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What is depression and how to get out of it?

What is depression and how to get out of it?

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Continue ReadingWhat is depression and how to get out of it?

What, Why, and How?

This is the first item’s accordion body. Depression (major depressive disorder) is a critical medical condition that hurts how you feel, think, and acts. Depression causes a persistent read more …

Intervention outcome statistics

Percentage of respondents in the U.S. who reported symptoms of depressive disorder in the last seven days from April 2020 to April 2022 7:32 PM


Source

What is Depression?

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a critical medical condition that hurts how you feel, think, and acts. Depression causes a persistent feeling of unhappiness or a loss of interest in activities you once liked. It can cause lots of new mental and physical issues and a sharp decline in your ability to perform your regular activities.

Depression symptoms can be mild or severe, and these include:

  • A depressed mood (sadness or a gloomy state of mind)
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in everything
  • Hopelessness
  • Appetite changes — weight loss or increase not related to dieting
  • Sleeping problems or sleeping too much
  • Fatigue or a loss of energy
  • Difficulty in sitting still, pacing, or handwringing
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Poor concentration
  • Indecisiveness
  • Loss of interest in activities you liked

Why do people get depressed?

Although it’s believed that a chemical imbalance causes depression, that analogy fails to convey the disease’s complexity. According to research, depression is not caused by having too much or too little of particular brain chemicals. Instead, it can be caused by a variety of factors. Here are a few causes of depression.

Illness and medical problems

Physical ailments or injuries can have a significant impact on your mental health. Depression can be caused by chronic medical problems or long-term health issues that radically alter your lifestyle. Hormone, menopause, low blood sugar, or insomnia can also significantly impact.

Family history

Though no particular genes may be linked to depression, if someone in your family has been depressed, you are more likely to be depressed. Whether this link is due to learned behavior or biology is still debated.

Life events

Depression may be caused by various life events such as job loss, being in an unhealthy relationship, workplace stress, isolation, divorce or breakup, unemployment, and bereavement of a loved one.

Personality

Some personalities are predisposed to depression. Individuals who keep their anxieties and tension inside, have low self-esteem, and are sensitive to rejection, are more prone to depression.

Alcohol and drugs

The side effects of medication, narcotics, and alcohol may lead to depression. If you experience depression after starting a new treatment plan, look into the possible side effects or ask your doctor to offer you a better option. Furthermore, recreational drug and alcohol use can trigger depression. While they may appear to reduce depression symptoms, they will eventually make you feel worse.

How many types of depression are there?

There are 8 common types of depression, and they are as follows:

Persistent Depressive Disorder

It is a type of depression that continues for at least two years. This terminology is now used to designate two disorders – previously known as dysthymia (persistent low-grade depression) and chronic severe depression.

Symptoms

  • Eating too much or too little
  • Sleeping too much or insomnia
  • Lethargy or fatigue
  • Low self-confidence
  • Having difficulty concentrating or making decisions

Postpartum Depression (PPD)

Pregnancy can cause hormonal changes, which might impact a woman’s mood. Depression can strike when a woman is pregnant or after the child is born.

Postpartum depression (PPD) is much more than just “baby blues,” as it is currently categorized as depression with peripartum onset.

After giving birth, mood swings, anxiety, irritation, and other symptoms are common and can persist for 14 days. The symptoms of PPD are more acute and stay longer.

Symptoms:

  • Sadness
  • Significant mood swings
  • Social isolation
  • Trouble interacting with the baby
  • Appetite changes
  • Loss of hope
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Panic attacks and anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Thoughts of harming yourself or your kid

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

It is a type of major depression that occurs most frequently during the winter months when the days are shorter and the sunlight is inadequate. In the spring and summer, it usually goes away.

SAD is caused by a disruption in the body’s natural circadian cycle, and this rhythm is influenced by light entering the eyes. Any seasonal change in the night/day pattern might disrupt the brain’s chemical messengers (serotonin and melatonin) and cause depression.

You may have SAD if you have depression, drowsiness, and weight gain throughout the winter but feel fine in the spring.

Bipolar Disorder

Also known as “manic depression,” it is characterized by mood swings that vary from high energy and an “up” mood (called mania or hypomania) to low energy and a “depressive” mood.

Psychotic Depression

Individuals with psychotic depression experience major depressive symptoms as well as “psychotic” symptoms, including:

  • Hallucinations.
  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia

Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)

At the start of their menstruation, women with PMDD experience depression and other symptoms.

Irritability, exhaustion, stress, mood swings, bloating, hunger pangs, pains, and breast tenderness are some of the most common symptoms of this mood disorder.

Other symptoms of PMDD include:

  • Extreme exhaustion
  • Sadness
  • Unnecessary stress or anxiety
  • Mood fluctuations, typically accompanied by tears
  • Irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • Binge eating or food cravings

Situational Depression

Short-term, stress-related depression is known as situational depression. It might arise due to a traumatic event or chain of events.

It is a kind of adjustment disorder where individuals may find it difficult to return to their routine after a stressful event. Reactive depression is another name for it.

The following events can trigger situational depression:

  • Workplace or school-related issues
  • Relationship issues
  • Death of a loved one

The following symptoms characterize situational depression:

  • Hopelessness
  • A loss of pleasure in everyday activities
  • Constant sobbing, fretting or feeling uncomfortable or stressed out
  • Trouble sleeping at night
  • Sadness
  • Avoiding social events
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Neglecting vital tasks

Atypical Depression

Overeating or weight gain, tiredness or excessive sleep, weakness, and intensely reactive moods to environmental factors indicate atypical depression, a subtype of severe depression or dysthymic disorder.

Individuals with atypical depression have often experienced depression throughout their adolescent years.

How is depression diagnosed?

There is no specific test to diagnose depression. But doctors may ask you to complete screening questionnaires at your initial health care assessment to diagnose depression.

Beck depression inventory

You have to answer 21 questions regarding your symptoms on the Beck depression inventory. You give each item a score ranging from zero to three.

The Hamilton depression rating scale

It is a 21-question questionnaire used to assess the severity of depression after a diagnosis. The doctor may ask you to fill out this worksheet.

The Zung self-rating scale

It is a rating tool for determining the intensity of your depression symptoms. The scale consists of 20 questions, ranging from 20 to 80, and a score of 69 or higher indicates severe depression.

Your responses to these screening questions assist your doctor in determining the intensity and kind of depression you are experiencing. A diagnosis needs symptoms to be present for at least two weeks and most of the day.

Make sure your doctor is aware of all medications you’re taking during your visit, as some medications might trigger depression symptoms. If you’ve been diagnosed with depression, you may be given antidepressants or referred to a mental health professional for additional treatment.

Questions you need to ask your doctor

Here are a few questions to ask your doctor if you’ve been diagnosed with depression:

  1. What type of depression am I suffering from?
  2. Do you recommend psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both?
  3. Can depression have an impact on my sleeping and eating patterns?
  4. Is it possible that these symptoms are caused by something else?
  5. What are the potential adverse effects of the medicines?
  6. Is there anything I can do to improve my symptoms by changing my lifestyle?
  7. Are there any other options available?

How is depression treated?

A licensed psychiatrist or a therapist with the right treatment plan can help you get some relief. There are several treatments for depression, and some of them are as follows.

Medication

Brain chemistry may play a role in a person’s depression treatment, and antidepressants may be provided to alter it. Antidepressants may provide relief within a few weeks of treatment, but full benefits may be observed after two to three months.

Psychotherapy

For mild depression, psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” is sometimes used alone. For moderate to severe depression, psychotherapy is used with antidepressant medicines.

CBT teaches a person to notice distorted/negative thoughts and to change their ideas and behaviors so that they may respond to situations more positively.

Individual psychotherapy is possible, but it can also include others. Family therapy can help to deal with challenges in these close relationships. Group therapy puts people with similar mental health conditions together in a friendly setting, and it can help the patient understand how others deal with similar problems.

Psychodynamic treatment focuses on overcoming past experiences related to unpleasant feelings and actions.

Psychoeducation educates you about the symptoms of depression, how to spot early warning signals, and how to prevent a relapse.

Support groups are usually led by a therapist or someone who has experienced depression. During group therapy sessions, you can freely discuss your thoughts and practical solutions to overcome negative thoughts.

On the other hand, interpersonal therapy evaluates external factors that lead to depression. The therapist helps you strengthen your connections and find solutions to resolve disputes.

Treatment can take a few weeks or months, depending on the severity of the depression. Significant progress can usually be accomplished in 10 to 15 sessions.

Antidepressants and psychotherapy don’t always work for major depressive disorder (MDD). Your symptoms may improve for a short period before resurfacing or remain the same. It is also known as treatment-resistant depression.

Brain Stimulation

Brain stimulation therapy is an alternative option. It works by triggering brain activity using electricity, implants, or magnets. Most brain stimulation therapies are new or in the early stages of development. However, researchers believe they could be useful tools for those suffering from treatment-resistant depression. Let’s take a closer look at them.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

It is a medical treatment used to treat individuals with major depression who have failed to respond to traditional therapies. While the individual is sedated, a brief electrical stimulation of the brain is performed. ECT is usually administered 2 to 3 times each week in 6 to 12 sessions.

TMS Therapy

TMS stands for transcranial magnetic stimulation, and it is a sort of brain stimulation therapy.

It’s a noninvasive treatment that stimulates nerve cells with electromagnetic pulses, which may help with symptoms of mental health disorders.

TMS is primarily utilized for depression treatment, and it has helped those who have failed to improve with antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy. TMS was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for this purpose in 2008.

Lifestyle changes

Healthy lifestyle habits can help to reduce depression. Exercise and adequate sleep might help you manage stress. You might also try mindfulness activities like meditation and yoga to help you focus on the present moment. They can help your brain handle pain and emotions.

Conclusion

Depression is a common mood disorder. Consult your family physician or a psychiatrist if you have signs of depression. This is an excellent place to start when dealing with mental health issues.

Depression Disorder Case Study

Cecilia had an emotionally distressful and unstable childhood. Her mom was an alcoholic and left the family. Cecilia had an emotionally distant relationship with her dad and didn’t receive adequate emotional support from her family. When her mom returned after several years, it led to significant acting out and impulsive behaviors on Cecilia’s part. She became a mom at the age of 19, and after a series of irresponsible relationships, she settled down at the age of 23. Everything was going well until she became pregnant with her third child. She experienced postpartum depression. She felt sad, couldn’t sleep properly, and was overeating. A feeling of worthlessness engulfed her.

Cecilia was constantly worrying unnecessarily, and due to this, she couldn’t work outside the home. That made a significant impact on her family’s financial stability. Her doctor prescribed medication, but she didn’t continue it after a few months.

Cecilia had to play the role of a mother during her childhood against her wishes. Her pent-up frustration and anger continued to surface in her current relationship. Although her husband drank occasionally, Cecilia resented this as she was constantly reminded of her mom’s past behavior. She was afraid that it would ruin her marriage. Moreover, she was frustrated with the fact that they didn’t couldn’t spend time together as a couple.

Cecilia was the caretaker who was never taken care of by her mom. Her unresolved disputes with her selfish mom increased her resentment.

She couldn’t be with her grandmom during the last moments of her life. She didn’t visit her dad, and he had a heart attack. Cecilia contacted her doctor again to find a solution.

Summary and conclusion

After a preliminary diagnosis, it was found that Cecilia was suffering from Major Depressive Disorder. Her doctor recommended Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medication as they work best for people having similar problems.

Cecilia felt better within a few days. She felt active, energetic, and happy. She could sleep at night.

She hoped those taking advantage of her would realize their mistake and treat her better. She understood that this was unlikely to happen, and she was the one who needed to change.

During the therapy, Cecilia realized that some situations are not in our control, and we need to accept them as they are. There’s no point in feeling guilty about it. However, we should accept our mistakes and try to avoid them in the future.

Cecilia was satisfied with psychotherapy as it helped her control her negative thoughts and deal with stressful situations. She got ideas to address her anger management issues and reduce stress.

Cecilia kept an anger notebook in which she documented situations that made her angry, how long the anger lasted, and how she reacted. The goal was to beware of the factors that triggered outrage. The therapist discussed practical solutions with her to deal with it.

Cecilia picked various things to help her manage her anger, such as taking a walk, exercising while listening to music, or practicing relaxation exercises.

The Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) was utilized during the client’s second appointment to determine her depression level. She received a 33 out of a possible 63, indicating severe depression. She was given the BDI again during her sixth session and received an 18.

This result was better than before. Because it is a quick and reliable predictor of a person’s state of depression, the Beck Depression Inventory was utilized. It is simple to use and score, and the client may immediately see the results.

Unfortunately, Cecilia discontinued her medication due to its mild side effects. Also, as she felt better, Cecilia thought it was no longer required. She might have continued if the psychiatrist had given her alternative medication or guided her properly.

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