Depression is a serious mental illness which affects the brain adversely. Many physical and emotional problems arise when the brain is unable to function properly and respond appropriately to situations.
Depression can happen at any age and the number of individuals suffering from it has increased to 1 in every 15. Women are more likely to suffer from depression as compared to men and they are said to have at least 1 major depressive phase in their life. Depression is the only mental disorder that may be treated effectively with therapies otherwise other mental illnesses are harder to address.
Symptoms of Depression
The condition is often linked to mild or severe symptoms which may interfere with life. Such symptoms should last for at least 2 weeks for a diagnosis of depression. It is important to rule out any other causes of symptoms relating to depression as thyroid, brain tumor, and vitamin deficiency may also show the same symptoms.
- Sadness or Depressed mood
- Weight changes
- Poor Concentration
- Thoughts of Committing Suicide
- Feeling guilty
What are the Risk Factors of Depression?
Any individual living in ideal circumstances can have depression at any phase in life. However, there are some factors which make depression more likely to occur which include.
Genetics – Genes play a role in increasing the likelihood of certain conditions including depression. For example, twins may have the likelihood of suffering from the same condition if one of them has it.
Personality – People having a pessimistic approach in life and low self-esteem are more likely to suffer from depression. They may easily take the stress and are unable to cope with various stressful situations. Low confidence levels and lack of hope can result in depression which can be treated effectively through various therapies.
Biochemistry – Certain chemicals in the brain may change in levels which may be a reason for occurring depression. Antidepressants are often prescribed to give relief from pain and sadness feelings as they alter brain’s chemistry.
Environmental Factors – Continuing stressful situations or abusive environmental factors may contribute to depression greatly. The living is such a stressful situation can have a negative impact on brain chemistry which may make you suffer from depression.
Depression and Grief: How are They Different?
Depression is not just feelings of sadness or grief as the brain responds in these ways in certain situations like the death of a loved one. These feelings are mixed with good and positive memories of the deceased one.
Grief maintains self-esteem whereas major depression loses self-confidence and does not feel pleasurable for most of two weeks. Whenever grief and depression coexist, feelings of grief are more dominant as depression is only subsiding it.
Although the symptoms of grief and depression are almost the same, they are two completely different conditions. Treatment for both is different depending on how individuals cope with their situations.
How is Depression Treated?
Depression is a mental disorder which can be treated with treatment as almost 80% to 90% of patients respond well to the treatment methods.
A thorough evaluation is made for a patient before starting treatment. Conducting an interview and physical examination may often become a part of the diagnostic evaluation. Often blood tests may be recommended to wave off the likelihood of underlying medical condition to become a reason for depression. Such a medical condition can be thyroid problems which account for several symptoms including depression.
A plan of treatment course is only decided after a thorough examination. The treatment options include medication to which most patients will respond, psychotherapy, and electroconvulsive therapy.
Antidepressants might be prescribed to alter the brain’s chemistry and provide relief from anxiety behavior. Such medicines neither have sedative effects on the body nor they will form a habit of taking them.
Antidepressants may not have their full effects until several weeks and patients should refer to their psychiatrist if not even little improvement is seen.
Long-term maintenance is required to treat depression from the root cause and therefore it is recommended to take medication after 6 months of improvement.
Psychotherapy is often termed as a talk therapy which involves several sessions of talking to solve problems. This therapy can be useful in mild to severe patients where they realize distorted thinking which can then be changed effectively.
Group therapy is often used for patients having similar symptoms and reasons for depression. The treatment may take several weeks to several months depending on the severity of the condition after which significant improvement will be observed.
This method of treatment is used for severe major depression for which other treatment methods have been ineffective. The patient is given anesthesia after which the brain is stimulated electrically to respond to treatment. The therapy may be used two to three times a week for over the treatment sessions. Trained medical professionals manage and provide treatment as per their expertise.
Self Help and Coping
There are various things to help yourself fight depression and cope with the situations in life. Regular exercise can be of great help as it improves mood and gives positive feelings.
A healthily balanced diet intake on regular basis is important for maintaining good physical and mental health. Symptoms of depression can be managed effectively through proper diagnosis and treatment methods.
However, it is always important to realize how important it is to cope with different stressful situations in life without having them to affect yourself negatively. But, if in any case, you are unable to cope with your situation, don’t hesitate to consult a psychiatrist for help.
Mental health needs can be different for every individual as some of them may require attention while others require therapy sessions. This treatment method is only opted when no othe method works for the patient as it requires more attention and intensified therapy sessions.
Other Ways of Coping with Depression
Relax and talk to people you are comfortable with. This will let your feelings be shared with others who can help you bring up motivation levels. Your closed ones are often the people who understand you well and are the best ones to approach when you feel upset or sad.
Most people need talking sessions over time to cope with their stressful situations and it’s up to them who they choose and share their feelings with.
Try to choose the person wisely whom you may talk your heart out to. Even if you don’t have anybody to trust or rely upon, you may always consult a psychiatrist who is a trained professional and will help you recover from your mental condition.
A thorough examination is the first part of diagnosing any mental condition which may also involve blood tests to rule out other underlying medical conditions. Many health disorders can link to depression symptoms but they are usually not a matter of concern as treating the condition itself will improve depression eventually.
Depression is a real illness that should be addressed at the right time before it has devastating impacts on health. Proper diagnosis and treatment methods will be able to treat all symptoms completely. It is therefore important to talk about all concerns regarding your problems and issues with your therapist so he can evaluate the root causes of your condition.