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AnxietyWhat is Depression?

Depression is a mental health disorder or mood disorder characterized by a constant feeling of sadness or loss of interest in daily activities of life. It is different from low moods that people normally experience as symptoms can last from weeks, months, or years.

What are the Types of Depression?

The various types of depression include:

Major depressive disorder:  This is a severe form of depression. People with major depression experience intense sadness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or an unknown indefinite fear. People may also have body aches and pains. This depressive disorder is more common in women.

Persistent depressive order:  This is also referred to as dysthymia and dysthymic disorder. People with this condition may suffer for more than 2 years. They may experience lack of sleep, appetite, and energy. This depressive disorder is common in both men and women.

Postpartum and perinatal depression: This type of depression occurs during pregnancy or months after delivery. Women with postpartum depression can experience severe mood variation.

Major depressive disorder with psychotic features: This condition is a severe mental disorder with hallucinations. Psychotic depression may manifest as a mistaken belief of illness, guilt, social stigma, or poverty.

Major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern: This condition majorly depends on the season and daylight.  With the seasonal changes, the person experiences the same depression symptoms such as anxiety, anger, fear, weight gain, and lack of sleep.

Situational depression:  This type is also referred to as adjustment disorder and occurs due to unexpected life events.  This condition can resolve with time and learning skills to cope with stressful situations.

Major depressive disorder with atypical features:  These depression symptoms include a sudden elevation of mood, increased appetite, extra sensitivity to criticism or rejection, and sleeping for long hours.

Symptoms of Depression                                                                                      

  • Lack of interest in day-to-day activities
  • Feeling sad, empty, and anxious
  • Irregular sleeping pattern
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Frustrations and intolerability
  • Concentration difficulty
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • Displaying pessimism

What are the Causes of Depression?

Causes of depression may include:

Major life events:  Educational failure, loss of a family member, a difficult relationship, or financial crisis can be the cause of depression.

Childhood problems:  People who have experienced childhood trauma or child abuse at a young age may be vulnerable to depression.

Family history: Depression may be higher if a family member has been diagnosed with depression.

Certain medications:  Chronic illness and prolonged medication may lead to changes in brain receptors which increases susceptibility to depression.

Treatment for Depression

The various treatments for depression include:

  • Psychotherapy: This involves talking to a mental health doctor about your symptoms on a regular basis. The different forms of psychotherapy include:
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy - This is short-term therapy to regulate and align thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
    • Interpersonal therapy - This time-limited approach aims to develop interpersonal relationships.
    • Psychodynamic therapy - It focuses on understanding the basic cause and roots of emotional suffering.
  • Medications: The various medications that may be prescribed include:
    • Mood stabilizers
    • Anti-anxiety medications
    • Anti-psychotic medications
    • Stimulants
  • Brain Stimulation: The various brain stimulation therapies to treat depression include:
    • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) - A coil is used to transmit magnetic pulses to the brain to stimulate the nerve cells.
    • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) - Electric current is used to help the neurotransmitter in the brain function optimally.
  • Alternative Therapies: Treatment for depression also includes alternative therapies such as acupuncture and meditation.

How to Prevent Depression?

  1. Get Regular Exercise - Physical workouts increase the secretion of endorphins which boost your energy and mood.
  2. Reduce Time on Social Media - Avoid unnecessary hours spent in a virtual world.
  3. Build Healthy Relationships - Make sure to connect with friends and family on a daily basis
  4. Set Boundaries in Professional and Personal Life  - Know your limits and try not to take on a heavier workload than you can handle.
  5. Learn Stress Management Techniques - Learn skills for effectively managing day-to-day stresses and challenges.
  6. Develop Good Habits - Practice meditation, yoga, music, dance, or other activities that elevate your mood.
  7. Get Enough Sleep - High-quality sleep is mandatory for mental and physical growth.
  8. Eat Healthy - Watch what you eat and avoid high-fat food.
  9. Maintain a Healthy Weight - Weight issues may result in low self-esteem and depression.
  10. Develop Interpersonal Skills - Practice improving interpersonal skills such as listening, effective communication, and being proactive and flexible.