Does your world feel like it has lost colors and feels blue and gray? Things don’t make sense to you, and even carrying out simpler tasks drains your mental energy. That might be Depression. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), around the world, 280 Million people suffer from depression, and the stressful environment and life in general indicate that this number may increase. Anyone can suffer from depression and with correct treatment get better too!
Read this article to know more about the topic as we will talk about all you need to know about Depression, like what it means, its symptoms, its causes, and its treatment.
What Is Depression?
Depression is a medical illness dealing mainly with the mood of an individual. It is a broad way of explaining depression. There is no fixed textbook definition of depression. It is understood as a mental illness that involves a constant feeling of sadness, emptiness, and in severe cases, a diminishing will to live. The constant state of sadness may lead to severe effects on your mental as well as physical health.
There is a misconception, that one needs to suffer a great traumatic event to be called depressed. That, however, is not true. Anyone can suffer from depression irrespective of their age, gender, and other factors that govern our body and mind. It is a common medical illness that can be treated with the right diagnosis and treatment.
Often, people have confused grief of a negative event in life with depression. Depression and grief may co-exist but are not entirely the same. There are a few common characteristics of depression. It includes the constant feeling of emptiness, worthlessness, sadness, losing interest in things, losing sense of what you are doing in life, and more.
Depression can be of various types and stages. It varies from mild cases treatable with few simple therapies to very severe cases like Major Depressive Disorder where one needs proper medical treatment.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression?
As per the American Psychiatric Association (APA), if you are experiencing any five of the following symptoms consistently for two weeks or more, you may have a major depressive disorder. However, it is advised that if you feel these signs of depression continuously you should consult a healthcare professional for proper guidance and diagnosis.
One may experience constant melancholy. It means one feels constantly sad, guilty, anxious, empty, worthless, and more such negative emotions.
Loss of interest
One may lose interest in all the things that excited them or brought joy. It may include their loved ones, their hobbies, communication, or overall anything. They may prefer to coop themselves in a room or just cut themselves off from the world completely.
Difficulty in concentration
One may experience mental dilemmas. With the constant jumble of emotions, negative ones especially, one may not be able to concentrate on any task. They may not be able to make any decisions for themselves or even form a coherent sentence while they talk in severe cases.
Rapid physiological changes
One may experience drastic physical changes. It includes a dip in energy for performing tasks, frequency change in weight (loss or gain), disturbed sleeping cycle (less sleeping known as insomnia, or excessive sleeping known as hypersomnia), or uncoordinated activities (like being unable to write or speak coherently or even stand without any major disabilities).
Difficulty in performing everyday tasks
One may feel the energy drain to the point that they are not able to carry out simpler tasks even if they do not suffer any other physical disability. It included moving out of bed, forming coherent sentences or even eating a meal. Remember, that if someone is suffering from any major medical condition they can also suffer depression.
Repetitive thoughts of suicide or death
It is a sign of depression in a severe stage. One loses all the zeal and will to live. One may actively indulge in the thoughts of suicide or death by any cause to end their life.
What Causes Depression?
There are several reasons one might suffer from mild or severe depression. It ranges from complex physical as well as psychological distress in the body that results in depressive disorder. As per research, these are the most known and common causes of depression.
Any person suffering from severe or chronic disease like Alzheimer’s, cancer, paralysis, or other such conditions may suffer from depression. Long-term suffering from physical disease can lead to a person getting clinical depression that needs attention, or it can affect recovery.
Stress of life
Life, in general, has become more stressful and jam-packed. With the growing economy and complexity of humans, it can become a little too much for people. Rejection or failure has been looked at more negatively and can push one into a depressive episode which may continue to come.
Traumatic life events
Throughout life, we suffer traumatic events, major or minor. Our coping mechanism sometimes fails to process them and results in depression. The intensity of these traumatic events can vary from person to person and even the span of these events.
Biochemistry of the body
Biochemistry includes any neurological or biological factors that impact the balance of your mood. The imbalance of hormones can also cause depressive episodes.
Heredity of the depression
It is often found that if any one of the family members, direct blood relatives like parents and siblings, have depression, the chances are high that one may suffer the same.
Effect of medication
Often people who are treated with certain medications suffer depression as the side-effects of it. This is true with chronic disease and long-term exposure to such medications.
Types Of Depression?
Depression is not a one-meaning concept. Like any other medical condition, there are severeal types of depression that one may suffer. They are all curable with proper care and treatment. The following are the few most noted types of depression as per APA:
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Major depressive disorder (MDD), aka clinical depression, is the most common and severe form of depression. It is characterized by identifying the presence of 5 or more symptoms of depression consistently for 2 weeks or more.
Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD)
Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) is also a common form of depression. The symptoms and condition of the depression in the person are mild and may have been the same for more than two years.
Postpartum (Peripartum) Depression
Postpartum Depression, aka peripartum or prenatal depression, is a common and serious mental illness among women after childbirth. It is very common for new mothers to have depressive episodes. It is curable with time and treatment.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is seen in women who menstruate. With premenstrual syndrome (PMS) one may experience extreme mood imbalance and related outbursts of emotions. This can cause depressive episodes around the menstruation cycle.
Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder (DMDD)
Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD) is a depressive disorder diagnosed among children and young adolescents. The symptoms may vary from those of clinical depression. The typical symptoms include unreasonable anger and random emotional outbursts.
Bipolar Disorder Depression
Bipolar disorder deals with the intense switch in the emotional state of people over a certain period. They may feel extremely happy, angry, irritated, or depressed during this switching of emotions.
How Is Depression Diagnosed?
One may take note of any symptoms occurring with them in their daily life and identify the chances of them having depression. However, it is advised to go to a healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis of depression and its treatment.
A healthcare expert will note your symptoms for a certain period before they diagnose you with depression and the type of depression that you might be suffering. If you are going through any physical condition or are on an intense medication plan, they might track your mood and behavior to identify early signs of depression.
How To Treat Depression?
Depression is a treatable mental illness. The treatment for depression may vary from the type of depression to the intensity of the depression. Some of the common approaches for treating depression are mentioned below.
In certain cases, a healthcare provider may provide you with a prescription for certain antidepressants like SSRI, SNRI, TCA, TECA, NDRI, MAOI, and more. The anti-depressants for depression must be taken under expert guidance only.
Psychotherapy or talk therapy is one of the most common approaches for more intense treatment of depression. Talk therapy is used to identify the cause of depression and assist them in coping with the symptoms of depression.
Brain Stimulation Therapy
It is therapy in which electronic stimulations are sent to the brain to improve the condition of the patient. It might include Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS), and more such stimulation treatment.
It includes indulging in activities that will help you distract and recover from depressive episodes and help you overcome the symptoms. It includes exercising, journaling, meditation, yoga, and more.
Depression is when a person constantly feels low and negative energy for an extended period. It is a more common mental illness curable with the right diagnosis and treatment. The common symptoms may vary from low mood and energy to exclusion from social life and in server cases physical problems. Anyone can suffer depression due to varying causes. Many treatment options are used which one can treat depression. Read the article to know more.