Is depression a feeling like being sad….one may wonder. While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood – it’s a serious condition that affects your physical and mental health.
Depression interferes with daily life and normal functioning. It can cause pain for both the person with depression and those who care about him or her. It is not a sign of a person’s weakness but a sign of an illness. Most people who experience depression need treatment to get better. It is time we take depression seriously and seek treatment instead of ignoring it.
Signs and Symptoms
Sadness is just one small part of depression. Some people with depression may not feel sadness at all. Depression has many other symptoms, including physical ones. If you experience any of the below signs and symptoms for at least 2 weeks, its time to see a doctor.
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy, fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Restlessness, irritability
Factors that may cause Depression
Many factors may play a role in depression, including genetics, brain biology and chemistry, and life events such as trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, an early childhood experience, or any stressful situation.
Depression can happen at any age, but often begins in the teens or early 20s or 30s. Most chronic mood and anxiety disorders in adults begin as high levels of anxiety in children. In fact, high levels of anxiety as a child could mean a higher risk of depression as an adult. Sometimes medications taken for these illnesses may cause side effects that contribute to depression.
Types of Depression
1. Major depression: Severe symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life. An episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person has several episodes.
2. Persistent depressive disorder: A depressed mood that lasts for at least 2 years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for 2 years.
3. Psychotic depression, which occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false beliefs or a break with reality (delusions), or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations).
4. Postpartum depression, which is much more serious than the “baby blues” that many women experience after giving birth, when hormonal and physical changes and the new responsibility of caring for a newborn can be overwhelming. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of women experience postpartum depression after giving birth.
5. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. The depression generally lifts during spring and summer.
6. Depression is treatable. Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. The earlier the treatment begins, the more effective it is. Most adults see an improvement in their symptoms when treated with antidepressant drugs, talk therapy (psychotherapy), or a combination of both.
Treatments for depression
There’s no one proven way that people recover from depression, and it’s different for everyone. However, there are a range of effective treatments and health professionals who can help you on the road to recovery.
Psychological treatments also known as talking therapies can help you change your thinking patterns and improve your coping skills so you’re better equipped to deal with life’s stresses and conflicts. There are several types of effective psychological treatments for depression like cognitive behaviour therapy, interpersonal therapy, behaviour therapy.
Medical treatments for depression
The main medical treatment for depression is antidepressant medication. There’s a lot of misinformation about antidepressant medication and while there is no simple explanation as to how it works, it can be very useful in the treatment of moderate to severe depression and some anxiety disorders.
Do not suffer in silence. If you or a loved one is suffering from depression, seek medical help. The Department of Psychiatry at Kokilaben Dhurubhai Ambani Hospital provide offer individualised treatment plans that ensure consistent patient care. Please refer below link for more details: