Depression negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act, however it is treatable. It is not the same as feeling depressed which can be a normal reaction to loss, life’s struggles, or an injured self-esteem. Depression is a common affliction; one in six people (16.6%) will experience it at some time in their life.
Consider meeting with a psychologist if you recognize yourself in the following issues:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood for some time
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Treatment for depression involves questionnaires to rule out other serious illnesses and assess how severe it is. Treatment includes mindfulness for paying full attention to the present moment, and cognitive therapy for becoming aware of negative thoughts, acknowledging them without judgment and realizing they’re not accurate reflections of reality. Meditation reduces stress and increases positive feelings which simultaneously reduces negative feelings.