Everyone of us have had periods of feeling unmotivated and low moods.But in major depressive disorder,these feelings are intense and prolonged.The persistent feeling of sadness ill affects and impair how you feel, think, and handle daily activities.It troubles normal day to day routines such as sleeping,eating,working etc.You may lose interest even in your favourite activities or hobbies.This eventually culminates in serious physical and emotional complications.The person feels unworthy and becomes suicidal
Depression is a serious mood disorder and is common.According to WHO,there are 3oo million people affected worldwide.Although it can affect anyone and all ages,more women are affected than men.A person is said to suffer from depression,if he or she experiences the symptoms for at least two weeks.Depression do not go away on its own.But the good news is that it is treatable.
Signs and Symptoms
There are multiple types of depression but many of them have similar symptoms.Also,not everyone experiencing depression have all symptoms.
Thoughts and Behaviour : Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood,not getting things done at work,withdrawing from close family and friends,unable to concentrate or remember,difficulty making decisions,Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
Feelings : Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still,feeling worthless,pessimistic,guilty,irritable,miserable,Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
Physical : Decreased energy or fatigue,moving or talking more slowly,difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping,appetite and/or weight changes,aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
Research suggests that continuing difficulties or recent events or a combination of events can ‘trigger’ depression if you’re already at risk because of previous bad experiences or personal factors.
- Family history :Depression can run in families and some people will be at an increased genetic risk. However, having a parent or close relative with depression doesn’t mean you’ll automatically have the same experience.
- Personality : Some people may be more at risk of depression because of their personality, particularly if they have a tendency to worry a lot, have low self-esteem, are perfectionists, are sensitive to personal criticism, or are self-critical and negative.
- Serious medical illness :Certain conditions may put you at higher risk, such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).The stress and worry of coping with a serious illness can lead to depression.
- Drug and alcohol use :Drug and alcohol use can both lead to and result from depression.
- Early childhood trauma :Some events impact the way that body reacts to fear and stressful situations.
Changes in the brain
Depression is not simply the result of a ‘chemical imbalance’, for example because you have too much or not enough of a particular brain chemical. There’s a greater risk for depression if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active. However, scientists don’t know if this happens before or after the onset of depressive symptoms.
Types of Depression
- Persistent depressive disorder (also called dysthymia) is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms.
- Postpartum depression : Many women experience depression after giving birth. Women with postpartum depression experience full-blown major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression) making it difficult for new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and/or for their babies.
- Psychotic depression occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false fixed beliefs or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see
- Seasonal affective disorder is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. Winter depression, typically accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.
- Bipolar disorder is different from depression, but it is included in this list is because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extremely low moods that meet the criteria for major depression called bipolar depression
Examples of other types of depressive disorders newly added to the diagnostic classification of DSM-5 include disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (diagnosed in children and adolescents) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
Treatment and Therapies
Different types of anxiety or depression require different types of treatment. This may include lifestyle changes such as regular physical activity, healthy eating and adequate sleep, family and peer support, and psychological therapy for mild-moderate anxiety and depression, through to more specialized psychological and medical treatments for severe depression and/or anxiety provided by a team of health and mental health professionals.
Most modern antidepressants have an effect on your brain’s chemical transmitters (serotonin and noradrenaline), which relay messages between brain cells – this is thought to be how medications work for more severe depression. Psychological treatment can also help you to regulate your moods.
Several types of psychotherapy can help people with depression like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT), and problem-solving therapy.
Brain Stimulation Therapies
If medications do not reduce the symptoms of depression, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be an option.Based on the latest research ,ECT can provide relief for people with severe depression who have not been able to feel better with other treatments.
Effective treatment can stimulate the growth of new nerve cells in circuits that regulate your mood, which is thought to play a critical part in recovering from the most severe episodes of depression.There is no one proven way that people recover from anxiety or depression, and it’s different for everybody. The important thing is finding the right treatments and the right health professionals and support team that works for you.
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