In autumn and winter many people have a “blues”. That means they are more listless than usual. “People also say seasonal depression,” explains Professor Ulrich Hegerl of the German Depression Aid. It is usually not so severe and the signs of the illness differ somewhat from a real depression.
Depression is still often underestimated or dismissed as a state of mind. This is a serious illness that changes your whole life. A psychiatrist explains how to recognize a depression.
Over five million people in Germany suffer from depression every year. Depressive moods such as winter depression are even more common. Too often, however, depression remains untreated because those affected do not recognize or accept it as an illness.
Differences between real depression and winter depression
How to detect depression
In the typical, often very severe depression, people tend to lose weight because they no longer have an appetite. “They also cannot fall asleep, are permanently tense.” With winter depression, however, things are somewhat different – according to Hegerl, those affected tend to have more hunger and want to sleep more than usual. “They then sleep longer than is perhaps good for them.
But how do those affected recognize a “real” depression? According to Hegerl, this is a disease that changes your whole life. “You often don’t recognize yourself anymore,” he says. Often it is very active, responsible and willing people who suffer from depression.
Winter blues widespread
“And then they don’t even have the strength to get up and brush their teeth,” Hegerl describes. “Or every phone call is a huge mountain.” People often notice that something very fundamental is happening here, says the psychiatrist. Often they could also no longer feel any feelings – grief, for example. “They feel petrified.”
So it comes, for example, that depressions are somewhat more common among the unemployed. “Because people who slip into depression again and again are more likely to lose their jobs,” says Hegerl and adds: “Unemployment in itself does not make people depressed.
The problem is that those affected often blame themselves or the circumstances. “They then often have very obvious explanations, but these are usually not the real explanation,” explains Hegerl. The crucial thing is that one has a predisposition for these diseases. As a result, affected people slip into this state again and again.
The most important thing is for people with depression to seek professional help – this is where relatives also need to be motivated. “One must know”, Hegerl emphasizes: “Depression is a serious illness. If you have this diagnosis, you live on average ten years less”. It is not an impairment of well-being. (vb; source: dpa/tmn)
The expert also emphasizes: “It can affect anyone”. Women fall ill about twice as often as men. This has something to do with biology and hormone balance.
WashingtonNewsday Health and Wellness.