peer support for those affected by depression & bipolar disorder

major depression defined

According to the American Psychiatric Association, major depression is defined as a disorder with signs and symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to function in their daily life. Some of these symptoms include:

  • a loss of interest in the activities of daily living
  • changes in appetite that may lead to weight loss or gain
  • a persistently depressed, anxious or empty mood, which may sometimes be accompanied by feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt or suicidal thoughts
  • difficulty with sleep, appetite, energy and motivation
  • trouble concentrating or making decisions

 

bipolar disorder defined
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder in which a person may experience (usually at different times) periods of depression alternating with episodes of euphoria or elation. This illness is also known as manic depressive disorder. Some of the characteristic symptoms include:

  • an abnormally elevated or euphoric mood lasting for at least one week
  • a decreased need for sleep often accompanied by increased over-activity
  • racing thoughts and rapid speech
  • inflated self-esteem, grandiose ideas which may result in poor judgment and reckless or risk taking behaviors

there is a two-way relationship between alcohol/drug abuse and mood disorders: for example, substance abuse may be a symptom of a hidden mood disorder, or alternatively, substance abuse may be the cause of a mood disorder.