What is Depression, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment?

Feeling sad, miserable, out of the place is one thing, but the persistent feeling of unhappiness can be depression. Depression is not just about feeling sad or blue; it is way more intense than that.

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It is very common for a person to feel sad because of a bad day or to just have a bad mood. It is a part of life and a sad thing happens to everyone. But some individuals have this type of feeling for a long time, sometimes even without a reason.  

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When this distressing feeling can persist for longer than normal, sometimes weeks, months and even years it is known as depression.

Depression is an illness that can cause harm to both physical and mental health.

Depression is a medical condition which affects people from all age group, even kids. If left untreated, this condition can worsen over time.

CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

Trauma

Trauma can be defined as a stressful reaction to a terrible event. Trauma is an emotional reaction of a person when that event is reminded to them.

A person can develop trauma because of a terrible accident, abuse, inappropriate behavior, etc. Traumatic experiences are likely to be stressful and can cause depression for some individuals.

Family History

If someone in your family has signs of depression then there are chances that it might run in your family.

Research has shown that depression can be genetic or because of the brain structure. If you have been felling the same way as the person who has depression in your family then it must be time to go visit a doctor.

Hormonal Changes

When kids reach puberty, they go through a lot of changes, especially hormonal changes. Many teenagers face depression due to changes in their hormones.

Teenagers also have to go through a lot of stress because of academic pressure and how society views them. All of these factors are responsible for depression in teens.

Other than those neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine are responsible for keeping the emotions in check. Any imbalance in these hormones can cause mood swings and depression.

Stress

To keep running ahead we often neglect our mental health. We have to wake up at a certain time, after that be at the workplace and come back home after a long tiring day, this cycle goes on and on for a long time.

People often neglect their mental health to just keep running behind their goal tirelessly. The absence of “me time” can be sometimes the cause of stress.

Financial problems, frustration, personal problems, or other problems also contribute to stress. Many individuals just go on with their life without venting out their stress. When people keep their problems just to themselves and suffer alone they sometimes seep in depression even without realizing it.

Medical Conditions

Medical conditions such as diabetes and thyroid can lead to depression. People who have an illness such as cancer, heart problems and have a hard time excepting it, often go into depression. This type of medical condition often comes with a lot of medication and surgical procedures. These factors sometimes take a toll on their mental health.

Drugs or Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol and many drugs are depressants which means they are often used to slow down the hyperactivity of the brain. Excessive consumption of these substances can cause depression.

In addition, these substances can be detrimental to both mental health and physical health. Addiction can also cause strain in personal relationships with family and friends.

 After prolonged use, if someone tries to quit drugs and alcohol, they are likely to go through withdrawal symptoms, anxiety, emotional issues and depression.

SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION

There are no particular symptoms of depression as it may vary from person to person. But some common symptoms are identified below.

  1. Feeling low
  2. Difficulty in doing the things that you would do normally like bathing, cleanings, exercising, etc.
  3. Getting things done on time seems far fetched
  4. Lower self-confidence
  5. Irregular sleep or changing sleep pattern
  6. Feeling bloated
  7. Thoughts about ending life
  8. Thinking of yourself as a burden
  9. Overeating or eating nothing at all
  10. Difficulty in asking for help
  11. Taking to friends, family and others about your state feels impossible

Diagnosis

Unlike other medical conditions, depression is quite difficult to diagnose. Your doctor may consider a number of tests before giving out any verdict also the tests are often termed as inconclusive, so it is highly recommended to refer to a competent physician who is, of course, a specialist in the field of mental illness.

An accurate diagnosis is a must before treatment of depression is commenced as a prescribed treatment for depression is regular therapies and heavy medication, while therapies have no side effects, medications require intake of antidepressant pills which have some serious side effects and are in some cases addictive and can result in drug abuse.

Any doctor may determine a diagnosis of depression based on the following tests:-

Physical Exam

 In some cases, depression may be linked to a physical health problem. So doctors generally diagnose depression as a symptom of a major illness. Some conditions such as bipolar disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder have the same symptoms as depression and can be the cause of a wrong diagnosis.

Lab Tests

For example, your doctor may ask you to go through some blood test to check if everything is okay. Any irregularity will point towards various causes including depression.

Psychological  Evaluation

This is the most important test in the diagnosis of depression. Your doctor asks about your symptoms, thoughts, feelings and behavior patterns. You may be asked to fill out a questionnaire to help answer these questions.

Treatment for Depression

Depression is a pretty hard condition to get rid of, treatment requires regular therapies over a long period of time and intake of antidepressant medications as prescribed a certified physician.

As you may have observed the treatment is a bit expensive and very time consuming but have patience, it is highly recommended to refer to the best possible physician available and appoint a good psychotherapist.

Although your doctor will brief you on everything but still here are some things you need to know before starting your treatment:

  1. Don’t abruptly stop your medications
  2. Go to the therapies as prescribed
  3. Talk to your friends and family
  4. Seek help whenever you need
  5. Take a healthy diet and avoid fast food
  6. Avoid drinking and smoking
  7. Motivate yourself by getting things done

Depression is nothing but an illness that can be treated just like any other disease. It may seem tough but with help from the doctor, family and friend you can overcome this illness.

There are many government and non-government organizations which are made just to help people who are going through tough times because of their poor mental health. You can seek help from them if you can’t think of anyone.

There are some helpline numbers where people can call in a situation of distress, anxiety, emotional or any mental issues. One of them is AASRA. The volunteers are even trained for 6 months before they first attend the calls.

They would hear you out even without asking any personal questions. If you are having trouble explaining your situation to someone close then you can ask for advice from them.

If you know someone who is suffering from depression, then reach out to them first. Try to ask them about their day or initiate a conversation with them. Depression is real. It has engulfed many innocent lives so far. All you need to do is help them a little so they can get back on the path they have been travelling so far.

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