Depression

Depression: Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

Have you ever felt useless to the extent that you think that ending your life might be the solution to all your problems? Has it ever happened to you that one day you were completely normal, motivated as ever to get things done, and the other day, you felt the complete opposite? You might be suffering from depression.

These feelings are a normal part of one’s life, and everyone goes through these phases now and then. There could be several reasons for feeling this way – the death of a loved one, the betrayal of a friend or a close one, or any personal or financial loss.

This news comes as a shock to you, and as a result, you feel mentally disturbed and detached from everything for a while.

But, since we have always heard that ‘an excess of everything is bad,’ so yes, when these feelings start haunting you or keep on disturbing you to the extent that you cannot function properly, is when you need to get serious about this issue.

When these feelings do not go away on their own and continue for weeks, you most probably suffer from a mental health-related condition called “Clinical Depression.”

Let us have a brief overview of this condition and learn more about it.

What is Depression?

In clinical terms, depression is a widespread mental health disorder in which the affected individual feels either one or all three of the following characteristic symptoms:

  • Decreased energy levels,
  • Persistent low moods,
  • Decreased interest or total loss of interest in all activities.

These symptoms should be present in an individual for at least 14 days or more for him/her to be labeled as a patient of depression or a “depressed” individual.

Nowadays, it is observed that people label their temporary low mood or sad feelings as depression too.

That is not correct and signifies that awareness needs to be spread on a large scale to clear everyone’s misunderstandings and misconceptions about the real, clinical form of depression and finish the over and unwanted use of the term.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Depressed

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People suffering from depression may experience a wide range of symptoms. The symptoms vary in their severity and frequency, and not every depressed individual is bound to feel the same signs and symptoms.

A few commonly experienced symptoms of depression include:

  • Feeling sad or down at all times,
  • Appetite changes – overeating or nothing at all,
  • An increased in purposeless or useless activities,
  • Sleep troubles – too much sleep, or no sleep at all,
  • Low Energy levels at all times,
  • Suicidal tendencies or disturbing thoughts.

These symptoms being enlisted should be present in a person persistently for two weeks for him/her to be diagnosed as a depressive disorder patient.

This point is being focused here again and again because many times, these low feelings last for some time only, and in those cases, classifying them as depression is not correct.

 

What are the Causes of Depression?

Depression is a disorder that arises from a combination of various causes. However, it mainly affects people in their adolescence or middle life, and women are more likely to suffer from depression.

Some common causes of depression include:

  • Stressful or overwhelming turn of events,
  • Triggering events,
  • Family History of depression,
  • After giving birth (Postpartum Depression)
  • Lack of social life, or loneliness,
  • As part of an illness,
  • Drugs, alcohol, etc.

 

How to Treat Depression?

Depression

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A psychiatrist or behavioral specialist diagnoses depression, and then s/he prescribes a treatment plan depending on the seriousness of the depressive disorder.

In many situations, depression is treated using some medicines. In other cases, proper psychotherapy and cognitive behavioral therapy need to be done to help the patients deal with this condition.

What needs to be made sure is that people suffering from depression know that it is a very treatable condition. Therefore, they show their willingness to get treated simultaneously.

Let us discuss some of these treatment modalities devised for depression:

 

1. Medicines: 

Antidepressants, including Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs), are prescribed. A remarkable difference is noticed within the first week of using these medications. These medicines help regulate the neurotransmitters and cause the depressive neurotransmitters to inhibit, which causes a remarkable decrease in the depression levels of the affected individual.

 

2. Psychotherapy: 

Psychotherapy or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a widely used method for treating several mental health-related problems.

In this therapy, the psychiatrist talks to the patient in such a manner that the patient opens up quickly to his psychotherapist and says all that he feels and is worried about.

That helps the psychiatrist evaluate his patient’s severity of depression. Then, along with antidepressants, he helps the patient fight off his condition, now that he knows what is causing it, and stopping him from leading an everyday life.

 

3. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): 

Although a less commonly used technique, in this form of therapy, it is used to stimulate the patient’s brain while he is under a state of general anesthesia.

This form of therapy is limited to patients with severe to very severe forms of the disease.

So, this was a depression in a nutshell. Depression is undoubtedly a condition that feeds off a person’s ability to live happily, but it can be easily treated if diagnosed earlier.

 

 

FAQs


What are the types of depressed state?

  • Major depressed state.
  • Persistently depressed state.
  • Manic depressed state, or bipolar disorder.
  • Depressive psychosis.
  • Perinatal depressed state.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
  • Seasonal depressed state.
  • Situational depressed state.

What is the number 1 cause of a depressed state?

It’s complicated, and there are multiple causes of a significant depressed state. Factors such as genetic vulnerability, severe life stressors, substances you may take (some medications, drugs, and alcohol), and medical conditions can affect the way your brain regulates your moods.

What is the cause of a feeling of depressed state in human beings?

Most likely, a depressed state is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors, according to the NIMH. Certain medical conditions may also trigger depression, including an underactive thyroid gland, cancer, heart disease, prolonged pain, and other significant illnesses.

What are the five signs of mental illness?

Five Warning Signs of Mental Illness:

  1. Long-lasting sadness or irritability.
  2. Too high and low moods.
  3. Excessive fear, worry, or anxiety.
  4. Social withdrawal.
  5. Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits.

What is a critical depressed state?

Clinical depression is the more severe form of depression, also known as major depressed state or major depressive disorder. It isn’t the same as a depressed state caused by a loss, such as the death of a loved one, or a medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder.

How do I know if I’m bipolar?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness marked by extreme changes in mood from high to low and from low to high. Highs are periods of mania, while lows are periods of depression. The changes in mood may even become mixed so that you might feel elated and depressed at the same time. Bipolar disorder isn’t a rare diagnosis.

Does a black dog mean a depressed state?

When The Black Dog Starts Growling: 5 Steps to Leash Your depressed state. Although the roots of the phrase itself can be traced back to a variety of origins, we’ve always — or at least since the early 20th century — attributed the term “The Black Dog” as a metaphor for depression to Winston Churchill.

Is a depressed state classified as a disability?

A depressed state is considered a psychiatric disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It’s a significant mood disorder that’s known to interfere with daily activities, including your ability to work.

Who is at the most significant risk for a depressed state?

A major depressed state is most likely to affect people between the ages of 45 and 65. People in middle age are at the top of the bell curve for depression, but the people at each end of the curve, the very young and very old, may be at higher risk for the severely depressed state. Also, people suffering from hypertension need to be more careful in managing depression. People with a heart condition also need to be cautious and treat their depression to stay safe.

What happens in the brain during the depressed state?

The influx of cortisol triggered by a depressed state also causes the amygdala to enlarge. That is a part of the brain associated with emotional responses. When it becomes more extensive and more active, it induces sleep disturbances, changes in activity levels, and other hormones—brain inflammation.

 

 

 


References:

  1. Chand SP, Arif H. Depression. [Updated 2020 Jul 19]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430847/
  2. Duman RS. Pathophysiology of depression and innovative treatments: remodeling glutamatergic synaptic connections. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2014;16(1):11-27.
  3. Kennedy SH. Core symptoms of major depressive disorder: relevance to diagnosis and treatment. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2008;10(3):271-277.
  4. Wang J, Wu X, Lai W, et al. Prevalence of depression and depressive symptoms among outpatients: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Open. 2017;7(8):e017173. Published 2017 Aug 23. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2017-017173
  5. Gautam S, Jain A, Gautam M, Vahia VN, Grover S. Clinical Practice Guidelines for the management of depression. Indian J Psychiatry. 2017;59(Suppl 1):S34-S50. doi:10.4103/0019-5545.196973

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