Being a 21st Century citizen, it is likely that at some or the other point of time in life; you would have come across a depressing stage. It may either occur due to poor performance at studies or a job, or relationship failure or sometimes even due to looking at the life of others, who seemed happy and cheerful on their Facebook and WhatsApp handles. Many of us are already feeling depressed and I know that almost everyone who started reading this article already believes that they are in depression.
But before establishing that you are in depression, let us understand ‘What is Depression?’
Depression is a disorder that is evidenced by excessive sadness, loss of interest in enjoyable things, and low motivation. Generally, depression occurs in response to adverse life events and it is normal to experience feelings of sadness and despair. The events that generally lead to depression are loss of an important person or things, major life changes, stress, or disappointment.
It is normal to experience feelings of sadness and despair in response to adverse life events. Such events could include loss, major life changes, stress, or disappointment. In most cases, the sad feelings resolve as you come to terms with the changes in your life. In case such as bereavement (caused due to deprived of a close relation or friend through their death), depression may persist for months and return at significant times, such as birthdays and anniversaries related to the lost loved one.
However, this does not occur that often to you and you have times when you can enjoy things around you, then don’t push yourself to fit into this category. You are a happy person who is just trespassing a sad day or a week. All you need is a set-back in life through the happy weekend or a vacation with your friends and things will return to normal.
However, if you’ve been experiencing the sadness or dejections for a long period and that too about single things, then you should further read this article to check whether you match the symptoms and how can you deal with this problem.
Depression is very common. In fact, as per the research surveys conducted by organisations, one in three persons is likely to experience a major depressive episode at some of the other stages in their lives. While most cases of depression are mild, about one person in ten will have a moderate or severe episode.
Major Signs & Symptoms of Depression
– The affected person keeps feeling miserable (unhappy and/or uncomfortable). This feeling stays for at least 2 weeks and may vary in its intensity during different times.
– The depressed person starts to lose interest in usual activities which would otherwise interest them. It is hard to find pleasure.
– Person’s thought process slows down and becomes inefficient. One will start losing concentration which will lead to difficulties. It becomes difficult to take sort out problems or make plans or take decisions.
– Depression gives recurring unpleasant thoughts. One will either be feeling guilty or have thoughts being a bad and unworthy person, most of the times.
– Living a life like this seems more difficult, so, suicidal tendencies to end life occur very often. One might even think of harming themselves and might end up being a successful one or two times.
– During the depression, people lose appetite resulting in excessive weight loss.
– Depressed people will have almost negligible urge or interest in involving in sexual activity or intimacy.
– People start to lose energy and even though becoming physically inactive for a great amount of time.
– Loss of sleep despite feeling exhausted. Sleep is typically restless and unsatisfying with early morning wakening (one to two hours earlier than usual). Some people, however, may sleep a lot more than usual.
– The pace and tone of speech and activity.
Note: Any of the above features or symptoms may mean that you have signs of depression. However, only one or two of such signs are not conclusive evidence of depression. However, one should exhibit at least 5 of the above signs or symptoms to be classified as ‘Depressed’.
What Causes Depression?
While it is under argument as to what specifically causes depression, some experts believe that depression is caused by genetic factors and seems to run in families, just like other mood disorders. As per the researchers, 30% of the predisposition for depression is due to genetic influences.
The genesis or the relapse of depression is generally due to a stressful life event. It may be an ongoing conflict with others which can take their toll or it can be any other social or environmental factors such as financial difficulties, retirement, unemployment, childbirth, loneliness, or loss of someone or something important. For some people who are sensitive and vulnerable to situations, these unpleasant life events may be enough to cause or worsen a depressive illness.
Another possible cause of depression can be physical illness or medications which are usually overlooked. Glandular fever, influenza, hepatitis, thyroid hormones, anaemia, diabetes, birth control pills, alcohol and other substances of abuse, or any other medications such as those for heart or blood pressure conditions, may also all cause symptoms of depression.
Special Note: One thing which plays a significant role in determining depression are a person’s personality & their behavioural characteristics. People affected with depression, are ought to sound negative and have a pessimistic view of themselves and the world as well. They do not appreciate good things, and bad things seem overwhelming. However, one thing to note is that some people seemingly tend to view things with a pessimistic approach, even though they are not depressed. These kinds of people can be said to have a ‘depressive personality style’ but they are not, per se, depressed.
How to Deal With Depression?
There are multiple solutions to deal with depression. Often, experts recommend a combination of these methods or activities in conjunction with each other for faster and better results.
If we talk about medicinal options, then Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), antidepressant medication, Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) (in severe cases) is the primary ways to deal with depression. Apart from this, education and coping strategies play a vital role while you learn to manage your depression.
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