What is Depression?
Depression is one of the most common mental health issues in the world this century. Over 300 million people are assumed to be affected by depression in some form or the other. Depression is often mistaken for mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to the everyday challenges but it is much more than that. If the signs of depression persist for a long time, the intensification of the challenges is quite normal. This may lead to a serious case of depression. Depression has usually resulted in poor productivity at school and work, lack of concentration and focus on diurnal activities, inability to communicate with new people, and feeling deprived of affection. At its worst, depression has been the leading cause behind suicides.
There are several ways in which such a mental disorder can be treated in today’s world. The rise of mental health awareness and modern medicine have both been a boon to such a diagnosis. Between 76% and 85% of people in low-income and middle-income nations such as India, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, Bangladesh, Thailand, among others, receive no guided treatment for their mental health disorders. The barriers to effective medicare include lack of resources, the prevalence of a social stigma against mental disorders, lack of trained health-care officials, inaccuracy in diagnosis, etc. In this regard, there was a World Health Assembly resolution passed in May 2013 that had called for a comprehensive, coordinated response to mental disorders at the national level.
Does depression look the same in everyone?
Everyone goes through periods of grief and gloom. These feelings usually fade away within a few days or weeks, depending on the circumstances. However, if this feeling persists in the long run, for weeks, it may be a sign of depression. Some of the common symptoms of depression are listed as follows:
- Deep feelings of sadness and grief
- Difficulty getting through everyday activities due to a lack of interest
- Withdrawing from friends and acquaintances
- Preoccupation with death or thoughts of self-harm and suicide
- Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
- Loss of appetite
- Lack of energy and fatigue
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Irregular sleep patterns or insomnia
- Erratic mood swings
Depression affects everyone differently, depending on their state of mind. You may not always show the aforementioned symptoms even if you are suffering from depression. Or, you may only exhibit a few of these in certain cases. However, you should always consult a professional in case your mental discomfort is affecting your everyday schedule.
Statistically, women are said to experience depression more often than men. Societal as well as hormonal factors play a role in this glaring gender gap. While women who experience depression are likely to show symptoms of grief, guilt, or feel worthless about themselves, men are more likely to show symptoms of fatigue, irritability, anger, or dread. Loss of interest, irregular sleep patterns, panic are common to both men and women. Women have a higher rate of awareness when it comes to mental health issues, especially depression. The symptoms of depression are more clinical in older adults above the age of 60. They are more likely to develop medical conditions that trigger their depressive episodes. Children below the age of 13 often exhibit signs of depression even without being aware of the condition. They may do so by pretending to be sick or refusing to go to school, among other such suggestive juvenile acts. Teenagers are also likely to show similar signs but often have a higher risk of developing a serious case of depression. They may also show signs of anxiety and panic or may cater to substance abuse. In some cases, making new friends and interacting in a crowd could also become a serious issue.
Few Important Types of Depression:
Major depression is the colloquial term for major depressive disorder(MDD) or classic depression. It is one of the more common types of depression prevalent today. In the USA alone, over 16.2 million adults are affected by MDD at least once. If you have MDD, you are likely to show the symptoms every day. You may not be able to work with the same confidence or energy and feel tired quite often. You may also be less attentive to what is happening in your surroundings. You may also forget a few everyday items such as the key to your car while leaving for the office or your mobile phone at work, frequently. You may not be able to sleep or may experience erratic sleep cycles. You may also develop hypertension and have panic attacks in serious cases. And it does not matter how rich you are or how luxurious your life is. You can still experience depression.
Persistent depressive disorder(PDD) or Dysthymia is colloquially known as chronic depression. It is the kind of depression that continues to last for a long period of time. If your depression has persisted for more than 24 months, it is likely that you may be diagnosed with PDD. PDD is not as intense as MDD, but it is still quite serious. You may be unable to perform everyday tasks to your full potential or you may strain relationships in due course of time. The common symptoms of PDD include loss of appetite, low self-esteem, low self-confidence, lack of concentration or problem in focusing for a long duration, irregular sleep cycles, panic attacks, anxiety, withdrawal from society. You may be unable to experience joy and happiness with ease. You may also find humor offensive and find peace in romanticizing everyday instances.
Depressive psychosis is a rare form of mixed depression where you may experience the symptoms of MDD while also losing touch with reality and society. You may also experience hallucinations and delusions frequently. These hallucinations can give you altered sensations of touch, taste, smell, sight, or sound leading you to question your existence as is. This form of a depressive episode is often triggered by drug abuse and alcoholism. You may revisit a past trauma or accident in such an episode which can lead to various risks including panic attacks, hysteria or mania, seizures, etc. Depression with psychosis is accompanied by few physical symptoms as well, including issues with sitting still in one place or slowed physical movements during daily activities.
Manic depression is a form of depression that makes you go through periods of mania or hypomania, wherein you feel ecstatic and unnaturally happy followed by periods of sorrow and morose. Manic depression is the older name for bipolar disorder. If you are experiencing altering periods of joy and grief for over a week in a manner that is not natural or triggered by your everyday life experiences, you may be suffering from manic depression. The potential signs of the manic phase include reduced sleep, overthinking. Irritability and frustration, decreased productivity, etc. Self-destructive behavior and euphoric feelings are also commonplace alongside the symptoms of MDD. In severe cases, you may also experience hallucinations and delusions that can lead to a serious case of schizophrenia if not diagnosed with professional expertise.
Situational depression is clinically termed as an adjustment disorder. If you are diagnosed with situational depression, it is likely that you will exhibit the signs and symptoms of MDD in many respects. However, this form of depression is usually triggered by certain unfortunate events or occurrences in life, most of which were unforeseen and uncalled for. For instance, if you are mourning the accidental death of a close relative or a loved one, if you suffered a near-death tragedy if you’ve been victim to repeated abuse either psychological, verbal or physical, etc. Even financial difficulties and heath based restrictions may lead to situational depression as well. You may feel withdrawn from society, avoid crowds and gatherings; you may experience uneven sleep cycles or insomnia. It is also natural to have a loss of appetite and social anxiety if you are undergoing a period of situational depression. Bodyache, cramps, and headaches are common along with fatigue and loss of productivity.
Seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder is basically a major depressive disorder with an innate seasonal pattern. This type of depression is usually triggered during the monsoon or winter months. If you are diagnosed with seasonal depression you are more likely to experience social withdrawal, have a tough time interacting, and find yourself to become less productive. You may also feel grief-stricken and gloomy most of the time and have issues with sleep and eating habits. Seasonal depression worsens with seasonal changes and in dire times may also lead to overthinking anxiety, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Perinatal depression occurs in women during pregnancy or within a month of childbirth. This form of depression is often termed as postpartum depression. Hormonal changes that are necessary during pregnancy and childbirth trigger certain changes in the mindset that leads to erratic mood swings. You may experience insomnia, anxiety, exhaustion, or have an outburst of sadness or rage. Thoughts of self-harm and a self-deprecating attitude are also common with perinatal depression. Women who lack professional support or have had depressive episodes in the past are at an increased risk of developing perinatal depression during the process of gestation.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder(PMDD) is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) that is more psychological than physical. If you are diagnosed with PMDD you may feel unnaturally emotional and experience unjustified mood swings quite frequently in the days leading to your shark week. PMDD exemplifies this hormonal sway to a level that affects your natural everyday routine and your sleep patterns. You may feel constantly agitated and even nauseous. You are also likely to feel more severely affected by the PMS symptoms such as stomach cramps, stiffening of breasts, frequent headaches, joint and muscle pain, extreme mood swings, feeling grief and despair, or feeling angry and irritated. You may also find it difficult to maintain the same level of energy during work and have trouble focusing on what keeps you productive. Anxiety and panic are also sometimes associated with PMDD symptoms. Similar to perinatal depression, PMDD is also believed to be caused due to biological and hormonal changes specifically in adolescent women and women who are nearing menopause.
Atypical depression is perhaps the easiest form of depression to diagnose. It refers to the kind of depression that temporarily fades away as a consequence of happy and positive events and thought. Although this type of depression is less serious than MDD, it is usually accompanied by the symptoms of MDD itself. Atypical depression is not rare or unusual. It is one of the more prevalent forms of depression that are being diagnosed across the globe today. If you are diagnosed with atypical depression it is quite likely that you will experience sleep issues, fatigue, loss of productivity, loss of appetite, low self-esteem and low self-confidence, feelings of worthlessness and despondency, etc.
How do I know which type of depression I have?
If you think you are exhibiting any signs and symptoms of depression, it is important to seek professional help from a psychologist or a mental health counselor. We at Winy make sure that you acquire the required medical assistance in a hassle-free manner with the touch of a few buttons on your mobile phone.
All the various types of depression are treatable without any expensive clinical procedures. However, it does take some time to find the right treatment most suitable for you and your discomfort. Such a personalized experience is extremely necessary to treat mental health conditions such as depression. If you have undergone a traumatizing experience or if you have noticed physical or psychological changes in your diurnal routine, it is best that you consult a mental health professional. Any delay in this regard can worsen the conditions of treatment.
It can be quite confusing for you to realize the type of depressive disorder you may be going through considering the fact that most of the aforementioned types of depression can mimic each other’s symptoms and also add to one another to result in a complex regressive depressive disorder.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Depression
The first step towards seeking help is to provide your doctor or counselor with as much information about your conditions, as possible. For instance, you should share the following facts with your advisor:
- When you first noticed the symptoms
- How have the symptoms affect your daily routine
- Details about your prescribed medicines for any health issue that you may have
- Any event or occurrence that may have to happen in the recent past
- Any information about the history of mental illnesses prevalent in your family
- Any details about your addiction to any substance including tea, coffee, and cigarettes
Although you may feel uncomfortable or embarrassed to share such details with a doctor, it is important that you share these details anyhow. The more details you can provide in complete honesty, the better and more accurate with a diagnosis will be. Are you worried about the embarrassment and cost of mental health services? Use our leading mental health service at Winy to assist yourself in this endeavor to treat yourself to a better tomorrow. Why? Because we believe, you deserve it.
It’s so difficult to describe depression to someone who’s never been there, because it’s not sadness. I know sadness. Sadness is to cry and to feel. But it’s that cold absence of feeling — that really hollowed-out feeling.— J.K. Rowling
How is depression treated?
There are several effective treatments for moderate and severe cases of depression. Mental health professionals offer psychological treatments such as behavioural activation, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), or they may prescribe antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). However, there are various interplaying subject factors that vary from one individual to another. The doctors specializing in mental health diagnoses have to keep in mind the possible adverse effects associated with any form of antidepressant medications and individual preferences based on one’s allergies and level of discomfort.
Psychosocial treatments and psychotherapy are also quite widely used to treat mild to moderate cases of depression. This treatment works by imparting new ways of thinking and behaving in the patient’s headspace. It facilitates you to understand and work through difficulties in relationships or at work that may be the leading cause behind your depressive episodes. There are other brain stimulation therapies such as Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) that are also effective in treating severe depression in people who do not respond to antidepressant medications. ECT is the best-studied brain stimulation therapy and has the longest history of use.
How can I help myself if I am depressed?
The first step to helping yourself is by seeking a professional opinion about your mental health condition. As you continue your treatment, you will most definitely start feeling better. The following are a few daily activities that you can consider performing to make yourself feel less depressed in order to facilitate the diagnosis working in tandem to these:
- Be active by going for regular walks and practice fitness routines and cardio exercises
- Practice dividing large, time-consuming, tasks into small easy tasks, set priorities, and do what you can as you can
- Try to limit your overthinking and practice meditation to control your thought
- Restrict procrastination
- Make yourself a schedule for daily tasks
- Avoid self-medicating yourself
- Avoid substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, drugs
- Spending time with your family or close friends in a loving caring environment
- Practice art or writing about your feelings and emotions if you are unable to express them directly
Use our state of the art, AI-driven platform at Winy to put all your mental health grievances to the rest. Winy helps you understand your conditions at zero cost and avail the best in class solutions for your discomfort specially designed for you. We prioritize our customer’s satisfaction and privacy while we also provide you a 100% guarantee towards the redressal of all your questions regarding mental health, in general, and depression, in particular.