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What Is Depression?

Depression is a state of low mood. It can affect a victim’s day-to-day activity and occur for a long time. It comes as sadness, and the person shuts out from the world in no time.

In its gentlest form, the victim can experience low spirits. In this case, the affected person can continue their daily life but find it difficult to engage in normal activities. Sometimes, these daily activities may seem unnecessary. When severe, it can be lethal because it can lead to suicide.

Types of Depression

There are different stages of depression, namely mild depression, moderate depression, and severe depression. These stages of depression are categorized into different types.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

SAD is a depression that happens on rare occasions. It can happen in different seasons or during a specific season of the year.

Dysthymia

Dysthymia is a recurrent depression that occurs for at least two years. It is mild and can be called chronic depression or persistent depressive disorder.

Prenatal Depression

This depression can be called antenatal depression. It happens to pregnant women before they give birth.

Postnatal Depression

This type of depression is also called PND. It happens to women that have given birth. It is timely. It occurs within the first year of giving birth.

Causes of Depression

There are different reasons that experts give as to the causes of depression. The causes can differ from person to person. Some people even get depressed for little or no reason. Shall we study some causes of depression?

Childhood Experience

The kind of exposure a child has while growing conditions tends to reflect in their later lives. If the child’s experience has been traumatic, such a child is likely to suffer from depression. Some of these experiences include:

  • Neglect
  • Family dramas and traumas
  • Abuse (sexual, emotional, or physical)
  • Loss of a close one
  • Tragic events

According to studies, a person who suffers from a combination of less traumatic events tends to suffer more depression than someone who suffers from a major tragic event. Tragic events can have severe effects on their victims. An example is that the victims are subjected to low self-esteem and lack of confidence and self-trust.

Life Incidents

Some incidents can lead a person to a state of depression. Some of these life’s incidents are:

  • Job loss or lack of employment
  • Loss of a loved one
  • Personal, family, or job relocation
  • Physical or sexual assault.
  • Physical Abuse or bullying.

Mental Issues

Mental health illnesses can cause depression. This is because dealing with signs of mental health illnesses can trigger depression. Other illnesses that can lead to depression include:

  • Eating difficulties
  • Physical health ailments
  • Anxiety
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Ill health

Ill health can be a major contributing factor to depression. Some health conditions can be very tough and affect the victim’s mood. Some of these health conditions are:

  • Insomnia
  • The sicknesses that disturb the brain
  • Low blood sugar level
  • Hormonal anomalies
  • Menopause

Genetics

Researchers have not discovered anything like depression in the genes, but they believe that if one has a close family member with depression, they are liable to have depression. The reason for this can be interaction. While living with people, we tend to learn their behaviours and act like them unconsciously.

Medications and Liquors

Depression can happen as a side effect of medication. Some drugs can cause a change of moods that are within the sphere of depression. If you feel sad or low-spirited after taking a medication, check the instructions and description section on the drugs if it indicates any side effects synonymous with depression. Also, ensure to see your doctor.

Alcohol can cause depression as well. Your intention of usage might be to get over an ugly mood or to party, but its effects on the long run can be worse than you think.

Poor Rest, Exercise, and Diet

Lack of exercise, good sleep, and a good diet can change your mood and make it difficult for you to handle complicated issues that are happening to you. Although poor sleep and a bad diet cannot cause depression, they can make you unprotected from the condition.

Self Medication For Depression

There are actions you can take to help yourself out of depression. Some of them are explained below.

Talk To a Trusted and Loved One

This task might be a difficult one, but it helps. Sharing your plight with someone else who listens can make you feel better.

Join Support Groups

Support groups are very efficient in dealing with depression. It consists of people who are experiencing or have experienced similar conditions in the past. The aim is to support one another and share ideas on how to get better. This way, you will not feel lonely, and together, you will fight depression.

Exercise Mindfulness

Mindfulness means paying maximum attention to every activity around you. Research has proved that exercising mindfulness helps to curb depression.

Take Care of Your Physical Health

When you are depressed, you may find it difficult to pay attention to or take care of your body. But proper self-care is very efficient in handling depressive states.

Catch Enough Sleep

Catching enough sleep can help to lighten your mood and boost your energy status.

Eat Healthy and Keep Good Hygiene

Ensure to eat healthy foods constantly. Make sure your blood sugar level is normal. Sometimes, you might not want to keep personal hygiene like bathing or dressing properly. These little things help to cure depression.

Exercise Often and Avoid Alcohol

Do not let your depressive state keep you static. Exercise your bones and muscles. Engage in recreational activities kike swimming, badminton, tennis, golf, or even walking. Even if you do not want to do outdoor exercises, you can exercise indoors. Also, stay away from alcohol. You might want to take alcohol or recreational drugs to help your feelings. But as time goes on, they can worsen your condition and hinder you from getting better.

Mood Diaries

Mood diaries help keep records of mood changes. It makes you discover that your condition is not as bad as you think. It can also help you discover places, people, or events that add to your recovery or worsen your condition.

Medical Treatments For Depression

There are several medical treatments for depression. Some of them are explained below.

Self Support Resources

Sometimes, self-support resources are the primary treatments physicians administer to depressive patients. It is mostly given to patients with mild depressive states. It works quickly, and the patients may not need further medications. Some self-support resources include:

  • Self-support manuals
  • Computerized Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CCBT)
  • Physical Activity Schemes like group exercise classes.

Talking Therapy

Talking therapies help handle depressive patients. Some of them include:

  • Group-based therapy
  • Behavioural activation
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)
  • Psychodynamic psychotherapy
  • Interpersonal therapy (IPT)
  • Behavioural couples therapy (BCT)

It is important to note that if you are on talking therapy and you begin to get better, you do not have to stop. Instead, inform your therapist about your changes and discuss the options and next step that will be best for you.

Antidepressants

In situations where the therapies and other medications do not work, antidepressants can be administered. They can be given alone or along with talking therapy. Some antidepressants are listed below.

  • Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors. They are also known as SNRIs.
  • Monoamine and Oxidase Inhibitors. They are also known as MAOIs.
  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors. They are also known as SSRIs
  • Tricyclics and Tricyclic-related drugs

It should be noted that medical treatments for depression should not be stopped abruptly. Antidepressants often cause withdrawals that are not pleasant, but sudden stops to the drugs can be hazardous.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) advises that antidepressant medications should continue for a minimum of six months after relief.

If you have to come off your treatments, you should be guided by someone who has successfully come off depression treatments or an expert with vast experience in the process.

Alternative Treatments

  • Electro-Convulsive Therapy (ECT)- for extreme conditions.
  • Art therapy.
  • Crisis Resolution And Home Treatment (CRHT).
  • Alternative and complementary therapies.
  • Hospital admission.
  • Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS).

Support From Friends and Family Members

Assistance from family and friends is necessary as they can go a long way to help a patient recoup from depression. Here are some ways to help a depressed patient:

Assist Them To Get Help

It might not be easy to force a person to get help. That is why you have to comfort them and softly compel them to seek help whenever they need it. Assure them of support regularly.

Advice Them To Speak Freely About How They Feel

They must air their feelings to someone they know and love. It helps them gain relief. Advise them to express themselves the best way they can, anytime.

Keep In Touch With Them

It is crucial to keep up communication with them no matter the distance. They might experience difficulty reaching out, so you have to reach out to them from time to time. It can be a text, a call, or an email. Let them feel loved and cared for.

Do Not Be Tough

It may be difficult to understand what it is like to be depressed if you have not been in that shoe. You might not know why they cannot just come out of that state. Do not criticize or put them under any tension. They have enough pressure on themselves already, so remain soft and understanding.

Create an Equilibrium For Them

You might feel so much pity for them that you want to handle all their chores and work. Sometimes, you need to allow them to do things by themselves. Everyone heals differently, so ask them what you can help out with while they handle every other thing.

Also, while or after looking out for them, ensure to look after your mental health as well. Taking care of a depressed person can affect you mentally.