What is depression?
This is the first question to ask if you feel that your friend or members of the family has changed his attitude.
We often use the expression "I'm feeling depressed" when we're feeling sad or miserable about life. Usually, these feelings pass in due course. But, if the feelings are interfering with your life and don't go away after a couple of weeks, or if they come back, over and over again, for a few days at a time, it could be a sign that you're depressed in the medical sense of the term.
In its mildest form, depression can mean just being in low spirits. It doesn't stop you leading your normal life, but makes everything harder to do and seem less worthwhile. At its most severe, major depression (clinical depression) can be life-threatening, because it can make people suicidal or simply give up the will to live.
There are also various specific forms of depression:
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
If you usually become depressed only during the autumn and winter, it could be due to not getting enough daylight. You may benefit from spending time sitting in front of a special light box.
Many mothers have â€˜the baby blues™ soon after the birth of their baby, but it usually passes after a few days. Postnatal depression is a more serious problem and can appear any time between two weeks and two years after the birth.
Bipolar disorder (Manic depression)
Some people have mood swings, when periods of depression alternate with periods of mania. When manic, they are in a state of high excitement, and may plan and may try to execute grandiose schemes and ideas. At least one person in every six becomes depressed in the course of their lives. One in 20 is clinically depressed. Figures suggest that more women become depressed, but men may find it harder to admit to or talk about. All age groups can be affected, and its important to take symptoms seriously and not to dismiss them as an inevitable part of growing up or growing old. By recognizing and treating the symptoms, and getting help, its possible to overcome depression, and prevent it coming back.
These are the characteristic of depression. If your friend is suffering from one of the above, help him or her. The best treatment is to understand them because you are dealing with their feelings.