We all fall at a certain part of our lives. One moment we"re happy, the other we"re not. We attribute it to the "ups and downs" of the cycle of life. Some falls are harder to get out of than others. Sometimes, no matter how hard we try the "blues" don't seem to get away. You can't sleep or you sleep too much, you can't concentrate, you find yourself overdoing it, then feel guilty. Does this situations sounds familiar to you?.
If it does, then you are in a case of depression, which isn't just a mere case of the blues. Like diabetes, asthma, and heart diseases, depression is a medical illness that affects your body, moods, and thoughts. And like other medical cases you can't just "shake" depression away like you can't shake diabetes away. The brain produces "neurotransmitters" or chemical messengers that facilitate communication between nerve cells. The three basic chemical messengers that affect our moods are norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine. A deficiency in norepinephrine is said to cause depression while over-abundance causes mania. Serotonin is known to affect norepinephrine levels. This is why some anti-depressant drugs mainly work at creating equilibrium in serotonin levels. Dopamine is associated with the reward or reinforcement that we get which induces us to continue doing a certain activity. The neurotransmitter is associated with addiction and substances such as cocaine, opiates, and alcohol stimulate it's production. This explains why some people who are suffering from depression subconsciously turn to drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication. .
There are symptoms of depression. They are having depressed mood (feeling sad or irritable), decreased activity (listlessness or restlessness), lack of energy for no apparent reason or constant fatigue, affected sleeping patterns (either sleeping too much or too little), can't concentrate, forgetfulness, can't make decisions, or constant flaking out from made decisions, change in weight or appetite, feeling of guilt, hopelessness or worthlessness, loss of interest in activities, such as hobbies or sports, lack of interest in spending time with family or friends, thoughts of death or suicide.