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Life According to Alpha

Dealing with Depression | Getting Help

I think it’s safe to say we all experience the blues every now and then. That’s life and is bound to happen from time to time. But then there are times when we feel so down it’s difficult to see or believe there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Sad times when we are so gloomy it’s difficult to smile or get out of bed. Low times that interfere with our quality of life, and make us feel hopeless, angry, empty and alone. I’m talking about depression that lingers too long.

Depression, a word that describes these “down” times, is a general term that is used to explain conditions of feeling sadness and despair. There are different types of depression, and although true clinical depression has many faces, they all rob us of happiness; making it a challenge to feel optimistic and realize our self-worth. No one is sure what exactly causes depression, but most experts believe it is due to chemical changes in the brain. Often, it is hereditary and runs in families, but not always. A traumatic experience can be the cause. Anyone at any age can become depressed. We all experience depression differently – be it reason, type, extent, or duration; however, what depression has in common, no matter who it belongs to, is the darkness that overshadows our lives.

There are degrees of depression, with some depression being situational or temporary, and others being long term and chronic. No matter which type, depression needs to be managed properly, so you can resume a meaningful and happy life. Depression affects our minds and bodies, and is an illness, which like any other illness needs treatment. Treating depression isn’t easy, and often requires a “trial and error” approach in order to find the appropriate treatment. It can be frustrating when we don’t get immediate results, but perseverance is vital to recovery.

Situational depression is often caused by something exterior that makes us sad or upset – a stressor like a breakup or the loss of a job. It’s often caused by something that when it changes, so does our mood and we feel better: a new partner or job, for instance. Time is often the great healer with this type of depression; yet talk therapy can be extremely beneficial in helping us regain a healthy perspective. Many are prescribed medication called anti-depressants during these difficult times to help get through them easier and quicker. Regardless, it’s important to seek treatment for mild depression if it seems to hang around a little too long, since it has the potential of gaining momentum and becoming more severe as time goes on.

Some suffer with more severe and persistent depression on a daily basis for long periods of time; sometimes life long. Major depression has no rules and can happen just once in a lifetime or repeatedly. It typically interferes with daily life; making it difficult to work, sleep, eat, study, exercise, or enjoy being with friends. Chronic depression tends to linger for at least a couple years; however it’s not as debilitating as major depression. The person is usually functional, but always seems to be unhappy. Major and chronic depressions are often linked to a chemical imbalance regardless of the cause, and are usually treated with anti-depressant medication, and, hopefully, talk therapy, as well. Typically, treatments of these more intense depressions require both drugs and therapy in order to be most effective. I know so many people who only opt for medication when therapy is also needed for successful treatment. I can’t encourage you enough to seek counseling in addition to medication. Individual therapy, group therapy and support groups are excellent outlets for talking through our depression with others who understand or can relate.

Often, depressed people will self medicate by drinking alcohol or taking illegal drugs as a way to alleviate their emotional pain. It’s understandable because these drugs can temporarily make us feel better and forget our sadness. Still, it’s not a smart way to handle the situation, since drugs and alcohol will only cause other serious problems and make depression worse. Seeking the appropriate treatment is key to helping yourself move beyond depression.

Here is a list of common depression symptoms

• Persistent sad or empty feeling
• Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness and guilt
• Difficulty sleeping (sleeping too much or too little)
• Loss of energy or fatigue with mental and physical sluggishness
• Changes in appetite (overeating or loss of appetite)
• Difficulty concentrating, thinking or making decisions
• Have trouble doing day to day activities
• Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
• Becoming withdrawn or isolated
• Loss of interest or the ability to enjoy oneself
• Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
• Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
• Thoughts of death or suicide

If you have these symptoms, or know someone who does, please talk with someone who can help – your doctor, a family member, a friend, or even a hotline phone number. It is not easy to take the first step when you’re feeling low, and often we need the support of others to head us in the right direction. Please don’t let embarrassment get in your way. Depression is not a weakness or a fault. With depression reaching epidemic proportions, everyone understands; not to mention you are not alone. So, do what you need to do to feel better and regain your balance again.

Natural Mood Enhancers





L-Theanine (Anxiety)

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