Depression (major depressive disorder or clinical depression) is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities, such as sleeping, eating, or working.
Some people view depression as a cause to feel low, inactive, or not be able to have strength to do anything. Simply, the state of been depressed may seem normal to them; while some view depression as a phase that may fade with time, when event that led to their state of been depressed wipe off their memory.
On the contrary, Medical experts has described depression as a “real illness that impacts the brain”. Depression is not regarded as normal or a feeling associated with just being “down”. It is a serious illness that is caused by the changes in brain chemistry. Depression is not only serious mental illness; it is also common among men and women.
According to world health organization (WHO), depression is one of the most disabling disorders in the world, affecting 1 in 5 women 1 in 10 men at some point in their lifetime. The estimated percentage was 21% of women and 12% of men in reference to United States.
Recent research suggests that depression can be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors.
Depression can happen at any age, but often begins in adulthood. Depression is now recognized as occurring in children and adolescents, although it sometimes presents with more prominent irritability than low mood. Many chronic mood and anxiety disorders in adults begin as high levels of anxiety in children.
Depression, especially in midlife or older adults, can co-occur with other serious medical illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease. These conditions are often worse when depression is present. Sometimes medications taken for these physical illnesses may cause side effects that contribute to depression.
Depression mostly affects one’s thought, emotions, behaviors and one’s physical health in general. The following sings may be signs exhibited when depression set in:
- Starting with feelings, one may be sad, feeling hopelessness, guilty, moody, losing interest in friends, family and favorite activity, including sex.
- Followed by having problems in concentrating, making decisions, having troubles remembering things, thought of harming oneself (suicidal thought), all of these signs are shown in our thought.
- Also, one start exhibit behavior like withdrawing from people, embracing substance or drugs to the extent of abusing such substance or drug, absent from work or school or other commitments.
- Other physical problems may include:
1 Tiredness or lack of energy
2 Unexplained aches and pains
3 Changes in appetite
4 Weight loss
5 Change in sleep – either too much or too little.
Note that, an occurrence of any one of these symptoms may not constitute depression. However, they might be sought for when healthcare professionals suspect depression, and can be monitored regularly for two weeks or longer to ascertain how it influences a patient’s life.
There’s no sure way to prevent depression. The following strategies may be of help:
- Take steps to control stress,to increase your resilience and boost your self-esteem.
- Reach out to family and friends,especially in times of crisis, to help you weather rough spells.
- Get treatment at the earliest sign of a problemto help prevent depression from worsening.
- Consider getting long-term maintenance treatmentto help prevent a relapse of symptoms.
Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. The earlier that treatment can begin, the more effective it is. Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other brain stimulation therapies may be options to explore.
- National Institute of Mental Health (NIH). https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml
- MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/depression.html
- Mayo clinic staff. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/basics/prevention/con-20032977