to have fled. You don't feel likelaughing. Food has lost its taste and sex has lost its appeal. You seem to bewithdrawing into a shell, not wanting to be bothered by family or friends.
Telltale signs
Depression has been called the common cold of the mind. Mental health expertsconservatively estimate that one in every ten people in our country suffers from thisaffliction.Depression affects our roles and relationships - work, play friendships, marriage andfamily, church and community.
The common symptoms
In any one year it is estimated that between 4 and 8 million people are depressed tothe extent that they cannot effectively function at their jobs or must seek some kindof treatment.
A suicidal person lacks the courage to be depressed
Aretaeus, a physician living in the second century A. D., described the melancholicpatient as "sad, dismayed, sleepless ……….. They become thin by their agitation andloss of refreshing sleep ……… At a more advanced state, they complain of a thousandfutility's and desire death"Depression is an inner scream telling us that we have neglected some area of ourlives."Often a man kills himself because he is unable to despair and endure depression."
 
On the Plus side
I had learned a great deal about the human psyche and the strange ways in which itworks. I felt better equipped to meet the stresses of living in an unsettled world, andbetter able to understand the motivations of others around me.Unfortunately, within society in general depression is stigmatised as sinful andindicative of weakness and spiritual inadequacy
Who gets depressed ?
Various subgroups of the population are clearly at higher risk than others. Thefollowing is a summary of these risk factors.1. Sex - overwhelming body of research shows a higher rate of depression in women than in men. We will look closer at thisphenon in the next major section.2. Age - Recent community surveys report a higher prevalenceof depression symptoms in young adults (18 - 44) than olderadults. This is a change from the early twentieth centurywhen reports indicated older adults were more depressed.The elderly are also becoming more depressive prone as lifespan is lengthened.3. Marital status - Separated and divorced persons show ahigher incidence of depression than do those who havenever married or those who have currently married. Ratesare lower among married persons than among singlepersons.
In the United States, women are two to six times more likelyto be diagnosed as depressed than men.Women and depression
In the past, some women were taught to lower their personal aspirations and dependupon dominant males for their well being. This didn't do much for a healthy self-esteem and often contributed to depression. Secondly, the marriages of some womenalso contribute to depression. Some men are quite insensitive to their wives moods.Pressure points in the lives of 
 
women said that no women reaches maturity without having taken on a freight carload of unresolved issues.It is interesting to note that male alcoholics outnumber female alcoholicssignificantly, and the rate for successful suicides is three times higher for men thanfor women. Men perhaps deal with their depression differently than women do.It is no surprise that many people who struggle with depression are perfectionists.
Loss of perspective.
When a person is depressed he loses perspective. The way he views his life, his joband his family is coloured.What do we distort ? We distort life itself. It loses its excitement and purpose.Part of the journey for the depressed person is to change the distorted lens of hismind to a realistic one. Usually we need help from other people to do that. If we aredepressed we need to ask for help.
Light depression
If you can recognise these symptoms as indications of depression (and if this is areaction depression), you are still in a position to reverse the depression. Askyourself these questions : What is my depression trying to tell me ? (Having a preplanned reading program in mind will be beneficial.)
Moderate depression
Sleeping and eating problems may emerge - either too much or too little.
Why do people get depressed ?Past Deprivation
Resentment is a feeling of ill will or bitter indignation toward another person. And thegreater the resentment, the greater the depression potential. Resentment has beencalled anger rethought.Improper Food and RestSuch a simple thing as not eating properly or not getting proper rest can causedepression. The person who does not eat regular meals or get sufficient sleep mayfind himself becoming depressed because he is cheating his body of the food and rest

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