Everything You Need to Know About Depression; Signs, Types, Treatment

Depression has been rampant across all ages due to numerous factors. In a nutshell, depression is a syndrome that makes someone consistently feel sad and lose interest in things they love. This disorder is also known as depressive disorder or clinical depression.

Most people battling depression experience effects on behaviour, thinking and general feeling about life and issues.

In this article, we are going to look at various aspects of depression to help us understand the whole concept.

Causes of Depression

There are a number of things that cause depression in people

a) Drug abuse

The first and foremost cause of depression and in this case clinical depression is drug abuse.

b) Chronic illness

When one is diagnosed with terminal illnesses there are higher chances that without proper counselling most end up in depression due to hopelessness

c) Tragic life events

Job loss, death, separation, divorce or retirement may cause depression especially when one was not mentally ready.

d) Gender factors

Research shows that more women have higher chances of getting into depression in comparison to their men counterparts.

e) Age factors

Depression is more likely in old age due to loneliness and lack of support. However, over time, young people are also battling depression due to various factors and life events.

Why so many people have depression today

I know you may be asking yourself why depression is on the rise nowadays. Well, below are some of the reason

i) Rise of digital media

Digital media is a blessing in disguise. Communication is travelling faster without meeting in person. Social media has led to the rise of people comparing themselves to others and seeking approval from online fans and peers.

As a result, most social media users rely on online opinions and in most cases, negative opinions have a way of increasing depression levels

ii) Family issues

Divorces have been one of the factors leading to an increase in depression levels in children and spouses.

iii) Anxiety

This is the general feeling of worry about something that is about to happen. When someone is expecting something to happen and they are uncertain, depression sneaks in.

iv) Past events

The past has a way of affecting the future. Occurrences such as deaths, rape, job loss etc. can gradually cause depression when someone is not able to rise above them.

Signs and symptoms of depression            

There are various signs and symptoms that affect people suffering from depression

a) Suicidal thoughts

These are feelings of taking away your own life because of feeling helpless. Most people with suicidal feelings have the tendency of feeling like the world is better off without them

b) Fatigue

Fatigue is the feeling of lack of energy and motivation to do things. There are three main types of fatigue;

  1. Transient fatigue – this is a result of a lack of enough sleep over a long period
  2. Cumulative fatigue – sleep restriction in a number of days
  3. Circadian fatigue – fatigue because of interrupting the normal body biological clock in terms of when to sleep or wake up

There are also some warning signs of fatigue and they include; headaches, dizziness, lack of focus, and memory loss among others.

Some causes of fatigue are sleeping less or too much, drug use, poor eating habits, burnout, work-related stresses, grief and many more.

c) Guilt

Depression also causes feelings of guilt where one feels like they deserve to be at blame for some offences they have done or others have done.

d) Loss of appetite

This is a general lack of desire to take meals as normal. This is another sign you may be going through depression.

e) Weight issues

Some people suffering from depression may either add or lose weight.

f) Reduced sexual desire

Sexual active people tend to lose the desire for sexual activities as a result of depression.

g) Lack of interest in things you love

If you are suffering from depression you may end up lacking interest in things you love such as work, games, social places, friends and family.

h) Too much sleep

Depression may also cause victims to sleep for long hours.

i) Restlessness

When someone is restless they are unable to remain calm or settle down and this is one of the signs of depression.

Some of the ways to deal with restlessness are to talk to a friend, engage in an activity that distracts you, exercise etc.

  • Slow speech

Victims of depression also experience slow speech or speech disorders due to distortion of thoughts.

  • Difficulty in making decisions

Depression has a way of causing patients to lack clarity of mind during decision-making.

  • Mood swings

This is a frequent emotional change from one emotion to another in a short period of time.

  • Abusive behaviour

Some partners may end up exhibiting abusive behaviours either verbally or physically.

Types of Depression

Depression is in various types that you need to be aware of.

a) Persistent depressive disorder

This is a mild condition that lasts for a longer period of time. It is also known as dysthymia

Some symptoms of dysthymia include lack of concentration, eating disorders, sleeping disorders, and lack of energy among others.

The treatment for persistent depressive disorder involves some therapy, medications and also some form of counselling.

b) Bipolar

Bipolar depression is an illness with a mix of very high and very low moods. The patients experience extreme happiness and sadness in equal measure. This condition is also known as manic depression.

There are four various types of bipolar depression which are; Bipolar I, Bipolar II, Cyclothymic disorder and Unspecified bipolar disorder.

c) Psychotic depression

This depression affects patients to the extent of them losing touch with reality. This condition has three conditions hallucinations, delusions and disorderly thinking.

d) Postpartum depression

Postpartum happens when mothers give birth due to changes in hormones. This is due to a lack of enough sleep which leads to low energy levels.

Some of the symptoms of postpartum depression include challenges relating and bonding with a child, lack of sleep, crying too much, suicidal thoughts, lack of hope, feeling of inadequacy as a mother etc.

  • Major Depressive Disorder

This is also known as clinical depression and the main causes are loss of a loved one, sickness or life issues such as divorce, loss of a job etc.

  • Winter depression

Winter depression is a season and comes as a result of a random happening that comes in intervals.

Depression test

If you suspect a friend, colleague, family member or yourself is battling depression, you can visit a health facility. Further, you can also take an online depression test so that you can easily seek medication.

Depression Treatment

There is hope if you are suffering from depression. The treatment can be done in three ways medication antidepressants, social support and therapy.

Depending on the type of depression one is suffering from the treatment is done in various ways.

Ways of overcoming depression without medication

Overcoming depression is possible without medication. There are some ways in which you can explore as a person

  • Sleep more

Try as much as you can to have a consistent routine to sleep and avoid distractions.

  • Spiritual support

Try meditation as often as you can. This can help you overcome depression

  • Exercising

Exercise improves your mood and the general quality of your life and helps you refocus.

  • Have a support system

Get a social group that can help you overcome depression. Further, you can volunteer in the community around you.

  • Listen to good music

Music calms you down and your mind. It also helps you lift your moods.

Whenever you do these simple techniques for managing depression, you will see an improvement in your mental health.

How to help someone with depression

Perhaps you have a friend, colleague or a family member suffering from depression. There are a number of ways in which you can help them. In this article, we have shared some practical tips that you can implement.

i) Talk to them often

People suffering from depression may withdraw from others and tend to sleep more. You can start off conversations with them and help them speak out.

ii) Assist them to get enough support

Therapy and counselling are one of the best ways to help someone with depression get support. As a friend, you can go a step ahead and get therapy for a loved one battling depression

iii) Learn more about depression

It is not possible to help someone when you do not have enough information on the subject matter. Therefore, if you are helping a friend battling depression, educate yourself on depression for you to be in a better position to help.

iv) Exercise patience

Overcoming depression is not instant, as such, you need to exercise patience with a close friend or relative battling depression.

v) Offer help

In case of new mothers battling postpartum depression, offer to help with house chores or help with the baby so that the mother can have enough rest.

Bottom Line:

Depression can be different in people. As such the symptoms may not be similar from one person to another. Therefore, always seek help when you see any of these symptoms and the end results will be reflected in your general mental health.

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