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Depression – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Depression, ANxiety, Mental Health

Humans are unpredictable and so is life. We all have many ups and downs and our own silent battles. You never know what one must be facing while standing fine in front of you. Sometimes, we ourselves fail to detect problems going inside our bodies. What do you do when you get a fever?. You acknowledge the problem, take medication, and rest until it gets better. So why can’t we do it with mental health?. Even mental health affects your physical health too. So, it is very important for you to take care of your mental health as you take care of your physical health. But a lot of people misjudge mental health issues like depression as normal sadness and vice versa. But no, Depression is not sadness. Then what is it?. Let us study.

What is Depression?

Depression is basically a mood disorder. It may be described as a constant feeling of sadness, frustration, anger, or loss that hampers a person’s daily life. But if you were just sad for some time due to some particular reason, then you are not depressed.

Depression is very common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, an estimated 8.1 percent of American adults ages 20 and above had depression in any given 2-week period from 2013 to 2016. Depression affects a patient’s life in different ways. Sometimes it may hamper your work-life, relationships, emotional well-being, etc. It may affect your working skills and results in a loss of time. A person suffering from any chronic disease can face more difficulty with depression. Depression can worsen the situation of a chronic disease patient. Chronic diseases like arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity can be negatively affected by depression.

It’s very important to understand the difference between normal sadness and depression. We all have such encounters in life that make us feel sad and that doesn’t mean we are suffering from depression. It’s a part of normal life. But if you feel this constant feeling of being numb, sad, hopeless on regular basis, then maybe you are clinically depressed. Depression is said to be a serious medical condition that can worsen if not treated.

Also Read- Anxiety – Causes, Symptoms, Types & Treatment

Symptoms of Depression

Depression is a constant feeling of being sad. Depression affects you differently in different stages. At some stages it can affect your mood, at others it can affect your body. Symptoms might be constant or may come and go. The Symptoms of depression may vary from Men to women to children.

Symptoms of Depression in Men-

  • mood- anger, aggressiveness, irritability, anxiousness, restlessness
  • emotional well-being- feeling empty, sad, hopeless
  • behavior-  loss of interest, no longer finding pleasure in favorite activities, feeling tired easily, thoughts of suicide, drinking excessively, using drugs, engaging in high-risk activities
  • sexual interest- reduced sexual desire, lack of sexual performance
  • cognitive abilities-  inability to concentrate, difficulty completing tasks, delayed responses during conversations
  • sleep patterns- insomnia, restless sleep, excessive sleepiness, not sleeping through the night
  • physical well-being-  fatigue, pains, headache, digestive problems

Symptoms of Depression in Women-

  • mood –  irritability
  • emotional well-being-  feeling sad or empty, anxious or hopeless
  • behavior-  loss of interest in activities, withdrawing from social engagements, thoughts of suicide
  • cognitive abilities-thinking or talking more slowly
  • sleep patterns- difficulty sleeping through the night, waking early, sleeping too much
  • physical well-being- decreased energy, greater fatigue, changes in appetite, weight changes, aches, pain, headaches, increased cramps.

Symptoms of Depression in Children

  • mood – irritability, anger, mood swings, crying
  • emotional well-being- feelings of incompetence (e.g. “I can’t do anything right”) or despair, crying, intense sadness
  • behavior –getting into trouble at school or refusing to go to school, avoiding friends or siblings, thoughts of death or suicide
  • cognitive abilities – difficulty concentrating, decline in school performance, changes in grades
  • sleep patterns – difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • physical well-being – loss of energy, digestive problems, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain.

Also Read – How to manage workplace anxiety?

Causes of Depression

  • Family history – You are at a higher risk of having depression if someone in your family had depression. That means it can be passed on genetically.
  • Early childhood trauma- Any painful childhood trauma can affect you in your future too. A sense of fear always stays. Fear that you experieneced as a kid often leaves a mark.
  • Brain structure. There’s a greater risk for depression if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active. However, scientists don’t know if this happens before or after the onset of depressive symptoms.
  • Medical conditions. Certain conditions may put you at higher risk, such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Drug use. A history of drug or alcohol misuse can affect your risk.

Reports show that 21 percent of people who have a problem with substance use issue have depression. Substance use refers to an addiction to any harmful substance such as alcohol, drugs, etc. Factors like low self-esteem or being self-critical, personal history of mental illness, certain medications, stressful events such as loss of a loved one, economic problems, or a divorce can also contribute to depression.

Types of Depression

Depression can be categorized on the basis of the severity of the symptoms. Some people have mild and temporary depressive episodes while some deal with permanent and severe depression symptoms. Majorly there are two types of Depression disorders

Major depressive disorder

This type of disorder is more severe. In major depressive disorder, the patient suffers from the constant feeling of sadness, hopelessness, numbness for a long period of time. These feelings don’t go away on their own.

To get diagnosed with Major depressive disorder, you must experience any two of the symptoms for 2 weeks and above.

  • eeling depressed most of the day
  • loss of interest in most regular activities
  • significant weight loss or gain
  • sleeping a lot or not being able to sleep
  • slowed thinking or movement
  • fatigue or low energy most days
  • feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • loss of concentration or indecisiveness
  • recurring thoughts of death or suicide

Persistent depressive disorder

This type of depressive disorder is mild but still a bit chronic. Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) used to be called dysthymia. Symptoms of PDD must last for at least 2 years to be diagnosed. PDD affects your life more than major depression as it lasts for a longer time. People with PDD usually-

  • lose interest in normal daily activities
  • feel hopeless
  • lack productivity
  • have low self-esteem

Treatment of Depression

Depression is a potential mental health disorder to disturbs your daily life. It can easily hamper your work and social life. You might end up isolating yourself from the outer world. Initially, depression might not feel as harmful, but with time it can increase its impact and affect you severely. There are many myths about depression and its treatment. But it is a medical issue that needs proper treatment. So it’s very important to visit a doctor for this.

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