What is Depression?
Depression is an emotional expression of feeling low or not being enthusiastic about anything. Depression could be a feeling of tiredness, not-in-a-mood mode, uninterested, unhappy, pessimistic, lonely, severe illness, insomnia, failure.
Depression could adversely affect one’s food habits, health and sleep. It also changes one’s social life, and family. A depressed person turns to be very sensitive and hence could also turn suicidal at times. Persistent depression is a psychological disorder and requires immediate medical attention.
There are many types of depressions depending upon the situations. Some depressions are much expected ones especially during the loss of or parting from, a beloved one. Some depressions are relative to climatic changes, a sunny day keeps one more energetic against the days when it is gloomy and dull.
Let us learn in depth about the possible causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of depression.
Causes of Depression
There could be several causes for depression of which the major and common ones are discussed here.
- Death of dear ones, loss of job, financial problems brings in depression known as ‘adjustment depression’.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder is caused due to the change in climate, occurs usually in winters and very rarely in summers. Due to the short days and absence of sunlight moods swings happen in some people.
- It is widely believed that genetics play quite an important part in carrying depressions through generations.
- Stress factor also could be a basic issue. It could be stress due to work, financial problems, insomnia, higher responsibilities, change of job, marriage, handling kids, single parenting.
- Negativity towards life. In other words being pessimistic also leads to depression. This is normally called as dysthymia.
- Health Disorders play a vital role in a person’s psychological status. Dangerous diseases such as HIV, tumors, heart problems makes the patient weaker and induces stress and hence depression. Sometimes even the medication used for the diseases leads to depressions.
- There are some psychological related issues such as bad eating habits, general anxiety disorder, schizophrenia, dementia, abuse of drugs comes along with depression.
- Among women, depression risks are double than in men. This is because of the hormonal changes that occur during puberty, later during every menstrual cycle, before and after menopause and pregnancy too. Some women who manage work, children, and aged parents are also likely to get into depression.
- Old people may enter depression due to loneliness, lack of attention, or even may be due to loss of energy.
Diagnosis of Depression
Diagnosis of depression should be done by first analyzing the person’s psychological condition and mental health along with complete history of physical health. Physical health history is important because some medicines could be causing depression so an antidepressant would not help in such cases. Therefore, no medication should be taken without consulting a physician. The physician evaluates one’s condition by knowing the duration, severity, prior treatments of the depression.
- The seasonal affective disorder (SAD) could be treated by any of the following treatment depending upon the cause. Medicines, proper diet, stress busting, change of place to different climatic surroundings.
- Bipolar disorder is largely due to genetic influence. This type of disorder occurs usually during adolescence and results in mood swings and disturbed behavior. Such kind of chronic disorder requires counseling from a psychiatrist, who trains the individual to cope with such issues and help them manage their moods.
- Teenagers who are subjected to depression are mostly due to the blues caused by poor grades, drug abuse, alcohol, or even sex. The alcohol or drug is the cause when one withdraws the habit or when one enters into the habit of it. Speaking with a counselor who is a specialist in treating such disorders helps as the psychologist gives the necessary advice.
- Antidepressants are given only in severe cases. The medicines are not addictive but yields good results within few weeks. Antidepressants should not be stopped immediately, but should be slowed down to a smaller dosage and then gradually stopped, to be followed strictly under medical supervision.
- For an individual who has suicidal thoughts, or attempts needs immediate attention from a trained psychologist in order to let them know that death is never a solution for depression.
Treatment of Depression
- As mentioned earlier, the appropriate treatment for depression is determined by first studying the patient thoroughly as to their physical health in the present and past history. If the depression is due to ill health suitable medication for the cure is given along with proper guidance. In case of incurable illness patient is given a lot of moral support and counseling.
- When the body illness is ruled out next step to treatment is evaluation of mental health. Antidepressants are given extreme situations called manic illness. They help in both physical and mental healing of depression. Some of them cause drowsiness and some don’t, therefore driving should be done only as per taking doctor’s advice.
- Psychotherapy is done for the depression types which are caused due to negativity in life and hopelessness by providing sufficient support through counseling.
- Medication (antidepressants) is given for the depression caused due to loss, stress from financial issues or work related, anxiety which relieves the mind but doesn’t resolve the issue.
- Some depressions type requires both psychotherapy and medication as the depression would have resulted in damaging the individual’s body and mind as well.
- General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can be prevented by indulging oneself in various entertainment activities. A regular exercise is a must to every individual. It can be performed through various ways. One may hit a fitness center and if you think that is not so interesting, a fun form of exercise such as aerobics, a salsa club, or any form of dance club should help. Even a quality time spent with your kid help fight stress. Sports are one of the most exciting ways to keep you fit.
- Next is your diet. Eat healthy and right. Good health leads to happiness from within. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, drugs, and nicotine. These are temporary solutions but in the long run they might cause irreversible damage to your health and in turn your mind. Avoid refined carbohydrates such as sugar and polished rice9brown rice is preferable). Omega-3 fatty acids intake must be increased (these are found in cod fish, salmon fish and sardines). Balanced diet with right amount of vitamins & minerals should be followed.
- Music has always been proved to be soothing for the mind and soul. Have your mini player clinging on to you whenever you are out alone. There could also be a soft music playing at home all the time.
- A day out with family or friends is another form of change in environment to people who mostly stay indoors. Exposure to sufficient amount of sunlight helps fight SAD (seasonal affective disorder). Trekking provides change of place as well as a good form of work out to your body.
- The utmost important thing is the right amount of sleep. People suffering from insomnia should seek medical advice and ensure to get good sleep. At the same time excessive sleep is also not advisable.
- An idle mind is always a devil’s workshop. Keeping the mind engaged by indulging in various activities helps in good management of mental health. Socialize, talk to your neighbors, and sometimes even a casual conversation with a stranger helps fight the blues.