Depression is a mood disorder that creates an enduring period of sadness and loss of interest. Depression isn't a momentary period of grief where you can merely 'snap out' of it. It requires long-term treatment.
Depression is a major depressive disorder which affects how you feel, think and behave and causes obstacles to your normal day-to-day activities. It also leads to lost time and lower productivity. It can also have repercussions on your relationships and some chronic health conditions.
Depression is a severe medical condition that requires to be taken seriously. It could only get worse without proper treatment. When you seek treatment, the symptoms will improve. Schedule a visit to your doctor to feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both.
The symptoms and signs include feeling several of the following for at least two weeks:
Feeling sad, anxious, or empty
Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
Feeling hopeless or pessimistic
Not enjoying things you used to enjoy
The trouble with concentration, memory, or making decisions
Sleeping too much or too little
Gaining or losing weight
Feeling restless or irritable
Thoughts of suicide or death
Any person might not have all of these. Doctors diagnose it as a 'major depression' if you have at least 5 of these symptoms for at least two weeks. Some people can also manifest other physical symptoms, such as pain, stomach aches, digestive problems, headaches, or other illnesses that get worse.
Drug/alcohol abuse, trouble concentrating or a drop in school performance
Isolation from family and friends
Causes of Depression
Depression can occur due to many reasons. It can range from biological to circumstantial.
The Common causes of Depression include:
Family history: If you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder, then you are at considerable risk for developing Depression
Early childhood trauma: There are some childhood events which affect the way your body reacts to fear and stressful situations.
Hormones: Any changes in the body's balance of hormones can cause or trigger Depression.
Brain structure: If the frontal lobe of your brain is less active, then there's a higher risk for Depression.
Medical conditions: Certain stressful conditions also result in Depression such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Drug use: A misuse of drug or alcohol will put you at higher risk.
Other risk factors for depression include:
low self-esteem or being self-critical
personal history of mental illness
stressful events, such as bereavement, death, economic problems, or a divorce
Test for Depression
There is not a single test that can diagnose Depression.
Physical Test: Your doctor may conduct a physical exam and ask questions about your health. Sometimes Depression is linked to an underlying physical health problem.
Blood Test: The Doctor can also recommend you some blood tests. Sometimes, it has been observed that thyroid problems or a vitamin D deficiency can trigger symptoms of Depression.
Psychiatric evaluation: Your mental health professional will make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and a psychological evaluation. They will usually ask you questions about your moods, sleep pattern, appetite, activity level, and thoughts.
Don't ignore the symptoms of Depression because, over the period, it can result in the potential for complications:
If left untreated, complications can include:
weight gain or loss
substance use problems
thoughts of suicide
Treatment for Depression
The Doctor will suggest treatment depending on the type of Depression you have.
Following treatments may be recommended:
Wait and Watch: Your Doctor may suggest a short waiting time to see if you get better by yourself. You will have to visit your Doctor again after two months.
Exercise: Exercise can cure Depression, and group exercise can help in this regard.
Self-help: Talk with your friends, family and relative to lessen your Depression.
Mild to moderate Depression
If you have mild to moderate Depression, then the Doctor may suggest different types of talking therapies for Depression, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling.
Moderate to severe Depression
For moderate to severe depression, the following treatments are recommended:
Antidepressants: If you have moderate to severe Depression, then the Doctor may prescribe antidepressants that treat the symptoms of Depression.
Combination therapy: If the symptoms of depression are severe, the Doctor may recommend that you take a course of antidepressants plus talking therapy.
Mental health teams: If you have prolonged severe Depression, then you may be referred to a mental health team made up of psychiatrists, psychologists, specialist nurses and occupational therapists. The team will help you in different treatments such as intensive specialist talking treatments as well as prescribed medicine.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT): CBT aims to help you understand your thoughts and behaviour, and how they affect you. It makes you aware of your thoughts and teaches you how to overcome negative thoughts and change them.
Interpersonal therapy (IPT): Interpersonal therapy (IPT) concentrate on your relationships with others and problems you may be having in your relationships. Any problem in your personal life, such as difficulties with communication or coping with grief can be supported by IPT.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy: A psychoanalytic therapist will let you talk to your thoughts aloud. This will help you become conscious of patterns or hidden meanings in what you do or say that may be contributing to your problems.
Counselling: Counselling helps you cope up with the problems that you are facing in general life. Counsellors’ help you find solutions to your problems but do not tell you what to do.
There's no sure way or one way to prevent a depression. However, these following strategies may help.
Take control of your stress by increasing your resilience and boosting your self-esteem.
Talk to your family and friends, especially in times of crisis.
At the earliest sign of a problem, don't hesitate to get treatment.