Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Causes, symptoms, and treatment of depression

What is depression?                                                     

Feeling sad or moody or low is a common thing that everyone experiences. However, having such feelings for a long time, that too, without any apparent reason is known as depression. The person who suffers from depression is usually unaware of the reason for him being low or sad. This feeling can continue for weeks, months, or even years.

What are the causes and risk factors for depression?

Depression is a complicated problem that has no particular reason. It is believed that a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors contribute to depression.

The various risk factors for depression are loneliness, lack of social support, financial strain, marital or relationship problems, family history of depression, or alcohol or drug abuse.

What are the various types of depression?

1. Mild depression

Mild depression is a low-grade depression and is also known as Dysthymia. A person with mild depression may feel mildly depressed and may have short periods of normal mood too. The symptoms of mild depression are not very strong or evident.

There is a possibility that the person experiences major depressive episodes on top of dysthymia, this condition is referred as “double depression.”

2. Manic depression

Manic depression involves cycling mood changes. The person may experience episodes of depression alternate with manic episodes. Though the switch from one mood to the other is gradual, every episode can last for a few weeks.

  1. Seasonal affective disorder
    This type of depression occurs only when there is a change in the weather. Most of the people experience depression on the onset of winters. However, depression during the summer months is less common.
    4. Major depression
    In case of major depression, the person is unable to enjoy his life to the fullest. The symptoms are constant, however their severity may fluctuate. If major depression is ignored, it can typically lasts for about six months. Major depression is a recurring disorder that requires proper care and treatment to avoid recurrence.
    What are the signs and symptoms of depression?
    The signs and symptoms may differ from person to person. The common symptoms of depression are:

  • Feeling sad or low
  • Disturbed sleep or no sleep
  • Loss of energy
  • Tiredness
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Attempt to suicide
  • Loss of ability to think or make decisions

    Tests and diagnosis of depression
    It is extremely important to consult a general practitioner or mental health specialist when suffering from depression. An expert will be able to find the right cause for your depression. Depression can be diagnosed with the help of interrogation. The doctor may ask you about your history and important details of your life. Also, there are various structured interviews that are designed to help easily diagnose depression.
    What are the treatments available for depression?
    Depression is a treatable mental illness. Support, Psychotherapy, and Drug Treatment are three components to the management of depression.
    A. Antidepressant medicines:
    Antidepressant medicines are ideal for treating moderate or severe depression. These medicines help in controlling the symptoms of depression like low mood, less sleep, reduced concentrations, etc. By controlling these symptoms, the person will be able to lead a normal life and also will be able to handle his problems tactfully. Such medicine usually takes about 2 to 4 weeks to show noticeable results. A course of antidepressants may last for a minimum of 6 months.
    B. Homeopathy medicines:
    Homeopathy treatment is also very effective for treating depression. Though the treatment takes time to subside the symptoms of depression, it is safe and effective.
    C. Psychological treatments:
    Psychological treatments are all known to be very effective in treating depression. The idea is to talk to the patient about his thought and views and try to change those that lead to sadness and depression.
    1. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is based on the idea that a person’s thought process can cause mental health problems like depression. The expert tries to understand the thought pattern of the patient and also tries to bring out the harmful or unhelpful ideas that make the person sad. By doing so, the expert can accordingly talk to the patient and try to change his views that lead to depression.
    2. Interpersonal therapy (IPT) rests on the idea that your personal relationships may play a role in determining your mental state. The expert aims at changing the thinking and behavior of the patient to improve his interaction with others.
    Whether a person suffers from mild depression or severe depression, it is important that he talks to a loved one. Care and support can help more than medicines to improve the condition of a person with depression. 

    • By Amelia Smith

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