Depression: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

By | September 27, 2020

Depression is being colorblind and constantly being told how colorful the world is! There are many ways in which depression can be present. People often confuse it with sadness which leads to a lot of judgement, misunderstandings, and negative attributions to their character and worth.

Under the CDC, about 7.6% of humans above the age of twelve suffer from depression every two weeks. Also, 350 million people face depression every week.  WHO states that depression has become a widespread illness that has extended its reach all over the world.

This guide highlights all the things that lead to depression. The symptoms, consequences, and the treatment of it. But first, it is essential to recognize whether you are actually facing depression or not. Let us talk about it in brief.

Depression

What is Depression?

Basically, depression can be explained as a mental health disturbance. A person suffering from depression has mood swings, loses interest all of a sudden, and becomes irritated at the smallest of things.

However, depression is a persistent  problem with an average episode of 7-8 months. It looks different in each one. For few people, it is temporary, but for people who feel a strong emotion of depression, they need medical help to come out of this disturbing phase ultimately.

Depression can affect anyone at any age. There is no age restriction to it. Similarly, the treatment and symptoms of depression look different on each person.

Difference between Unipolar and Bipolar Depression

If you go experience a depressed mood quite often, then you have unipolar depression. If it involves both depressive and manic events separated by intervals of your everyday mood, it can be defined as bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression.

Unipolar depression possesses anxiety as well as few other symptoms, excluding very few or negligible manic episodes.

At times what happens is people, having bipolar depression stay depressed more often and have lesser manic episodes, which makes it difficult for distinguishing both the conditions.

Major depressive disorder which have psychotic features

This state is distinguished by depression along with psychosis.

Psychosis basically comprises delusions. It is a state where a person detaches from reality and senses things which do not exist in reality. They imagine false beliefs and have hallucinations.

Postpartum depression

Pregnant women often suffer from this type of depression. They experience “baby blues” when they give birth to a newborn. It can also be termed as postnatal depression and is quite severe.

Chief depressive disorders accompanied by a seasonal pattern

Earlier known as SAD ( seasonal affective disorder), this condition takes place when the daylight is reduced in winters. Usually, this depression occurs during the winter months but affects the person throughout the year.

The people living in countries which have more winter months and see minimal summer months get affected by this phenomenon more often.

Why does Depression occur?

Although there are many causes due to which depression occurs, few factors are more likely to cause depression as compared to the others.  Let us look into the possible causes:

  • It can occur genetically.
  • Environmental changes.
  • Social or psychological circumstances.
  • Events that take place in life. ( divorce, poverty)
  • Childhood trauma.
  • Effects of drugs.
  • Unhappy with oneself. ( unsuccessful in life, family problems)
  • Severe health issues.
  • Chronic pain syndromes in particular, but also other chronic conditions, such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and cardiovascular disease

what is depression

What are the Signs of Depression?

There are a few signs that show that you are probably suffering from depression. They include:

  • Frequently disturbed mood.
  • Loss of interest, enjoyment, or sexual desire.
  • Sudden loss of hunger, unusual weight loss.
  • Loss of sleep or excessive sleep.
  • Regular tiredness and low energy.
  • State of being under-confident.
  • Inability to focus and make a decision.
  • Frequent suicidal thoughts.
  • Teary eyes, depressed facial expression.
  • Changes in speech, rare body movement, soft voice.
  • Over Sensitive and least bothered about life.

How to diagnose Depression?

There are various ways by which you can treat depression. Let us look into them.

  • The first and foremost treatment is to take medical help from experts or psychiatrists. Do not feel ashamed of getting treatment. Depression is an equally serious condition as any other serious health issues.
  • It is essential to seek professional help to eliminate depression so that it ensures secured and efficacious treatment and gives a full stop to it forever, thereby eliminating the chances of it to occur once again in future.
  • A physical examination might be held for checking the existing symptoms. Relative sessions will be held, and questions will be asked.

How to treat Depression?

Depression is entirely treatable. There are significant elements which help to manage depression.

Psychotherapy

This therapy basically comprises therapies which include sessions of talking and solving the problem accordingly.

In the mildest of cases, this therapy is considered, and it works just as fine. In serious cases, the experts may make use of several other treatments as well.

In psychotherapy, there are two types of treatment.

One is CBT, which is conducted through a face to face session, over a call, computer, or group.

The other is interpersonal therapy which assists the person to recognize the problems that are related to emotions which leads to disturbances in relationships, daily life and mental state.

Antidepressants

These are the drugs that are prescribed by a doctor. These antidepressants are used to treat basic to severe stages of depression, although it is not at all suitable to children. Each medicine has its own side effects.  Therefore the consumption is always prescribed by the doctor and should be taken under supervision.

A number of of medications are available in the treatment of depression:

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Selective serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRI)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Atypical antidepressants

However, the FDA states that excess antidepressants might increase the chances of suicidal thoughts in teenagers and children during the initial months of treatment. In case, you notice any such sign, contact your doctor right away and stop the medicines.

Exercises and Therapies

Exercises are an excellent option to overcome mild stages of depression. As it increases the endorphin levels in your body, it boosts the mood. In fact, it has helped treat around 40% of the initial stages of depression. Aerobic exercises can help to a great extent.

Brain stimulation therapies – including Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) are also used to treat depression. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation sends magnetic pulses to the brain and may be effective in major depressive disorder.

We hope that this article comes handy to you in diagnosing whether or not anyone is suffering from depression. If your observations turn out to be affirmative, then seek the help of a doctor at the earliest.

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