Depression is a mental illness characterized by extreme gloom, feelings of insufficiency and failure to concentrate. It is a mood disorder marked particularly by sadness, inactivity, complexity, a considerable increase or decrease in appetite, feelings of despair and occasionally, suicidal thoughts or an attempt to commit suicide.
People with low self-esteem, who are consistently pessimistic, or are readily overwhelmed by stress are prone to depression. Stress caused by serious loss, bad relationship, financial problem can also trigger depression.
Combinations of genetic, psychological and environmental factors are often involved in the onset of depression.
Signs of Depression-
Fatigue- Deep fatigue or a loss of energy is a symptom of depression.
Thoughts of Death- A depressed person may have frequent thoughts of death or suicide with or without a specific plan.
Agitation or Retardation- The person may feel restless, agitated or physically drained or inactive
Feelings of Worthlessness- A depressed person may feel worthless or may feel unsuitably guilty about things he/she has no control over.
Insomnia- Insomnia or sleep-deprived may be a symptom of depression.
Weight loss/ gain- Physical change in the body can also trigger mental health problems such as depression. Major change in weight without attempting to gain or lose may be an indication.
Loss of Interest- A depressed person may show least interest in activities that were once enjoyable or interesting.
Mood Swing- Sudden change in mood is more rapid and intense in a person with depression.
`Brain Fog`- A depressed person may have a diminished ability to think, concentrate or make decisions.
Depression in women, men, aged and kids
According to a study, women suffer from depression twice as much as men. Some of the contributing factors to this are menstrual cycle, pregnancy, miscarriage, pre-menopause and menopause along with professional and household responsibilities. Emotional support from family and friends can help overcome the state of depression in women.
On the other hand, men are less likely to suffer from depression. Men`s depression may be masked by alcohol or drugs or by long working hours. Depression in the elderly is sometimes dismissed as a normal part of ageing. Depression in the elderly may sometimes be side effects of medication. Psychotherapy is suggested in older patients who cannot take medication. On the other hand, a depressed child may pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, may get into trouble at school, grouchy, and feel misunderstood. A visit to the paediatrician should be scheduled to rule out physical symptoms. Treatment may include psychotherapy or medications.
Depression is treatable. Treatment of depression is vital because it affects you, your family and your work. A correct diagnosis is crucial for determining the proper treatment as different types of depression are treated with diverse medications. The standard treatment for depression is a combination of antidepressant medication and therapy.
-Natural treatment such as exercise, yoga or mediation can ease the state of depression.
-Researchers proved that herbal treatment for depression show promise for long term treatment of moderate depression.
-Alternative treatment such as aroma therapy, Vitamins and proper diet can alleviate and maintain harmony and balance within the body and lifestyle of the person.
-Psychotherapy, light therapy, antidepressant medications, treatment through self-help techniques can also aid recover from depression.
-As depression is a very isolating experience, extend help and support to the depressed person. Talk and listen, stay in touch as often as you can. Make the person feel special and encourage him/her to visit the doctor and to take prescribed medications as instructed.
First Published: 8/3/2011