Depression is a term many individuals use to describe feelings of sadness, gloom and/or pessimistic thinking. Clinically speaking, depression refers to a type of mood disorder that impedes on a person's ability to function in various aspects of his/her life for a significant amount of time.
Due to the impact depression can have on someone's well-being, including those around them, it is important to be aware of some of the common symptoms associated with the disorder and what to do about them. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of sleep
- Loss or lack of interest in normal daily activities
- Feeling worthless or hopeless
- Thoughts of hurting oneself or others, also referred to as suicidal/homicidal ideation, respectively
While the above symptoms vary according to the severity of the depression, it is important to not disregard what you are feeling. Depression, if not taken care of early enough, can serve as a blockade to getting help. As a result, many individuals who are depressed often need friends and/or family to intervene and help them get assistance.
The first step in getting help is to consult with a medical professional to rule out any medical causes for the depression. Upon being evaluated by your physician, he/she may recommend seeking counseling either with a psychiatrist, psychologist or social worker to get to the emotional/psychological cause of the problem. Depending on what is causing the depression, generally a combination of medical and psychological care is helpful.
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Christine M. Valentin is a licensed clinical social worker licensed in NJ and NY. She specializes in anxiety, depression and counseling family members who are concerned about an older adult, spouse or significant other. She has offices in Downtown Summit and Union Square, NYC. For more information, visit www.familycaregiversocialworker.com