Depression is a serious illness, not a harmless part of life. It is a complex disorder with a variety of causes. It is never caused by just one thing. It may be the result of a mix of factors, including genetic, chemical, physical, and sociological. It is also influenced by behavior patterns learned in the family and by cognitive distortions.
Depression affects millions of people in this country. It is always troubling, and for some people it can be disabling. Depression is more than just sadness or “the blues.” It can have an impact on nearly every aspect of a person’s life. People who suffer from depression may experience despair and worthlessness, and this can have an enormous impact on both personal and professional relationships. In this newsletter, I will describe many of the factors that may cause depression, and I will explore strategies for preventing it.
Depression Is Pervasive
When a person suffers from depression, it can affect every part of his or her life, including one’s physical body, one’s behavior, thought processes, mood, ability to relate to others, and general lifestyle.
Symptoms of Depression
People who are diagnosed with clinical depression have a combination of symptoms from the following list:
• Fatigue or low energy
• Much less interest or pleasure in most regular activities
• Low self-esteem
• Feeling worthless
• Excessive or inappropriate guilt
• Lessened ability to think or concentrate
• Weight loss or gain without dieting
• Change in appetite
• Change in sleeping patterns
• Recurrent thoughts of death
• Suicidal thoughts
• A specific plan for committing suicide
• A suicide attempt
• Feelings of restlessness or being slowed down