What is DEPRESSION? Symptoms, Treatment and Causes
What is DEPRESSION
In a normal life, everyone tends to experience unhappiness in the course of their living. This may be as a result of one occurrence or the other. However, depression is more severe and sustains longer than usual unhappiness, which directly has an impact on the person’s daily performances. This category of sadness is referred to as clinical depression, and it is of different types which are characterized by various symptoms.
The depression symptoms include fatigue, changes in appetite, irregular sleeping modes, loss of pleasure or interest in usual enjoyable tasks, lack of concentration, thought of suicide, hopelessness or worthlessness feelings, lack of decision making, and much more.
Depressions are caused by some factors ranging from psychological, personal, events, and a lot more. Many victims of depression are ignorant of depression treatments as they are not bothered to seek for treatment despite available treatment to treat their depression. Credit to series of research which were fruitful, there are now treatments such as medications, psychotherapy, and other treatment supports. Are you a victim, or someone related to depressed people? This content has been put together to help you and your loved ones who are suffering from these disorders. Before we continue, let’s quickly look at what is depression?
What is Depression?
Depression or depressive disorder can be referred to as an illness that involves three essential parts of the human coordination such as thoughts, mood, and body. It is in the form of a mental disorder that crosses the brain barriers to control your reactions and responses to situations around you. Depression affects the way one thinks, feels, eats, reacts, sleep, and perspective about things and people.
Depression is not the same as just been feeling down or weakened. Depressed people cannot ordinarily coordinate themselves and get better like a person who is slightly pissed off. Depression is a severe medical disorder that can result in various physical and emotional problems; thereby reduce the victim’s ability to perform optimally. There are different types of depression based on the degree of the disorders.
Types of depression
Depression has been divided into different types based on the degree and range of conditions as well as their peculiar symptoms and causes which ranging from minor to severe. The different types are discussed as follows:
- Major depression: Major depression is one of the first known depressive disorders, and it is also called unipolar depression, clinical depression, or commonly referred to as “depression.” It is a health condition which involves loss of interest, low mood, lack of delight in usual activities, and other related symptoms which will be discussed later in this article. The signs are usually experienced for about 1 – 2 weeks depending on how quickly the victim reacts to it. This type of depression symptoms affects all areas of victim’s life such as social and work relationships. Its occurrence ranges from mild, moderate, to severe.
- Melancholia: In this type of depression, the person’s speed starts to decelerate by moving more slowly and responding more sluggishly to stimuli. Melancholia is the term used to define a severe form of depressive disorder that is characterized by physical depression symptoms. It is directly or indirectly related to major depression but in the case of melancholia, there is a likelihood of having a depressed mood that involves a total loss of interest in virtually everything around the person.
- Psychotic depression: A psychotically depressed person is characterized by losing touch with a sense of reality and he or she tends to encounter a disorder called psychosis. Psychosis is a mental health issue that makes someone defines things differently as against the real interpretation. It is characterized by delusions or false beliefs or sometimes hearing of strange sounds referred to as hallucinations. According to Halaris, a psychotically depressed person may comatose, not talk, or may be seen finding it difficult leave their bed. Sometimes, they can be suspicious, having a feeling that every individual around them are against them.
- Antenatal and postnatal depression: Women experience this type of depression during pregnancy (referred to as prenatal and antenatal period), and the year after childbirth (called postpartum period). Studies have shown that about 85% of new mothers feel some forms of unhappiness after childbirth, while about 16% of women are diagnosable for severe sadness. Antenatal and postnatal depression are symbolized by a feeling of hopelessness, fatigue, fears of hurting the unborn baby, loneliness, suicidal thoughts, and notion of total unconnected to the baby. This depression affects not only the mother and her relationship with her unborn child but her hubby and other family members around her. It is a natural condition connected to hormonal changes in the women.
- Bipolar disorder: This is also called “mania depression” due to its mode of occurrences whereby the person suffering from bipolar disorder experiences periods of depression and mania in alternation with normal periods.
Bipolar disorder involves someone experiencing periods of exceptional lows, alternated by periods of extremely highs. The symptoms such as having racing thoughts, feeling great, incredibly energized, need for sleeping, having issues concentrating on tasks, talking fast, poor judgments, feeling irritable and frustrated have been attributed to bipolar depression. Some studies have linked bipolar disorder to family history and lineage.
This type of depression can be triggered by conflict and stress if occur around the person experiencing this disorder.
Mania depression is sometimes commonly misdiagnosed as another type of depression, drug abuse or alcohol, schizophrenia or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, bipolar disorder is one of the highest dangers for a suicide mission. It is subdivided into bipolar I with one manic episode, bipolar II with the hypomanic episode, cyclothymic disorder, and related bipolar disorder.
- Cyclothymic disorder: Cyclothymic disorder is a temperate category of bipolar disorder where someone undergoes constant mood fluctuation over a period not less than 2 years. The symptoms include periods of a mild to average level of mania called hypomania and also depressive periods with short periods of normal in alternation, not more than 2 months. It is a subtype of bipolar disorder but with a shorter duration, less dangerous, and not regular like that of major depression or bipolar disorder.
- Dysthymic disorder: According to Halaris, dysthymic disorder is another type of depression that results in a depressed mood, sustains over a period say one year or more. The signs of dysthymia are like those of major depression earlier discussed but not as severe as those. In this type of depression, people can perform adequately but not excellently. The symptoms involve fatigue, trouble focusing, sadness, change in sleeping pattern and low appetite.
- Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): Seasonal affected disorder is simply abbreviated and called “SAD.” It is a mood disorder associated with a particular season of the year. The depression usually shows up in the winter and its cause is ambiguous, but studies think it to be connected with the variation of exposure to light in various seasons. SAD is characterized by mood upset which may either be periods of mania or depression, and the most common are the one that begins in the winter and abates towards the end of the season. Anxiety, lack of energy, weight gain, irritation, overeating, unusual sleeping pattern, and craving for carbohydrate are some of the symptoms of SAD.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: PMDD, as it is called, is a type of disorder women experience during the second phase of their menstrual cycles. It affects a small percentage of women; say 5% as against the common premenstrual syndrome (PMS) which mostly affects about 85% of them. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is characterized by mood swings, anxiety, and depression and when these features are active, it can be severe enough to influence a woman’s performance and relationship.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression symptoms can be difficult to understand, and this is widely varied among the people. However, if you are feeling hopeless, sad, depressed, having loss of appetite and loss of interest in the thing you used to find interesting, you are experiencing depression.
It can be mild or severe based on the type of depression you are experiencing but for you to recognize it and take a move to treat it, highlighted herewith are the symptoms that need your urgent attention:
- Loss of interest: Normally, favourite activities or hobbies are expected to be one of the focal points to take up when you are feeling blue, but if you are trying to avoid these activities that give you joy, it shows you are experiencing major depression. According to Tina Walch, the Managing Director, Psychiatrist, if someone who enjoyed having a lovely time with his/her children unexpectedly turn off to them, it is a red flag of depression.
- Sleeping disorder: An Irregular sleeping pattern is another symptom of depression. Depressed people have been studied to usually stay awake at night and find it difficult to fall asleep again. Some may spend hours sleeping during the day while some may also find it uneasy to get out of bed.
- Change in appetite: Based on John Whyte, Managing Director, MPH’s report, people experiencing depression may suddenly take a break from eating because they are no longer bothered about their physical health. On the other hand, some depressed people do overeat, but if the depression is severe, the reverse is the case. Whyte also adds that negligence of personal hygiene is a symptom which should be taken seriously.
- Energy increase: Unusual increase in energy of someone is another symptom of depression, and it should be taken seriously as it can lead to suicide. Humorously, when someone has decided to do something radical such as taking his/her life, if care is not taken, the person may be energized during the process and do something indifferent. This is as a result of his/her belief that he/she will have relief after achieving his/her aim, said Dr. Walch.
- Thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts: This is one of the acute symptoms of severely depressed people. Their minds are full of thoughts of suicide with their minds preoccupied with death and related depressing topics. Statements such as “if I am no more,” “after I am gone,” and much more may be coming out from their mouth.
- Nervousness: According to Dr. Dunlop, depression manifests in some people as more impatience and irritability than feeling down.
Depression signs and symptoms can be summarized as follows:
- Restlessness insomnia, and excessive sleeping
- Fatigue and reduction in energy
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Difficulty in making decision, lack of focus, and difficulties in remembering details
- Feeling helpless, worthlessness, guilt, and hopelessness
- Thoughts dark side, and suicide attempts
- Anxious and persistent sadness
- Incessant headaches, pains, and cramps
- Uncontrollable digestive problems
Causes of Depression
The actual causes of depression knowledge require extra effort and studies. While the exact causes are yet to be confirmed, some studies have linked its causes to its result. The causes of depression have been attributed to not only the recent events or issues but a combination of current events and other personal or long-term factors.
The factors that contribute to depression include psychological, biological, and environmental factor. They are as discussed below:
- Genetics: Depression can be in the family line of history, and some members can be at high risk of this gene. This disorder gene is thought to be stronger than that of the diseases, but it is not clearly shown in genetic