From time to time, we all feel down. But depression involves a deeper, more pervasive feeling of sadness and emptiness that persists and doesn’t go away. A depressed person may feel hopeless, helpless and worthless and their painful feelings can interfere with daily functionality, for example , work, relationships, sleeping, eating and enjoying activities.
Symptoms of depression
The symptoms of depression vary from person to person. The severity and intensity of symptoms is also variable and depends on individual factors as well as the circumstances under which the disorder developed.
Main symptoms are:
• Difficulty in concentrating and maintaining attention
• Pessimistic thoughts about own self, the world and the future
• Apathy, decreased vitality and tiredness
• Feelings of sadness, anxiety or emptiness
• Feelings of low self-esteem, guilt and despair
• Nervousness and irritability
• Loss of pleasure in activities that were enjoyable before
• Increased or decreased appetite
• Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive sleep)
• Thoughts of suicide
• Unexplained body pains (such as headaches or stomachaches) without organic causes
Dysthymia is a form of depression, which is milder than major depression, but has a chronic nature. Symptoms usually last for at least two years and in many cases much longer. Although symptoms of dysthymia do not have the same intensity as those of depression, the disorder may affect the quality of an individual’s life due to its chronic nature.
If you suffer from dysthymia, it is likely to experience the following symptoms:
Loss of energy and constant tiredness
Difficulty in concentrating and making decisions
Irritability or anger
Loss of pleasure in daily activities you once enjoyed
Low self-esteem and self criticism
Hopelessness and pessimism
Increased or decreased appetite
Problems with sleep
To diagnose dysthymia, these symptoms should be present for at least two years and never absent for more than two consecutive months. Dysthymic people often have a chronic physical illness or another psychological disorder such as anxiety disorders, major depression personality disorders or addiction problems.
Due to the chronic nature of dysthymia, the individual may appear to others simply as a melancholic person. Additionally, since dysthymia occurs early in one’s life and lasts for years, dysthymic people may think that the feeling of sadness they feel is normal, and not take any active steps to seek treatment.
The intense negative emotions that define depression are most often associated with negative thoughts about yourself, the others and the future. In treatment, we attempt to help the client become aware of the cycle that depressive feelings follow and how these are related to one’s thinking patterns. Our main aims is to restructure the thinking that leads to depression and establish new alternative, more helpful ways of thinking. As clients gradually alter their thoughts, the depressive cycle breaks and individuals regain their energy and psychological balance.