Depression

DEPRESSION

What is Depression?

Depression is a medical condition that is clinically known as mood disorder or major depressive disorder. Depression is among the most common of all mental health illnesses and impacts many people every day.

Depression causes intensive feelings of sadness or hopelessness or worthlessness that do not go away for longer. Depression may cause you to lose interest in things you used to enjoy once. These feelings may interfere with your daily life and make regular daily tasks difficult to complete. In severe cases of depression, you may have thoughts related to suicide or violence.

Although depression is a critical mental illness, it’s very important to mention at the very beginning of the article that it’scompletely treatable using proper medications, talk therapy or a combination of the two. Escitalopram, Lexapro, Fluoxetine, Prozac, Paroxetine, Paxil, Sertraline, Zoloft, Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline , Pamelor, Protriptyline, Imipramine, Quetiapine, Seroquel, Aripiprazole, Abilify, Asenapine, Saphris, Olanzapine, Zyprexa, Risperidone, Risperdal, Amoxapine, Bupropion, Clomipramine, Mirtazapine, Zulresso, Citalopram, Celexa are some of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medications.

Causes of Depression

Depression is a complex mental illness and there are no medically proven reasons for it. Depression may be caused by various mental as well as medical conditions and they vary from person to person.

The following list highlights the possible causes for depression:

Medical Illness:

  Long tiring physical illness or pain

  Serious physical illness

  As side effect of other physical illness

  As side effect of consuming certain medicines for a longer time


Brain:

  Chemical imbalance in parts of the brain which manage routine human behavior

  Serious changes in neurotransmitter levels of the brain


Genetics or Family History:

  Family members or close relatives with this illness


Self or Family or Relationship or Society:

  Oneself’s lonely or aggressive or overthinking or overwhelming nature

  Conflicts and/or disagreements with family members or partner

  Longer isolation from family, friends and society


Sudden or Stressful Events:

  Divorce or break up with partner

  Death of loved one

  Loss of job or loss in business

  Underperformance in education or sports

  Mental or physical or sexual abuse


Gender:

  More chances for women to be depressed due to hormone changes at different times of their lives


Alcohol or Substances:

  Misuse of alcohol and / or various substances


Common Symptoms of Depression

The symptoms vary widely among people and are thus complex to identify properly. But many symptoms are common among people so identification of symptoms is the first and very important step toward the treatment of this mental illness. You can start close observation of yourself for changes in daily behavior and activities. Your family member(s) can be helpful too to identify symptoms of depression. In too many cases, people are not able to identify the line of demarcation between daily life sadness and depression. In that case consulting a family doctor is a good start and consulting professionals is the best start.

So if you or your loved one or family member(s) are struggling with one or more symptoms listed below for a longer time, like a few days or a few weeks then there are higher chances of depression.

  Feelings of sadness, emptiness

  Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness

  Feelings of worthless and guilt for even small matters

  Feelings of unnecessary worry or fear

  Feeling fatigued or exhausted

  Low temper or tolerance level

  Increasing anger or irritation or violence

  Losing interest in activities related to home, family, workplace or social

  Loosing interest in sex, hobbies, favorite sports, movies or TV shows

  Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions or remembering things

  Slow speaking, working or body movements

  Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts or even suicide

  Insomnia, waking up very early or oversleeping

  Notable weight loss or gain due to changes in appetite

  Unexplained and untreatable back pain, headaches, cramps or constipation


Common Types of Depression

This mental illness is categorized in various types according to symptoms, causes and time period. Still these types have no fixed pattern of symptoms, causes and time periods from person to person.

The list below will give you a basic idea of these types and differences among them.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD):  It's a mood disorder and also known as Major Depression or Clinical Depression or Classic Depression. Symptoms are severe or overwhelming and linger all day and more than two weeks. They interfere with a person's daily life activities including.


  Feelings of sadness, emptiness

  Feelings of worthless and guilt for even small matters

  Losing interest in activities related to home, family, workplace or social

  Loosing interest in sex, hobbies, favorite sports, movies or TV shows

  Suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts or even suicide

  Insomnia, waking up very early or oversleeping

  Notable weight loss or gain due to changes in appetite


Usually it is treated with psychotherapy and antidepressant medications like Escitalopram, Lexapro, Fluoxetine, Prozac, Paroxetine, Paxil, Sertraline, Zoloft but for severe symptoms electroconvulsive therapy may be effective.


Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD):  It’s also known as Dysthymia or Chronic Depression. Symptoms are similar to Major Depression but less severe and stays for two years and more.


Usually it is treated with medications like Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline, Pamelor, Protriptyline, Imipramine and talk therapy.


Bipolar Depression:  It’s a mood disorder and also known as Manic-Depressive Disorder or Manic Depression. As the name suggests, people with this disorder suffer with two different episodes of depression like Low period and High (Maniac) period. Various stressful or joyful events can trigger these episodes at any time.


Symptoms during the low period are:

  Feelings of sadness, emptiness

  FeelingsFeelings of hopelessness, helplessness

  Feeling fatigued or exhausted

  Unexplained and untreatable back pain, headaches, cramps or constipation

  Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions or remembering things


While symptoms during the high period are exactly opposite to the low period.


Usually it is treated with a combination of medications like Olanzapine, Zyprexa, Quetiapine, Seroquel and psychotherapy for a longer period.


Psychotic Depression:  Symptoms are severe and as name suggest, people experience psychosis including


  Hallucinations: They are beliefs in seeing, hearing, things that are not there. They have feelings of being touched or watched or followed by.

  Delusions: They are beliefs in things that are not realistic. e.g. People believe that they have superpowers or they are evil


Usually it is treated with medications like Aripiprazole, Abilify, Asenapine, Saphris, Olanzapine, Zyprexa, Quetiapine, Seroquel, Risperidone, Risperdal and talk therapy.


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):  it's a mood disorder and also known as Seasonal Depression that occurs at the same time every year. Usually symptoms appear when days get shorter in the fall and winter while disappear during the spring and summer. SAD is more common in far northern or far southern regions of the planet.


It’s believed that when days get shorter, the eyes' sensitivity to light is reduced and it disturbs the body's natural daily rhythms which results in SAD.


Symptoms during this period are:

  Feeling fatigued or exhausted

  Oversleeping

  Overeating and weight gain during the winter months


Usually it is treated with light therapy where people acquire light from explicit light sources. Psychotherapy and medication like Amitriptyline, Amoxapine, Bupropion, Clomipramine, Imipramine, Mirtazapine may also be effective.


Perinatal And Postpartum Depression:  As the name suggests, This disorder is related to baby birth. Usually Symptoms may occur during pregnancy and stay up to one year after having a baby. Symptoms are minor to major and may occur because of hormonal changes that can often affect a woman’s moods.


This disorder can be further divided into two types that are The Baby Blues and Postpartum Depression (PPD).


Common symptoms for these both types are:

  The Baby Blues:

  Quick mood swinging from happiness of being a mother to sadness of not being able to carry this new responsibility properly

  Feeling for not eating or taking care of self

  Feeling Irritated, fatigued, exhausted or anxious

  Postpartum Depression:

  Feelings of sadness, emptiness

  Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness

  Feelings of anxiety and panic attacks

  Feelings to cry oftenly

  Feelings of worthless and guilt for not doing good as a mother

  Trouble bonding with baby

  Thoughts of hurting baby, self or even suicide

  Changes in appetite and sleep

  Losing interest in activities related to home, family or social

Usually it is treated with counseling and medication like Zulresso, Sertraline, Zoloft, Bupropion.


Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD):  As the name suggests, This disorder is related to the menstrual period in women. Usually Symptoms may be triggered due to hormonal changes before seven days of menstrual period and stay until the menstrual period is over.


Common symptoms during this period are:

  Quick mood swinging

  Feelings of sadness, hopelessness or worthless

  Feelings of anger or irritation

  Feelings of anxiety or stress

  Feeling fatigued or exhausted

  Trouble concentrating

  Sleeping issues

  Overeating

  Headaches, joint or muscle pain


Usually it is treated with light therapy where people acquire light from explicit light sources. Psychotherapy and medication like Amitriptyline, Amoxapine, Bupropion, Clomipramine, Imipramine, Mirtazapine may also be effective.


Common Treatments for Depression

When a person is in depression, the person is under strong depressed feelings that there is no way to get rid of this blind well no matter how hard the person will try.

However remember that the most severe depression can also be treated. But the complex part is that like two people are not affected by depression in exactly the same way, similarly two people can not be treated in exactly the same way. Intensity, effects and time duration of treatment completely vary from person to person.

If causes, symptoms and even type of the depression are clear for a person then this is a first crucial step toward long lasting treatment of this complex mental illness. So it’s now time to take a second step and it is to treat the depression itself by getting one or more treatments like medications, therapies and self-help.

Only primary care doctors or a licensed mental health professional or psychiatrist can diagnose whether a person needs a single or combined treatment based on symptoms, causes and type of depression. So a person must start diagnosis and treatment of depression without any hesitation and delay.

Professionals may start a diagnosis of depression based on:

Medical Tests:  Medical tests related to blood, thyroid, hormone levels, nutritions, vitamins & minerals can be very helpful to make sure that they are functioning properly.

Physical Evaluation:  Doctors may do physical tests and get detailed information about a person's health to make sure that depression is connected or not to any physical health issue.

Psychiatric Evaluation:  Mental health professionals may ask a person to fill out a questionnaire related to symptoms, thoughts, feelings and behavior to diagnose the correct type of depression.


Treatments listed below are used worldwide to treat depression. Professionals prepare a correct treatment plan based on correct diagnosis.


Self-help:

  By doing regular exercise or jogging or walking

  By getting enough sleep

  By spending enough time with partner, family members, friends or social groups

  By avoiding alcohol and/or substances


Medications:

  By taking antidepressants (prescription medicines) for a few weeks to change brain chemistry.

  Escitalopram, Lexapro, Fluoxetine, Prozac, Paroxetine, Paxil, Sertraline, Zoloft, Amitriptyline, Nortriptyline , Pamelor, Protriptyline, Imipramine, Quetiapine, Seroquel, Aripiprazole, Abilify, Asenapine, Saphris, Olanzapine, Zyprexa, Risperidone, Risperdal, Amoxapine, Bupropion, Clomipramine, Mirtazapine, Zulresso, Citalopram, Celexa are some of the most commonly prescribed antidepressant medications.


Psychotherapy and Counseling:

  By talking with a mental health professional about your symptoms, problems and behavior. Counselors will address your problems and develop coping skills.

  One or more sessions can be helpful based on intensity of symptoms and behavior.


Alternative Therapies:

  There therapies are effective for mild depression

  With help of massage

  With help of acupuncture

  With help of hypnosis


Brain Stimulation Therapies:

  These therapies are effective for severe or psychotic depression

  Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

  Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)

  Vagus Nerve Stimulation(VNS)


Hopefully this article has given you enough and proper details about depression and this information will help you or your loved ones to diagnose and treat depression properly.


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