By Medicover Hospitals / 11 Feb 2021
Depression is a mood condition that induces a sense of distress and lack of interest that lasts. It affects how you feel, think, and act and can contribute to several emotional and physical issues, often called a major depressive disorder or clinical depression.
- What is depression?
- When to visit a Doctor?
- Home Remedies
What is depression?
Depression is classified as a mood disorder. It can be described as feelings of sorrow, loss, or anger that interfere with the daily activities of an individual. Significant life events may cause depression, such as sadness or job loss. However, feelings of pain are only considered by doctors to be part of depression if they persist. Depression is an ongoing problem, not a temporary one. It comprises episodes lasting at least 2 weeks during which symptoms last. For weeks, months, or years depression may last.
Types of depression:
Depression can be divided into categories based on the severity of the symptoms. Some people experience mild and temporary episodes, while others experience severe and continuous depressive episodes.
There are several forms of depression. Some of the most common types are:
Major depression Disorder:
A major depressive disorder is one of the most severe form of depression. It is characterized by lingering feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that do not go away on their own.
Persistent Depressive Disorder:
A persistent depressive disorder is known as dysthymia. The persistent depressive disorder causes symptoms that last at least 2 years. A person with this disorder may have episodes of major depression and milder symptoms.
Manic Depression, or Bipolar Disorder:
Depression is a common symptom of bipolar disorder, and research shows that people with this disorder may have symptoms about half the time. This can make it hard to separate bipolar disorder from depression.
Psychotic Depression Disorder:
Some people experience psychosis with depression. Psychosis, such as false beliefs and separation from reality, may include delusions. It can also involve hallucinations (feeling things that are not there).
After giving birth, many women experience postpartum depression, some people call it “baby blues”. When hormone levels readjust after delivery, mood swings can occur. This form of depression has no single cause and can last for months or years. Anyone experiencing ongoing depression after childbirth should seek medical attention.
- Abuse: Past physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can increase vulnerability to clinical depression later in life.
- Family history: You are at an increased risk of developing depression if you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder.
- Early childhood trauma: The way your body responds to anxiety and stressful circumstances influenced by certain incidents that happened in childhood.
- Brain structure: The risk of depression is higher if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active. However, scientists do not know whether this occurs before or after the onset of depression signs.
- Certain medications: Certain drugs can raise your risk of depression such as isotretinoin, the antiviral drug interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids.
- Conflict: Depression in someone who has the biological vulnerability to develop depression can result from personal conflicts or disputes with family or friends.
- Death or loss: Sadness or grief over the death or loss of a loved one, even natural, can increase the risk of depression.
- Medical conditions: Certain conditions can put you at higher risk, such as chronic diseases, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Drug use: A history of drug or alcohol abuse can affect your risk.
If a person suspects they have symptoms of depression, they should seek professional help from a doctor or mental health specialist. A qualified healthcare professional can rule out various causes, ensure an accurate diagnosis, and provide safe and effective treatment. To diagnose any form of depression, a doctor is likely to do:
- Physical exam: Your doctor can do a physical exam and ask you questions about your health. Sometimes, depression may relate to an underlying physical health problem.
- Lab tests: Your doctor may perform a blood test called a complete blood count or analyze your thyroid to make sure it works properly.
- Psychiatric evaluation: Your mental health practitioner talks about your symptoms, feelings, emotions, and patterns of action. To help answer these questions, you may be asked to complete a questionnaire.
It's challenging to live with depression, but therapy can help improve the quality of life. Speak about potential choices with your healthcare provider.
Combining medical treatments and lifestyle therapies, including the following, is common:
Your healthcare provider may prescribe:
Each type of medicine used to treat depression has potential benefits and risks.
- antipsychotic medications
Talking to a therapist can help you learn skills to deal with negative feelings. Family or community counseling sessions will also help you.
White light exposure can help monitor the mood and improve the symptoms of depression. Phototherapy commonly used in seasonal affective disorder, now called major depressive disorder with a seasonal pattern.
Avoid alcohol and drugs:
Drinking or abusing drugs can make you feel better for a while. But in the long run, these substances can make symptoms of depression and anxiety worse.
When to visit a Doctor?
The following is a list of signs that may show that a person has a depressive illness. If you or a loved one experiences any of these signs, make an appointment with a doctor as soon as possible:
- If you feel sad and hopeless almost every day, for most of the day
- If you have experienced a loss of interest or pleasure in things you used to enjoy (for example, hobbies, sex, going out with friends, etc.)
- If you feel guilty, helpless, or useless
- If you have thoughts of death, self-harm, or suicide, or if you've tried to commit suicide
- If you have undergone sleep pattern shifts (i.e. sleeping too much or too little, waking up early in the morning, or difficulty falling asleep)
- If you have experienced involuntary weight loss or gain, loss of appetite, or overeating
- If you feel tired almost every day, for most of the day, and you lack energy for daily activities
- If you suffer frequent crying episodes
- If you have difficulty concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions
- If you have persistent aches or pains, headaches, or digestive problems that do not improve with treatment
- If you feel restless, irritated, or easily upset regularly
Sleep and mood go hand in hand. Take very little of the first, and the second will weaken (whether you have depression).
Cut down on caffeine:
Coffee, tea, soda, and even chocolate contain caffeine. If you tend to be dependent on caffeine, try tapering off gradually to avoid unpleasant caffeine withdrawal symptoms.
Guided imagery is meditation in which you visualize a goal in as much detail as possible. This technique uses the power of positive thinking to help you achieve something specific, like happiness.
Beat with Music:
To help boost the mood of persons with depression, music therapy has been used. Sometimes it's about listening to music that promotes relaxation and positivity.
Kava is a root of the kava plant known for its sedative and anesthetic properties. It is most commonly used as an ingredient in relaxing teas.
Alcohol itself is a depressant. Interestingly, drinking can interfere with sleep, and quality sleep is the key to fighting sadness.
Learn to say no:
Feeling overwhelmed can make symptoms of anxiety and depression worse. Setting boundaries will make you feel happier in your professional and personal life.
Frequently Asked Questions:
A depressive episode lasts at least two weeks, and the symptoms of depression are persistent and occur almost every day for the duration of the episode.
A debilitating disease that may lead to failure to work or suicide. Not only do victims experience a depressed mood, but they also have difficulty performing simple daily tasks, lose interest in their usual activities, extreme fatigue, trouble sleeping, or feelings of guilt and helplessness.
Depression is known to run in families, suggesting that genetic factors contribute to the risk of developing this disease.
Science Direct - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0749069018300909
Jama Network - https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/194624
Science Direct - https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0140673602074500