What is depression?
We all feel sad sometimes because it is a part of our human nature but depressive states that last for long periods of time are not normal. In addition, they are often caused only by a disorder of our state of mind. In this article, you’ll find anything you need about depression causes, symptoms and treatments.
Sometimes it is very obvious when someone is depressed. It may seem sad, they do not do any more the things that usually cause them pleasure, and they have a strong feeling of uselessness and of not being significant.
Some of these people do not even admit they feel sad or bad.
Depression may appear as a result of sad events, but the feeling is disproportionate in intensity or duration of the magnitude of the event.
Symptoms usually occur gradually over days or weeks and can be very different, so people who suffer from depression may be apathetic and sad, or nervous and agitated.
Most depressed patients live with strong feelings of guilt, despair, loneliness, they can not concentrate, they think slowly, forget quickly, are undecided and frustrated, are easily annoyed, they feel hopeless and helpless, and they often think of death and suicide
Most depressed people fall asleep and wake up often, while others may be sleepy all day long, present a modifying appetite and decrease or increase in weight, and they feel tired and weak.
- There may be a temporary depression state in certain situations such as the anniversaries of loved ones, premenstrual syndrome, or after a birth depression. These reactions are normal and do not cause severe depressions unless the people in cause have a predisposition to this condition.
- Some physical conditions can cause depression either directly (thyroid hormonal changes) or indirectly (in rheumatoid arthritis when severe pain and disability occur). In the case of HIV infection, depression can also occur directly through the brain damage done by the virus, and indirectly by the negative effect that the disease has on the patient’s life.
- Negative events: childhood trauma (abuse, negligence, loss of a parent), cancer, the death of a relative or friend, divorce (including the divorce of the parents), serious family illness, loss of service, financial difficulties, stress, or social isolation.
- Brain and nervous system disorders (brain tumors, incipient dementia, head trauma, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, stroke, sleep apnea syndrome, convulsions).
- Cancer (abdominal tumors, pancreas, ovary or colon cancers, metastasis).
- Lymphatic systemic lupus erythematosus.
- Hormonal disorders (Addison’s disease, Cushing’s syndrome, diabetes mellitus, hyperparathyroidism, hypo or hyperthyroidism, menopause).
- Infections (influenza, viral pneumonia, viral hepatitis, mononucleosis, tuberculosis, syphilis, AIDS)
- Vitamin B6 and B12 deficiencies.
- Abuse of alcohol and tobacco.
- Psychoactive drugs consumption.
- Drugs such as beta-blockers, oral contraceptives, interferon, corticosteroids, antipsychotics, and others.
Depression is influenced by certain factors, such as heredity, adverse drug reactions, emotionally negative events, or hormonal imbalances.
So, here are the symptoms of depression:
- persistent sadness, anxiety
- feelings of futility or pessimism
- feelings of guilt or helplessness
- loss of interest or pleasure for hobbies or ordinary activities, including for sex
- low energy, fatigue
- low concentration or difficulty in making decisions
- sleep problems, early morning wake or prolonged sleep
- changes in appetite and/or weight
- thoughts of death or suicide, and even suicide attempts
- restlessness or irritability
- low self-esteem
- persistent physical problems such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain that do not respond to routine treatments
Depression treatment may include the administration of antidepressants, therapeutic counseling, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or a combination of the two treatment modalities.
The therapeutic counseling (psychotherapy) may be sufficient for mild to moderate depressions.
If the onset of symptoms is severe, the initial treatment will probably include both the antidepressants and the therapeutic counseling.
Hospitalization may be necessary if there are existing signs of a suicide, such as thoughts or plans of self-harm or the idea to harm another person, detachment from reality (psychosis), or excessive consumption of alcohol or drugs.
Sometimes it takes several attempts to find the proper medicine and the kind of psychotherapy that is most effective in a person’s case.
It may take a period of 4 to 12 weeks until the medication takes effect, although it usually works faster.
Therefore, it is very important for the people suffering from depression to work with the doctor to find the best treatment, together.
In rare cases, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be the initial treatment option for people who can not take antidepressant medications, have not responded to other treatments, or who have severe depression with psychotic symptoms, suicidal behavior, or inability to nourish.
ECT involves a slight electrical stimulation applied in the region of the samples, which causes brief convulsions. It is believed that this process can cause the restoration of the balance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. It is believed that an imbalance in neurotransmitters leads to depression.
At least half of those with a depressive episode will experience a recurrence of the symptoms (a relapse). Continuing the treatment for a period of 7 to 15 months after recovery will reduce the risk of relapse.
Also, maintenance treatment includes:
- a balanced diet
- avoiding alcohol consumption
- exercise regularly
- having enough sleep
It can also be extremely useful to have the social and moral support from family members and friends.
If there is another condition besides depression, it is necessary to continue the treatment and for that condition, too. Depression may be accompanied by other mood disorders, such as anxiety, psychosis or even manic symptoms.
Treatment if the disease worsens.
If depression worsens, an antidepressant drug may be added to a person who is only receiving therapeutic counseling.
Data collected from medical experiences on depression shows that in the event of a severe depression, adding medication to therapeutic counseling is more effective than only the psychotherapy cure.
People with recurrent depression may need treatment with antidepressants for the rest of their lives.
If depression worsens while the person is already under medical treatment and therapeutic counseling, other drugs may be attempted instead of the currently administered or may be added to the initial treatment.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) has been shown to be an effective treatment for severe depression or for depression in which other treatments did not work.
ECT should be continued with medication and counseling, as recurrence of symptoms is frequent.
If depressive symptoms get worse, it is essential that the patient communicate to the doctor to help him to find an effective treatment.
Major depression can be a risk factor in the development of heart diseases such as coronary artery disease or myocardial infarction.
However, the greatest danger of depression is suicide. Approximately 15% of people suffering from depression die by suicide.
In cases of mild to moderate depression, dietary supplements based on plants can be a safe solution to this problem.
Plants have been used as medicines since the Ancient times and are a natural way to cure many disorders of the modern people.
As antidepressants, plants such as Rhodiola Rosea, Camu Camu, Maca, St. John’s Wort, and Ashwagandha are the best.
There are dozens of dietary supplements that contain these plants or combinations of two or more antidepressant plants and anti-stress plants.