Depression - Symptoms, causes and treatment

Depression – Symptoms, Causes and Treatment:

The human life on earth is the most beautiful and complex creations of all creation that has been discovered here on earth and hopefully this would be the penultimate one for ever.

But the people, who are stressed out under circumstances of complex mechanized living conditions, never realize this and most of them think that they are the only ones who are in such a circumstance.

People are getting moulded in such a way that they are fast loosing out on the skills to behold things together and enjoy the other side of this beautiful life. All are after the luxuries of life and are getting lured by fancies that are being made available in everyday life and tend to push themselves to the limits to which human body and mind can handle. People always tend to push the limits further in pursuance of the wish lists and end-up in depression and later tend to commit suicide, when they feel they are not able to achieve the desired result.

While moving along with this fast paced life, be watchful around in your family and friend circle. Getting into a state of depression can happen to anyone. Depression can be defined as a state of low mood and aversion to activity. It’s also considered as a dysfunction, while others see it as an adaptive defence mechanism. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, “a depressed person is one who is experiencing feelings of sadness, helplessness and hopelessness”. In traditional colloquy, feeling “depressed” is often synonymous with feeling “sad”, but both clinical depression and non-clinical depression can also refer to a conglomeration of more than one feeling.

Facts of Depression:

  • On an average, one in five people will experience depression at some point in their life.
  • For young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the third leading cause of death.
  • Every year more people die from suicide than from homicide.
  • Around 80% of people who seek treatment for depression are treated successfully.
  • The World Health Organization predicts that by 2020 depression will be the second leading cause of health impairment worldwide.
  • Depression is a silent epidemic.
  • Depression is currently the leading cause of non-fatal disability in world.
  • Depression will be second only to heart disease as the leading medical cause of death and disability within 20 years.

Though the exact numbers of individuals having severe depression are not known but it is estimated that about 12 million adults in US alone have depression. Depression cuts across all barriers and affects all races, cultures, social classes, nationalities etc.

Depression generally begins in early adulthood but can occur at any age. While hospital data reveal that more women have depression, it is hypothesized that this is because men are less likely to seek treatment. Depression occurs in various grades and symptoms are likely to vary in intensity.

Slight depression is of minor consequence. One may become slightly depressed over a loss of a job; break up of a romantic relationship, a divorce, failure in examination or competition, sudden loss of a loved one (parent, sibling), stress due to strained marital, job anxiety, moving or not having a great job. Slight depression may present with feelings of sadness, sleeping problems, irritability, being easily annoyed and feeling tired. Slight depression is reversible and short term. Most people get over slight depression with time and supportive therapy and support from family and friends.

Mild depression may start gradually for no reason. Symptoms in such individuals would be tiredness, restlessness, loneliness and sleeplessness. In many cases, the individual loses interest in sex and wants to be left alone. One may be able to go to work, but not have any enjoyment. Mild depression may last a lot longer than slight depression, but can be overcome with changes in lifestyle, psychotherapy and social and family support.

Severe depression: In severe depression one may feel sad constantly, cry for no apparent reason, have trouble sleeping and focusing, become fatigued, feel worthless, and have headaches or even backache. This is even more dangerous for the reason that it may induce feelings of suicidal ideation, as it is common in severe depression.

While slight depression has a cause, both mild and severe depression generally are complex disorders, which are not well understood. Mild depression may be related to the environment, such as being unable to cope with a certain job, unemployment, financial problems or loss of a loved one. No one understands why severe depression occurs. Even though many brain imaging studies have been done, the exact neurotransmitters in the brain, which play a role in depression, are still in question. Some studies do show that severe depression may be more common in families. Although the exact causes of depression are unknown, there are several risk factors that can trigger or increase the risk of depression.

There might be many known and unknown reasons, due to which one may slip into depression and now it is for each one of us to support individuals around us and help them in times of distress; a few words of compassion, listening patiently to someone’s pain and imparting confidence in them, console them, guide them, help them by all possible means, cracking a joke and make people around you smile, relax and hold them from form the big slip into depression and to disaster later.

You may have to walk an extra mile to support these individuals…
Walk that extra mile to save precious lives that go in vain.

Be watchful for these Symptoms:

  1. Depressed Mood: A person may report feeling “sad” or “empty” or may cry frequently. Children and adolescents may exhibit irritability.
  2. Decreased Interest or Pleasure: A person may show markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, daily activities.
  3. Weight Changes: Significant changes in weight when not attempting to gain or lose (a gain or loss of 5% or more in a month) may be indicative of depression. In children, this may also present as a failure to make expected weight gains.
  4. Sleep Disturbances: Insomnia or sleeping too much may be a symptom of depression.
  5. Psycho motor Agitation or Retardation: The person may be observed to be either agitated and restless or physically slowed down in their movements.
  6. Fatigue: Deep fatigue or a loss of energy is a symptom of depression.
  7. Feelings of Worthlessness or Guilt: A depressed person may feel that they have no value or they may feel inappropriately guilty about things they have no control over.
  8. “Brain Fog”: A depressed person may have a diminished ability to think, concentrate or make decisions.
  9. Thoughts of Death: A depressed person may have recurring thoughts of death, especially thoughts of suicide.

If you have experienced five or more of these depression symptoms within the same two-week period–especially if a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure is among the symptoms–this could be indicative of an episode of depression.

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