Depression is a debilitating disorder which affects approximately 3,3% of the population living in the Netherlands (according to the RIVM). Symptoms usually include a subset of the following: unrelenting somberness day after day, reduced ability to concentrate, diminished interest in activities, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, reduced self-esteem or even suicidal thoughts. 

Depression may also be accompanied by physical phenomena such as sleep disturbances, ongoing fatigue, weight fluctuations due to changes in appetite, and in extreme cases, slower speeds of thinking and physical movement. In certain cases depression may be a component of other mental health disorders such as anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress syndrome, seasonal affective disorder or a personality disorder. 

Is depression the same as sadness?

Depressions is often equated with sadness, however there are stark differences between these two states of mind. Sadness is a universal human emotion triggered by a difficult, hurtful or challenging experience. This also implies that when this triggering experience fades, so too will the sadness. 

Depression, on the other hand, does not necessarily require a difficult event or situation. Even though from an external perspective everything may seem fine, an individual with depression can still feel awful. In addition, depression can have large consequences on an individual’s behavior, their thinking, and the way they perceive the world.  Everyday activities, which used to be fun, seem less interesting, less enjoyable. Often, people with depression may be irritable, and will feel they have less energy or motivation to do everyday tasks. 

How is depression treated?

Depression can be treated most effectively with psychological counseling, interpersonal therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In addition, studies have shown that exercise and a healthy diet can have a beneficial effect in alleviating symptoms of depression. In severe cases of depression, medication may be necessary to help bring balance to concentrations of neurotransmitters in the brain. 

If you think you may be suffering from depression, reach out today and I can help you overcome this debilitating mental illness.