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pictureof a girl
Depression is not a moral failing, a character flaw or weakness,
or any other such thing. It is an illness. And like any other illness,
it can take its toll. Depressive illnesses are biological, illnesses
related to imbalanced or disrupted brain chemistry. The brain is an
organ of the body and can get "sick" just like the heart, liver or
kidneys. People with depression and other depressive illnesses have
a disease that requires diagnosis and treatment from a doctor.People
with depressive illnesses cannot talk themselves into feeling good
or out of feeling bad. They cannot snap themselves out of it. Many
times, society assumes people suffering from depression are just
lazy or lack motivation to get their lives together. People with
depression are often labeled as having a behavior or attitude problem.
This is simply not true.

Life is not always easy, and sometimes it's difficult to smile
when the dark clouds move in to block the sun. But you must have
faith that things will get better. Reach inside and draw on your strength
and hope. It's still there, waiting to see you through this difficult time.
The night may seem long, but think of all the possibilities that the dawn might hold.

And in the end, you'll be a stronger person from this, and you'll be so proud that you made it.


How to Respond to Someone Who is Suicidal

It's not known exactly what causes depression. As with many mental illnesses, it appears a variety of factors may be involved. These include:

1) Biological differences. People with depression appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain, but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
2) Neurotransmitters. These naturally occurring brain chemicals linked to mood are thought to play a direct role in depression.
3) Hormones. Changes in the body's balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression. Hormone changes can result from thyroid problems, menopause or a number of other conditions.
4) Inherited traits. Depression is more common in people whose biological family members also have this condition. Researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing depression.
5) Life events. Certain events, such as the death or loss of a loved one, financial problems, and high stress, can trigger depression in some people.
6) Early childhood trauma. Traumatic events during childhood, such as abuse or loss of a parent, may cause permanent changes in the brain that make you more susceptible to depression.

picture of the brain

The Disease

Imbalances in neurotransmitter levels are thought to play a role in depression.
Neurotransmitters are the chemical messengers that enable nerve cells (neurons) to communicate. They're released into the gaps (synapses) between nerve cells to help
nerve messages flow from one cell to another. If neurons don't produce enough of these chemicals, nerve messages aren't communicated, and areas of your brain may not receive
stimulation. Lack of stimulation to your brain's limbic system and hypothalamus,
areas that control mood and emotion, may reduce activity in these areas and result in depression.

"The last great stigma of the twentieth century is the stigma of mental illness."
Tipper Gore

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