There is no cure for depression! Did you know that when depressed people take antidepressants these will only work completely in about 35% of cases? That means there are a lot of people who will only get partial relief and that the condition will linger on for years. That figure compares very unfavourably with the effect of a placebo which relieves signs of depression in about 20%. Another figure which is quite shocking is that about 5% of cases have a worsening of symptoms when they are on these depression meds. Experts are now looking at changes in lifestyle which can make a positive impact on depression but will certainly not cure the condition. How can we interpret depression signs and realise that we may have a problem or that a loved one may be depressed?
It seems that genetics, chemical imbalances in the brain and the environment all play a role in the cause of depression but nobody is quite sure. Signs of depression will be noticed when they persist for quite a long period and we are certainly talking about a period of two weeks to a month here. We might also notice that the depression signs seem to be preventing us from functioning at work or at home like we used to.
Depression signs are evident when there is a loss of energy to do things and a lack of concentration too. There may be a problems with indigestion and or problems with eating which can manifest itself in a loss of appetite or an increase in appetite for no apparent reason. Add to that weepiness (usually present in women) and a loss of interest in any sexual activity. Other depression signs which are even more alarming are talk of suicide or constantly thinking about death in an obsessive way. There may be a tendency to self mutilate which could be a precursor of suicide. If only some of these are present, we should seek medical help and also have other conditions ruled out which could and sometimes do have similar symptoms.
We now know that depression is such a common disorder that there is less stigma attached to it nowadays, fortunately. Experts tell us that Americans are ten times more likely to suffer from a depressive disorder of some sort than our grandparents were, sixty years ago. These disorders can range from bipolar to SAD (seasonal affective disorder).
Once signs of depression have been spotted and diagnosis has been carried out, we can start thinking about treatment. Antidepressants are one choice but as we have seen above, there is no guarantee that they will work and some people favour herbal remedies such as St. John's Wort and the Passion Flower which have much fewer side effects and will be more effective than the antidepressants in some patients.