Depression is one of the most common psychiatric disorders. You don’t need formal statistics to know this. You are surrounded by it and reminded of its impact on society on a daily basis. All you need to do is read a newspaper, turn on your television or listen to the radio to get a sense of how common it is. We constantly learn of this or that person who succumbed to overwhelming feelings of loss, sadness or failure who either gave up on their life’s pursuits, withdrew from socialization or, in the extreme, ended their life because they could not bear to continue to live with the feelings they were experiencing. We are even inundated, almost on a daily basis, by commercials for antidepressants.
Depression is, however, in many instances difficult to recognize by the person who is, in fact, “clinically” depressed, as well as by those around them. After all, feelings of frustration, disappointment, sadness, failure and hopelessness are feelings that everyone has and does experience at various times throughout their lives. It’s normal to recognize that things are not or have not gone quite as you would have hoped. It is only potentially of serious concern when these feelings continue to occur over an extended period of time and/or begin to take over a person’s outlook on life and to negatively impact their health, maintenance of interpersonal relationships and/or job performance that such feelings may have evolved into something more. It is also important to keep in mind that it is possible that the person suffering from depression does not even know why they are depressed. The brain can and does, at times, step in and attempt to protect us from realizing and coming to terms with things that make us sad and afraid. Denial also can get in the way, causing us to discount warning signs that what we are feeling may be getting out of hand.
First and foremost, it is important to recognize that what you are feeling is more than just normal passing feelings of sadness, defeat, frustration, disappointment and/or hopelessness, but something more. There are ample sites on the web that summarize the clinical symptoms needed to form a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder. It might be worthwhile to review such sites to see if what you are experiencing is consistent with such a diagnosis. There’s also nothing wrong in seeking out professional help. There are a myriad of behavioral healthcare professionals who specialize in the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder – either through counseling/psychotherapy alone or in combination with medications specifically known to be effective in alleviating some or all of the symptoms of depression. Depression is also an area of intense medical research. An excellent source for information is, again, the web. For example, within the New York City Metropolitan Area, search terms such Depression Research Studies New York City or Clinical Trials For Depression Treatment should reveal a wide range of clinical trials currently being conducted that are looking for volunteers who are looking for a potentially better, more effective treatment for the alleviation of their symptoms of depression. Participation in such trials is entirely voluntary and confidential. All trial-related medical care, tests and the medication under evaluation are generally provided at no cost to participants. Moreover, such trials frequently provide reimbursement for travel-related expenses, as well as a small financial incentive just for participating. So, don’t put off until tomorrow what you could do today. Your sense of well being is one of your most precious commodities.