What is Depression?

What is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder that causes persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Can also be called major depressive disorder or clinical depression.

Basics of Depression

Depression affects how you feel, think, and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional or physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.

Depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply “snap out” of it. Depression may require ling-term treatment, but don’t get discouraged. Most people find relief with medication, psychotherapy or both.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression may only occur one time in your life, but people typically have multiple episodes of it. During these episodes, symptoms may occur most of the day, nearly everyday. These may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities (sex, hobbies, sports)
  • Sleep disturbances (insomnia or sleeping too much)
  • Tiredness and lack of energy
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation, or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, body movements, or speaking
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems (back pains or headaches

Depression symptoms differ depending on the person and the age. It is VERY important that if you have any feelings of depression or hurting yourself, to see your doctor or medical professional as soon as you can. If you do not want to seek treatment, please talk to a trusted friend or loved one, any health care professional, a faith leader, or someone you trust.

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. If you are having suicidal thought, also consider these options:

  • Call your doctor or medical health professional
  • Call the suicide hotline number
    • In the US, this number is 1-800-273-8255. Use the same number and press 1 to each the Veterans Crisis Line
  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one, spiritual leader, or someone else in your faith community.

Causes

It is not known what exactly causes depressions, but there are a variety of factors that could be involved, such as:

  • Biological Differences: People with depression appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is unknown, but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
  • Brain Chemistry: Recent research indicates that changes in the function and effect of these neurotransmitters and how they interact with neurocircuits involved in maintaining mood stability may play a significant tole in depression and its treatment.
  • Hormones: Changes in the body’s balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression.
  • Inherited Traits: Depression is more common in people whose blood relatives also have this condition.

Risk Factors

Depression often begins in teens, 20s or 30s, bit it can happen at any age. More women than men are diagnosed with depression, but this may be due in part because women are more likely to seek treatment.

Factors that seem to increase the risk of developing or triggering depression includes:

  • Certain personality traits
  • Traumatic or stressful events
  • Blood relatives with a history of depression
  • Being part of the LGBTQ community or having variations in the development of genital organs
  • History of other mental health disorders
  • Abuse of alcohol or drugs
  • Serious or Chronic Illness

Prevention

There’s no such way to prevent depression. However, there are strategies to help cope.

  1. Take steps to control stress, to increase your resilience and boost your self-esteem.
  2. Reach out to family and friends, especially in times of crisis, to help you get through the rough spells in life.
  3. Get treatment at the earliest sign of a problem to help prevent depression from worsening.
  4. Consider getting long-term maintenance treatment to help prevent a relapse of symptoms.

I want everyone and anyone who is suffering from this disease to know that you are not alone!! Please, if you ever feel like you are drowning and you need someone to talk to, reach out. There are so many people who love you and care about your well being! You are a beautiful human being, and you matter!

Sources

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml

 

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