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Is it More Than Sadness?

Recognizing the symptoms of depression

Quinton Rumpf, Staff Reporter

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(Note: Do not use this article or any information within it to self-diagnose. If you fear you may have symptoms of depression, please seek professional help)

Sadness is a natural human emotion that everyone experiences. Seriously, if someone tells you that they’ve never been sad, they’re probably lying through their teeth. Now, while sadness is experienced by nearly every human at some point or another, those thoughts and feelings eventually fade away into the abyss that is the human mind. Major depressive disorder,  or clinical depression, is characterized by bouts of intense sadness that last for extended periods of time and remains a persistent force in a person’s life. Clinical depression does more than just leave you feeling blue: it can have a tremendous impact on your daily life. It can alter your sleeping habits, your appetite, it can make you lose interest in activities from which you once derived pleasure, and in more extreme cases, you might find yourself believing that life is something that’s not worth living.

All’s not lost, however, as if you can help identify the symptoms either in yourself or someone you care about, that brings you one step closer to getting the help needed to deal with this unfortunate disorder.

Symptoms of Depression

  • Excessive feelings of sadness and/or irritability (nearly) all day, every day
  • The aforementioned loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities or passions                                                                   
  • Drastic weight gain/loss, usually accompanied by a shift in appetite  
  • Change in sleeping habits (i.e., sleeping far more or less than normal for the individual)
  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Lack of energy/unusual feelings of exhaustion
  • Unwarranted feelings of guilt towards things that wouldn’t normally elicit such a response
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Finding it hard to concentrate, think, and/or make decisions
  • Thoughts of self-harm or even suicide

 

(If you ever have thoughts of suicide, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255. They are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Also contact your doctor or other health care professional for medical assistance.)

While there is no known specific cause of depression, evidence suggests that it may be due in part to genetics and stress being combined into misery stew, thus changing brain chemistry and reducing mood stability. It’s also been shown that abuse of drugs or alcohol can possibly trigger depression in an individual, as well as certain diseases like cancer, which pushes you to the brink.

So, what kind of treatment exists for this kind of mental disorder? Well, more often than not, if a patient does indeed have depression, treatment may start with, well, antidepressants. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRI) are the most frequently prescribed antidepressants. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that can affect mood, appetite, sleep, social behavior, and sexual desire. SSRIs slow the breakdown of serotonin in the brain, leading to larger amounts of this neurotransmitter existing at once, thus relieving the symptoms of clinical depression.

Treatment may also lie within talk therapy, wherein you meet with a therapist regularly and discuss your condition and any subsequent issues. In addition to talk therapy, lifestyle changes may also have an impact on the severity of the depression. For example, avoiding alcohol and processed foods (goodbye, Pizza Rolls…) can reduce the symptoms of clinical depression. This is because alcohol is a depressant and slows down the nervous system which only worsens symptoms, while certain processed, refined and fatty foods contain omega-6 fatty acids that may worsen conditions. Speaking of omegas and fatty acids, it’d be a boon to consume foods that contain omega-3 and vitamin B, like salmon or beans, respectively.

Please remember that if you are suffering from depression and are currently receiving treatment, you should stick to your treatment plan. It’s critical to improving how you view the road ahead of you, as well as, well, improving the actual road ahead of you. If feelings of sadness or despair persist on an odd day or two, it’s suggested that you call a crisis hotline for friendly and emotional support in times of need. Remember, no matter how dark or bleak a situation may seem, it always has the potential to get better.

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About the Writer
Quinton Rumpf, Staff Reporter
Gr. 12 “It’s good as an artist to always remember to see things in a new, weird way.” -Tim Burton
1 Comment

One Response to “Is it More Than Sadness?”

  1. Sam on November 17th, 2017 8:50 pm

    Great article. As a sufferer of depression for most of my life, I never knew foods could play a factor.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




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Is it More Than Sadness?