Occupational, social and physical stress in your day to day life may make you feel low, and for a few days, you may feel fed up and unhappy. This is considered very normal. But when unhappiness and the depressed feelings persist for more than a few weeks, they take a form of depression. It is a serious matter of concern that needs professional help.
What is depression
Depression may be defined as a feeling of melancholy and despair. Speaking in medical terms, clinical depression is defined as mood disorder going beyond the usual grief and sadness and causing persistent sad feelings and loss of interest.
It is a mental illness that not only involves the mood of the person but also affects their thoughts, behaviour and body and creates a variety of physical and emotional issues. Effecting his eating habits, sleep pattern, sexual activity, energy level and the way of thinking, depression affects a person’s day to day activity
What are the symptoms of depression
Symptoms of depression vary in range and between people of different age and gender. A few common symptoms are as follows:
1. Losing interest in daily activities-
The patient loses his interest in the things he/she used to enjoy. They start avoiding social meets, friends, and social activities. Even loses interest in sex.
2. Loss of appetite and weight loss-
But in some case, there may be an increase in the weight. A significant change in the weight more or less than 5 percent is always a matter of concern.
There may be difficulty in falling asleep or the patient may wake up in the early morning. But also some patients may suffer from oversleeping.
4. Loss of energy-
Feeling exhausted, physically drained and sluggish. The whole body seems to be heavy, and the patient takes a long time, even to complete small and simple tasks.
5. Loss of self-
confidence and self-esteem
6. Loathing of the life-
There is a strong feeling of guilt and worthlessness. By constantly picking up their mistakes a patient keeps on criticizing himself harshly.
7. Irritability and anger-
Person suffering from depression may also become very restless, anxious, agitated and violent. Their tolerance power decreases. They become short-tempered, and everyone and everything gets on their nerves.
8. Inability to concentrate or focus-
There is confusion that makes decision making difficult. Also, there may be difficulty in remembering things.
9. Reckless behavior
A depressed person may engage himself in escapist behaviour, for example, gambling, dangerous sport or reckless driving.
10 Unexplained pains and aches-
The patient may have physical complaints such as backache, stomach ache, headache and pain in the muscle. The cause behind them cannot be explained, but the frequency of complaint may increase without any reason.
11. Loss of hope and feeling of helplessness-
Depression renders a feeling that nothing will make the situation better. It gives a lifeless, empty and apathetic feeling. This is the most important symptoms of depression.
If the symptoms mentioned above are intense and lasts for long, it is likely that you are suffering from depression and should meet a GP for help.
What are the causes of depression
The exact cause of depression is not known, but there is a variety of triggering factors that are considered responsible for it such as:
Those who have a family history of depression are more likely to suffer from it.
2. Brain chemistry-
It has been found that the brain chemistry of people who suffers from depression is different from those without it.
There are some physical changes in the brain of the patient that is considered as the cause.
Disturbed balance of the hormones may also be triggering cause of depression. Usually, these changes occur during pregnancy, after menopause, after delivery or due to certain diseases such as thyroid.
Risk factors for depression
Mostly females and teens are affected by depression. However, it may occur to anyone and at any age. A traumatic or stressful event such as the death of loved ones, sexual abuse, financial problem or breaking up of a relationship. Alcohol or drug abuse. Chronic or severe illness such as stroke, cancer, etc. Having low esteem, being pessimistic. Certain medications such as medicines of high blood pressure. Loneliness and severe head injury.
Management of depression
The very first step to managing depression is to understand the cause of the problem and then trying to come it over. Usually, the treatment plan includes talking therapies, certain medicines, and self-help. Also, the treatment depends on the severity of the illness.
In the case, if mild depression is diagnosed the symptoms are monitored for a few weeks to see the progress of the disease.
To improve your condition, it is better if you talk about your feeling with your close friends and family members. Try some meditation, yoga or other exercises. Exercise releases serotonin that is known to improve the mood. Also, improve your diet. Cut down caffeine, refined sugars, alcohol, and trans fats as they have the adverse effect on your mood. Include foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as flaxseeds, olive oil, and walnuts to boost up your spirits. Get engaged in your hobbies and other social activities.
Dr. Ritu Kumari Gupta: Professionally a homeopathic doctor and a dietician Dr. Ritu Kumari Gupta is passionate about writing health and parenting blogs. She believes in holistic approach towards health and well being.