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Depression or anxiety

Although everyone has some days of feeling down and blue, clinical depression lasts longer than just a few days, and can have a major negative impact on a person's well-being. People with depression cannot just "snap out of it", and often feel even worse when they expect themselves to be able to do so. Depression is not a weakness in character. It is not laziness. Depression is an illness which leads to changes in mood, thinking and behavior. Some people inherit a risk to develop depression, while others become depressed when stress or low self-esteem leads to the physical reaction that accompanies depression.

Some common symptoms of depression include depressed mood over time, loss of interest in activities that used to be pleasurable, appetite and sleep changes, fatigue, difficulty concentrating and making decisions, feelings of worthlessness, and recurrent thoughts of death and/or suicide. Often, people with depression become more irritable, angry, withdrawn, tearful, and inactive. They tend to think negative thoughts and feel hopeless about anything improving. As you can imagine, depression can affect all aspects of someone's life. It is hard to function well in relationships, at work, and with day-to-day tasks when even the smallest chore seems overwhelming.

Combined treatment including talk therapy and anti-depressant medication can help alleviate the symptoms of depression. Talk therapy, depending on the person's individual needs, can involve challenging negative/destructive thinking, setting solid goals for healthy activities, building self-care and a more confident self-image, and making changes that may help reduce or manage stress. Often a person with depression feels very alone. Therapy can help the person become more active, feel part of their world again, and have more hope.

Anxiety (sometimes called stress or worry) is common to everyone, to one degree or another. Anxiety is a state of apprehension or fear about the possibility of something negative or undesirable happening. At times a person cannot even determine exactly why they are anxious or afraid. Avoidance of feared situations often results from intense anxiety, which then can lead to restriction of choices and experiences. There are several disorders which include anxiety as a central feature, including: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder with and without agoraphobia, phobias, social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

See ASC on the Couch Vlog/Blog for more information:

Deaf People and Depression
The Facts about Bipolar Disorder.