It is normal to feel low sometimes, but if that low mood stays for more than a week, then it could be a sign of depression. Depression is the episodes of unpleasant feelings that lasts for more than a week and severely interrupt your daily routine.
The main symptoms of depression are sad feelings and loss of interest in those things which were once pleasurable. It also includes a sense of moral breakdown, lack of hope, thought of death or suicide and worthlessness.
Depression is sometimes linked to physical symptoms. These physical symptoms include:
- Tiredness and low energy
- Unnecessary sleep
- Aches or pains, cramps or digestive issues which are not easing with treatment.
Depression can make health problems, particularly chronic pain, feel worse.
Change in appetite is another symptom of depression. Due to depression, some patients develop increased appetite or even loss their appetite. Hence the patients may experience serious weight loss or weight gain.
Impact On Dailylife;
The physical and emotional disorder due to depression can affect careers, daily routine, social life and relationships. Depressed people frequently find difficulty in decision making. Things, which were once enjoyable, will become unpleasurable, including sex. Depression can also become life-threatening.
Who’s at Risk?
Depression can develop in anyone. Though experts believe that having a parent or sibling with depression increases risk of developing depression.
Experts are not sure what causes depression, but a theory is that transformed brain structure and chemical function causes depression. Under depression, the brain circuits become inefficient to regulate mood. Drugs which are used to treat depression are believe to develop communication between nerve cells. Other triggers include stress, change in hormones, alcohol, certain medications or even the season.
If your mood changes with the season– unclouded in the summer, depressed in the winter, then you may have a kind of depression known as seasonal affective depression (SAD). Experts say SAD affects 3-20% of people, depending upon where they live.
The birth of a baby can develop a bunch of powerful emotions – excitement, joy, fear, anxiety and even something which you might not expect – Depression. Many new mothers experience the “baby blues” after childbirth, which includes mood swing, anxiety, sleeping difficulty. It may last for three days after delivery, but some mothers experience a long-lasting form of depression which is known as Postpartum Depression. A depressed mother may develop difficulty in building up the bonding with infant and gradually affecting the baby’s well-being too.
Depression in Children;
According to studies, depression affects 2-5% of grade school kids and about 2 out of 10 teenagers. The depression in children develops an inability to play, make friends and even studies. Symptoms of depression in children are similar to depression in adults, which also include anger and engaging in risky activities.
As of till date, there is not any tests available to diagnose depression in lab. Though for an accurate diagnosis, doctors rely on the patient’s description of the symptoms. Generally the doctors analyze depression through medical history and medication which the patient is using for depression
Discussions with the doctor about the behaviors, moods and activities can help doctors to understand the severity of depression.
Talk Therapy for Depression;
Different types of talk therapy are there for the patients to treat mild to severe depression;
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is used to change thoughts and behaviors which are contributing to the depression.
- Interpersonal Therapy helps to discover how the relationships are affecting your mood.
- Psychodynamic psychotherapy helps people to understand how the unsettled problems and feelings are affecting their mood and behavior.
Medications for Depression;
Antidepressants affect the brain chemicals to work normally. A good follow-up with the doctor and adjustment with the dose of the medicine (as per recommended by the doctor) can evaluate the effectiveness. The combination of medication and talk therapy can also appear particularly effective.
Exercise for Depression;
Physical activity releases endorphins which can help in boosting mood. Regular exercise is also very helpful in developing higher self-esteem, less stress and higher energy level.
Light Therapy (Phototherapy);
It involves sitting in front of a light box that provides a bright light or a dim light for a prescribed time every day. It is a very effective therapy towards treating depression – be it any kind.
Pets for Depression;
Researchers say that pets can ease the effect of depression by providing unconditional love, relieve loneliness and give patients a purpose to live. Studies have found that people who have pets have very less trouble sleeping and even better complete health.
The Role of Social Support;
Developing a social support network can be an important part of treatment for depression. It may include joining a group, club or even seeing friends and family members. Meeting with people every day can help you in discovering yourself.
Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS);
VNS can help patients who are suffering from treatment-resistant depression or which does not improve with medications.
This surgically implanted device sends electrical pulses to the brain, which ease depression by affecting the mood areas.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT);
ECT is another option for patients who are suffering from treatment-resistant depression or which does not improve with medication. This treatment is used to create a controlled seizure through electric charges.
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation;
This option is used to treat those people who are suffering from stubborn depression by stimulating a tiny electrical current in that part of the brain which is affected due to depression. It doesn’t cause a seizure, but have few side effects.