Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It affects how a person feels, thinks and behaves and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. It is largely accompanied with feelings of worthlessness, this makes depressed people commit suicide. Depression is usually characterised as a cloud weighing down the patient. This makes the person feel sad and sorrowful. depression is not a sign of weakness rather it is an illness.
But the fact that you are sad or you feel sorrowful doesn’t make you depressed. Chances are you are grieving and going through bereavemet.
Though grief and depression seem to have some things in common they are different. For example, the death of a loved one, loss of job or a relationship will make one feel sad. So grieving the loss is a normal response to such occurrence. But because of the similitude, chances going through grieve may describe themselves as depressed. Although, both involves intense sadness and withdrawal from usual activities. Grieve comes in waves, which is often intermixed with positive memories of the lost one and self esteem is maintained. Depression on the other hand makes a person moody, loose interest in pleasure and the situation usually declines for 2weeks and more, accompanied with the feeling of worthlessness and self loathing. When grief and depression meets the grief is more severe and lasts longer. Distinguishing between them can help people get the right help and support they need.
Depression can go unnoticed because it symptoms vary depending on age and gender. Based on research, depression is estimated to affect 1 in 15 adults in any given year, also 1 in 6 people will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time but on average it first appears in late teens to mid 20’s. Women are more likely to experience depression.
SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness and hopelessness.
Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration at the slightest provocation.
Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities such as sex, hobbies, or sports.
Sleep disorder including insomnia and sleeping too much.
Tiredness and lack of energy, such that even small task takes extra effort to complete.
Reduced appetite, weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain.
Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
Slow thinking, speaking and body movements.
Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, fixating on past failures or self blame.
Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things.
Frequent thoughts of death, suicide thoughts, suicide attempts.
Unexplained physical problems such as back pain or headaches.
Feeling miserable or unhappy without knowing why.
It could begin with cluelessness, proceed to hopelessness, graduate into depression and then suicide.
Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many of the symptoms. However, several persistent symptoms in addition to low mood is required for one to be diagnosed of major depression. Symptoms vary pending on the stage of the depression.
Factors that increases the risk of depression
Although scientists have not been able to come up with explanations as to why some go through depression while others don’t. However factors that could trigger depression include:
*Personality traits low; Low self-esteem, Over dependence, self critical or being pessimistic
*Traumatic/ stressful events; physical, verbal or sexual abuse, death or loss of a loved one, difficult or toxic relationship, financial problems.
*Genetic factor; personal or family history of depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism or suicidal patterns.
*Sexuality; being homosexual, bisexual, pansexual, polysexual or transgender in an unsupportable situation.
*History of other mental health disorder; such as anxiety disorder (ADHD), eating disorders, or post traumatic stress disorder.
*Abuse of alcohol and other recreational drugs.
*Struggling with Chronic illness like cancer, stroke, chronic pain, heart disease
*Certain medications; high blood pressure, sleeping pills etc.
People get depressed because of various reasons, and also show different symptoms to similar situation. Therefore, there is no fast rule on it’s treatment. Generally, depression can be treated by medications (using antidepressants), therapy and doing both. The choice of which method is to be used is based on symptoms and the stage of the depression.
Despite the success of antidepressants in dealing with depression it is not without its side effect.
It is important we understand that being depressed increases the tendency that you could get depressed again. So to get out of depression and stay out of it you need to;
*Have a positive attitude. Be optimistic.
*Reach out and stay connected. Get a support system. Be around those who can give you support. Talk to a counsellor.
*Get out, mingle, Socialise, Have fun.
*Consciously find reasons to be grateful.
*Challenge those negative thoughts.
*Recognise the patterns that usually lead to you being depressed. You need to know the depression you are dealing with. Some go through seasonal depression. So for such people, create another routine system that doesn’t support depression. For instance, you plan to visit friends or have friends over during that time. Plan to take yourself out, watch some movies, volunteer for some programmes. Don’t just get occupied, if you can, occupy yourself with something that makes you happy and gives you a sense of worth.
*Don’t indulge in self pity.
*Take control of your thought pattern, otherwise they will lead you downhill.
*Do away with criticism. You can’t afford to be so critical
*Refuse to indulge in anger, resentment, self persecution.
*Take care of your health. Sleep well, stay on good diet, relax, exercise your body, stay away from stress as much as you can.
*Get a Daily Dose of sunlight.