Depression has become a popular illness around the world and it is no respecter of persons. Over 300 million people are suffering from depression and the figure seems to rise on a daily basis. As long there would be cares, anxieties, worries, feelings, scarce resources and the overall reality of life, depression is a monster that has come to stay.
Most people mistake depression for their random mood fluctuations and recurring emotional reactions to everyday challenges but it is way different. In its case, it is a long-lasting condition that varies in intensity between moderate or severe and it is capable of leading to an aggravated health condition.
Its symptoms are intense and it suffers the affected to endure so much pain in an otherwise excruciating manner. Sadness cohortatively combines with depression to form a deadly duo that has affected lives, ended careers and ruined what used to be a productive space.
Depression can be traced to a number of factors, it may be as a result of a loss, disappointment, helplessness, hopelessness among other things. Most people blame it all on sadness but it is important to also understand that sadness is a critical component of the human emotion and it is also responsible for helping us appreciate our happy times.
Sadness could increase at intervals leaving the affected person disinterested in an association. The moment sadness becomes difficult to explain, this may be an indicator that you are suffering from depression. There are various definitions of what depression truly is but the fact is it is a disorder that leaves the affected person symptomatic of things like excessive sadness, low motivation, and loss of interest in enjoyable things.
Depression is common and one in 3 persons may experience it as some stage. Although some depressive cases are mild or in some moderate, both which could be handled with little or no help, some may be somewhat severe and this happens to one in every ten leaving the affected person needing a lot of help.
Signs and symptoms
Although the symptoms of depression vary from person to person some things are constant. Depression symptoms are evidenced through a number of factors and are classified into two. There are psychological symptoms and then the physical symptoms. Depression symptoms can discourage you from taking proper actions toward recovery. When depressed, you become handicapped and lose interest in everything and everyone, including seeking vital attention from the therapist. Loss of energy, dwindling excitement, and low self-esteem are some of the depression symptoms that make recovery difficult.
Some of the depression symptoms that are psychological includes
- The feeling of being miserable: this accounts for a vital effect of depression. It persists for a large part of the day although its intensity varies. It’s a misery that lasts for weeks and may be brought back at intervals after it’s gone on occasions like birthdays, anniversaries and other celebrations.
- Loss of interest in pleasurable and fun activities. This often leaves the affected person with much disinterest in participating in things they once found fascinating.
- Inefficient and slow thinking which often leads to distractions and poor concentration. The affected person experiences difficulties in executing tasks, sorting out problems, making plans and their overall decision making becomes terrible.
- Forgetfulness and memory losses are major signs. The retentive state of mind becomes very low and obvious things are often forgotten. Date of birth, social security number, and addresses may be forgotten or asked a couple of times before the affected juggle their memories.
- Unpleasant thoughts, self-annihilation and the feeling of being bad or not good enough become recurrent. Fear often broods on these things and the affected sense defeat and unworthiness before engaging in any adventure.
- Thoughts of being dead of harming yourself in any way. The mind becomes vulnerable and the constant thought of being better off dead becomes difficult to deal with. Suicide becomes an attractive option and the affected begin to contemplate several attempts.
The psychological symptoms of depression are considered deadly because of the fact that it eats from within. The deadliest part of it is that no one knows except the affected person decides to share. Dissociation and disinterest are indicators that could help in spotting the psychological symptoms of depression.
Depression symptoms often have some physical pieces of evidence that should be addressed. When the physical signs are talked about, the most likely culprit is considered to be weight loss but there is more than that. The most common depression symptoms that get expressed physically includes
Loss of appetite for food which often leads to a loss of weight.
Loss of interest in self-gratifying activities like sexual activities
Lack of energy which becomes a concern even when the affected person hasn’t engaged in any stressful activity. The feeling of constant weakness and drained enthusiasm becomes recurring.
Loss of sleep which is considered quite terrible. The affected person may feel exhausted from time to time and their periods of sleep are in fits and starts. They become restless and unsatisfyingly trying to keep their eyes open. However, in some cases, depression symptoms may also come in the form of long and uninterrupted sleep that becomes a concern because it’s far from the usual.
Slow activity, incoherent speech, and stuttering may also become evident. Unnecessary stammering and loss for words may also be a part.
The physical symptoms of depression always stem from overboard psychological symptoms. Although they are not limited to this, their exhibitions also vary from person to person. Any of these symptoms may serve as warning signs of depression but an individual needs to exhibit at least 5 to suffer from severe depression.
Depression and suicide
According to the findings of the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide and it also contributes majorly to the total global burden of diseases. Although most women are affected than men, depression can affect people of several ages. At its worst, the combination of several symptoms of depression could lead to suicide. Over 800,000 people die due to suicide every year making its mortality rate higher than that of war, murder and natural disasters combined.
Having discovered that over 50% of all the people who suffer from depression die by suicide, there is a strong link between depression and suicide. Although the majority of people who suffer depression don’t die by suicide, the chances of suicide get increased with major depression compared to people who do not have it.
After observing people over a period of time, findings have revealed that about 2% of people who have received treatments for depression in an outpatient setting end up dying by suicide. In a hospital setting, the rate is twice as high – over 4%. Over 25 million Americans suffer from depression and this figure is larger than those that suffer from HIV and aids, coronary heart disease and even cancer.
Another look at the threats posed by depression in relation to suicide is to consider the number of deaths by suicide and see what proportion suffered from depression. In this case, estimates reveal that over 60% of people who end up suicidal have suffered a major mood disorder like bipolar disorder, dysthymia, and severe depression.
Causes of depression
A lot of research has been conducted in order to discover what leads to depression. The truth is that no singular factor can be held accountable for it. Depression and anxiety have a genetic connotation and this is evident in many cases. Depression seems to run in blood lineages as do other mood disorders. About 30% of people predisposed to depression are a victim of genetic influences.
A stress filled life also plays a part in the early stages of depression as it does in cases of relapse. Disputes with other people as well as socio-economic cum environmental factors like unemployment, insecurity, financial hardship, childlessness, loss of something or someone important, betrayal and more. All these realities of life occur at some point and make people vulnerable hence, depression takes over.
The lifestyle of a person also has a role to play in depression. The personality characteristics of an individual to perceive things goes a long way. People who tend to view themselves or things in a bad way are susceptible to depression. This may be referred to as a depressive personality lifestyle.
One other vital cause of depression that should be considered is medication and physical illness. Antidepressants, pain reliefs, birth control pills, and other pills that are used for heart or blood pressure conditions may all lead to an individual being symptomatic of depression.
Battling depression and anxiety requires action but acting in a depressed state could be very difficult. There are several ways to tackle depression but a combination of different methods seem to provide the best results.
Sometimes engaging in active distractions, new adventures like exercising, spending time with friends, traveling, vacations and many more can seem exhaustive and hard to try. The fact is that the things that work the most are difficult to execute. It may, however, be difficult but it isn’t impossible. Even if your depression is stubbornly persistent, taking the first step is all that is needed to start a recovery.
There are several effective treatments for curing mild, moderate and severe depression. Some include
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
Alone or in conjunction with medications, CBT is very effective in battling depression and anxiety. It is a process that involves learning, it includes
- How to control negative thoughts that lead to disinterest and feelings of being worthless
- Combatting the overwhelming feeling of sadness and hopelessness
- Dealing with lack or loss of energy even when the affected person hasn’t engaged in any physical activity
- Countering the behaviors that lead to poor concentration and thoughts of suicide.
The techniques on how to deploy CBT are also administered whether the problem is a consequence or cause of depression. CBT has a decent success rate and improvements are evident in over 80% of people with mild, moderate and severe depressions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can be recommended in cases where
- Depression is mild, moderate or rather severe
- The affected person has had a previous positive response to CBT
- A qualified and highly trained professional who is competent in CBT is available or the affected person is willing to use CBT over the internet
- There is a medical situation that contradicts the use of medication
- The affected person has opted for CBT based on their sole discretion or preference.
One of the major features of depression is inactivity. People often discover that they are doing less and then feel terrible that they are not doing enough. The behavioral concept of battling depression and anxiety is targeted at the aspects of the affected person’s behaviors that may make the situation worse off. It involves encouraging people to act against depression via so many ways.
These things are the last thing on the mind of the affected, they are difficult but not impossible. Effective behavioral strategies include scheduling activities such as skill acquisition, goal planning, social enlightenment and a structured problem-solving. The major advantage of this method of battling depression is that once it has been acquired, the new behaviors can be exhibited all through a lifetime to reduce the chances of relapse or the recurrence of depression.
People who suffer from depression usually have a style of thinking that focusses on negativity. They often consider themselves as invaluable and the world is just a bad or unfair place to live in. Their thinking always revolve around hopelessness and helplessness and when something bad happens, they blame themselves even for other people’s misfortune but when good things happen, they think they are just lucky.
Generally, people suffering from depression usually do not appreciate or recognize the positivity in events. They often tend to focus the bad things about life and brood on them. The main focus of the cognitive approach is to help the affect people correct their misconceptions and their otherwise pessimistic approach to life.
The idea of depression help tackles depression by healing the mind. The approach identifies and deals with the underlying beliefs and assumptions of the depressed. The idea is to encourage and have their focus realigned to the positive side of life. The cognitive approach teaches people that they have control over what happens to them.
For some depressed people especially those suffering from the severe type, antidepressant medication is usually the first line of treatment. These type of depressed conditions should never be managed without medication. Mild and moderate depression is not usually treated with medication.
Antidepressants vary and work in several ways. Sometimes, you may try more than one type of antidepressant to find what works for you. It is quite important to stay in close contact with the clinician that prescribed the medication. Not working with a medical practitioner often leads to side effects.
There are some basic rules that guide medication, they include
- Never skip a day, take your medication every day
- Do not stop the medication without the instruction of the practitioner that prescribed it
- Side effect diminishes as the body gets back in to shape. If the side effects persist, contact your prescriber
- Complete the medication. Even if you feel better and improvements become evident, never stop taking your drugs or there may be a relapse.
Other methods of battling depression include interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), education and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).
There are a couple of things you can do to substantially boost your morale and help your mood. They are considered as the little actions that set recovery in motion. Things, like taking a walk, phoning a friend, preparing a special meal, attending events, are considered vital in battling depression.
Battling depression effectively requires you to address the depression and its symptoms aggressively, like you would, for every other parasitic infection or disease. Here are a few strategies to effectively engage in battling depression;
Watch A Funny TV Show; This is a great way to put all your worries away and regain control of your emotions. Watch TV series that do not bring memories of any issues surrounding your life. Watching comics is a good way to spend your day and pass time instead of investing it on loneliness and depressing thoughts.
Do Those Things You Once Loved, Especially When You Don’t Feel Like it; At that moment when you feel terrible about your once cherished hobbies, take them up again. Depression’s major tool is negativity, resentment, hesitance and reluctance that makes you suddenly hate everything you once loved. When you start getting this feeling is exactly when you need to bring those hobbies back to life.
Confront Your Fears; People with depression always sense defeat and they have a habit of taking up challenges as underdogs. Pull down all the negativity that comes with depression. Do things you are scared of and get back your self-esteem. Do not avoid the things you consider difficult and never water down your confidence. Pull down all negative energy and become your own fan.
Don’t Blame Yourself for feeling bad; Feelings of despair and heaviness of the mind are not negligible when depressed. When depressed, don’t blame or punish yourself for it. Avoid being mentally derailed by overly thinking about what you should have done better. You did everything you did, perfectly to the best of your ability. Self-criticism may be good for your career but it is bad for battling depression.
Analyze Your Anger (depression); deep thoughts about what could possibly be making you depressed is very vital. Your depression might only arise from anger over a slight issue around you. Analyzing the reason for your extreme sadness help you eliminate the cause.
Always Remain Active; you can stay active by taking up some exercise. Physical activities like exercises are a good way to recoup and take the burden off your mind. Get yourself together and engage in helpful routines.
Watch Your Diet; Anorexia and overeating, both are common symptoms of depression and they explain why you should be conscious about food at this critical time. You should know what to eat, when to eat and how to eat. You should be concerned about weight loss and weight gain. Addiction to alcohol and drugs would complicate your depression, and so, should be totally ruled out.
Socialize; mingle with people especially your friends and loved ones. Avoid isolating yourself. Ensure that you are always in touch with your loved ones. This would go a long way in preventing depressive thoughts. Dissociating from people or withdrawing from life could be dangerous. Stay in touch with life and be happy
Make a Routine and Follow it; it is quite normal for you to get into poor habits when you are depressed. Having a routine makes battling depression easy. Although during depression you hardly feel the need to do anything right but you have to stay organized. There is also the need to follow a scheduled sleeping pattern. Your daily routine should not be neglected, cook and eat well on a regular basis. Maintain a healthy lifestyle as much as possible.
Seek Medical Attention; visit a therapist and seek medical advice. The best remedy for depression includes consulting and engaging a therapist for the administration of proper medical attention. Avoid self-help treatments. Your therapist or physician knows the perfect antidepressant that would suit your system perfectly. Ensure that proper consultation is done at the slightest signs of depression before any further treatment.
Reduce your stress: stressful activities often cause the body to produce more hormones called cortisol. Although this is useful on a short-term basis because it fortifies you to do more but in the long run, it often has side effects and depression is the usual culprit. Engage in several stress reduction techniques to carve a path for yourself out of the depressed state.
These are the most effective ways of battling depression. You have a right to fight for your own wellbeing. Don’t allow anything, anyone or even yourself or your mind to pull you down. Start your journey to recovery by tackling each depression symptoms as they come. Do not hesitate in seeking medical help. Your therapist would be pleased to assist you.