Clinical depression is also called a major depressive mood disorder. It is a serious and common medical condition, which negatively affects the way you feel, act, and think. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8.1 percent of Americans aged 20 and over experienced depression in a given two-week period. Different people experience this condition in different ways. In some cases, it might influence your relationships with people. In other cases, it might interfere with your work, leading to less productivity, and it can also lead to some chronic health conditions.
Depression might look like a minor health condition until you experience severe forms of it. Major depressive disorder is a serious illness that can affect everything you do in your daily life. It is not a condition that people can quickly recover from, like a stomach bug or cold. There are a lot of people with depression who just think that they are feeling sad, and believe it will go away with time. However, there are millions of other people for whom depression is a constant drain. Therefore, extra support and help for those people are essential.
According to the World Health Organization, depression is the second most common reason for disability in the world, and only 10 percent of people who encounter this problem receive proper treatment. Since it is a serious health disorder, it is crucial to differentiate between bad mood and depression. The following article focuses on depicting the main aspects of depression and describes the most common treatment methods for it.
What is depression?
As previously mentioned, depression is a severe mood disorder and a medical illness that can negatively affect your way of thinking, acting, and feeling. It leads to feelings of sadness, loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities, and a variety of physical and emotional problems. Additionally, it can decrease a person’s ability to perform effectively at work and function at home.
Undoubtedly, life can bring sad events that will make you feel down at times. However, if you are feeling sad and hopeless on a regular basis, you are probably dealing with depression. According to specialists, people who undergo treatment for depression can notice improvements within a few weeks. However, without proper medical care, this disorder can get worse, which is why it should be treated by a professional, just as any serious health problem.
Causes of depression
The causes of depression can vary from the circumstantial to the biological. Specialists differentiate between the most common as follows:
- Family predisposition: you are running a higher risk of encountering this condition if anyone from your family has already experienced this problem or another mood disorder.
- Childhood trauma: specialists say that some events in childhood may affect the way your body reacts to stressful situations.
- Medical conditions: chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or ADHD (attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder) are conditions that can put you at a higher risk of experiencing this problem.
- Use of substances: studies show that people who are drug or alcohol-addicted run a higher risk of encountering this disorder.
Studies also show that 21 percent of people who have substance use issues experience depression as well. Furthermore, other risks factors might include the following:
- Low self-esteem
- Taking certain prescribed medications
- Personal history of mood disorders
- Stressful events, such as economic events or a divorce
Even though the causes of depression are often linked to other aspects of your health, specialists are often not able to determine what the specific causes are.
Symptoms of depression
This condition is more than just a constant state of sadness. Severe forms of depression can cause a variety of symptoms affecting your mood and also your body. There could be symptoms that come and go, as well as some ongoing symptoms. Specialists also claim that symptoms of depression can vary somewhat between men, women, and children. Thus, men often experience the following symptoms of depression:
- Anger, irritability, restlessness as well as aggressiveness
- Feeling sad, empty and hopeless
- Lack of pleasure from previously enjoyed activities, as well as feeling tired, drinking excessively, and engaging in high-risk activities
- Reduced sexual desire and impaired sexual performance
- Inability to concentrate, decreased level of productivity, delayed responses during conversations
- Insomnia, excessive sleepiness and inability to sleep through the night
- fatigue, headache, pain, and digestive problems.
When it comes women, they may experience the following symptoms:
- Feeling empty, sad, hopeless and anxious
- Withdrawing from social activities
- Slower speech and thinking
- Having difficulties with sleeping, waking up too early or sleeping too much
- Reduced energy, increased fatigue, lack of appetite, pain, and headache
Both sexes may experience suicidal thoughts and other symptoms in common. Some symptoms can extend beyond the mind to the body, proving that this condition is not all in your head.
Effect of depression on your daily life
As mentioned earlier, depression can affect every aspect of your life, including the way you sleep or eat, education or career, your health, and concentration, as well as your relationships. Depression does not occur in a vacuum. It can also affect family, friends, and co-workers.
Apart from that, depression can impact the way you perform at work, your level of concentration, thus productivity. Doctors say that it is vital to treat depression because if you leave it untreated, it can lead to severe complications in your personal and professional life. Some people underestimate the importance of psychiatrists. But in truth, searching for the best psychiatric makes a big difference.
Treatment of depression
As you have probably noticed, living with depression can be quite challenging. However, treating this condition can improve the quality of your life. Many symptoms of depression can be successfully treated with medication, although some forms of depression should be treated with a combination of methods of treatment. Some treatment approaches include the following:
- Medication: these include antianxiety, antidepressant, antipsychotic drugs. Each type of medication for depression has its benefits as well as risks and side effects.
- Psychotherapy: as mentioned previously, seeking the best psychotherapist is equally important. Consultation with a specialist will assist you in learning the skills required to cope with negative feelings. Group or family therapy sessions are also highly beneficial for treating depression.
- Light therapy: some specialists claim that exposure to doses of white light can assist in regulating moods and fight symptoms of depression. This type of therapy often used in the treatment of seasonal affective disorder, which is also referred to as major depressive disorder with seasonal patterns.
- Alternative approaches: you can ask your doctor about meditation or acupuncture. Some herbal supplements, such as SAMe or fish oil, may help you cope with your depression. Keep in mind that some supplements might also worsen depression and reduce the effectiveness of the medicine. Always consult a doctor before combining supplements with medication.
If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.
About the Author: I am Amelia Grant, journalist and blogger. I think that information is a great force that can change people’s lives for the better. That is why I feel a strong intention to share useful and important things about health self-care, wellness, and other advice that may be helpful for people. Regular communication with different doctors, including podiatrists from Manhattan Foot Specialists, helps me provide people with the latest medical news and essential information. Being an enthusiast of a healthy lifestyle that keeps improving my life, I wish the same for everyone.
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The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.
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