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We all feel sad from time to time, but clinical depression is an illness that greatly impacts one’s quality of life. The persistent feeling of sadness that characterizes major depression can lead to a variety of behavioral and physical symptoms, including changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior and self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide, which can lead to suicidal attempts.
Grief is a natural response to loss. Grief can also be a normal response to change because change in life brings loss in some form, whether big or small. Grief usually throws us off balance and into chaos. Unfortunately, the world does not stop to allow us adequate time to grieve. We have to continue on life’s path while simultaneously grieving. The good news is that you are not alone. Everyone suffers loss. Grief counseling can help.
Classic characteristics of over-functioning include being overly focused on another person’s problems, offering frequent advice or help to another person, doing things that are part of the other person’s life responsibilities, feeling angry when help is not appreciated, and frequently feeling overwhelmed and stressed, as well as neglecting self-care.
Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s a term that describes a group of symptoms associated with a decline in memory. To classify as dementia, symptoms must be severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities. Dementia is often incorrectly referred to as “senility” or “senile dementia,” which reflects the formerly widespread, but incorrect, belief that serious mental decline is a normal part of aging. While symptoms of dementia can vary, at least two of the following core brain functions must be significantly impaired to be considered dementia: memory loss and judgement.
Drug or alcohol abuse is defined by having two or three symptoms of addiction. Many people experience alcohol or drug abuse problems but are able to stop using or change their patterns without progressing to addiction. The most severe form of substance abuse is addiction: a physical, chronic disease that typically requires long-term treatment. Types of addiction include: Nicotine, alcohol, illegal drugs and prescription drugs.
A key piece of Alcoholics Anonymous literature states, “Our stories disclose, in a general way, what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now.”
Here is what I used to be like: I occasionally drank a beer or two or a little bit of liquor in high school (in the late 1960’s), but when I reached college I was off to the races. Unlike many alcoholics, I rarely if ever blacked out (woke up with no memory of events during the previous day’s drinking), but I often drank to the point of “praying to the porcelain god.” For just one example, I carried a fifth of Southern Comfort to a football game one Saturday, expecting to share it with some friends, but my friends were nowhere to be found. Well, someone had to drink that fifth of Southern Comfort, and so I did. Some fraction of it returned the way it had come, about the time I reached my apartment after the game. Similar examples could be multiplied considerably.