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Chronic Depression10,268 Views
Post-Partum Depression will start in
If you've just had a baby and you're feeling less than ecstatic, be on the lookout for post-partum depression! Learn the signs.
Description: Normal depression and chronic depression are not the same. If you're experiencing prolonged lethargy and despair, you might be at risk for chronic depression. Watch this for more.
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Most people feel gloomy, worn out or disconnected from life at one time or another. But when these feelings continue nearly every day for two years or more, you may be suffering from Chronic Depression. What differentiates Chronic Depression, also called Dysthymia or Dysthymic Disorder, from Major Depression is that symptoms are less severe and often persist for several years. People with Chronic Depression typically function adequately in everyday activities, yet feel continually unhappy and unable to live life to its fullest. It’s estimated that Chronic Depression affects more than 10 million Americans annually. Many celebrities including Jim Carrey, Drew Barrymore, Harrison Ford, Hugh Laurie and Sheryl Crow have spoken openly about coping with ongoing depression. The exact cause of Chronic Depression is not known. However, as in Major Depression, it’s believed to involve changes in the brain that result in reduced levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, which helps regulate mood and emotions. Chronic Depression may develop in response to significant life stressors, such as the loss of a loved one, a violent or otherwise traumatic event, severe financial or relationship problems, or difficulties at work. It may also be caused by certain chronic illnesses such as AIDS, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, as well as by long-term use of some medications. Studies suggest that a family history of any depressive, anxiety or bipolar disorder can also increase the likelihood of developing Chronic Depression. Chronic Depression often begins with vague feelings of sadness and emptiness that gradually multiply. And it can start in childhood or adulthood, and occurs more often in women than men. The primary hallmark of Chronic Depression is a persistently low, dark or sad mood accompanied by chronic lack of pleasure in daily life. It also is not uncommon for sufferers to experience a major depressive episode, called “double depression”, especially if Chronic Depression goes untreated. These symptoms may include feelings of hopelessness, fatigue, insomnia or excessive sleeping, poor concentration, appetite changes and low self-esteem. No two people experience Chronic Depression exactly the same way, but most struggle with the same symptoms, that characterize Major Depression, but with less severity. Several of these symptoms must be present for at least two years in adults to meet the criteria for a diagnosis of Chronic Depression. Actor/film maker Woody Allen often portrays characters in his movies that seem to be Dysthymia Sufferers. However, it’s not uncommon for sufferers to experience occasional periods of feeling relatively normal amid low moods. Unfortunately, Dysthymic disorder is less responsive to treatment than major depressive disorder. For many sufferers, the first step is visiting a family physician to rule out any other causes of the depression symptoms, such as a medical condition or substance abuse issues. Treating Chronic Depression typically includes psychotherapy, in which a mental health professional may provide counseling, cognitive and/or behavioral therapy to aid in developing coping skills. Treatment may also include medication, such as antidepressants, which should be mutually determined by patient and physician, according to effectiveness versus side effects. In any case, medication for Chronic Depression may take several weeks to provide optimal benefits. Chronic Depression sufferers can also benefit from positive lifestyle habits such as healthy eating, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol and nurturing a strong support system. Rarely do people with Chronic Depression recover completely. Some require ongoing therapy or medication. But seeking an accurate diagnosis and treatment is an important first step in enjoying life again. If you think you, or someone you know, may be suffering from Chronic Depression, please consult your family physician or a mental health professional.