contrary to what many people believe, not all people with depression look or act depressed. “masked depression” refers to depression which is not apparent. It comes in the forms of the following “depressive equivalents:”
- alcoholism: some alcoholics “drown” their sorrows away. alcohol is actually a brain depressant. hence, chronic alcohol use can either cause major depression or exacerbate an already-existing depression.
- drug dependence: some drug dependents are actually trying to self-medicate their depression with uppers. unfortunately, uppers such as shabu or cocaine are addictive and can cause psychosis.
- irritability, anger, aggression, and violent tendencies: sometimes, instead of turning inward with sadness, depressed people explode outward with bursts of anger.
- recklessness or impulsivity: the “death wish” is manifested through carelessness (as in driving) or wild abandon (as in death-defying sports or high-risk sex) which may result in fatal mishaps.
- unhealthy lifestyles: some habits or ways of living (e.g., unhealthy diets, cigarette smoking, sedentary lifestyle, etc.) increase the risk of a shortened life span. In fact, some extreme forms of unhealthy lifestyles are ways of committing “slow suicide.”
- “emo” culture: “emo” people have made a fad of their depression. besides their trademark looks, their other distinctive feature is self-cutting!
major depression is easily treated with medication, psychotherapy, stress management techniques, and wellness therapies. with proper treatment, major depression usually resolves as early as 2-3 weeks. With this said, there really is much hope for depressed people to live happy lives!
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