Coping With and Understanding Depression

by : Faye B. Roberts

Living with someone who is depressed is very challenging. Understanding depression is very difficult for a person who is not depressed. It is hard to comprehend how depression alters brain function and more importantly the thought process of a depressed person. It is a very serious medical illness that can be life threatening. It is still a mystery but is linked to a chemical imbalance in the brain with the lack of the hormone serotonin as well as a hereditary factor.

Serotonin is a hormone found in the brain as well as other parts of your body. It has two important purposes in the body. The first is to act a neurotransmitter which is necessary for communication between nerve cells. The second is a vasoconstrictor which is a powerful constrictor of the blood vessels. The lack of serotonin in the brain is thought to be a cause of being depressed. It can also be referred to as or 5-hydroxytryptamine.

Body temperature, sleep, mood and behavior, appetite and physical coordination are body functions regulated by the nerve cells that utilize this hormone. Realizing this you will be able to see why the symptoms of depression relate to serotonin.
Symptoms of Depression

1Change in Sleep patterns - difficulty sleeping, waking early or oversleeping, not wanting to get out of bed
2Change in weight - more often weight loss, but can be weight gain
3Depletion of self esteem - feelings of worthless, useless, and undeserving
4Loss of identity - isolation from social supports, not wanting to communicate
5Lack of concentration - focus, commitment and follow through
6Feelings of anxiety- anxious and panic attacks
7Disturbing thoughts - death or dying, or suicidal thoughts
8Low energy - fatigue, lack of motivation

Understanding depression is knowing that it is a lot more than moodiness or the feeling of being down in the dumps for a short time frame. Knowing that this is not something that a person can change at will or that they brought on themselves, but a mental illness.

A person might have supportive friends, a good job, financial security and a loving family yet still feel unhappy or as if life is not worth living. Sometimes being depressed can arise for what seems like no reason specific reason at all. It can be originated by a traumatizing life event or it can creep up over time.

A variety of treatment methods are available for this illness, including counseling and anti-depressant medications, but the first step is always to get a physical assessment by a professional to determine if you have a depressive illness. They can develop a personal treatment plan, as all forms of depression are not treated in the same way.

The cause of depression and what triggers it are constantly being researched to find out what the actual cause of this potential disabling disease. Maybe someday we will closer to fully understanding depression and the mystery surrounding this illness.