Medical, biological, and psychological factors are all at work in major depression. The physical symptoms mental slowing, poor concentration, intrusive thoughts, disturbed sleep, change in appetite, decreased energy, decreased sexual interest, body pain, and disrupted body rhythms demonstrate that depression is a physical process. The depressive thoughts of pessimism, worry, self criticism, distortion, and death are clearly psychological.
It is unfortunate that the word depression is used to describe both a medical disease and a bad mood. Some people confuse the two and think that the significant physical, mental, and emotional deterioration caused by major depression is no more serious than a bad mood. Anyone who has suffered from the disease of major depression knows that there is little similarity between the two.
This linguistic mix up contributes to some myths surrounding major depression. After all, if you’re just in a bad mood, people wonder why you cannot exert some effort and pull yourself out of it. However, you usually cannot pull yourself out of major depression; it can be severely debilitating and too often results in death by accident or suicide. People do not kill themselves because they are in a bad mood.
There are even other, different medical conditions that have the word depression in the title, like bipolar depression, organic depression, etc. To keep everything straight, in this book we will often use the correct term unipolar major depression so there is no question of what we mean.
- What physical symptoms are typical with serious depression?
- Can I take antidepressants to give myself more energy?
- Why do I never seem to get any restful sleep?
- Why do I always binge on junk food and put on weight when I get depressed?
- I can’t seem to eat what’s wrong with my appetite?
- What kind of emotional changes can I expect if my depression grows worse?
- What do people look like when they are depressed?
- Is there any good news about this diagnosis?
- How does depression affect people’s longevity?
- Is there really a Band Aid that takes away depression?
- Will I have to keep taking medications or going to psychotherapy for the rest of my life?
- What’s a simple definition of major depression?
- What else can I do?
- Are drug companies suppressing natural products to make more money from their drugs?
- What are some commonly used products that are bad for my depression?
- What about marijuana? It makes me feel less depressed after I smoke it.
- What exactly is stress?
- Why do I get depressed over happy events, like my wedding?
- Is there somewhere I can go to get away from stress?
- Is there something simple and easy I can try to reduce my stress level?