What is depression?
A persistent feeling of helplessness and depression is a sign that you have major depression, also known as clinical depression. It can be difficult to work, study, sleep, eat, and enjoy friends and perform regular activities. Some people have clinical depression only once in their lives, while others have it several times in their lives. Major depression in families sometimes runs from one generation to the next, but it often affects people who have no family history of the disease.
Symptoms of depression
They last at least 2 weeks and have many of the following experiences:
- You feel sad, anxious, or empty
- You feel hopeless or pessimistic
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
- You didn’t enjoy the objects you enjoyed
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- More or less dream
- Changes in appetite
- Weight gain or loss
- Feels fickle or irritable
- Thoughts of suicide or death
- You may not have all of these. Doctors call it “major depression” if you have at least 5 weeks of symptoms for at least 2 weeks. People with major depression may also have other physical symptoms such as pain or other ailments, such as abdominal pain, headaches, or digestive problems.
In children and adolescents, symptoms can include:
- Insomnia, fatigue, headache, abdominal pain, dizziness
- Indifference, social isolation, involuntary weight loss
- Drug or alcohol abuse, reduced school performance, trouble concentrating
- Isolation from family and friends
- It can range from mild to severe. Doctors call mild forms of “dysthymia” lasting at least 2 years in adults (1 year in children and adolescents). Now, this is called “persistent depressive disorder.”
Everyone feels sad from time to time. They are normal emotions. If it lasts longer than 2 weeks and you don’t lift any weight, or you start to notice other physical symptoms like changes in sleep, appetite, or energy, seek help. You can start with your regular doctor or your mental health professional.
Types of depression
Depression can be classified according to the severity of the symptoms. Some experience mild and temporary episodes, while others experience episodes of severe and ongoing depression.
There are two main types:
- Major depressive disorder
- Persistent depressive disorder
Major depressive disorder:
- Major depressive disorders a serious condition. It is constantly characterized by feelings of sadness, helplessness, and worthlessness.
- It frustrates me most of the day.
- Loss of interest in very common activities.
- Significant weight loss or gain.
- Sleeping too much or not being able to sleep.
- Slow thinking or movement.
- Most days are fatigue or low energy.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
- Loss of concentration or uncertainty.
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide.
- The different subtypes of Major Depressive Disorder known as “specifiers”, named by the American Psychiatric Association.
In addition to:
- Heterogeneous characteristics
- Anxious suffering
- Mixed functions
- Onset peripartum, during pregnancy or immediately after delivery
- Seasonal patterns
- Grief symptoms
- Psychological symptoms
- Persistent depressive disorder
Persistent depressive disorder (PDD): It is a chronic form of depression that is mild. It also called dysthymia. To be diagnosed, symptoms must last at least 2 years. PD affects your life more than major depression because it lasts longer.
- Loses interest in normal daily activities
- Feeling helpless
- Lack of productivity
- Have low self-esteem
- It can be treated successfully, but it is important to stick to your treatment plan
Causes of depression
As with many mental disorders, there can be several factors, including:
- Biological differences: People with depression see physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain, but they will eventually help identify the causes.
- Brain chemistry: Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals. Recent research suggests that changes in the function and effectiveness of these neurotransmitters and how they interact with neurological circuits involved in maintaining mood stability play an important role.
- Hormones Changes: In the body’s hormonal balance can cause or trigger depression. Hormonal changes can occur during pregnancy and during the weeks or months after delivery (postpartum) and due to thyroid problems, menopause, or any other conditions.
- Heredity traits: It is more common in people with this condition than in their blood relatives. Researchers are trying to find the genes.
Risk factors of depression
Depression affects anyone, even a person living in relatively ideal conditions.
- Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain can contribute to depressive symptoms.
- Genetics: Depression runs in families. For example, if identical twins have it, there is a 70 percent chance that someone else will get sick for a time in life.
- Personality: People with low self-esteem, those who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or those who are generally pessimistic are more likely to suffer from depression.
- Environmental factors: Persistent exposure to violence, neglect, abuse, or poverty can cause frustration for some people.
Diagnosis of depression
If a person is suspected of having depressive symptoms, they should seek professional help from a doctor or mental health professional. A qualified healthcare professional can rule out a variety of causes, make an accurate diagnosis, and provide safe and effective treatment.
Ask questions about features such as how long they have been there. For physical reasons, a doctor may run a test and order a blood test to rule out other health conditions.
Treatment for depression
- Find out all you can about your frustration. It is important to determine if your depressive symptoms are due to an underlying medical condition. If so, the condition may need to be treated first based on the severity of it. The more severe the depression, the more treatment you will need.
- It takes time to find the right treatment. It takes a bit of trial and error to find the treatment and help that works best for you. For example, if you decide to continue treatment, it may take some effort to find the therapist that you actually clicked on. Or you can try an antidepressant, only to find you don’t need it if you walk a half-hour every day. Be open to change and experiment a little.
- Don’t just rely on medication. Although medications can ease the symptoms, they are generally not suitable for long-term use. Other treatments, including exercise and therapy, are as effective as drugs, more often, but do not have unwanted side effects. If you decide to try medications, keep in mind that medications work best when you make changes to a healthy lifestyle.
- Get social support. The more you develop your social relationships, the more protected you are from depression. If you’re feeling stuck, don’t hesitate to talk to trusted family or friends, or seek new connections in the support group for frustration. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness and it does not mean that you are a burden to others. Often times just talking to someone face-to-face can go a long way.
- The treatment takes time and commitment. All of these treatments are time-consuming, and sometimes they can slowly become overwhelming or depressing. That’s normal. Recovery usually involves its ups and downs.
Complications of depression
It caused by a chronic illness often complicates the condition. This is especially true if the chronic illness is already causing some pain and disruption in the person’s life. It can cause fatigue and worsen energy over time. It tends to drive people into social isolation. However, clinical depression is not a normal response to a chronic illness.
In contrast, people who are biologically vulnerable to the illness of depression are at higher risk of developing it in the face of certain pressures, including chronic medical illness. Doctors often diagnose “adjustment disorder” or “severe stress disorder” when a depressed mood develops along with problems coping with a stressful situation, including a chronic or serious medical illness, but other symptoms of major depression do not appear.
Prevention of depression
There is definitely no way to avoid depression. But you can:
- Find ways to manage stress and improve your self-esteem
- Take good care of your health. Get enough sleep, eat well, and exercise regularly
- Join family and friends when times get tough
- Get regular checkups and see your provider if it’s not right for you
- Get help if you feel depressed. If you wait, it will only get worse