In the prison of my own skin: Steps to alleviating the pain of depression.

Depression Hurts

Depression Hurts, Emotionally and Physically

Depression hurts. It is one of the most heartbreaking diseases (literally) in our modern world. Depression hurts, not only in the mental realm, but in the physical as well. This goes unnoticed by many people, who associate depression with some intangible malady affecting only the mind. Symptoms vary, but there are some recurring ones. These may include attitudinal changes where one loses interest in activities that were previously enjoyed, a social aloofness that separates one from family and friends, or a different, darker outlook on the world and its inhabitants.

These are the common, non-physical symptoms of depression, but depression can also hurt physically and acutely. For example, the chemical foundation behind depression can cause headaches and aggressive migraines. This may affect sleep, which in turn affects how the body performs the next day, creating a vicious cycle of pain. With lowered sleep levels comes a decreased ability to deal with pain. Aches become more apparent and serotonin levels in the brain become inadequate to raise one from depression. Stomachaches may also become a problem, causing one to eat less and lose weight, which hurts overall physical performance.

Depression can also affect broader body systems. For example, studies have found that a drop in mood hurts bones. The body cannot rebuild bone as it should and this may even lead to osteoporosis. Depression can also affect the immune system, wreaking havoc on the   ability to fight foreign invaders and, in some cases, may even cause the body to turn on itself. Guttate psoriasis, for example, may occur when stress levels break through the body ís normal threshold. Red, blistering lesions may occur all over the body, not only creating an unsightly appearance, but also showing evidence of a larger problem boiling beneath the surface of the skin.

Depression can be debilitating.

Various Treatments for Depression

Depression is a serious malady that affects millions of people worldwide. There are many causes of depression, ranging from an innate chemical imbalance to stressful environmental factors. Though depression can be daunting for even the hardiest personality, there are various depression treatments that can help one to regain balance in oneís life.

One common depression treatment is prescribing to a patient antidepressant medication. There are many different types of antidepressant medications. A doctor or other health professional should be consulted to decide which is right for an individual. Family history and general medical condition will be factors in determining which type of medication is appropriate for the treatment of depression.

Psychotherapy is another common depression treatment. During this type of depression treatment, a patient talks with a health professional in the hopes of revealing an underlying cause of the depression, addressing it, and moving toward a healthy life. Therapy can be one-on-one or in a group setting. Advances in internet technology even allow for sessions to be conducted from the privacy of a patientís home, though most professionals prefer in-person interaction for the treatment of depression.

Combining antidepressant medications with psychotherapy is another powerful tool used by health professionals. It offers the best of both worlds, treating the depression chemically and behaviorally, in order to restore a patient to a pre-depressive state. This type of treatment for depression is one of the most popular.

Electroconvulsive therapy and light therapy are other depression treatments. ECT is much safer today than in its early stages and has proven to be a valuable asset for health professionals. This type of treatment is used when psychotherapy and medication have done little to improve a patientís depression. Light therapy uses broad-spectrum light in the treatment of depression. This type of treatment is usually used on patients who have a mild or moderate case of seasonal depression due to insufficient levels of ambient light.

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