DEPRESSION

Depression is a very common mental illness that plagues a large number of people all over the world. While depression is fairly common, it is not understood well by most people. Depression is a condition that negatively affects how a person feels, thinks, and acts.

Depression is different from experiencing feelings of grief or sadness. It is a constant feeling of sadness and a loss of interest that persists for weeks, if not longer.

Depression is a serious medical condition, but fortunately, it is treatable. If depression is left untreated, it can severely hamper the quality of life of an individual. Depression can even lead to people causing harm to themselves.

Depression can be classified into the following types:

  • Unipolar depression, which is characterized by a predominantly depressed mood

  • Bipolar depression, which is characterized by a mix of manic and depressive episodes

  • Major depressive disorder accompanies with psychosis

  • Postpartum depression after a woman gives birth

  • Major depressive disorder accompanies with seasonal patterns

SYMPTOMS

There are several signs and symptoms which may indicate a case of depression. If someone experiences the following signs and symptoms for more than two weeks, he or she may be suffering from depression:

  • A persistent feeling of sadness or emptiness

  • Feelings of pessimism and hopelessness

  • Consistent anxiety and irritability

  • Feelings of helplessness, guilt or worthlessness

  • Increased fatigue

  • Loss of interest in otherwise pleasurable hobbies and activities

  • Talking and moving slowly

  • Restlessness

  • Difficulty in making decisions, remembering and in concentrating

  • Difficulty in falling asleep or sleeping too much

  • Sudden changes in weight and/or appetite

  • Headaches, cramps and other unexplained problems without a clear physical cause

  • Recurrent thoughts of suicide or actually attempting suicide

Do understand that not every person who is depressed will exhibit all the signs and symptoms of depression. Some people will experience a few of these symptoms while others will experience several of these symptoms.

If these signs and symptoms of depression are spotted, a proper diagnosis is required. Psychologists are trained professionals who can diagnose as well as offer treatment for depression. The severity of depression will determine the proper course of treatment.

TREATMENT

Depression is a mental illness that is treatable. Psychologists are the only professionals who are qualified to offer treatment for depression.

The treatment of depression includes three necessary components:

  • Support from a psychologist and family members

  • Psychotherapy which includes a range of special techniques and therapies

  • Drug treatment by administering antidepressants

In addition to the above, people suffering from depression can benefit from engaging in regular exercise. Aerobic exercise boosts norepinephrine levels in the body which can help raise the mood.

CAUSE

There is still a lot of debate going on in the scientific community about what really causes depression. However, it is very likely that depression is caused by a combination of several factors and not just a single factor. Some of these factors include:

  • Genetics

  • Environmental factors

  • Psychological and social factors

  • Biological factors such as changes in neurotransmitter levels

While it is very difficult to understand the causes of depression, it is possible to identify certain risk factors that may lead to depression. Some of these risk factors include:

  • Injuries to the head

  • Childhood trauma

  • Having first degree relatives with depression

  • Abuse of recreational drugs such as alcohol and amphetamines

  • Abuse of certain prescription drugs such as corticosteroids, interferon and certain beta-blockers

  • A history of a major depressive incident in the past

  • Chronic pain syndromes including diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

  • Life events such as experiencing sudden bereavement, relationship problems, employment issues, divorce, financial problems

  • Acute stress

ADVICE

  • Avoid junk foods and take balance diet

  • Maintain sleep

  • Spent time with family/ friends

  • Try to involve in activities

  • Talk about your feeling to close one

  • Respect yourself

  • Consider meditation and relaxation therapy.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from depression, seek medical help immediately. Do understand that depression is completely treatable and treatment will improve quality of life significantly.

Psychologists are the only medical professionals who are qualified to diagnose and treat depression. Don’t let depression go untreated – find a licensed psychologist to get treated for depression at the earliest.