Are you suffering from depression? If yes, then it is important for you to pay close attention to this blog.
Depression is a serious medical condition that affects how you feel and think. The signs and symptoms of depression differ from person to person — everyone responds differently to a treatment. This blog aims to educate those who suffer from depression about the effects of this illness, how it can be treated, and how they can preserve their quality of life.
What is Depression?
Depression is a type of mood disorder, where the person experiences feelings of sadness, grief, loss, or anger that interfere with his/her everyday activities.
It is a fairly common and serious mental illness that negatively affects how a person feels, thinks, and acts. CDC studies show that 18.5% of American American adults had symptoms of depression in any given 2-week period in 2019.
However, people experience depression in different ways. While depression involves feeling sad, it is different from grief felt after losing a loved one or after a traumatic life event. Depression is more than just grieving; it also usually involves self-loathing, low self-esteem, detachment, and loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.
If unchecked, depression can lead to both emotional and physical problems. It can interfere with work, lower productivity, affect personal relationships, and even cause chronic health conditions.
To recognize this mental disorder, it’s important to catch red flags and know the early warning signs and symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of Depression?
Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe. These include:
Feeling sad, down, or “empty”
Feeling tired or constantly fatigued
Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
Lack of attention, concentration, or ability to keep focus
Loss of energy
Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain that is unrelated to dieting
Sleeping too much or too little
Feeling worthless, hopeless, guilty, or anxious
Feeling bothered, annoyed, or angry
Slowed movements or speech (severe enough to be noticeable by others)
Reduced sexual interest or lack of sexual performance
Difficulty making decisions
Thoughts of death or suicide
Chronic physical pain such as headaches, digestive problems, cramps, or body pains (have no apparent cause and do not get better with treatment)
To be diagnosed with depression, your symptoms must last at least two weeks and must illustrate a change in your level of functioning.
If you are experiencing one or more of the above symptoms on an ongoing basis, it is best to see a mental health professional for a thorough evaluation, instead of trying to self-diagnose.
Types of Depressions
There are several different types of depression. The two main types are:
Major depressive disorder (MDD): This is a more severe form of depression, characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness.
Persistent depressive disorder (PDD): This is a milder, but chronic form of depression where symptoms must last for at least 2 years. It used to be called dysthymia.
Another common type of depression in females is Postpartum Depression. This refers to depression that happens after childbirth. Manic Depression is a type of disorder where negative symptoms alternate with feelings of euphoria or extreme happiness.
To treat depression, you must know what type of depression you are dealing with. Healthcare professionals can run diagnoses based on symptoms and/or causes to determine the type of depression.
What are the Causes of Depression?
Depression can be caused due to several different factors:
Genetics: Depression can run in families, and a family history of depression or another mood disorder makes it more likely to develop the disorder.
Personality: People with low self-confidence, who are easily stressed or anxious, or who are pessimistic are more likely to experience depression.
Traumatic circumstances: Exposure to violence, neglect, and abuse, especially in childhood may make people more vulnerable to depression.
Socioeconomic status: Financial problems and perceived low social status may increase the risk of depression.
Certain factors increase the risk of depression:
Substance use: A history of substance or alcohol misuse can increase the risk of depression
Brain chemistry: There may be a chemical imbalance in parts of the brain that manage mood, thoughts, and behavior in people who have depression.
Sex: Data shows major depression is twice as high in females as in males. Changes in female hormones during the menstrual cycle, postpartum period, or menopause can raise the risk for depression.
Medical conditions: Certain conditions can result in a higher risk of depression. These include chronic illness, thyroid, insomnia, chronic pain, Parkinson’s disease, heart attack, brain tumor, and cancer.
Certain medications such as hormonal birth control can also increase the risk
How do you know if you are depressed?
The death of a loved one, loss of a job, or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences. It is normal to be sad or upset in response to such situations. While grieving is natural, such events can often also lead to depression. can
If you are feeling sad on a persistent basis, or are experiencing one or more of the above-mentioned symptoms regularly for some time, you may have depression. However, we recommend seeing a mental health professional know if you are depressed and how to treat it.
Distinguishing between grief and depression is important, and helps you get the support and treatment you may need.
How to Treat Depression?
Depression can be treated with medication, therapy, and self-help techniques.
Medication is prescribed by a mental health professional after a thorough evaluation
Psychotherapy includes cognitive therapy, counseling, and other ways to help cope with depression
ECT is a medical treatment for severe major depression patients, who have not responded to other treatments. It uses electrical stimulation of the brain.
Self-Help is an important aspect of dealing with depression. Techniques that can help include:
Doing regular exercise
Getting enough sleep
Building strong relationships with others
Trying meditation to calm and collect thoughts
It’s important to remember that feeling down at times is a normal part of life. Sad and unsettling events happen to everyone. But if you’re feeling sad, worthless, or hopeless on an ongoing basis, you could be dealing with depression.
This is a serious mental health condition and the mood disorder Depression can get worse without proper treatment. So don’t be afraid to reach out and seek help!