Monday, November 5, 2007

Signs of Severe Depression.

In 1999, Winona Ryder decided to make a film-comeback. Her movie vehicle was “Girl, Interrupted” based on a book written by Susannah Kaysen. Kaysen’s real life account in her days at a mental institution were adapted to the big screen and gave movie-goers a preview on what it was like being there.

What is unforgettable in the movie is that Ryder’s character Susannah made friends with a group of girls who each had their own illness. One was schizophrenic, another was anorexic, another was a pathological liar and there was a clinically depressed teenager. The clinically depressed teenager religiously took valium and eventually killed herself.

Other clinically depressed public icons are the painter Vincent Van Gogh, writer Virginia Wolff and poet Sylvia Plath. Notice that all three killed themselves.

Clinical depression is defined as a state of sadness, melancholy or despair. When it gets to the advance stages, the individual reaches a point wherein he isolates himself from social functions or activities. He is withdrawn and is usually in a low mood, always feeling dejected enabling him to function improperly.

In the olden days, when pharaoh still walked the land and weren’t encased in tombs, when a person shows signs of clinical depression and withdraws from society, their remedy is to chant incantations to turn-away the demons possessing the inflicted person.

However, as time progressed, more and more studies have lead to the discovery of why a person becomes clinically depressed in the first place. Scientifically, they say that clinical depression was a chemical imbalance in the brain. However, other studies reflect that about 16% of the total population has at least at one point experienced hitting the dumps in their lives. This usually occurs in the late 20s. Twice as many females than males have experienced clinically depression.

It turns out clinical depression is the primary cause of disability in the United States and in other countries. According to the World Health Organization, it is predicted to be the second leading cause of disability after heart disease by 2020.

Once these signs are evident in a patient, you must ask for a help of a doctor or a psychiatrist. These are the symptoms for a possible cause of severe depression.

- Depressed mood
- Disinterest in practically every activity
- Over the top sadness or fear
- Tendency to feel so empty
- Always tired
- Loses appetite
- Remarkable weight gain or loss
- Mental stress
- Loss of energy
- Haunting feelings of guilt
- Always feeling helpless
- Always feeling hopeless
- Always anxious
- Has a trouble focusing on an activity and a mindset
- Irrational when it comes to making decisions
- Slow in remembering ideas
- Thoughts of death and dying are always recurring
- Fantasies of suicide
- Suicide attempts
- Low self-esteem
- Personal hygiene is no longer given attention to
- Very much sensitive around noise
- Always feeling pain and paranoid about it, thinking that it could lead to something worse when it really is nothing.
- Fear of going insane
- Inability to differentiate the days and when exactly the action occurred

It is also possible that depression affects children and not just adults. Here are the signs showing that your child may be depressed.

- Low self-esteem
- Easily irritated
- Has difficulty sleeping
- Recurring nightmares
- Memory problems
- Slower pace when it comes to learning
- Changes in behavior such as isolation, withdrawal and aggression

For teenagers, an indicator of depression could be excessive consumption of alcohol and use of drugs. Worse, some teenagers even push the clinically depressed envelope further and put themselves at a great risk by eating disorders and self-harm such as mutilation.

For most people, these signs can mean the person is just a little blue or out of the weather and go on with their lives not really thinking much about it. However, if these signs go on for over a week, then it is advised that the possibly clinically depressed individual must see his doctor for a proper prognosis.

As the list shows, the symptoms of clinical depression may be harmful to the individual and could lead to other serious illnesses. We wouldn’t want our love ones to be like Van Gogh who pulled off his ear, Woolf who let herself drown or Plath who placed her head in the over, do we?

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