Depression is a mood disorder with a persistent sense of sadness and a loss of interest. It also affects how you feel, think, and behave, leading to several mental and physical difficulties. Major depressive disorder (MDD) or clinical depression are other terms for the same thing. It can be challenging to do daily duties and believe that life isn’t worth living.
It isn’t just a bad case of the blues, and it doesn’t go away on its own. It may necessitate long-term treatment. Don’t be discouraged, though. Medication, counseling, or both help most people with depression.
Types of depression
It can be classified into different categories based on the intensity of the symptoms. For example, some people have mild, transient depressive episodes, while others have severe, long-term depressed episodes.
It has a variety of forms. Some of the types are listed below.
A person suffering from severe depression is sad all of the time. As a result, they may lose interest in previously enjoyed activities.
Medication and psychotherapy are helpful in treatment.
Persistent depressive disorder
Persistent depressive disorder, often known as dysthymia, is characterized by symptoms that endure at least two years.
This condition can cause significant depressive episodes as well as minor symptoms.
It is a common symptom of bipolar illness, and studies show that almost half of persons with the disease suffer symptoms. Unfortunately, that can make it difficult to tell the difference between bipolar illness and depression.
Some people suffer from this issue and psychosis.
Delusions, such as incorrect beliefs and a disconnection from reality, can accompany psychosis. It can also include hallucinations, which are the perception of things that do not exist.
After giving delivery, many moms experience the so-called “baby blues.” In addition, mood changes might occur as hormone levels alter after childbirth.
Postpartum depression, often known as postnatal depression, is a more severe form.
This type of depression has no apparent cause, and it can last for months or years. Anyone who continues to be depressed after giving birth should seek medical help.
Major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern
This type of sadness, formerly known as a seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is linked to the reduction in daylight throughout the fall and winter seasons.
During the rest of the year, and in response to light therapy, it improves.
People who live in countries with long or harsh winters appear to be more afflicted by this ailment.
The specific cause of this disease is unknown. A range of reasons, as with many mental diseases, may be at play, including:
- Biological differences: Physical changes in the brain develop in people who are depressed. The importance of these changes is still unknown, although they may eventually aid in identifying causes.
- Brain chemistry: Neurotransmitters, which are natural brain chemicals, play a role in depression. Changes in the function and action of these neurotransmitters and how they interact with neuro-circuits important in maintaining mood stability plays a role in this disease and its therapy.
- Hormones: Changes in the body’s hormone balance may role in the development or onset of it. Hormone shifts can occur during pregnancy and in the weeks and months following birth (postpartum) and as a result of thyroid disorders, menopause, and a variety of other diseases.
- Inherited traits: It is more likely in those who have depression in their genetic relations. Researchers are on the lookout for genes that could have a role in the onset of depression.
Although depression might strike only once in a lifetime, most people have several episodes. Symptoms may occur most of the day, virtually every day, during these periods, and may include:
- Even for minor issues, angry outbursts, impatience, or dissatisfaction.
- Loss of pleasure or interest in most or all typical activities, such as sex, hobbies, or sports.
- Sleep disorders, such as insomnia or sleeping excessively.
- Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks require extra effort.
- Reduced appetite and weight loss or gain.
- Feelings of inadequacy or remorse, ruminating on past failures or blaming oneself.
- Having difficulty thinking, concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things.
- Suicidal thoughts, attempts, or thoughts of suicide on a regular or repeated basis.
- Physical issues such as back pain or headaches.
Many persons with this disease have significant symptoms that interfere with their day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities, or interpersonal relationships. Some people may be dissatisfied or wretched in general without knowing why.
Depression symptoms in children and teens
Although the indications and symptoms of this disease in children and teenagers are similar to those in adults, essential distinctions are there.
- Sadness, irritability, clinginess, concern, aches, and pains, refusal to go to school, or being underweight are all indicators of this disease in younger children.
- Sadness, irritability, feelings of worthlessness, anger, poor academic performance or attendance, feeling misunderstood and overly sensitive, using recreational drugs or alcohol, overeating or sleeping, self-harm, loss of interest, and avoidance of social interaction are some of the symptoms that teens may experience.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, depression is about twice as common in women as it is in males (CDC).
Sources of depression that are more common in females include:
- An irritable disposition
- Mood swings
- Pondering (dwelling on negative thoughts)
- Depression after childbirth
According to the American Psychological Association, approximately 9% of males in the United States experience depression or anxiety.
Males with depression are more prone than females to drink excessively, be angry, and take risks due to their illness.
Other signs of sadness in men include:
- Avoiding family and social situations.
- Working nonstop.
- Having trouble balancing a job and family commitments.
- Engaging in aggressive or domineering conduct in relationships.
Depression symptoms in older adults
Depression is not a regular aspect of aging, and it should never be dismissed. Unfortunately, depression in older individuals is frequently undiagnosed and untreated, and they may be hesitant to seek help. In older persons, depression symptoms may be different or less noticeable, such as:
- Physical aches or pains.
- Fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep issues, or a loss of interest in sex — not caused by a medical condition or medicine
- Suicidal thoughts or impulses, especially in older men, who prefer to stay at home rather than go out and socialize or try new activities.
If a person feels they are suffering from depression symptoms, they should seek medical or mental health treatment.
A trained health expert can rule out various causes, provide an accurate diagnosis, and administer safe and effective therapy.
They’ll inquire about your symptoms, such as how long you’ve had them. A doctor may also perform a physical examination and request a blood test to rule out other health issues.
People are frequently asked to fill out questionnaires by mental health specialists to measure the severity of their depression.
Depression is curable, and symptom management usually consists of three steps:
Support can take many forms, from brainstorming practical solutions to educating family members.
Psychotherapy is a term that refers to the process of One-on-one counseling, and cognitive behavioral therapy is two possibilities for talking therapy (CBT).
Treatment with drugs: Antidepressants are helpful but in consultation with a doctor.
People who are suffering from mild to moderate depression may benefit from antidepressants. Each class targets a particular neurotransmitter or neurotransmitter combination.
These drugs should only be taken as directed by a doctor. Some medications take a long time to work. Therefore, a person may miss out on the drug’s potential benefits if they stop taking it.
When symptoms improve, some patients stop taking their medicine, but this might lead to a recurrence.
Please inform your doctor about any concerns you have regarding antidepressants, as well as any plans to quit taking them.
Natural therapies, such as herbal medicines, are used by some people to treat mild to moderate depression.
Some of the most commonly used herbs and plants to treat depression:
Ginseng: Traditional medicine practitioners may utilize it to increase mental clarity and relieve stress.
Chamomile: This contains flavonoids, which have antidepressant properties. Lavender: This may aid in the reduction of anxiety and insomnia.
Before utilizing any form of herbal cure or supplement to treat depression, it is critical to consult with a doctor. Some herbs can exacerbate symptoms by interfering with drug action.
Food and diet
Consuming a lot of sugary or processed foods can contribute to a variety of physical ailments. According to the findings of a 2019 study, a diet that comprises several of these foods may impact the mental health of young adults.
In addition, eating more of the following foods helped minimize depressive symptoms, according to the study:
- Olive oil
CBT, interpersonal psychotherapy, and problem-solving treatment are psychological, or talking, therapies for depression.
Psychotherapy is usually the first-line treatment for several types of depression, but some people react better to a combination of psychotherapy and medicines.
Endorphin levels rise during aerobic exercise, and the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, which is linked to mood, is stimulated. That could aid in the treatment of mild depression.
Brain stimulation therapies
Another treatment option is brain stimulation therapy. Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, for example, provides magnetic pulses to the brain and may aid in the treatment of severe depression.
If a person’s depression does not respond to medication, electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, may help. Likewise, if you have psychosis and depression, this could help.
There is no surefire strategy to keep depression at bay. These tactics, on the other hand, may be beneficial.
- Take efforts to manage stress, build resilience, and improve your self-esteem.
- Seek the support of family and friends, especially during times of crisis, to assist you in getting through difficult times.
- Seek treatment as soon as you see a problem to help avoid depression from getting worse.
- To assist in preventing a return of symptoms, consider obtaining long-term maintenance treatment.