The dynamics of depression continues to be a mystery to people who have it and the people who care about those people. Although experts are continuously studying its nature, depression continues to be in a special league of its own. Only individuals who have a clear concept of the disorder will be able to assist another person with it. The following are six must know facts about depression…and a bonus fact:
1. Depression is not a choice: Some people are under the impression that a person who suffers from depression can turn episodes on and off like a water faucet. Other people assume that a depressed party can make himself or herself happy by willing the depression away. Such could not be farther from the truth. Depression has little to do with choices and more to do with a person’s brain chemicals and activity during the episode.
2. Depression can be biological or environmental: Some people who suffer from depression do so because of a glitch in the brain that may have something to do with genetics. Other people respond negatively to certain environmental stimuli. An event such as a divorce or job loss can trigger a depressive episode.
3. Depression affects millions of people: About one in 10 people in the United States suffers from some kind of depression. Out of those people, 80 percent do not receive help for it. The fact that a person is depressed may cause him or her to feel that no one will understand. Some people are afraid of being labeled crazy by other people, so they keep the depression to themselves.
4. Exercise can help depression: A person does not always have to take prescription drugs to rid himself or herself of depression. Cardiovascular exercises are a perfect temporary cure for depression. The exercising helps because it increases the levels of endorphins, which causes temporary energy spikes and euphoria.
5. Depression could be a phase of bipolar: Millions of people are misdiagnosed with unipolar depression instead of bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a condition in which a person toggles between depression and mania. Without seeing a specialist and getting a proper diagnosis, one might have difficulty recovering. People who suspect they have either disorder should schedule an appointment with a mental health provider ASAP.
6. Depression is a legitimate work excuse: People who suffer from depression often have episodes without a warning. Depression is listed as one of the eligible conditions under the Family & Medical Leave Act. A person who has depressive disorder may take a leave of up to 12 weeks from work to receive care and stabilization.
7. Depressive episodes vary: No one ever knows how long a depressive phase will last. A short phase can last two weeks to a month. A long phase can last for several years. Seeing a mental health provider and getting the proper treatment or medication is the best solution for stopping an episode.
No organization or person knows every characteristic, fact or rule about depression. Medical experts are learning more every day. However, a person who is seeking knowledge of depression can build upon these facts and continue research to broaden his or her knowledge. People with depression need as much support as they can get. Every time a new person gains understanding, the depressed person gains a supporter.