By: Olivia Howard and Lauren Wake

What is Depression?

Depression, also known as major depression, clinical depression, or major depressive disorder is a medical illness that causes a constant feeling of sadness and lack of interest. often characterizes feelings of being sad, discouraged, hopeless, unmotivated, as well as a general lack of interest or pleasure in life. But when they last for more than two weeks and interfere with regular daily activities, it’s likely you have a depressive disorder. Depressive disorders, also known as mood disorders, include three main types: major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder. Different in each person.

Causes of Depression

Nobody is sure what causes depression. Experts say that depression is caused by a combination of factors, such as the person’s genes, their biochemical environment, personal experience and psychological factors. A traumatic experience can trigger a depressive illness. For example, the loss of a family member or friend, a difficult relationship, or some sort of abuse, whether is be mental, physical, or sexual abuse.

How it affects adults, men, women and children.

Studies show that depression affects men, women, and children equally, although they have different symptoms. more women than men are likely to be diagnosed with depression in any given year. Efforts to explain this difference are ongoing, as researchers explore certain factors (biological, social, etc.) that are unique to women.

Symptoms of Depression

~ Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood

~ Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism

~ Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness

~ Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, including sex

~ Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed down”

~ Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions

~ Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or excessive sleeping

~ Low appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain

~ Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts

~ Restlessness or irritability

~ Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and pain for which no other cause can be diagnosed

Ways to Manage the Symptoms

~ several forms of therapy

~ family therapy

~ relaxation techniques

~ interpersonal and social rhythm therapy

~ medication (antidepressants)

Self Test for Diagnosis

There’s many tests that you can take, whether they are on the internet or with a health professional. Here are some questions that will give you some insight to if you depressed:

  1. I have little interest or pleasure in doing the things I usually enjoy. Not at all, sometimes, very often, or everyday

  2. I have felt down, depressed, or hopeless. Not at all, sometimes, very often, or everyday

  3. I have trouble falling or staying asleep, or I have been sleeping too much. Not at all, sometimes, very often, or everyday

  4. I feel tired, or have little energy. Not at all, sometimes, very often, or everyday

  5. I have a poor appetite or have been eating more than usual. Not at all, sometimes, very often, or everyday

  6. I have felt bad about myself or felt like I am a failure or that I have let myself or my family down.

  7. I have trouble concentrating on things. Not at all, sometimes, very often, or everyday

  8. I have been moving or speaking so slowly that other people could noticed. Or I have been fidgety and moving a lot more than usual. Not at all, sometimes, very often, or everyday

  9. I have had thoughts about harming myself. Not at all, sometimes, very often, or everyday

If you answered most of the questions about with “very often” or “everyday”, it is important that you talk to someone who can help you immediately.

Places you can go to for help.

Lincoln Prairie Behavioral Health Center

This center provides treatment to children and adolescents that have behavioral disorders. A team will work with the youth and the family in a therapeutic environment.

The Depression Helpline is available from 8am to midnight- 0800-111-757.

Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois

This is a private, non-for-profit organization providing high-quality, comprehensive behavioral health and rehabilitation services

“Every man has his secret sorrows which the world knows not; and often times we call a man cold when he is only sad.” ― Henry Wadsworth Longfellow