Depression is a serious health issue and affects the way we feel, think, and handle our daily activities. It can be mild, moderate, or severe. It differs from usual mood swings and our temporary emotional responses to daily life challenges.
Depression is far more widespread than most people realize. Despite its prevalence and its often negative effects on our lives, there are still many misconceptions about depression. Many people don’t take depression seriously and hence suffer the consequences. According to the WHO, approximately 5% of adults suffer from depression, and it is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is more common in women than men.
For a person to be diagnosed with depression, he/she must have shown its symptoms for at least a couple of weeks.
Some Causes Of Depression
Different factors may cause depression, such as:
- Genetics: If you have a family history of depression, then you are more likely to develop depression at some stage of your life.
- Brain Chemistry: Chemical imbalance in the brain is an important cause of depression among people. This imbalance affects the brain and the way we think and feel.
- Hormonal Imbalance: Hormonal changes, particularly in women, may lead to depression. Especially, during the menstrual cycle and menopause, females undergo drastic changes in their hormones. This causes unusual mood swings and depression among women.
- Stressful Life Events: Shocking life events such as the death of a close family member or divorce, bereavement, unemployment, or loss of a job may also cause depression.
- Medical Conditions: Some chronic medical conditions, like prolonged illness, sleeplessness, heart attack, cancer, etc. may also contribute to depression.
- Alcoholism: People with alcohol abuse problems are also at high risk of developing depression at some stage of their life.
- Lack Of Exercise: Lack of exercise is another factor that may cause depression. The researchers found that people doing exercise regularly are less likely to develop depression than those who exercise infrequently.
Common Depression Symptoms
While there are many signs of depression, the most common symptoms include:
- Persistent low mood and feeling irritable and sad
- Over-reaction and angry outbursts over petty matters
- Showing no interest in activities that were once pleasurable
- Unusual changes in appetite or sleep patterns
- Loss of energy, and feeling of tiredness
- Staying indoors and avoiding socialization
- Feeling hopeless, helpless, or guilty about the future
- Difficulty in concentrating and decision-making
- Recurrent thoughts of suicide or self-harm
- Unexpected weight gain or loss without dieting
- Physical pain in different body parts
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Sometimes, it is difficult to know whether these symptoms are due to stress alone or if they are signs that someone is suffering from a depressive disorder. If you notice any changes in your loved one’s behavior that concern you, it is important to speak up and encourage them to seek professional help for their symptoms.
If left untreated for too long, depressive disorders can have serious consequences on a person’s quality of life and their relationships with family and friends. Additionally, depressive disorders often occur together with other mental health conditions, such as anxiety and substance abuse issues, which need to be addressed alongside any treatment for depression.
Ways To Deal With Depression
The following ways are helpful in dealing with depression and its debilitating effects on our mental and physical health:
- Seek Medical Help: Depression is a curable disease and can be cured through medication as well as psychotherapy.
- Antidepressants are medicines that are commonly used to treat depression.
- Psychotherapy (talk therapy) is a process in which people are taught how to think and behave to cure depression, and also change the habits that cause depression.
- Engage in Activities That You Enjoy: Engaging in activities that you enjoy will help you get rid of depression and depressive thoughts.
- Be Sociable: Aloofness and loneliness can contribute to depression. It is, therefore, necessary to go out and mix up with people to avoid depression.
- Talk To Someone About Your Depression: If you’re having the symptoms of depression, talk to someone in your family. They will not only take care of you but will also help you overcome depression through continuous engagement and counseling.
Depression is an extremely serious health issue and must not be ignored. You must seek professional help right away when you observe any symptoms of depression. Never brush aside depression as a temporary phenomenon. If left undiagnosed and untreated, it may have drastic consequences and in extreme cases, may even lead you to commit suicide.
You deserve happiness and peaceful life. There are many people around you, who will support you through this difficult phase of your life. So be open to them and let them assist you in dealing with depression.