Let's Talk about Depression: Symptoms, Types, Causes & Treatment
Depression is a medical condition in which a person feels constant sadness and loss for a very long period. People ignore their mental health and become a victim of depression.
How are you feeling today?
How productive do you feel about yourself?
When was the last time you laughed out loud?
How often do you take a break from your busy life?
Mental health is as important as your physical health. Do take breaks, spend quality time with your loved ones. Also, spare some time for your hobbies. Get proper sleep, do yoga, relieve your stress and be productive throughout the day.
Everyone has problems with life. Feeling sad or lost sometimes is okay. But, if you are constantly feeling lost and sad and having negative thoughts, thoughts of harming yourself, suicidal thoughts, your productivity is lowering; then this is not okay. In such a condition, you should seek the help of a psychiatrist or a therapist.
Clinical Depression and its Types
Clinical Depression is a severe type of depression in which proper treatment is essential.
If you feel depressed most of the time of the day and most of the days of the week, then you might be suffering major depression. Apart from feeling depressed most of the time, some other signs are essential in major depression:
- Lost interest in your hobbies
- Problems in sleeping (insomnia) or sleeping the whole day
- Feeling tired all day without working
- Weight gain or loss
- Guilt and feeling worthless
- Restlessness, agitated, can't concentrate
Although symptoms differ in different people, these symptoms must be there to have significant depression.
Persistent depressive disorder
If you have depression for several years (more than two years), your type is called a persistent depressive disorder. It is also called chronic major depression.
Your symptoms may include:
- Appetite change, overeating or not eating enough
- Eating habit changes, prolonged eating, or very fast eating
- Low self-esteem
Bipolar disorder or Manic Depression is a type of depression in which you are either very enthusiastic or feel depressed. The cycle of the feeling of 'up' and 'low' revolves. In the 'low' phase, you may have symptoms of major depression.
Seasonal affective disorder
If you feel depressed in winter but not in spring and summer, a particular term is 'seasonal affective disorder.' It is a period of major depression that happens in winter when days grow shorter. A short day and long night give the feeling of despair. You get less sunlight.
Psychotic depression happens in a patient who already suffers from a psychic disease. If you are depressed and you hallucinate, then you have psychotic depression.
Some psychotic depression symptoms are like:
- hallucinations (seeing or hearing something that is not present there)
- believing something
- having the fear that someone wants to harm you or kill you.
If your doctor has diagnosed you with major depression, but none of the treatment is working, you have treatment-resistant depression. The antidepressant is not working. Other therapies are also not working. There may be other illnesses in your body that are making your depression resistant to treatment.
Depression that occurs in women.
Peripartum/ postpartum depression - Women face major depression after childbirth.
Perimenstrual dysphoric disorder - Women having this type of depression feels depressed at the start of their period
Depression signs and symptoms
Depression symptoms vary with the individual and the type of situation, causes, environmental factors, etc.
Some of the common signs and symptoms present in clinically depressed patients are:
- Constantly sad mood
- Loss of interest in the activities that interested you before.
- Changes in the appetite- either appetite increased or reduced
- Changes in sleeping pattern, either sleeping too much or too little
- Feeling guilty for something and worthlessness
- Restlessness, agitation
- Negative thoughts, thoughts of harming yourself
- Suicidal thoughts
- Feeling distracted and difficulty in concentrating
- Difficulty in thinking and decision making
- Unintentional weight loss
- Sexual desire is lost
- Avoiding people
- Working without a break
Causes of Depression
Suppose your depression is a very complex situation. It can happen for several reasons. Some of the reasons are here:
- Family history- If you have a family history of depression, then it increases your risk of depression. Depression is affected by multiple genes, and each gene has its effects.
- Abuse - If you have suffered physical, mental, or sexual abuse at an early age, then it increases the risk of depression in your later stage. Drug abuse is also included.
- Age - Older adults are at higher risk of depression, and if they live alone, they can be depressed.
- Death or loss - The death of someone close or losing a job can make you vulnerable to depression.
- Gender - Women are at higher risk may be due to various hormonal changes that occur in them.
- Medications - Certain medicines for other illnesses can also increase the risk of depression.
- Major illness - Serious illness can trigger depression by affecting the brain with other factors.
- Trauma - Accidents or any significant event which brings sorrow can lead to depression.
- Chronic stress - Stress that persists for a long time causes depression. The reason may be your problem, career, relationships.
How To Overcome Depression
- Do physical activities like exercise and walk. Play games and enjoy them.
- Serve others who need your help. It will make you feel worthy.
- Make achievable goals and reward yourself after completing them.
- Stay in the present and be aware of your surrounding
- Schedule pleasant events, spend time with your loved ones, and enjoy their company
- Talk to your loved ones and speak your heart out. It will make you feel lighter and much better.
- Fix your sleep timing and reduce distractions in your bedroom.
- Keep an eye on your eating habits and your appetite. Be aware of what you are eating and how you are eating.
- Do yoga and meditation
Certain medicines that treat depression are:
Antidepressants that relieve symptoms of depression
SSRIs- are a class of drugs that eases depressed mood and anxiety.
Anxiolytic- relieves anxiety and tension and may promote sleep.
Psychotherapy or talk therapy is very effective in the early and late stages with other treatments like medications. It can give you a new perspective on problems. It can ease stress and make you aware of your symptoms and treatment.
Exposure to white light can ease the symptoms of depression and can help to regulate your mood. This is very useful in seasonal affective disorder.
Alternative therapies include acupuncture, meditation, or some herbal supplements. Wrong supplements can have adverse effects on your depression. Hence, it would be best to always talk to your healthcare provider about the supplements before taking them.
Specific lifestyle changes like exercising and sleeping enough can reduce the symptoms. Following a proper morning routine is very helpful. Take breaks while working.
Social support plays a significant role in the treatment of depression. If you know someone who is depressed, then please support him in uplifting himself.
If you are feeling depressed, then please see a psychiatrist. He can treat the early stage. Still, as it becomes severe, it becomes more complex even for psychiatrists. It also affects your physical health and causes serious illness.