Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide

Definition of depression

Depression is a mood disorder that causes an ongoing feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called a major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think, and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.

For the most part, people experience depression in different ways. It may interfere with your daily work, resulting in lost time and lower productivity. It can also influence relationships and some chronic health conditions.

Conditions that can get worse condition include:

It’s important to realize that feeling down at times is a normal part of life. Sad and upsetting events happen to everyone. But, if you’re feeling down or hopeless on a regular basis, you could be dealing with this issue.

Accordingly, sadness is deemed a serious medical condition that can get worse without proper treatment. Thus, those who seek treatment often see improvements in symptoms in just a few weeks.

Symptoms of depression

This condition can be more than a constant state of sadness or feeling “blue.”

Especially, major stress can cause a variety of symptoms. Some affect your mood, and others affect your body. Symptoms may also be constant or come and go.

Generally the symptoms of this disease can be experienced differently among men, women, and children differently.

Symptoms of stress in a men

Men are likely to exhibit some of the following symptoms of stress:

  • Feel sad or empty
  • Feeling irritable, angry, hopeless, or anxious
  • Loss of interest in work, family, or other hobbies or interests (including sex)
  • Feeling very tired
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sleep disturbance (unable to sleep or sleeping too much)
  • Changes in eating habits (overeating or not eating at all)
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Somatic complaints (aches or pains, headaches, digestive problems)
  • Inability to meet daily responsibilities.

Symptoms of stress in women

Some of the most common symptoms of female depression include:

  • not enjoying the same hobbies or interests that you once did, or not getting the same amount of pleasure from these activities
  • Similarly not being able to focus for very long
  • As a result of losing your appetite regularly
  • also, losing an abnormal amount of weight at one time
  • weakness or exhausted with no clear cause
  • overwhelmingly guilty feeling
  • sense of anxious or irritable
  • such as losing feelings of hope for the future
  • Therefore crying without any specific cause
  • In addition to not being able to sleep well at night
  • Likewise having dramatic mood swings
  • Lastly having thoughts about death

Children may experience symptoms related to their:

  • not enjoying the same hobbies or interests that you once did, or not getting the same amount of pleasure from these activities
  • likewise not being able to focus for very long
  • thus losing your appetite regularly
  • also losing an abnormal amount of weight at one time feeling overwhelmingly guilty
  • supposing like you’re not worth anything or are inadequate
  • feeling anxious or irritable
  • also losing feelings of hope for the future
  • as a result of crying without any specific cause
  • also not being able to sleep well at night
  • similarly having dramatic mood swings
  • also having thoughts about death

Causes of Stress

Generally, there are several possible causes of stress. They can range from biological to circumstantial.

Common causes include:

  • Family history. You’re at a higher risk for developing it if you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder.
  • Early childhood trauma. Some events affect the way your body reacts to fear and stressful situations.
  • Brain structure. There’s a greater risk for stress if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active. However, scientists don’t know if this happens before or after the onset of depressive symptoms.
  • Medical conditions. Certain conditions may put you at higher risk, such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain
  • Drug use. A history of drug or alcohol misuse can affect your risk.

In addition to these causes, other risk factors for depression include:

  • low self-esteem or being self-critical
  • personal history of mental illness
  • certain medications
  • stressful events, such as loss of a loved one, economic problems, or divorce

Many characteristics can influence feelings of anxiety, as well as who develops the condition and who doesn’t. The causes of stress also linked with some health issues as well.

Depression test

There isn’t a single test to diagnose depression. But your healthcare provider can make a diagnosis based on your symptoms and a psychological evaluation.

In most cases, they’ll ask a series of questions about your:

  • moods
  • appetite
  • sleep pattern
  • activity level
  • thoughts

Because depression can be linked to other health problems, your doctor may also conduct a physical examination and order blood work. Sometimes thyroid problems or a vitamin D deficiency can trigger symptoms of depression.

Don’t ignore the symptoms of depression. If your mood doesn’t improve or gets worse, seek medical help. Depression is a serious mental health illness with the possibility of difficulties.

If left untreated, complications can include:

  • weight gain or loss
  • physical pain
  • substance use problems
  • panic attacks
  • relationship problems
  • social isolation
  • thoughts of suicide
  • self-harm

Types of depression

Some people experience mild and temporary episodes, while others experience severe and ongoing depressive outbreaks.

Accordingly, there are two main types: major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder.

Major depressive disorder

When someone experiences persistent and intense feelings of sadness for extended periods of time, then they may have a mood disorder such as major depressive disorder, also referred to (MDD) as clinical depression, which is a significant medical condition that can affect many areas of your life.

In order to be diagnosed with clinical depression, you must experience 5 or more of the following symptoms over a 2-week period:

  • feeling depressed most of the day
  • thus loss of interest in most regular activities
  • for the most part significant weight loss or gain
  • also sleeping a lot or not being able to sleep 
  • thus slowed thinking or movement
  • In short fatigue or low energy most days
  • also feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Coupled with the loss of concentration or indecisiveness
  • In conclusion recurring thoughts of death or suicide

Persistent depressive disorder

In order for the diagnosis to be made, symptoms must last for at least 2 years. PDD can affect your life more than major depression because it lasts for a longer period.

It’s common for people with PDD to:

  • lose interest in normal daily activities
  • feel hopeless
  • lack productivity
  • have low self-esteem

Depression can be treated successfully, but it’s important to stick to your treatment plan.

Treatment for depression

Living with depression can be difficult, but treatment can help improve your quality of life.

It’s common to combine medical treatments and lifestyle therapies, including the following:

Medications

Your healthcare provider may prescribe:

  • antidepressants
  • antianxiety
  • antipsychotic medications

Psychotherapy

Speaking with a therapist can help you learn skills to cope with negative feelings. You may also benefit from family or group therapy sessions.

Light therapy

In particular exposure to white light can help regulate your mood and improve symptoms of depression. Light therapy is commonly used in seasonal affective disorder which is now called major disorder with a seasonal pattern.

Alternative therapies

Talk with your doctor before taking a supplement or combining a supplement with prescription medication because some supplements can react with certain medications. Some supplements may also worsen depression or reduce the effectiveness of the medication.

Exercise

Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity 3 to 5 days a week. Generally, Exercise can increase your body’s production of endorphins, which are hormones that improve your mood.

Avoid alcohol and drugs

Drinking or misusing drugs may make you feel better for a little bit. But in the long run, these substances can make depression and anxiety symptoms worse.

Learn how to say no

Feeling overwhelmed can worsen anxiety and depression symptoms. Setting boundaries in your professional and personal life can help you feel better.

Take care of yourself

You can also improve symptoms of depression by taking care of yourself. Together with this includes getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet, avoiding negative people, and participating in enjoyable activities.

Such as sometimes depression doesn’t respond to medication. In short, your doctor may recommend other treatment options if your symptoms don’t improve.

Herbal treatment for depression

Generally, traditional depression treatment uses a combination of prescription medication and counseling. But there are also alternative or complementary treatments you can try.

For the most part, it’s important to remember that many of these natural treatments have few studies showing their effects on depression, good or bad.

Likewise, the (FDA) doesn’t approve many of the dietary supplements on the market, so you want to make sure you’re buying products from a trustworthy brand.

Talk to your healthcare provider before adding supplements to your treatment plan.

Supplements

Particularly several types of supplements are thought to have some positive effects on depression symptoms.

5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

In particular, 5-HTP may raise serotonin levels in the brain, which could ease symptoms. Your body makes this chemical when you consume tryptophan, a protein building block.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Together with these essential fats are important to neurological development and brain health. However, adding omega- 3 supplements to your diet may help reduce depression symptoms.

Essential oils

Essential oils are a popular natural remedy for many conditions, but research into their effects on depression is limited.

People with depression may find symptom relief with the following essential oils:

  • Wild ginger: Generally inhaling this strong scent may activate serotonin receptors in your brain. As a result of this may slow the release of stress-inducing hormones.
  • Bergamot: In short citrusy essential oil has been shown to reduce anxiety in patients awaiting surgery. Also, the same benefit may help individuals who experience anxiety as a result of depression, but there’s no research to support that claim.

Other oils, such as chamomile or rose oil, may have a calming effect when they’re inhaled. These oils may be beneficial during short-term use.

Vitamins

For the most part, vitamins are important to many bodily functions. Research suggests two vitamins are especially useful for easing symptoms of depression:

  • Vitamin B: B-12 and B-6 are vital to brain health. When your vitamin B levels are low, your risk for developing depression may be higher.
  • Vitamin D: Sometimes called the sunshine vitamin because exposure to the sun supplies it to your body, Vitamin D is important for brain, heart, and bone health. As a result of people who are depressed are more likely to have low levels of this vitamin.

Many herbs, supplements, and vitamins claim to help ease symptoms of depression, but most haven’t shown themselves to be effective in clinical research.

How to prevent depression

Depression isn’t generally believed to be preventable. In short, It’s hard to recognize what causes it, which means preventing it is more difficult.

But once you’ve experienced a depressive episode, you may be better prepared to prevent a future episode by learning which lifestyle changes and treatments are helpful.

Techniques that may help include:

  • To begin with regular exercise
  • Therefore getting plenty of sleep
  • Also maintaining treatments
  • Besides reducing stress
  • Lastly building strong relationships with others

Other methods and ideas may also help you prevent depression.

Bipolar depression

Bipolar depression occurs in certain types of bipolar disorder, when the person experiences a depressive episode.

Likewise, people with bipolar disorder may experience significant mood swings. Episodes in bipolar 2, for instance, typically range from manic episodes of high energy to depressive episodes of low energy.

Thus this depends on the type of bipolar disorder you have. Such as a diagnosis of bipolar 1 only has to have the presence of manic episodes, not depression.

Symptoms of depression in people with bipolar disorder may include:

  • Generally the loss of interest or enjoyment from normal activities
  • Furthermore feeling sad, worried, anxious, or empty
  • Also not having the energy or struggling to complete tasks
  • For the most part difficulty with recall or memory
  • Also sleeping too much or insomnia
  • weight gain or weight loss as a result of increased or decreased appetite
  • contemplating death or suicide

If bipolar disorder is treated, many will experience fewer and less severe symptoms of depression, if they experience depressive episodes.

Depression and anxiety

Generally, depression and anxiety commonly occur together and have similar treatments: counseling (psychotherapy) or medication, such as antidepressants, or both.

Depression and anxiety can produce several similar symptoms, which can include:

  • irritability
  • difficulty with memory or concentration
  • sleep problems

The two conditions also share some common treatments.

Both anxiety and depression can be treated with:

  • therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy
  • medication
  • alternative therapies, including hypnotherapy

If you think you’re experiencing symptoms of either of these conditions or both of them, make an appointment to talk with your healthcare provider to be treated.

Depression and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

It’s more likely if people in your family have OCD or another mental health disorder, such as depression or anxiety. OCD symptoms include obsessions, compulsions, or both. An obsession is an uncontrollable thought or fear that causes stress. A compulsion is a ritual or action that someone repeats a lot.

People diagnosed with OCD frequently find themselves in a loop of obsessions and compulsions. If you have these behaviors, you may feel isolated because of them. This can lead to withdrawal from friends and social situations, which can increase your risk of depression.

This dual diagnosis is a concern with children, too. Their compulsive behaviors, which may be first developing at a young age, can make them feel unusual. That can lead to withdrawing from friends and can increase the chance of a child developing depression.

Depression with psychosis

Depression with psychotic features is when someone experiences both depression and psychosis. Psychosis refers to a disconnection from reality and may include symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions.

The combination of the two conditions is particularly dangerous. That’s because someone with depressive psychosis may experience delusions that cause them to have thoughts of suicide or to take unusual risks.

It’s unclear what causes these two conditions or why they can occur together, but treatment can successfully ease symptoms. Treatments include medications and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT).

Understanding the risk factors and possible causes can help you be aware of early symptoms.

Depression in pregnancy

Pregnancy is often an exciting time for people. However, it can still be common for a pregnant woman to experience depression.

Symptoms of depression during pregnancy include:

  • changes in appetite or eating habits
  • feeling hopeless
  • anxiety
  • losing interest in activities and things you previously enjoyed
  • persistent sadness
  • troubles concentrating or remembering
  • sleep problems, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • thoughts of death or suicide

Treatment for depression during pregnancy may focus entirely on talk therapy and other natural treatments.

While some women do take antidepressants during their pregnancy, it’s not clear which ones are the safest. Your healthcare provider may encourage you to try an alternative option until after the birth of your baby.

The risks for depression can continue after the baby arrives. Postpartum depression, which is also called major depressive disorder with peripartum onset, is a serious concern for new mothers.

Depression and alcohol

Research has proved a link between alcohol use and depression. People who have depression are more likely to misuse alcohol.

Drinking alcohol frequently can make symptoms of depression worse, and people who have depression are more likely to misuse alcohol or become dependent on it.

Perspective for depression

Depression can be temporary, or it can be a long-term challenge. Treatment doesn’t always make your depression go away completely.

However, treatment often makes symptoms more manageable. Managing symptoms of depression involve finding the right combination of medications and therapies.

If one treatment doesn’t work, talk with your healthcare provider. They can help you create a different treatment plan that may work better in helping you manage your condition.

2 thoughts on “Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide”

  1. Richa J

    Very informative and well written article. Thanks

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