Characteristics of Depression:
The primary feature of depression is a sad mood, which, in its most severe form, is experienced as a feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, and despair. Depression can also lead to a decreased desire to participate in social activities, relationships problems, and an increase in crying.
Depression may include a loss of concentration and memory; a belief that you are becoming worthless; a belief that things cannot be made better; and a focus on negative things about yourself with little attention on positive things. One may also have a generally negative view of oneself, the world, and the future.
The biological characteristics of depression include disrupted sleep (especially trouble falling sleep and a pattern of waking up very early in the morning), loss of appetite, loss of sexual desire or lack of interest in sexual activity, and fatigue or tiredness during the day.
During the past few years, very effective treatments have been developed for depression. The majority of people experiencing depression can expect to experience considerable relief from depression within 3 or 4 weeks of effective treatment, and long-lasting relief within 3 to 6 months of treatment.
Behavioral and Cognitive Behavioral Therapies
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is among the treatments that have been most extensively evaluated and that has been shown through research to be effective. CBT helps a person to engage in healthy life activities, particularly activities that are consistent with one’s life values. This therapy also helps people to develop skills and abilities to cope with major life events and to learn social relationship skills when these are missing. CBT also includes correcting the faulty thinking patterns of depression.
Some people believe that depression will gradually go away, or that if you "just get yourself in gear" you can get over it yourself. Indeed, in some small percentage of cases that may be true. Unfortunately, depression usually does not go away without treatment. Therefore, if you are experiencing a severe, acute depression or a chronic lower level depression, it is best and wise to seek and participate in therapy. Fortunately, there are treatments available to lessen depression and the life difficulties that come along with it.