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Understanding Depression

Understanding Depression

anxious teenager sitting on a couchDepression is a commonly seen disorder of the mind. If you have lost interest in life, like to be alone and/or consistently feel sad, you are more likely suffering from mood disorder, or depression.

It is not uncommon for people to go through mood changes. Feelings often change when you go through different circumstances in life. While successes lead to happiness and excitement, failures make you feel low. These are normal feelings and should not be confused with mood disorder.

Depression is different. The symptoms associated with it can be observed over several days, weeks, months or even years. The disorder, if left untreated for a long time, can prevent you from living your life the way you want to.

Symptoms of depression

The signs and symptoms of depression vary with each individual, however, there are some common indications:

  • Sad for most part of the day, particularly when you wake up
  • No more interested in activities you once had passion for
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Loss of sleep/sleeping too much
  • Feeling restless time and again
  • A feeling of agitation for no reason
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Feeling guilty
  • Finding it hard to think, focus and make decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Suffer aches, digestive problems and/or cramps that do not subside even after taking medication
  • A feeling of emptiness or worthlessness
  • Confusion

Stressed man looking downWhat are the causes of depression?

Studies are still on to determine what exactly causes clinical depression. For now, we know it is a complicated disease and can occur for different reasons. While some people suffer depression due to the condition running in their family, several others might go through the mood disorder when they lose someone dear. There are many other possible causes, which are discussed below.

Abuse: A physical or emotional abuse experienced in the past can cause you to get depressed later in life.

Medication: Certain antiviral drugs and those used to treat some skin conditions can increase the risk for depressive disorder.

Conflicts: You are more prone to depression if you are sensitive and cannot stand disputes or conflicts with your friends or family members.

Death: Depression can also occur when you lose a loved one. Some people cannot overcome the grief, which leads to prolonged sadness and lack of interest in life.

Genetics: Depression is a complex disease. You are more vulnerable to the disorder if you have a family history of depression. Unlike other psychiatric disorders, depression is caused by numerous genes exerting small effects, which makes it complicated.

Major Life Events: Losing a job or getting divorced can cause depression, for some, happy events like getting married or the birth of a child can also cause mood disorder. To put it in simple terms, anything stressful can cause depression and the cause can be different for everyone.

Serious Illnesses: Depression can also be the result of other serious medical conditions and the treatment received.

Substance Abuse: Drugs and alcohol make you happy temporarily, but over the long term, they are harmful. According to several studies, substance abuse is said to trigger depression.

Other Factors: Isolation from the social groups/family can contribute to developing depression. The other possible causes of depression are changes in the neurotransmitter levels of the brain, bipolar disorder, psychological and environmental factors.

Woman sitting across from therapistWhat is the treatment for depression?

Fortunately, depression is a treatable condition.

  • Set a daily schedule and work to bring structure into your life.
  • Set small goals and start thinking you are capable of accomplishing them. When you feel you are worthwhile, things begin to fall into place.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat healthy and balanced food. Do not overeat or stop eating. Plan your diet and try to stick to it. Of course, once in a while, you can have what you like and satisfy your craving!
  • Sleep well. Remove all the gadgets, including TV and your mobile phones, from your bedroom and go to bed early in the night.

However, even after making the best efforts, if the symptoms persist and you are unable to handle them alone, look for a therapist specialized in depression.