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What is Depression?

What is Depression?


What you need to know about Depression

A mood disorder is defined as depression. It’s characterised by feelings of sadness, loss, or rage that interfere with one’s daily activities.

An estimated 1 in 6 adults has experienced a ‘common mental disorder’ like depression or anxiety in the past week.

Though depression and grieving share some characteristics, depression is distinct from grief experienced after the death of a loved one or sadness experienced following a painful life event. Grief does not frequently involve self-loathing or a loss of self-esteem, whereas depression does.

Positive emotions and good recollections of the deceased are common companions to feelings of emotional agony in bereavement. The sensations of sadness are continuous in major depressive disorder.

Depression affects people in various ways. It may cause disruptions in your regular routine, resulting in lost time and decreased production. It can also have an impact on relationships and some chronic illnesses.

What Is Depression?

Depression, sometimes known as major depressive disorder, is a mood illness that causes you to feel unhappy or uninterested in life on a regular basis.

Most people experience sadness or depression from time to time. It’s a natural reaction to grief or life’s difficulties. When extreme grief lasts for several days to weeks and prevents you from living your life, it may be something more than sadness. Clinical depression is a medical disorder that can be treated.

Is Depression Curable?

Depression has no known remedy. Your symptoms may fade with time, but your illness will not.

You can achieve remission and live a long, healthy life with proper care and therapy.

Symptoms of Depression

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD), a doctors manual used in practices across the UK, states to identify mental disorders, you have depression if you have five or more of the symptoms listed below for at least two weeks:

  • For the most part of the day, especially in the morning, your mood is sad.
  • Almost every day, you feel fatigued or drained of energy.
  • Almost every day, you feel worthless or guilty.
  • You are depressed or hopeless.
  • You struggle to concentrate, remember facts, and make decisions.
  • Almost every day, you can’t sleep or sleep too much.
  • Almost every day, you show little enthusiasm or enjoyment in a variety of activities.
  • You often consider death or suicide (not just a fear of death).
  • You are agitated or slowed down.
  • You’ve gained or lost weight.

You could also:

  • Feeling irritable and restless
  • Lose interest in life
  • Stop feeling hungry or over-eat
  • Have aches, pains, headaches, cramps, or stomach issues that aren’t going away or improving
  • Have you ever felt melancholy, nervous, or “empty”
  • While these symptoms are prevalent, not everyone who suffers from depression may exhibit them. The severity, frequency, and duration of these events might all vary.

Your symptoms could also follow a pattern. A change in seasons, for example, can cause depression (a condition formerly called seasonal affective disorder).

It’s fairly uncommon for persons suffering from depression to exhibit bodily symptoms. Joint discomfort, back pain, digestive issues, sleep disturbances, and hunger changes are all possible symptoms. You may have also slowed your words and motions. The explanation for this is that serotonin and norepinephrine, two brain chemicals associated with depression, play a role in both mood and pain.

Children Suffering Depression

Childhood depression is distinct from the common “blues” and emotions that most children experience. If your child is sad, it does not always mean they are depressed. When melancholy persists day after day, depression may be present. Disruptive behaviour that interferes with typical social activities, interests, academics, or family life could be an indication of a problem.

Depression in Teenagers

Many teenagers are depressed or moody. When sorrow lasts longer than two weeks and a teen exhibits additional depressive signs, there may be a problem. Keep an eye out for withdrawal from friends and family, a reduction in school performance, or alcohol or drug usage. Consult your doctor to see whether your adolescent is depressed. As teens get older, there is an effective treatment that can help them get past depression.

Causes of Depression

The specific reasons for depression are unknown to doctors. They believe it’s a combination of factors, including:

  • Brain structure. People who suffer from depression appear to have physical variations in their brains compared to those who do not.
  • Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters, which are chemicals in the brain, play a role in your mood. When you experience depression, it’s possible that these molecules aren’t operating properly.
  • Hormones. Pregnancy, postpartum complications, thyroid disorders, menopause, and other factors all affect hormone levels. This may trigger depressive symptoms.
  • Genetics. Researchers have yet to discover the genes that cause sadness, but you’re more likely to get depression if someone in your family does.

Depression Types

Doctors can diagnose a number of different types of depressive illnesses, including:

  • Major depression (unipolar)
  • When depression lasts for at least two years, it is called a persistent depressive disorder, or dysthymia.
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder occurs when children and teenagers become irritable and furious, and frequently have more extreme outbursts than a typical reaction.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder occurs when a woman experiences more severe mood disorders than regular premenstrual syndrome before her menstruation (PMS).
  • When you have symptoms while taking a drug or drinking alcohol, or after you quit, you have a substance-induced mood disorder (SIMD).
  • Another medical problem has caused depression.
  • Minor depression and other depressive diseases.

Other characteristics of your depression may include:

  • Anxiety and distress. You’re constantly worried about what might happen or lose control.
  • Characteristics are mixed. You have phases of strong energy, excessive chatting, and high self-esteem, as well as sadness and mania.
  • Atypical characteristics After joyous events, you may feel fantastic, but you may also feel hungry, need more sleep, and be more sensitive to rejection.
  • Psychotic characteristics You make false assumptions or see and hear things that aren’t there.
  • Catatonia. You are unable to move normally. You could be immobile and unresponsive, or you could be making uncontrollable movements.
  • Depression after childbirth. Your symptoms may appear during or after pregnancy.
  • Seasonal pattern. Seasonal variations exacerbate your problems, particularly in the colder, darker months.

What Illnesses Are Associated With Depression?

Other physical or mental health problems, such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, phobias, substance use disorders, and eating disorders, are common in those who suffer from depression. Consult your doctor if you or a loved one is experiencing signs of depression or any mental disorder. Treatments can be beneficial.

Depression and Suicide

Anyone who contemplates or discusses self-harm should be handled seriously. Do not hesitate to contact your local suicide prevention hotline. Call Samaritans on 116123. Alternatively, get immediate help from a mental health expert. Go to the hospital right away if you intend or have made plans to commit suicide.

Some warning indicators are:

  • Suicide or death thoughts or conversation
  • Self-harm or harm to others’ thoughts or talk
  • Impulsiveness or aggressive behaviour

If your child or teenager starts taking antidepressants, keep an eye out for these warning signals. People under the age of 25 may experience greater suicidal thoughts in the first few weeks of taking these medications or while switching to a different dose.

Diagnosing Depression

Your doctor will use a variety of approaches to diagnose you with depression, including:

  • Physical examination Your doctor will examine your overall health to determine whether you have another illness.
  • Laboratory tests You might, for example, have bloodwork done to check on hormone levels.
  • Psychological assessment. Your doctor will be concerned about your mental health and will inquire about your thoughts, feelings, and patterns of behaviour. A questionnaire is also available.

Treatment for Depression

Consult your doctor if you or someone you know is experiencing signs of the disease. They can assess you and either treat you or send you to a mental health specialist.

The sort of treatment your doctor suggests will be determined by the severity of your symptoms. One or more of the following may be required:

  • Medication. Most individuals with depression benefit from antidepressant medicines in combination with therapy. Antidepressants come in a variety of forms. It’s possible that you’ll have to try a few different sorts before you locate the one that works best for you. It’s possible that you’ll need both. Alternatively, your doctor may give a mood stabiliser, antipsychotic, anti-anxiety drug, or stimulant prescription to assist your antidepressant operating better.
  • Psychotherapy. Talking to a mental health expert about your depression and other difficulties on a frequent basis can help manage the symptoms. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and talk therapy are two of the treatments offered.
  • Hospital or residential treatment. You may require psychiatric treatment in a hospital or residential institution if your depression is severe enough that you are unable to care for yourself or may damage yourself or others.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This brain stimulation therapy sends electric currents into your brain to improve the function of your neurotransmitters. Typically, you wouldn’t utilise this therapy unless your antidepressants aren’t functioning or you’re unable to take them due to a medical condition.
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS). When antidepressants haven’t worked, your doctor may recommend using a coil to send magnetic pulses across your brain, helping to stimulate nerve cells that regulate mood.