Depression – Conditions

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Overview

Depression is a prevalent illness, with over 264 million individuals suffering from it around the world. It can progress to a significant health condition especially if it lasts for a long time. This condition can make an individual suffer severely and cause them to perform poorly at work, school, and in their personal lives. In its most extreme form, it has the potential to lead to suicide. Suicide claims the lives of around 800,000 individuals each year and is the second-highest cause of mortality in the United States among people aged 15 to 29.

It is estimated that 76-85 percent of people in low or middle-income countries do not have access to effective treatments for mental illnesses. Funding unavailability, a scarcity of qualified healthcare professionals, and the societal stigma attached to mental illnesses are all barriers to effective mental health treatment. Incorrect assessment is yet another obstacle to effective treatment. The misdiagnosis and improper administration of antidepressants are common in people suffering from depression in countries of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Other people who do not have the disease are frequently misdiagnosed and treated with antidepressants as a result. The side effects of depression include risky behaviors like alcohol or drug addiction, sleep disturbance, and ruined social life.

Common depression types include:

Major depression: This type is characterized by a dark mood with thoughts of suicide.

Persistent depressive disorder: This type is characterized by a low mood lasting for two years with the symptoms of appetite loss.

Bipolar disorder: This type is characterized by episodes of depression

Causes

Many possible causes exist for depression. It can be caused by a number of different factors and can be initiated by a variety of circumstances.

Depression is sometimes caused by an extremely difficult event, such as the death of a loved one, a divorce, sickness, or financial concerns. The likelihood of developing this condition increases in people who have faced setbacks in their lives (like job loss, grief, or psychological trauma).

One of the most common causes of depression is a combination of factors. For instance, after recovering from an illness, you may experience another traumatic incident, such as the death of a loved one, which makes you depressed.

Physical health is considered to be one of the causes. This mental condition and physical health are inextricably linked. Cardiovascular disease, for example, can result in depression and vice versa.

There is a complex interplay of social, psychological, and biological factors causing depression. Below are the risk factors:

·       Family history

·       Genetic makeup

·       Certain medications

·       Stress or trauma

·       Substance misuse

Symptoms

Determining whether a person’s persistent, unshakeable negative feelings are the result of depression is the very first move toward healing and rehabilitation for someone who is suffering from it. Check out the below signs of severe depression to see if it’s time to get professional treatment from a mental health specialist.

·       Persistent sad or nervous mood

·       Pessimism or sense of hopelessness

·       Irritability, frustration, or restlessness

·       Guilt, a sense of worthlessness, or a sense of helplessness

·       Loss of pleasure or interest in different activities or hobbies

·       Reduced energy, tiredness, or a sense of being “slowed down”

·       Concentration, decision-making, or memory difficulties

·       Sleep disturbances or oversleeping

·       Appetite shifts

·       Suicide attempts or thoughts of death

Although this condition can affect anyone, women are twice as likely as men to suffer from it. Symptoms of depression in women include:

·       Losing appetite

·       Feeling guilty, anxious, or irritable

·       Feel like crying without any reason

·       Having mood swings

Always remember that we all experience similar symptoms from time to time and that they do not necessarily indicate that you are depressed or suffering from a mental illness. In the same way, not everyone who is depressed will display all of the symptoms listed above.

Diagnosis

Depression diagnosis is based on physical examination and some blood tests that are performed by the doctor to rule out other conditions like an underactive thyroid.

The diagnosis mainly includes the physician asking about general health and state of mind. Doctors look for the severe signs and symptoms for diagnosing it.

Depression tests are also performed for the diagnosis. The test is mainly done by administering questionnaires containing the related questions regarding the signs and symptoms for determining the presence of illness.

The “Hamilton Depression Rating Scale” is a test, which is used by doctors. It has 21 questions and their scores are indicative of the severity of the illness.

Treatment

When it comes to managing depressive symptoms, psychotherapy may be beneficial.

Treatment for depression is available; however, symptom management is typically comprised of three steps:

Support can come in many forms, ranging from brainstorming practical solutions to educating members of one’s own family.

The types of psychotherapy that include one-on-one counseling as well as cognitive behavioral therapy are a few examples falling in the category of talking therapy.

The use of antidepressants as prescribed by the physician.

Antidepressants can be beneficial for people suffering from mild to moderate depression.

·       Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

·       Tricyclic antidepressants

·       Monoamine oxidase inhibitors

These medicines should only be taken as prescribed by a physician. The effects of some medications are delayed for an extended period of time. If a person stops taking the medication, they may miss out on some of the drug’s potential benefits.

When their symptoms improve, some patients decide to stop taking their medication, but this may result in a recurrence of their condition.

Inform your doctor of any questions or concerns you have about antidepressants, as well as any plans you have to stop taking them altogether.

Natural therapies, such as herbal medicines, are used by some people to cure mild-to-moderate depression.

Before utilizing any form of herbal cure or supplement to treat this illness, it is critical to consult with a doctor. Some herbs can make symptoms worse by interfering with the action of medications.

When to see a doctor

When you feel persistently sad without any reason or have some signs of depression as mentioned above, immediately consult your primary physician. 

It can be a short-term problem or a long-term issue. Treatment does not always result in complete recovery from the illness. However, it can make symptoms manageable. Finding the correct combination of drugs and therapy to treat depression symptoms is crucial. 


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