More Than Just The Blues - Part One

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Everyone experiences ups and downs in their life but for some people the downs" can outweigh the ups - especially when these feelings start affecting people's day to day activities. Depression is a serious medical condition that is very common.

Professor of Psychology at WKU, Dr. Bill Pfohl, said depression is an illness that doesn't discriminate.

"Its a disorder that we are susceptible from birth to death - anyone can get it - its most commonly diagnosed in females but males can get it as well."

New research suggests children and the elderly are also growing sectors that suffer from depression, but Pfohl said the reason why males are so under diagnosed is because of society's misconception that men have to be the stronger sex and can get over it.

According to Psychiatrist Dr. Grayson Grau, you can't just get over it because depression is an imbalance of chemicals in the brain.

"When they get out of balance there can be disturbances of mood and ability to find pleasure in usual activities," Grau said.

Pfohl also said the difference between feeling blue and being depressed is time. If the following symptoms are experienced over 2 or more weeks, you could be considered clinically depressed.

  • Feeling sad, anxious, or empty.
  • Feeling hopeless and having a pessimistic view of life.
  • Not wanting to participate in hobbies and activities that once made you happy.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions.
  • Not being able to sleep or oversleeping.
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain.
  • Restlessness and irritability.
  • Life events could include the loss of a loved one, medical illness or stress. There are also many types of depression.

    Grau and Pfhol said when it comes to depression, growing rural areas, like South Central Kentucky, have come a long way in 10 years. People are more aware that the disease is real and should be taken seriously. Though, psychologists and psychiatrists differ in their opinions on how to treat depression.