Depression is an illness that can develop gradually or seem to happen overnight. Either way, though, its symptoms are fairly prominent.

Here is a listing of depression’s warning signs:

  1. Sleeping all the time, or hardly sleeping at all;
  2. Eating too much or having very little appetite;
  3. Difficulty with concentration and making decisions;
  4. Trouble with memory;
  5. Tasks that once seemed easy are now difficult;
  6. Feelings of anger, helplessness, sadness, hopelessness;
  7. Suicidal ideations;
  8. Loss of energy;
  9. Irritability;
  10. Lack of motivation;
  11. Activities that used to be enjoyable no longer are;
  12. Ongoing negative thoughts that you cannot stop thinking.

* Situational or Major Depression? *

Situational depression usually goes away after causation is resolved. You may be going through a divorce or a time of financial hardship or the loss of a loved one. To not feel depressed in these scenarios would be abnormal. But after time has passed and you are still depressed, it is time to seek help. Situational depression can go on to become a major depression (aka “clinical” depression).

*Chemical Make-up of Clinical Depression *

A major depression is triggered by a lack of certain brain chemicals called neurotransmitters that naturally give us a feeling of wellbeing and enable us to relax. Anti-depressants restore these brain chemicals and prevent the brain from reabsorbing them before they have done their work. Most antidepressants take a few weeks to become effective. But when they do, the depression sufferer feels significantly better. Unfortunately, because of the stigma of mental illness in our society, many people are reluctant to take antidepressants and end up suffering needless pain.

* Group Therapy and Individual Counseling *

Group therapy and individual counseling help both situational and major depression sufferers. In these venues, depression sufferers learn practical ways of handling the emotions and thoughts associated with real-life situations. Triggers for depression are explored and dealt with, along with the management of stress and anger. At the end of therapy, the participant comes away with a “toolbox” (set of skills and interventions) for resolving conflict and emotional pain.

Many times traumatic situations from childhood are the underlying cause of major depression. Without counseling, many with depression would never learn its root cause. Depression can also be hereditary.

* Always Treatable *

Depression is always treatable. No matter how depressed an individual becomes, he will get better if he complies with his treatment and medications. Sometimes depression sufferers have little motivation to participate in treatment because the severity of their emotional pain has immobilized them. Family and friends can be instrumental in guiding these depression sufferers into treatment. If they participate, relief soon follows.