People with depression are simply not able to carry on their lives normally. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. When these symptoms become very intense, they start interfering with one's ability to normally carry out even the daily chores. The person feels unable to do anything about it; other people need to help him out of this depressive situation. Appropriate treatment is required to help most people who suffer from depression.
The symptoms that help identify depression include:
- Constant feelings of sadness, irritability.
- Feeling exhausted most of the time, despite lack of activity.
- Decreased interest social activities.
- Significant weight change.
- A change in sleeping pattern, such as difficulty sleeping or early morning awakening.
- Lack of confidence.
- Spends a lot of time thinking about what has gone wrong or what will go wrong.
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt.
- Physical pain, which has no apparent physical
- Thoughts of suicide or death
If you or somebody close to you is experiencing any of these symptoms, you must consult a doctor right away.
What causes depression?
Causes of depression are still unknown, Depression has no single cause - it may result from a combination of things. However, it can be triggered by:
- Trauma and stress - financial problems, the breakup of a relationship, or the death of a near one can bring in depression.
- Loss of social support such as the loss of a job
- Physical conditions - chronic illness such as Parkinson's, diabetes, HIV or cancer
- Side-effects of medications.
- Hormonal changes that affect mood, such as the onset or end of menstruation, menopause.
- Alcohol abuse
- Hereditary - depression may run in families, and parents may pass on the defective genes.
- People with low self-esteem, or who are pessimistic.
- Psychological disorders such as anorexia.
- Some scientists suggest that overexposure to electro-magnetic smog from computer terminals and kitchen appliances, especially the microwave oven, upset the balance of the body's own electromagnetic field and leads to depression.
- Being physically or sexually abused.
- Family conflicts, especially between parents.
Depression in women -
Women are prone to depression twice as compared to men. Many hormonal factors may contribute to the increased rate of depression in women particularly factors as menstrual cycle, pregnancy, miscarriage, premenstrual syndrome and menopause. Many women also face additional tensions such as responsibilities both at work and home, single parenthood, and caring for children.
How to diagnose depression:
A good diagnostic assessment will include a complete history of the patient's symptoms, i.e., when it started, how severe they are, are they recurrent, whether any previous treatment was given, if yes, then what treatment. The doctor should enquire about physical abuse or alcohol and drug use. Further, a history should include information about whether other family members have had a depressive illness.
Can depression be treated?
o Yes, depression can be treated.
o About 80% of people treated for depression get better.
o Both medication and therapy can effectively treat depression.
What happens, if depression is left untreated?
Depression if untreated, can affect:
- Social behaviour, along with normal day to day functioning
- Self-esteem and confidence
- Can lead to drug abuse, disruptive behaviours, violence and aggression,
- Even lead to suicide
Depression is a serious problem that demands a serious medical approach. However, you need to first recognize what is causing it.
How to treat depression?
Most people with depression never seek medical help, even though the majority will respond to treatment. Treating depression is especially important because it affects you, your family, and your work. Depression is a curable illness.
Treatment includes a combination of professional counseling, drug therapy, and family support.
Love, appreciation and normal communication are some of the most important things you should provide to help the person cope with depression. Do not be critical of the person at any stage.
A change in normal lifestyle habits can help reduce symptoms of depression. Encourage the person to:
o Go in for some light exercise regularly, such as swimming, walking.
o Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs.
o Get a good and refreshing sleep
o Eat a balanced diet.
o Be optimistic. Positive thinking is very important in recovering from depression.
Change will not come overnight - but with the right treatment, you can keep depression from overshadowing your life. Early treatment of depression will bring about the best results. Think positive, recovery will happen, but gradually.
Are anti-depressants helpful?
Many psychiatric drugs have not been satisfactorily tested in patients, so we do not know for sure the risks or the benefits of these medications.
The thumb rule is caution while giving antidepressants - They should be neither a first nor a last resort. If given, anti-depressants should not be stopped abruptly, because it may lead to a withdrawal syndrome that includes dizziness, nausea, seizures and anxiety.
Side effects of anti-depressants:
The side effects vary depending on the drug, but can include:
o Increased anxiety
o Nausea or vomiting
o Weight gain or loss
Beware! Anti depressants can trigger off suicidal behaviour!
Some helpful home remedies for depression -
Home remedy for depression is the best solution as it is free from any side effects.
- Ayurveda recommends yoga, massage and meditation, which increases the energy of life. Yoga exercises help to increase the circulation of oxygen in the system and helps keeps the mind relaxed. Deep breathing exercises or "pranayama" help the body and mind to relax.
- Try to distract your mind. Listen to your favourite music, do the things you are fond of, eat something good, go out with friends - bring a change in your daily routine, and it will help cope with depression.
- Aromatherapy helps the body relax and revive the nervous system. Inhalation of some herbal oils like rose, jasmine, lime, and grapefruit are considered a natural remedy for depression.
- Cashew nuts are extremely beneficial in treating depression, as it is a rich source of vitamin B. It ensures body activeness and energy levels.
- Take daily walks. Fresh air and deep breathing exercises are both good in aiding relaxation.
Avoid black tea, kava tea, tobacco and alcohol. Eat more wheat germ, which is an energizer. Pears, apples, and nuts assist the nervous system in functioning properly.
TALK TO SOMEONE IF YOU FEEL YOU ARE DEPRESSED...IT MAY JUST WORK!!