What is Depression?
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Originally Posted On: https://www.healthtact.com/what-is-depression/
In this era of marital issues, technology, cyber-bullying, and different financial mishaps and crisis, cases of depression keep spiraling. However, the majority of people are unable to tell when they are depressed. This article will, therefore, tackle depression, what it is, the different types, its symptoms, and how to cure it.
What is depression?
First, you need to understand that depression is a mental condition. A lot of people confuse depression with sadness. One may be a symptom of the other, but it does not necessarily mean they are the same.
Depression is, therefore, a severe medical condition, classified as a mood disorder that alters the way you feel, think or act. It is also referred to as major depressive disorder and is characterized by a string of feelings, be it sadness, loss or anger.
People, however, experience depression in different ways and so there is no standard experience. For some, it may interfere with their productivity, for others their relationships, and for some, it might worsen their health conditions.
What are the types of depression?
There are several types of depression, each with its characteristics. Here are some;
i) Major depression
This is one of the most prevalent types of depression. It is also referred to as major depressive disorder, unipolar depression or classic depression. It is estimated that from the general adult population in the US, over sixteen million individuals have experienced this type of depression.
What are the signs of depression? Major depression is occasioned by experiencing the same symptoms every day for the better part of the day. It does not matter what’s happening around you.
Some of the main symptoms of this type of depression are sadness, less sleep or oversleeping, fatigue, less eating or overeating, loss of interest in activities in formerly pleasurable activities, zero concentration, worry and anxiety, suicidal thoughts and feeling of worthlessness.
Have in mind that the said symptoms can even last weeks. You can either suffer a single episode or have it for the rest of your life.
ii) Persistent depression
This type of depression lasts for two or more years. It is referred to as chronic depression or dysthymia. Even though this type of depression is not as intense as major depression, it can still affect your relationship and daily tasks.
The following symptoms occasion it: deep sadness, hopelessness, feeling inadequate, change in appetite, loss of concentration or memory, change in sleep patterns, social withdrawal, lack of interest.
Have in mind, however, that for this type of depression, the seriousness of the symptoms can lessen for months before worsening all over. It might also result in major depression, which features major depression before persistent depressive disorder.
Remember, this type of the sickness can last for years, and with time, you might think that these symptoms are part of your normal life.
iii) Manic depression
This type of depression is occasioned by alternating feelings, known as mania and hypomania. One can feel very happy, followed by episodes of intense sadness and emptiness. It can also be referred to as as bipolar disorder. For this type of depression, one must experience an episode of mania for seven days, or less when hospitalization is involved. One can also experience depressive disorder before or after the manic episode.
It has the same symptoms as the major disorder, which are: sadness, low energy levels, fatigue, sleep issues, concentration problems, loss of interest and emptiness. For the manic phases, one will experience high energy with a reduction of sleep, irritability, racing thoughts, increased esteem, self-destructive behaviour and feelings of elation.
For severe cases, people may suffer from hallucinations and delusions.
iv) Depressive psychosis
Psychosis is a condition where one loses touch with reality and can, therefore, result in hallucinations or delusions. This type of depression, therefore, has some psychotic features and is one of the types of depression that might cause physical symptoms such as problems in sitting still and slowed physical movements.
v) Perinatal depression
This type of depression is referred to as a depressive disorder with peripartum onset. It usually occurs during pregnancy or within the four weeks of giving birth. It is brought about by the hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and childbirth.
This mental disorder causes major mood swings. It is even heightened by the lack of sleep and significant physical discomfort after giving birth. Its symptoms can be as severe as those in major depression. It is occasioned by sadness, anxiety, anger, feeling of exhaustion, extreme worry, suicidal thoughts, difficulty in caring for the new baby and yourself.
vi) Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
This type of disorder is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome. It can either be physical and psychological, with a majority experiencing psychological symptoms, which are always more severe. Most women may feel more emotional in the days before the period, which is associated with PMS.
For PMDD, however, the level of depression and sadness may affect somebody’s daily activities. Other symptoms are cramps, bloating, headaches, joint and muscle pains, sadness, irritability, panic attacks, lack of energy, sleep problems and extreme food cravings.
Even though most women mistake this condition for premenstrual syndrome, it can be severe and also lead to suicidal tendencies.
Causes of depression
What causes depression? The truth is, it is not entirely clear what solely causes this difficult condition. However, there are many possible causes and, at times, several factors that might combine to bring about this condition. Here are some of the factors that might lead to becoming sick with it:
ii) Change in environmental conditions.
ii) Psychological factors
iii) Conditions such as bipolar disorder.
iv) Changes in neurotransmitter levels.
Signs of depression
We have looked at the different symptoms in the types of depressions we have discussed. There are however certain outstanding signs that cut across all types. These are;
i) A continuous feeling of sadness.
ii) Loss of concentration
iii) Loss of interest in different activities.
iv) Lack of sleep or oversleeping.
v) Suicidal thoughts.
vi) General lack of interest in life.
Remedies to the illness
Depression can be a dark moment. It is, therefore, necessary that we discuss all the solutions available to cure this mental condition. The symptoms are also manageable. Here are some of the non-medical ways:
i) Support- Depression can be effectively controlled through support groups, which ranges from discussing practical solutions and providing support and education to those affected.
ii) Therapy- Seeing a counselor can help you manage depression. Psychotherapy is, therefore, a valuable tool. In case you do not want one-to-one counselling, cognitive behavioral therapy will serve you just right. With psychotherapy, you get to talk about your mental issues with a psychologist.
iii) Exercise- Exercise is also an essential remedy for depression. Exercising raises endorphin levels, which stimulates certain neurotransmitters linked with mood, which might help relieve certain symptoms.
Finding motivation to actually get out and work out when you are depressed can be incredibly difficult and frustrating even to accomplish. The mental condition takes away a persons drive and motivation and makes doing just basic things like brushing our teeth seem like a huge obstacle and hard task.
It has been proven many times though how getting regular exercise helps with the symptoms of depression and even just managing to work out for a bit is better than not doing it at all.
Depression is very real and it is one of the hardest diseases to cure long term. Even if a person becomes better and more stable, there is always a possibility for the illness to resurface and to show itself again after some time.
iv) Brain stimulation therapies- A functional brain stimulation therapy is repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, which sends magnetic pulses to the brain.
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To help counter depression, doctors can prescribe antidepressants, which include SSRIs, also known as selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, which are usually the first dose doctors prescribe. These are usually safe with limited side effects.
Other types of antidepressants are atypical antidepressants, Tricyclic depressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors.
An important thing about treating this condition, and when you look at how to cure depression is looking at the different angle of depression.
Often times people’s depression is a direct cause of some other untreated ailment or even some part of their daily lives that are making them miserable such as an abusive mate or a job.
It is common for people with untreated ADHD to experience severe depression and anxiety, and also those with autism, even high functioning autism. Many are not aware of having it, having slipped through diagnosis as children. If you have felt alienated your entire life and fundamentally different from others and extremely isolated it is possible that you may have high functioning autism, adhd or some other condition you are not aware of.
Often, when people get properly diagnosed and get treated as a result they start to feel much better, so it is a possibility worth looking into.
This illness is a common severe medical condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated. I hope that this article has clearly shown you some signs of depression and the remedies you can seek, in case you ever become ill with it. It is important for everyone to know the common signs of depression because of how sneaky and deadly this illness can be to people.
It is very hard often for a person to realize when they have become very ill themselves and that is why it is so important for us to look out for each other and support people we suspect of being in a tough time or suffering.
Many people become experts in hiding their condition and we all seem to have a certain idea of how we should present ourselves to the world, and we don’t like showing weakness maybe. We must keep in mind that we are all complex human beings with sometimes difficult emotions and that is just a part of the human condition.
Men and boys especially are vulnerable to depression and they often have a hard time seeking help and expressing their situation to people even if they trust and love them. It is very understandable, considering how our society expects them to be strong at all times but we must remember that everyone can become depressed and we all need help and support at times.
Most people don’t easily recognize the signs of depression even if they mean well and one of the best ways to dig yourself out of a dark hole is to reach out to someone you trust.
One of the most sinister aspects of the mental condition is how it makes us feel like we are completely alone with out thoughts, worthless and undeserving of help even and that nobody could possibly understand this dark and painful feeling.
It is very hard to voice your thoughts and feelings at times to other people, especially if you have been struggling for a long time and have been trying to hide your depression even and are not the emotional type.
But just talking to another human being about difficult feelings, at hard times is so much worth it in the end and you will feel a burden lifted from your soul and chest by letting someone in and expressing yourself like this.
Depression worms its way into our heads in the worst of ways and twists our way of thinking, making us believe we don’t have any support and love even when there are most likely people all around us that care for us deeply and will be shocked to discover that we are in pain.
Just by voicing out your thoughts and managing to put your dark feelings into words will make them seem smaller and easier to manage even. When we talk about things it really does help, and we feel less alone.
Just because depression makes us feel alone, does not mean we are. Even if our experiences and feelings are unique to each individual, millions of people feel the same way around the world.