Understanding Depression

Depression is a major depressive disorder

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a General Description:

Depression is a depressive and a mood disorder that causes a none stop feeling of sadness and loss of interest in life. Also depression is called major depressive disorder or even clinical depression, it can affect how a person feels, thinks and behaves and can even cause a variety of physical/medical and emotional problems. One may have a problem doing normal every day activities, and at times a person may feel as if their life is worthless.

More than just feeling sad, depression is not a form of weakness and a person can’t just snap out of it. Depression at times might require a long-term treatment plan. But people who suffer from depression should not get discouraged. Most people suffering from depression may feel better with psychiatric medications, and psychotherapy.

Symptoms of Depression:

Depression may occur once during in a life time, but people might have multiple episodes. During these depressive episodes, symptoms occur all day long, and it may include:

  • Feelings of weakness, hopelessness, sadness, tearfulness, or even emptiness.
  • Small matters might cause the depressed person to become angry, having outbursts, being irritable or even frustrated.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in intimacy, most everyday activities, work, hobbies or even sports.
  • Sleep disorders, insomnia, hypersomnia.
  • Getting tired quickly, and low energy.
  • Weight loss due to a lack of appetite or even increased appetite and weight gain.
  • Restlessness, agitation, and anxiety.
  • Slow thinking, slow speaking or and slow body movements.
  • A person might feel worthless or guilty, fixating on past negative issues or blaming one self for all negative events in everyday life.
  • Troubled thinking, lack of concentration, not making decisions and forgetting things.
  • Constant or frequent thoughts of death and dying, thoughts of self harm, suicidal thoughts, suicidal attempts or at the end death from suicide.
  • Unexplained medical/physical issues, stomach pain, such as back pain or headaches.

For most people suffering from depression, symptoms usually can be major that can cause noticeable issues in everyday activities, such as social activities, school, work, or personal relationships. Some persons may even feel miserable or not happy without any reason.

Symptoms of Depression in Children and Teens:

Most signs and symptoms of depression in children and teens are almost the similar of those of adults, but there can be different:

  • In smaller children, symptoms of depression may be sadness, unusual attachment, moody, clinginess, unnecessary worries, unexplainable pains, not wanting to go to school, and or being underweight due to lack of appetite.
  • Teenagers, might have symptoms of use and abuse of recreational drugs and or alcohol, eating disorder, anger, sadness, irritability, feeling negative and worthless, poor performance or poor attendance at school, feeling not understood and unusual sensitivity, sleeping disorder, self-harm, loss of interest in life, and avoiding others.

Depression Patterns in Older Adults:

Many don’t understand that depression is not a normal part of growing old, and it should be taken seriously. Unfortunately, depression is often undiagnosed and not treated in the elderly. Older adults might not want to seek help. Some symptoms of depression may be different or not really obvious in the elderly:

  • Issues of memory loss or personality changes.
  • Unexplained Physical pain and aches.
  • Low energy, Fatigue, not wanting to eat, sleep disorders or loss of interest in intimacy which is not caused by medical conditions or medication.
  • Wanting to stay at home most of the time, not wanting to socialize or trying new things.
  • Suicidal thoughts or feelings, usually are more intense in older males.

When should a Person Seek Professional Help?:

If one is feeling depressed, they should make an appointment to see their psychiatrist, medical doctor or mental health specialist as soon as possible. If a person is reluctant to get help, they should talk to a close friend or a loved one, or call a mental health help line, or their clergy, or someone that they trust.

When Should a Person Seek Emergency Help:

If they think they are going to hurt them self or attempt suicide, they need to call 9-1-1 or their local emergency telephone number right away.

Also one should consider the options below if they are having suicidal thoughts:

  • The Suicidal person should call their medical doctor or mental health professional right away.
  • The Suicidal person should call a suicide help line telephone number, (if in the United States): National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255), To reach the Veterans Crisis Line one should use that same number and press number “1” to reach the Veterans Crisis Line.
  • The Suicidal person should reach out to a loved one, a relative or a close friend.
  • The Suicidal person should contact a religious minister, or a spiritual leader or someone else in their religious congregation.

If a person has a loved one who is in danger of committing suicide or has made a suicidal plan or attempt, they should make sure someone stays with the suicidal person at all times and call 9-1-1 or the local emergency telephone number right away. Or, one should take the suicidal person to the nearest hospital emergency room if possible.

Possible Causes:

It’s not exactly known what is the cause of depression. Like most mental health disorders, there are many different factors that could be involved, such as:

  • Biological differences. People who have depression might appear to have changes in the shape of their brain. The reasons of these changes are still unknown, but may one day help pinpoint causes.
  • Brain chemistry. There are neurotransmitters that are naturally occurring in the brain chemistry that are likely to play a role in depression. Recent researchers findings show that changes in the functionings and effect of the neurotransmitters and how they connect with neurocircuits that could be involved in maintaining mood stability or instability that may play a significant role in depression and the treatment of depression.
  • Hormones. imbalances in the body’s hormones may be causing or triggering the depression. Hormonal changes can be caused by pregnancy and weeks or months after delivery which is called postpartum depression, from thyroid issues, menopause or a number of other factors.
  • Inherited traits. Depression is more common in people with a family history of depression. People with blood relatives whom also have depression have a much higher chances of becoming clinical depressed. There are researchers that are trying to find genes that may be causing depression.

Risk Factors of Depression:

Depression can begin in the teenagers,but it can happen to anyone at any age. There are more women than men that are diagnosed with depression, but this statistics may be due in part because women are more open to seek treatment than men.

Some factors that seem to increase the chances of developing or triggering depression:

  • Specific personality traits, such as people with low self-esteem, those who are too dependent on others, those who are self-critical or pessimistic.
  • Certain major traumas or even stressful events, such as physical abuse or rape, molestation, mental abuse, the death or loss of a loved ones, difficult relationships, or financial issues.
  • Persons with blood relatives with a history of depression, bipolar disorder, substance abuse or suicide.
  • LGBTQ persons or persons having variations in the development of genital organs that aren’t clearly male or female known as intersex in an unsupportive environment.
  • Persons with a history of other different types of mental health disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder PTSD, anxiety disorder, alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders.
  • Persons suffering from major and long term illnesses, including chronic pain, cardiac disease, cancer, stroke.
  • Certain types of medications, like some high blood pressure medications or sleeping medications,.
  • Please note:
  • All persons should advice their medical doctor before stopping any kind of medication.

Complications of Depression:

Depression is a major mental health disorder that can be terrible on the depressed and their loved ones. Depression can often get worse if it goes untreated, it can cause emotional, behavioral and medical issues that affect every part of a persons life.

Examples of complications connected to depression may include:

  • Excess weight gain or obesity, which can lead to serious medical problems.
  • Physical pain or physical illness.
  • Substance abuse and addiction.
  • Anxiety disorder, panic disorder or social issues.
  • Relationship conflicts, family problems, and work or school issues.
  • Social anxiety and isolation.
  • Suicidal thoughts, feelings, attempts or death from suicide.
  • Self-harm, self mutilation, and cutting.
  • Early death, a short life span due to medical conditions.

Possible Prevention:

There is no guaranteed way to prevent depression. However, these ways could help:

  • Taking steps to control and reduce stress, to increase ones capacity and boosting ones self-esteem.
  • Reaching out to loved ones and friends, especially in times of crisis, to help a person pass the hard times.
  • Getting treatment as soon as seeing signs of a problems to help prevent depression from getting worse.
  • Getting a long-term maintenance treatment plan to help prevent a return of symptoms of depression.

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