Emotional Fitness

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10 Little Known Facts About Depression

Most depressions don't occur during the Holidays, they happen in summer.

Most major depressions do not occur during the Holidays, they happen in summer. Here are ten other little known facts about depression.

1. Depression distorts your thinking. When you are depressed, your mind can play tricks on you. If you have thoughts of suicide, please call someone immediately. Don't let a temporary glitch in your thinking cause you to harm yourself or another.

2. Depression makes you selfish. It's very hard to think of other people when you're wrapped in a prickly blanket of sadness, and all you can think about is your own pain. Be proactive and take the steps you need to heal.

3. Depression is experienced as anxiety 65 percent of the time. Make sure you get an accurate diagnosis, so you can get the most effective treatment available.

4. Persistent irritability can be a symptom of depression. If the world, your life, or your loved ones constantly tick you off, the cause might be something that's going on inside of you.

5. Chronic pain can be another symptom of depression. At the same time, being in continual discomfort can cause you to become depressed. When you are depressed and in pain, it can be hard to know which came first.

6. Alcohol is a depressant. So are marijuana and a host of other recreational or street drugs. Self-medication is not going to get you better and will surely make you worse over time. Remember that all medications, including anti-depressants, have side effects.

7. People don't choose to be depressed, but they do make a choice about how to deal with it. You can choose to do nothing, but denying that you have a problem will only make you feel worse.

8. The origin of depression can be situational and/or bio-chemical. If you are experiencing mild to moderate situational depression (resulting from the loss of a job, for example), counseling will help you. Most bio-chemical depressions that are moderate to severe are best treated with a combination of medicine and psychotherapy.

9. Depression can be as hard on your loved ones as it is on you. Those closest to you may start to feel unloved, and may distance themselves so they aren't pulled into your pain.  Remember that others are counting on you.

10. Exercise is the easiest and least expensive cure for depression. Just walking 30 minutes a day will help you and sometimes completely alleviate your symptoms. For this very reason, many therapists take walks with clients instead of doing "couch time."

Depression takes on many disguises, but more diagnostic tools and better treatments are available today than ever before. Take advantage of the many options that are readily available to help you and your loved ones.

Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist, columnist, and radio host. His latest book is The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.

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