Depression – Everything you need to know
Learn more about depression – types, causes, and treatments.
According to the statistics of WHO, almost 7.5% of Indian population needs medical intervention as they suffer major and minor mental disorders including depression. A new study says that over 65% of early adults between the age of 20 and 25 show some early symptoms of a depressed state. The statistics point to a major yet underrated problem of India. The shocking factor is that a major number of people are unaware of the fact that they are going through depression and it is treatable. The stigma that surrounds mental illness and treatments makes the situation severe and worse. And the result is that suicide, a worst-case outcome of mental disorder stays as the second largest cause of death in India. That is why people should be aware of a proper understanding, symptoms and treatment of depression and other mental illness.
Mental health is as important as physical fitness or sometimes more. A deteriorating mental illness can lead to physical diseases also.
1. Depression – a basic understanding
As per the definition of World Health Organization (WHO), depression is defined as a mental disorder, which is associated with loss of interest and energy. The people who are suffering from this find life so dull, boring and sadness prevails all the other emotions. Even the daily chores are a burden for them. Getting up from the bed, getting ready or taking a bath seems to be a tiresome task. They feel uninterested throughout the day, loss their appetite, sleep more or less than usual, restlessness, lack of concentration, indecisiveness, guilt, and worthlessness. The activities that they used to enjoy will be no more interesting. If the symptoms go on for more than two weeks, it points towards clinical depressive disorders.
There are various types of depression
Major depressive disorder
This one is the most common type. The symptoms that are generally associated with the term depression are more seen in this case. Major indications are a loss of energy, appetite, sleep disorders, weight loss or gain, sadness, disinterest in doing daily activities, sluggish behavior, slowness in mental & physical activities, and in severe case suicidal thoughts. If these symptoms persist for two weeks or more, the person will be diagnosed with Major depressive disorders.
Persistent depressive disorder
The depression symptoms last for two years or more. This condition is also known as Dysthymia. A person diagnosed with the Persistent depressive disorder can also have minor symptoms of the Major depressive disorder, but it should last for at least two years. Irregular food habits, continuous fatigue, low self-esteem etc. are the major indications.
Postpartum (Peripartum) depression
The depression is seen in new – mothers after the delivery. They feel anxious about their capability of raising a child, sometimes shows unlikeness towards the baby. Many women suffer from the postpartum disorder. The disorder clears mostly in two weeks. These women might experience major depressive disorder during their pregnancy period as well. The extreme sadness, exhaustion, and anxiety make it difficult for them to carry out the daily chores of them and baby.
This is a combination of depression and physiological disorders. The patients may suffer from Hallucinations (Seems something that doesn’t exist), Delusions (False beliefs), Paranoia (a persisting feeling that someone is trying to harm them).
Seasonal Affective Disorders (SAD)
This is characterized by a depression in winter seasons especially seen in countries where winter is severe. Winter depressive disorder is commonly associated with withdrawal syndrome, increased sleep and increased weight.
The patients show the extremes of their mood. The fluctuation from both extreme causes problems. The mood low situation is generally seen with symptoms of major depressive disorders.
2. Who suffers from depression?
Depression affects any person of any demographic. The age, ethnicity, career, gender, race, nationality, nothing matters when it comes to depressive disorders. There is a major misconception is that the disorder is associated with failures. Failures can lead to it but that is not always true. Many successful people have fought with depression. The list includes JK Rowling, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Mathew Perry, Lady Gaga, Ellen DeGeneres, Eminem etc. Even Indian celebrities like Shahrukh Khan, Deepika Padukone suffered from depression and successfully overcame the situation. Recently a standup comedian admitted that he is going through treatment for mental disorder. The ones who make other people laugh aren’t able to laugh. These examples completely alter our understandings on depression.
The adolescent show symptoms of depression nowadays. Even kids throw tantrums, disinterest, and sadness. The major age demographic that suffers from this is working adults. Almost 45% of corporate employees suffer from mental illness. Elderly people also suffer from various mental illness. The inability to do daily activities themselves or other factors like the death of a partner may increase the chances of slipping into depression. The people from urban, rural and slum areas suffer from disease equally likely.
3. Causes of depression
There are many reasons that cause depression. Failure is just one among thousands.
Childhood and parenting have a deep effect on a person’s life beyond a level of our understanding. Condemning parenting style will lead to very low self-esteem and may cause mental disorders of various types. These children lose their bonding towards their parents and become the victims of many problematic diseases. Any incident that affects a person psychologically can cause depression. Sudden loss of someone close, broken relationships, failures can affect the mental health. Childhood traumas are another reason. Sometimes the effect seems subsided as the child grows, but the symptoms will arise later in life.
Sometimes the genes are responsible for mental illness. People whose ancestors suffered from depression are highly prone towards the same disease. Even a small event can trigger the disruption of mental health. In addition, certain physical factors like altered Hypothalamopituitary-adrenal axis and altered circadian rhythm can cause depression.
The majorly reported cause of depression is marital abuse. Many women, as well as men, reported having mental illness due to a dominating or rather an abusive partner – another cruel output of domestic violence. Distressed relations; be it, family, marital or parental can lead to problems. Urbanization, modernization, globalization, and migration are said to have affected mental health and thereby a cause of depression. The social isolation will further increase the intensity depressive disorders.
Like sudden financial crisis or low income can also cause such diseases. The dissatisfaction in work can also lead to mental disruptions. That is why one needs to enjoy what he does for livelihood.
This may seem uncommon but it is not. Religious beliefs, the influence of certain ideas (we can cite the urban legend of the Hungarian song ‘Gloomy Sunday’ as an example), certain attitudes, and interpretations can lead to depression.
The main problem related to depression is the diagnosis. A depressed person may not seem sad in the society. Everyone outside may see a happy, smiling face while the affected one suffers alone. The first step to fight mental disorders is to understand the same. The close family or friends may note the symptoms and help the person.
A doctor can help to fight diagnose depressive disorders. Self-treatment or simple meditation technique won’t be enough to fight mental disorders. One needs to have expert medical help. Psychiatrists, according to the conditions of the patient, suggest psychotherapy or Talk therapy (counseling), medications like anti-depressants and other methods like Electroconvulsive therapy. Talk therapy is often done along with anti-depressants. Cognitive behavioral therapy is found effective in treating depression. In some cases, the suicidal tendency increase in the early stage of antidepressant treatment. We must closely watch the patient during these periods.
Apart from the treatment from medical professionals, close relatives, family, and friends should take care of the person. The primary need is to understand that depression is common, and like any other disease, treatable. Social isolations and further emotional baggage can create much worse situation probably towards the end of his/her life. Change in lifestyle, positive interactions can aide medications.
I hope this article helped you understand more about Depression – the type, cause, and treatment.
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