What Is Depression?
Depression, also identified as major depressive disorder, is a mood disorder that makes you feel continuous sadness or lack of interest in life or activities that you once enjoyed.
It’s a natural response to sadness or life’s difficulties or challenges. But when extreme sorrow, like feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness, persists for days or weeks and prevents you from living your life, it may be more than sadness. Clinical depression is a medical disorder that can be treated.
Every person experiences depression in various different ways. Most people feel sad or depressed at a particular time in their life that may interfere with their daily life, which may result in lower conditions such as lost time and lower productivity because of lack of concentration. It can also cause an adverse impact on your relationships and some serious health conditions.
Conditions that can get elevate and get worse due to depression consist of:
- cardiovascular disease
It’s important to understand that feeling down is a natural part of life. Everyone experiences sad and disturbing events. However, if you find yourself feeling down or helpless regularly, you might be suffering from depression.
Depression is a severe medical problem that can worsen over time if not treated properly. Symptoms often improve after just a few weeks for those who seek care and realize that they need help.
Depression is more than just being down all of the time or feeling “down.”
Major depression can manifest itself in a variety of ways. Others have an impact on your mood, and others have an effect on your physical health. Symptoms can be persistent or intermittent.
Men, women, and children may all have different responses to the symptoms of depression.
Men can experience symptoms as a result of:
- Moods like frustration, hostility, irritability, anxiety, and restlessness
- Mental well-being, such as empty, sad, or hopeless feelings
- Behaviors such as lack of interest, no longer having joy in favorite hobbies, quickly being exhausted, suicidal thoughts, binge drinking, substance use, and engaging in high-risk activities.
- a lack of sexual interest, such as a lack of sexual desire or sexual performance
- cognitive abilities such as difficulty concentrating, difficulty completing activities, and delayed responses during conversations
- Insomnia, restless sleep, prolonged sleepiness, and not sleeping through the night are all examples of sleep patterns
- physical health issues such as exhaustion, aches and pains, headaches, and digestive issues
- emotional well-being, such as feeling sad or empty, anxious or hopeless mood, such as irritability
- Loss of interest in sports, withdrawal from social engagements, and suicidal thoughts are examples of such activity.
- cognitive skills, such as the ability to think or speak more slowly
- sleep patterns, such as facing trouble or struggling to sleep through the night, waking early or even sleeping too much
- physical well-being, such as decreased energy, greater exhaustion, changes in appetite, weight changes, aches, pains, headaches, and increased cramps
- sleeping habits, such as trouble sleeping through the night, waking early, sleeping too much
Children can develop symptoms as a result of:
- Irritability, frustration, mood swings, and crying are all examples of mood.
- Psychological and emotional well-being, such as feelings of insecurity or incompetence (e.g., “I can’t do something right”). or sadness, weeping, and profound sorrow
- behavior such as being in trouble at school or avoiding and refusing to go to school, ignoring friends or siblings, or experiencing suicidal thoughts
- cognitive skills, such as inability to concentrate, deterioration in school results, and changes in grades
- sleep habits, such as trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- physical well-being, such as lack of energy, digestive issues, changes in appetite, weight loss or benefit
The signs and symptoms can go beyond your mind.
There are many different possible causes of depression. They can range from biological to circumstantial, and both can cause adverse impacts to you.
Common causes include:
Family History: If you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder, you’re more likely to experience depression and are at a higher risk.
Early childhood trauma: Some incidents have an effect on how the body responds to fear and stress, mainly from your childhood.
The structure of the brain: If your frontal lobe is less active, you’re more likely to experience depression. Scientists are unsure whether this occurs before or after the onset of depressive symptoms.
Medical problems: Chronic disease, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) are all disorders that can increase the risk.
It is known that 21% of people who have a substance use problem experience depression most of the times. Keeping aside these factors. Other risk factors for depression include:
- low self-confidence or being self-deprecating
- A person who possesses personal history of mental illness
- specific medications
- Stressful events, such as losing someone you love, economic problems, or going through a divorce
Various different factors can impact feelings of depression, also who develops the following condition and who doesn’t.
It can get quite difficult for doctors to identify the cause of depression as it is tied to numerous other elements of your health.
There is no single exam that can be used to diagnose depression. However, depending on your symptoms and a psychological assessment, your healthcare provider will make a diagnosis.
Most of the time, they’ll ask you a set of questions about yourself, such as:
- Sleeping habits
- Activity Level
- Thoughts or Opinions
Your healthcare provider can also perform a physical examination and prescribe blood work because depression may be related to other health issues. Depression symptoms may be triggered by thyroid issues or a vitamin D deficiency.
Symptoms of depression cannot be easily ignored because if your mood does not improve or gets even worse to an extent, then you must seek medical help as it can further be very dangerous for your health. Depression is considered to be a serious mental health illness with the possibility of serious complications.
If depression is left untreated, various complications can occur. That includes:
- weight gain or loss
- physical pain
- substance abuse problems
- recurrent panic attacks
- relationship problems
- social isolation and cutting out of activities
- Suicidal thoughts.
Depression comes in many forms.
Depression can be classified into different groups based on the severity of the symptoms. Some people have and go through moderate, temporary depressive episodes, while others have extreme, long-term depressive episodes.
Major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder are the two primary forms.
Major depressive disorder (MDD)
The more severe form of depression is known as major depressive disorder (MDD). It’s marked by feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and sorrow that don’t go away on their own.
You must have 5 or more of the following signs during a 2-week duration to be diagnosed with clinical depression:
- feeling depressed most of the times in a day
- loss of interest in activities that you once used to feel happy in
- significant weight loss or gain
- Sleeping disorders
- slowed thinking or movement
- fatigue or low energy majority of the days
- feelings of worthlessness, insecurity or guilt
- lack of concentration or indecisiveness
- frequent thoughts of death or suicide
There are various different subtypes of the condition major depressive disorder, which the American Psychiatric Association refers to as “specifiers.”
These subtypes include:
- atypical features
- anxious distress
- mixed features
- peripartum onset, throughout pregnancy or after a women gives birth
- seasonal patterns
- melancholic features
- psychotic features
Persistent depressive disorder (PDD):
Dysthymia was the old name for persistent depressive disorder (PDD). It’s a milder type of depression that lasts for a long time and is a chronic one.
Symptoms must last for at least two years before a diagnosis can be made. PDD has a greater effect on your life than major depression because it lasts longer.
People with PDD are likely to:
- become disinterested in regular day-to-day activities
- a sense of hopelessness
- Lack productivity
- Have low self confidence
Depression can be successfully treated, but you must adhere to the treatment plan.
Treatments for Depression
Living with depression can be challenging, but therapy can help you live a better life. Consult your healthcare provider about other possible options.
At i-Kare Treatment Center, we know there are many symptoms that can follow depression. If you or your loved one is going through these symptoms, it is highly important to seek help. It is a type of condition that won’t go away on its own if it is left untreated, so it is significant to find the best help to treat the condition so that you can live normally and happily again.
It is usually very common to combine medical treatments and lifestyle therapies, which includes the following:
Your doctor may prescribe you with:
- antipsychotic medications
Each type of medication that’s used to treat depression has certain benefits and even potential risks that comes along with it.
Speaking with a therapist will assist you in developing skills for coping up with negative emotions. Family or group counselling sessions can also be beneficial.
White light exposure can help control your mood and relieve depressive symptoms. Seasonal affective disorder, also known as major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern, is usually treated with light therapy.
Tell your healthcare professional for acupuncture or meditation. Few herbal supplements are also used to treat depression, including St. John’s wort, SAMe, and fish oil.
Before taking a supplement or combining a supplement with a prescription drug, consult your healthcare provider since certain supplements can interact with those medications. Some supplements can exacerbate depression or reduce medication effectiveness.
3 to 5 days a week, strive for 30 minutes of physical activity. Exercising will enhance the body’s development of endorphins, which are the types of hormones that improve your mood.
Stay away from alcohol and drugs.
For a short time, drinking or abusing drugs may make you feel better. However, these substances have the potential to intensify and worsen depression and anxiety symptoms in the long run.
Learn how to say no
It is good if you learn to say no to situations that disturb you and setting boundaries in your personal and professional life can help you feel well as feeling overwhelmed can worsen the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Take care of yourself
Taking care of yourself will also help to alleviate depressive symptoms. This involves having enough sleep, eating a nutritious diet, avoiding unpleasant people, and engaging in activities that give you pleasure.
Depression does not always react to medication. If your symptoms don’t improve, your doctor can consider other treatment options.
To relieve depression and boost your mood, you should try electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS).
Natural Treatment for Depression
Depression is traditionally treated with a combination of medicine and therapy. However, you should also try alternative or complementary therapies.
It’s important to keep in mind that all of these alternative therapies have just a few studies to back up their positive or negative effects on depression.
Before adding supplements to your treatment plan, consult your doctor.
Majority of the people use natural remedies, such as herbal medicines, to treat mild-to-moderate depression to avoid any side effects of medications.
However, because the FDA does not monitor herbal remedies, manufacturers may not be honest about the consistency of these drugs. They could be dangerous or ineffective.
The following are some of the most commonly used herbs and plants to relieve depression:
St. John’s wort: This is not prescribed for people who have or believe they might have bipolar disorder.
Ginseng: Ginseng can help with mental clarity and stress reduction, according to traditional medicine practitioners.
Chamomile: Chamomile contains flavonoids, which have antidepressant properties.
Lavender: This herb can aid in the reduction of anxiety and insomnia.
Before using any form of herbal treatment or supplement to treat depression, it is important to consult with a doctor. Some herbs can make symptoms worse by interfering with the action of medications.
The herbs mentioned above can be taken as supplements to treat mild-to-moderate depression symptoms. Other supplements can also aid in the treatment of these symptoms.
It’s important to note that the FDA doesn’t review supplements for efficacy or protection.
Non-herbal supplements that can be helpful in the treatment of depression include:
S-adenosyl methionine (SAMe): This is a synthetic version of a natural body chemical.
5-hydroxytryptophan: This may help enhance serotonin, the neurotransmitter in the brain that impacts a person’s mood and change accordingly.
Some research has indicated the SAMe could be as helpful as the prescription antidepressants imipramine and escitalopram, but further investigation is essential.
Food and Diet:
Consuming a lot of sugary or processed foods can lead to a variety of physical ailments. According to the results of a 2019 study published in Trusted Source, a diet that contains many of these foods may have an effect on the mental health of young adults.
In addition, consuming more of the following foods helped alleviate depressive symptoms, according to the study:
- olive oil
Depression can occur to anybody and it is not normally considered to be preventable. The causes of depression are comparatively hard to identify which constitutes in making it more difficult to prevent it.
Once you have suffered from a depressive episode, you may then better be aware of how to prevent a future episode by knowing which lifestyle changes and treatments are useful for you.
Certain methods that may help includes:
- Exercising regularly
- getting significant amount of sleep
- continuing treatments
- reducing stress factors
- building strong relationships with people around you
Other methods and thoughts may also help you prevent depression from occurring.
When a person with bipolar disorder has a depressive episode, this is known as bipolar depression.
Bipolar disorder patients can experience severe mood swings. Bipolar 2 episodes, for example, can range from high-energy manic episodes to low-energy depressed episodes.
This is dependent on the form of bipolar disorder. Manic episodes, not depression, are all that is needed for a bipolar 1 diagnosis.
Depression signs in people with bipolar disorder include:
- loss of interest from enjoyment from normal activities that you once used to enjoy
- feeling sad, troubled, nervous, or empty
- not finding the energy or struggling to complete your daily tasks
- difficulty recalling stuff or loss of memory
- sleeping disorders which can result in insomnia
- weight gain or weight loss as a result of fluctuation in appetite
- considering death or suicide
When bipolar disorder is treated, more people may have fewer and milder depressive symptoms if they have depressive episodes.
Anxiety and depression
A person can experience both depression and anxiety at the same time. In reality, research has shown that over 70% of people with depressive disorders often suffer from anxiety symptoms.
Despite the fact that they are believed to be triggered by various things, depression and anxiety may share a variety of symptoms, including:
- trouble remembering, memory or concentration
- sleep problems
The two conditions also share some common treatments.
Both anxiety and depression can be treated with:
- therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy
- certain types of medication
- alternative therapies, including hypnotherapy
If you think that you are going through these symptoms of either of these conditions, or both of them together, it is important for you to talk with your mental health care provider because, like many other health problems, depression can worsen over time. You can work upon a plan to identify such symptoms that coexist and the way they can be treated.
Depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a certain kind of anxiety disorder. It triggers disturbing unwanted thoughts repeatedly, desires, obsession, and fear.
You can act out repeated behaviors because of these fears that you will expect to calm the stress caused by those particular obsessions.
People who suffer from OCD often find themselves in a twist of obsessions and pressures. If you believe that your behavior is similar to this, then you may feel alone and isolated because of them, and that can prove very dangerous for your health.
This can often lead to cutting out from social activities and isolating yourself from your social circle and friends, which can impact your mental health and increase your risk of depression.
It is pretty much normal for someone who is diagnosed with OCD to also have depression. Having one kind of anxiety disorder can increase your chances for having another one.
This dual diagnosis can be a cause of concern for young children too. As their compulsive behaviors which may start developing from a very young and a vulnerable age can make them feel unusual and different. This can result in a child not participating in social activities and can increase the chances of a child developing depression.
Depression with psychosis
Some people who are suffering from major depression may also carry symptoms of another unusual mental disorder called psychosis. When these two conditions takes place together and coexist, then it is known as depressive psychosis.
Depressive psychosis can involve delusions and cause people to see, hear, believe or even smell things that are not real and they build detachment from reality. This can also result in hallucinating and sensing things that do not exist in real. These types of people may also feel sad, hopeless, and irritated at times.
This is because an individual with depressive psychosis may hallucinate and have delusions that can trigger certain emotions and cause them to contemplate suicide or take risks that may risk their lives.
It is still uncertain what causes these two conditions to coexist, but if you decide to get treatment, it can effectively ease symptoms and help you. Treatments include various medications and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) that can help you relieve stress. .
Understanding and being aware of the risk factors, possible causes and triggers can help you be aware of early symptoms.
Depression in pregnancy
Pregnancy is often a happy and an exciting time for many couples. Nevertheless, a pregnant woman may experience depression at certain stages of her pregnancy.
Symptoms of depression during the stages pregnancy include:
- changes in appetite or altered eating habits
- feeling hopeless
- losing interest in certain activities that you once used to enjoy
- Continuous sadness
- troubles concentrating or recalling
- sleep disorders, as well as insomnia or sleeping too much
- Suicidal thoughts
Treatment for depression during pregnancy may emphasize completely on talk therapy and other normal treatments.
Whereas some women do prefer to take antidepressants, but it may be dangerous, and it is not clear which ones are the safest in this period. Your doctor may recommend you to go for an alternative option until after the birth of your baby.
Some women are even at the risk for the continuation of depression even after the baby arrives. Postpartum depression, which is also known as major depressive disorder with postpartum onset, is proven to be a serious cause of concern for women who have become new mothers.
Recognizing the symptoms when they occur may help you identify a problem and seek help in an appropriate manner before it becomes overwhelming.
Depression and alcohol
Majority of the people are more likely to use alcohol when they are experiencing depression. People who are depressed usually get involved in misusing alcohol.
About 40% of adults in the U.S. from a total of the 20.2 million of the population suffer from a substance use disorder and they have a co-existing mental disease.
Drinking alcohol regularly can result in making symptoms of depression worse, and people who suffer from depression are more to be expected to misuse alcohol or become reliant on it in order to achieve temporary relaxation.
Outlook for depression
Depression can occur to any person at any age and it can be temporary and can also be a long lasting challenge. By getting appropriate treatment, you must be aware of the fact that it does not make your depression fade away completely.
If the current treatment you are getting does not seem to be working for you, it is essential to talk to your doctor so that they can create different treatment plans that me possibly work remarkably in managing your symptoms.
How can I get help?
Being aware of your symptoms and deciding to reach out for help is one of the courageous things you can do for yourself when you are facing depression, addiction or alcoholism. At I-kare Treatment center, we aim to provide comprehensive treatment programs because we understand what kinds of challenges you are going through.
If you want to continue living a happy land a productive life to lead a brighter future ahead, we are here to help you turn things around by standing with you at every step. You can start by working with our team at i-care treatment center.
You can contact us anytime all through the day to get started on turning things around. Call us today t (561) 331-8453 and get ready to get the change that you deserve.