Key facts :
- Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
- Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.
- More women are affected by depression than men.
- Depression can lead to suicide.
- There are effective psychological and pharmacological treatments for moderate and severe depression.
What Is Depression ?
Depression is considered as a mood disorder . It may be considered as feeling of sadness or anger that interfere with a person’s everyday activities.
It can also be described as a medical condition in which a person experiences severe feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy.
It’s also fairly common. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) . Source estimates that 8.1 percent of American adults ages 20 and over had depression in any given 2-week period from 2013 to 2016.
People experience depression in different ways. It may interfere with your daily work, resulting in lost time and lower productivity. It can also influence relationships and some chronic health conditions.
Conditions that can get worse due to depression include:
- cardiovascular disease
It’s important to realize that feeling down at times is a normal part of life. Sad and upsetting events happen to everyone. But, if you’re feeling down or hopeless on a regular basis, you could be dealing with depression.
Depression is considered a serious medical condition that can get worse without proper treatment. Those who seek treatment often see improvements in symptoms in just a few weeks.
Depression Symptoms .
Depression can be more than a constant state of sadness or feeling “blue.”
Major depression can cause a variety of symptoms. Some affect your mood, and others affect your body. Symptoms may also be ongoing, or come and go.
The symptoms of depression can be experienced differently among men, women, and children differently.
Men may experience symptoms related to their:
- mood, such as anger, aggressiveness, irritability, anxiousness, restlessness
- emotional well-being, such as feeling empty, sad, hopeless
- behavior, such as loss of interest, no longer finding pleasure in favorite activities, feeling tired easily, thoughts of suicide, drinking excessively, using drugs, engaging in high-risk activities
- sexual interest, such as reduced sexual desire, lack of sexual performance
- cognitive abilities, such as inability to concentrate, difficulty completing tasks, delayed responses during conversations
- sleep patterns, such as insomnia, restless sleep, excessive sleepiness, not sleeping through the night
- physical well-being, such as fatigue, pains, headache, digestive problems
Women may experience symptoms related to their:
- mood, such as irritability
- emotional well-being, such as feeling sad or empty, anxious or hopeless
- behavior, such as loss of interest in activities, withdrawing from social engagements, thoughts of suicide
- cognitive abilities, such as thinking or talking more slowly
- sleep patterns, such as difficulty sleeping through the night, waking early, sleeping too much
- physical well-being, such as decreased energy, greater fatigue, changes in appetite, weight changes, aches, pain, headaches, increased cramps
Children may experience symptoms related to their:
- mood, such as irritability, anger, mood swings, crying.
- emotional well-being, such as feelings of incompetence (e.g. “I can’t do anything right”) or despair, crying, intense sadness.
- behavior, such as getting into trouble at school or refusing to go to school, avoiding friends or siblings, thoughts of death or suicide.
- cognitive abilities, such as difficulty concentrating, decline in school performance, changes in grades.
- sleep patterns, such as difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much.
- physical well-being, such as loss of energy, digestive problems, changes in appetite, weight loss or gain.
The symptoms can extend beyond your mind.
- mood, such as irritability, anger, mood swings, crying
- emotional well-being, such as feelings of incompetence (e.g. “I can’t do anything right”) or despair, crying, intense sadness
- behavior, such as getting into trouble at school or refusing to go to school, avoiding friends or siblings, thoughts of death or suicide
- cognitive abilities, such as difficulty concentrating, decline in school performance, changes in grades
- sleep patterns, such as difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- physical well-being, such as loss of energy, digestive problems, changes in appetite, weight l
There are several possible causes of depression. They can range from biological to circumstantial.
Common causes include:
- Family history. You’re at a higher risk for developing depression if you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder.
- Early childhood trauma. Some events affect the way your body reacts to fear and stressful situations.
- Brain structure. There’s a greater risk for depression if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active. However, scientists don’t know if this happens before or after the onset of depressive symptoms.
- Medical conditions. Certain conditions may put you at higher risk, such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
- Drug use. A history of drug or alcohol misuse can affect your risk.
About 21 percent of people who have a substance use problem also experience depression. In addition to these causes, other risk factors for depression include:
- low self-esteem or being self-critical
- personal history of mental illness
- certain medications
- stressful events, such as loss of a loved one, economic problems, or a divorce
Many factors can influence feelings of depression, as well as who develops the condition and who doesn’t.
The causes of depression are often tied to other elements of your health.
However, in many cases, healthcare providers are unable to determine what’s causing depression.
Treatment For Depression
living with depression can be difficult , but treatment can improve your quality of life . Talk to your healthcare provider about possible options .
You may successfully manage symptoms with one form of treatment , or you may find that a combination of treatments works best .
It’s common to combine medical treatments and lifestyle therapies , including the following :
Your healthcare provider may prescribe:
- antipsychotic medications
Each type of medication that’s used to treat depression has benefits and potential risks.
Speaking with a therapist can help you learn skills to cope with negative feelings. You may also benefit from family or group therapy sessions.
Exposure to doses of white light can help regulate your mood and improve symptoms of depression. Light therapy is commonly used in seasonal affective disorder, which is now called major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern.
Talk with your healthcare provider before taking a supplement or combining a supplement with prescription medication because some supplements can react with certain medications. Some supplements may also worsen depression or reduce the effectiveness of medication.
Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity 3 to 5 days a week. Exercise can increase your body’s production of endorphins, which are hormones that improve your mood.
Avoid alcohol and drugs
Drinking or misusing drugs may make you feel better for a little bit. But in the long run, these substances can make depression and anxiety symptoms worse.
Learn how to say no
Feeling overwhelmed can worsen anxiety and depression symptoms. Setting boundaries in your professional and personal life can help you feel better.
Take care of yourself
You can also improve symptoms of depression by taking care of yourself. This includes getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet, avoiding negative people, and participating in enjoyable activities.
Sometimes depression doesn’t respond to medication. Your healthcare provider may recommend other treatment options if your symptoms don’t improve.
These include electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), or repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) to treat depression and improve your mood.
Natural treatment for depression
Traditional depression treatment uses a combination of prescription medication and counseling. But there are also alternative or complementary treatments you can try.
It’s important to remember that many of these natural treatments have few studies showing their effects on depression, good or bad.
Likewise, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t approve many of the dietary supplements on the market in the United States, so you want to make sure you’re buying products from a trustworthy brand.
Talk to your healthcare provider before adding supplements to your treatment plan.
Depression is one of the priority conditions covered by WHO’s mental health Gap Action Programme (MHGAP ). The Programme aims to help countries increase services for people with mental, neurological and substance use disorders through care provided by health workers who are not specialists in mental health. WHO has developed brief psychological intervention manuals for depression that may be delivered by lay workers. An example is Problem Management Plus, which describes the use of behavioural activation, relaxation training, problem solving treatment and strengthening social support. Moreover, the manual Group Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) for Depression describes group treatment of depression. Finally, Thinking Healthy covers the use of cognitive-behavioural therapy for perinatal depression.