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Depression is a common mental illness which can affect the body, mood & thoughts. It can create feelings of guilt, low self worth, loss of interest or pleasure, disturbed sleep & appetite, low energy, poor concentration & low self worth.
Depression is an illness that involves the body and its thoughts and moods. It can alter the way a person sleeps (insomnia, disturbed sleep or oversleeping) and eats, how they feel about themselves and the way they think. Depression can affect up to 16% of men and 25% of women at some point in their lifetime.
Depression is not the same as a 'blue mood' and is not something that can 'wished away'. If a person suffers from depression, they are not able to 'pull themselves together'. If left untreated the illness can last for weeks or years.
The DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders) states that the key criteria for diagnosing a clinical depression is that one of two elements must manifest itself for a duration of at least 2 weeks. These are:
1. Anhedonia - The loss of gratification or pleasure; the numbing of the joy of living; deriving no pleasure from usual life experiences e.g. social/ sexual interactions, sexual intercourse, eating, exercise etc.
2. Depressed Mood - Unhappiness, sadness etc. In addition these symptoms may also be present with 5 of the following over a period of at least 2 weeks:
The treatment of depression with drugs is most commonly the prescription of antidepressants, which actually treats the common symptom of depression, rather than the condition itself.
Whilst the relief that antidepressants can sometimes bring can be very welcome it is important to note that sufferers treated 'solely' with drugs have an80% chance of having a subsequent major depression episode.
A growing body of research suggests the increasing use of anti depressants as the main tool to ease or help depression is questionable especially as a long term solution.
It is therefore important to find the correct mix of psychotherapy and counselling for your condition in tandem with drugs (if required).