Sunday, January 1, 2012

Causes of Insomnia Part 4 Major Depression Symptoms

What is depression? Depression is a medical illness that involves both the mind and body. Depression can be called major depressive disorder, clinical depression and major depression as it affects how we act, think and feel. Depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems that can affect your daily lives or be severe enough to feel that life just isn’t worth living. From time to time many of us suffer from feelings of melancholy but we usually snap out of it and move on with our lives. Depression is a chronic illness that requires long-term medical treatment involving medication and counseling. What are the major depression symptoms?

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Major depression symptoms include; feeling of sadness and unhappiness that last all day every day, frustration over the smallest matters, loss of interest or pleasure in our normal activities, reduced sex drive, causes insomnia or excessive sleeping, changes in appetite that involves a weight gain or loss of 5% in a month, agitation or restlessness shown in how they act (pacing, wringing of hands or can’t sit still), reduced physical movements, indecisiveness, loss of energy, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, loss of short-term memory, crying jags, physical problems including back pain and headaches and even reoccurring thoughts of death or suicide.

According to WebMD’s website major depression affects about 6.7% of the U.S. population over 18 years of age. Overall, between 20% and 25% may suffer an episode of major depression at some point during their lifetime. For some people, depression symptoms are so severe that it's obvious something isn't right. Others people feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why. Depression affects each person in different ways, so depression symptoms vary from person to person. Inherited traits, age, gender and cultural background all play a role in how depression may affect them.

In younger children major depression symptoms may include general sadness, irritability, hopelessness and worry, while adolescents and teenagers may also include anger, anxiety and avoidance of social activities. Changes in there sleeping pattern and way of thinking are common signs of depression in older children and adults but not as common in children under the age of 12. Causes of depression in children and teens may include behavior problems and other mental health conditions such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

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When an adolescent or a teen is depressed, school performance usually deteriorates as their ability to concentrate is being affected. While depressed, they believe they are unable to finish schoolwork, therefore, skip classes and their grades drop. Feeling depleted, listless, and incompetent, they may lose interest in extracurricular activities and drop out.

While teenagers are naturally more likely to sleep late in the morning whenever possible, a depressed teen will nap excessively throughout the day or go to bed early in the evening. Repeatedly disrupting their sleep/wake cycle insomnia may develop. They may also complain of headaches or stomachaches, especially to avoid attending a new social event.

Hopelessness, despair that things will never change, and a general feeling of deadness may be expressed in suicide attempts or dangerous self-harm behavior, like cutting or burning their skin. In addition, depressed teenagers may use drugs or alcohol, in some cases as self-medication to try to relieve their depression symptoms.

Depression is not normal for older adults as most of us feel pretty satisfied with our lives. Unfortunately, when an adult is depressed they usually go untreated as many adults may not seek medical advice when they just feel a little blue. Depression symptoms in adults can cause insomnia, loss of appetite, afternoon sleepiness, low sex drive, they would rather stay in than socialize and/or may be caused by an underlying medical condition. Suicidal thinking is a serious depression symptom especially in men who are at a higher risk of actually committing the act.

When should they see a doctor? As soon as they can because depression symptoms may get worse if untreated which can lead to other mental and physical disorders. If they have thoughts of suicide get help ASAP! Seek help from your doctor, friend, call the suicide hot line 800-273-8255, counselor, minister or someone in your faith community. If they have hurt someone or they have attempted suicide, call 911.

Depression is a serious illness and if untreated can lead to alcohol or substance abuse, anxiety, heart disease, work issues, family conflicts, social isolation or suicide. Once they have had one episode of major depression, they are at high risk of having another. The best way to prevent another episode of depression is to be aware of the causes of major depression; such as major life changes, loss of a loved one, personal conflicts and/or physical or emotional abuse. It is also important to know what the symptoms of major depression are and to talk with your doctor early if you have any of these symptoms.

Remember: Insomnia alone cannot cause depression, but it can play a part if insomnia is caused by another medical condition or by a personal problem which can make their major depression symptoms worse. Insomnia that lasts over a long period of time is also an important clue that someone may be depressed. Usually, once the depression has been successfully treated, symptoms of insomnia will improve.

Treatment choices for depression depend on how serious the illness is. The most effective treatment for depression is a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Medication tends to work more quickly to decrease symptoms while psychotherapy helps people to learn coping strategies to prevent the onset of future depressive symptoms. Psychotherapy can also address coping skills to improve the quality and quantity of the person’s sleep.

The content provided in Causes of Insomnia Part 4 Major Depression Symptoms is for information purposes only, intended to raise the awareness of different solutions for you or your families sleep problems and should not be considered medical advice. For medical diagnosis and treatment, please see your qualified health-care professional.

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