What is Depression
Depression and attempt of suicide has become a hot topic these days. The news are all over the world about Anthony Bourdain’s and Kate Spade’s death which opened the Pandora box of this mental condition.
This condition is defined as a common and debilitating mood disorder, and it is more than just sadness in response to life’s struggles and setbacks.
It can change the way you think, feel, and function in daily activities, and it can interfere with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, love and enjoy life.
The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness can be intense and persistent feeling lifeless, empty, and apathetic.
Men in particular can feel angry and restless. No matter how you experience depression, left untreated it can become a serious health condition.
But it’s important to remember that feelings of helplessness and hopelessness are symptoms of depression, and not the reality of your situation.
There are plenty of powerful self-help steps you can take to lift your mood, overcome depression, and regain your joy of life.
Many women can suffer from depression and never show the any signs of having the condition. In fact, women are more likely to have depression than men.
Some women who suffer from depression symptoms might cry or show other signs of sadness, but just because a woman is sad and crying, it does not mean she is depressed.
But,on the other hand, once if it established as a health condition, it should be treated as soon as it is diagnosed.
To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks.
Causes and Symptoms Of Depression
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Loneliness and isolation
- Lack of social support
- Stressful life experiences
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Family history of depression
- Alcohol and drug abuse
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Unemployment or underemployment
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
- Prolonged anxiety
Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many.
Several persistent symptoms in addition to low mood are required for a diagnosis of major depression, but people with only a few(but distressing symptoms), may benefit from treatment of their “subsyndromal” depression.
The severity and frequency of symptoms and how long they last vary depending on the individual, and its particular illness.
Symptoms may also vary depending on the stage of the illness.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the world.
Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
It can happen at any age, but often begins in adulthood, and it is now recognized as occurring in children and adolescents, although it sometimes presents with more prominent irritability than low mood.
Many chronic mood and anxiety disorders in adults begin as high levels of anxiety in children.
Depression, especially in midlife or older adults, can co-occur with other serious medical illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease.
These conditions are often worse when depression is present. Sometimes medications taken for these physical illnesses may cause side effects that contribute to depression.
A doctor experienced in treating these complicated illnesses can help work out the best treatment strategy.
Risk factors include:
- Personal or family history of depression
- Major life changes, trauma, or stress
- Certain physical illnesses and medications
Treatment and Therapies
Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. The earlier that treatment can begin, the more effective it is.
It is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy or a combination of the two.
If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other brain stimulation therapies may be options to explore.
Things You Can Do(Beyond Treatment)
Here are other tips that may help you or a loved one during treatment for depression:
- Try to be active and exercise
- Set realistic goals for yourself
- Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative
- Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you
- Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately
- Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced, or changing jobs until you feel better
- Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation
- Continue to educate yourself about depression
- Reach out to people
- Find ways to engage with the world again
Depression and Suicide Risk
It is definitely a major risk factor for suicide.
The deep despair and hopelessness that goes along with this conditon can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain.
PLEASE: If you have a loved one suffering from this condition, take any suicidal talk or behavior seriously and watch for the warning signs:
- Talking about killing or harming one’s self
- Expressing strong feelings of hopelessness or feelings of being trapped
- An unusual preoccupation with death or dying
- Acting recklessly, as if they have a death wish (speeding through red lights)
- Calling or visiting people to say goodbye
- Getting affairs in order (giving away prized possessions, tying up loose ends)
- Saying things like “Everyone would be better off without me” or “I want out”
- A sudden switch from being extremely depressed to acting calm and happy
How These Symptoms Vary At Gender
Depression often varies according to age and gender, with symptoms differing between men and women, or young people and older adults.
Men are less likely to acknowledge feelings of self-loathing and hopelessness. Instead, they tend to complain about fatigue, irritability, sleep problems, and loss of interest in work and hobbies.
They’re also more likely to experience symptoms such as anger, aggression, reckless behavior, and substance abuse.
Women are more likely to experience depression symptoms such as pronounced feelings of guilt, excessive sleeping, overeating, and weight gain.
It can also be alleviated by hormonal factors during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause, and not to forget the postpartum depression which can affects up to 1 in 7 women following childbirth.
Irritability, anger, and agitation are often the most noticeable symptoms in depressed teens not sadness. They may also complain of headaches, stomachaches, or other physical pain.
Elderly people tend to complain more about the physical rather than the emotional signs and symptoms of depression: things like fatigue, unexplained aches and pains, and memory problems.
They may also neglect their personal appearance and stop taking critical medications for their health.
If you are feeling suicidal:
When you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, your problems don’t seem temporary,they may seem overwhelming and permanent. But with time, you will feel better, especially if you get help. There are many people who want to support you during this difficult time, so please reach out!
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