Everyone knows that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, but do you know that it's also Depression Awareness Month? Not much awareness about depression, is there?
Here is a little information about depression from the National Institute of Mental Health:
What Is Depression?
Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad, but these feelings are usually fleeting and pass within a couple of days. When a person has a depressive disorder, it interferes with daily life, normal functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and those who care about him or her. Depression is a common but serious illness, and most who experience it need treatment to get better.
Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the vast majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Intensive research into the illness has resulted in the development of medications, psychotherapies, and other methods to treat people with this disabling disorder.
What are the different forms of depression?
There are several forms of depressive disorders. The most common are major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder.
Major depressive disorder, also called major depression, is characterized by a combination of symptoms that interfere with a person's ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy once–pleasurable activities. Major depression is disabling and prevents a person from functioning normally. An episode of major depression may occur only once in a person's lifetime, but more often, it recurs throughout a person's life.
Dysthymic disorder, also called dysthymia, is characterized by long–term (two years or longer) but less severe symptoms that may not disable a person but can prevent one from functioning normally or feeling well. People with dysthymia may also experience one or more episodes of major depression during their lifetimes.
Some forms of depressive disorder exhibit slightly different characteristics than those described above, or they may develop under unique circumstances. However, not all scientists agree on how to characterize and define these forms of depression. They include:
Psychotic depression, which occurs when a severe depressive illness is accompanied by some form of psychosis, such as a break with reality, hallucinations, and delusions.
Postpartum depression, which is diagnosed if a new mother develops a major depressive episode within one month after delivery. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.1
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is characterized by the onset of a depressive illness during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. The depression generally lifts during spring and summer. SAD may be effectively treated with light therapy, but nearly half of those with SAD do not respond to light therapy alone. Antidepressant medication and psychotherapy can reduce SAD symptoms, either alone or in combination with light therapy.2
Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, is not as common as major depression or dysthymia. Bipolar disorder is characterized by cycling mood changes-from extreme highs (e.g., mania) to extreme lows (e.g., depression). Visit the NIMH website for more information about bipolar disorder.
What are the signs and symptoms of depression?
People with depressive illnesses do not all experience the same symptoms. The severity, frequency and duration of symptoms will vary depending on the individual and his or her particular illness.
- Persistent sad, anxious or "empty" feelings
- Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
- Irritability, restlessness
- Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
- Fatigue and decreased energy
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
- Insomnia, early–morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
- Overeating, or appetite loss
- Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
- Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
How can I help a friend or relative who is depressed?
If you know someone who is depressed, it affects you too. The first and most important thing you can do to help a friend or relative who has depression is to help him or her get an appropriate diagnosis and treatment. You may need to make an appointment on behalf of your friend or relative and go with him or her to see the doctor. Encourage him or her to stay in treatment, or to seek different treatment if no improvement occurs after six to eight weeks.To help a friend or relative:
- Offer emotional support, understanding, patience and encouragement.
- Engage your friend or relative in conversation, and listen carefully.
- Never disparage feelings your friend or relative expresses, but point out realities and offer hope.
- Never ignore comments about suicide, and report them to your friend's or relative's therapist or doctor.
- Invite your friend or relative out for walks, outings and other activities. Keep trying if he or she declines, but don't push him or her to take on too much too soon. Although diversions and company are needed, too many demands may increase feelings of failure.
- Remind your friend or relative that with time and treatment, the depression will lift.
See last year's post for some more facts and statistics about depression.
Last year I mentioned that depression was something I suffer with and never have I received so many comments and emails from people who also suffer or people just offering support. It was hard for me to approach the subject- it makes me feel weak and stigmatized- but now I'm glad I did. Just goes to show you that even though you feel like you're alone, you aren't. Which is why we need to talk about this! Maybe one day people will understand instead of just telling you to 'get over it.'
The color for Depression Awareness is green, so wear some green polish! Here are some of my favorites:
Revlon Matte Suede Emerald City
Nicole by OPI Fell From The Tree
GOSH Golden Dragon
LA Girl Metallic Olive
BB Couture Saturday Night Fever
BB Couture Studio 54
Ulta Urban Jungle
China Glaze Emerald Sparkle
CND Green Scene
Nicole by OPI Faux Fir
Essie Pretty Edgy
New York Summer Greenish
MAC Dry Martini
MAC Beyond Jealous
Nubar Hot Green
INP 99 Green Glitter
Barry M Emerald Green
SpaRitual Yes I Can
Bloom Jessica Mauboy II
Amour Green Glitter
Sinful Green Bay
Claire's Emerald City
Maybelline Lime Aluminum
Maybelline Matte Olive
Snail Slicks 30
Revlon Street Wear Envy
Love My Nails Envy
Rescue Beauty Lounge Recycle
Rescue Beauty Lounge Orbis Non Sufficit
Finger Paints Evergreen Dream
Urban Decay Cult
Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Trendy Creme
Revlon Lush Lime
Sally Hansen New Lengths Money Bags Frost
Sally Hansen Edgy Creme