Chronic depression is one type of depression that lasts for years and tends to recur after some time. Some call it "being in and out of depression". It usually starts as a mild case of depression where feelings of sadness are very minimal. The symptoms become more severe after some time, though, and that's when one realizes that he or she has been in a state of depression for a while.
Chronic depression can happen to anyone, but some people appear to have a greater or higher tendency of developing it:
- Women, possibly due to hormonal changes
- Victims of child abuse
- Sufferers of a chronic illness, such as cancer
- Individuals with familial history of depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder
Although there is yet a more severe form of depression, the chronic type of depression needs to be dealt with accordingly. The consequences or symptoms of this form of depression can be threatening to your physical, emotional, and mental health. Specifically, depression of this nature can cause or manifest in the following symptoms:
- Sleeping disorders. Not being able to sleep well or oversleeping may occur with chronic depression.
- Poor nutrition. Some individuals with depression may lose the interest to eat while others may resort to eating excessively. Not making wise food choices may also come with depression.
- Low libido. Depression can make one lose interest on sex, too.
- Low energy. Energy levels can dip so low when you are suffering from depression.
Perhaps, one of the worst things that can occur with chronic depression is schizophrenia. A form of mental disorder, schizophrenia is characterized by:
- Hearing voices other people cannot hear
- Hallucination or the inability to identify reality from things imagined
Chances of schizophrenia developing is very high to people who are not getting the right treatment, who refuse treatment, who stop getting treatment against doctor's advice, who smoke and who take illegal drugs like marijuana.
Preventing Chronic Depression
Well, prevention is always better than cure, is it not? Although there are risk factors for depression, there are preventive measures that reduce the likelihood of it happening. Here are a few of them:
- Take vitamin supplements especially Vitamin B complex, and Vitamin C. Here are some reasons why:
- Vitamin B1 or Thiamine converts glucose into useful energy.
- Vitamin B3 more popularly known as Niacin detoxifies the body and helps boost body metabolism. Not having enough supply of this B vitamin can result to fatigue, physical and mental, and may result to schizophrenia.
- Vitamin B5 otherwise known as Pantothenic Acid is necessary in hormone-production. Hormones as we all know affect our stress levels and cause a variety of physical and mental changes.
- Vitamin B6 or Pyridoxine is a mood-regulator. It also strengthens the immune system.
- Vitamin B9 or Folic Acid has an important role in the synthesis of DNA. Apparently it is recommended not only for pregnant women but also for everyone, with or without tendency to develop depression.
- Vitamin B12 is Cobalamin. This B-vitamin is necessary in red blood cell formation and in the prevention of anemia. Untreated anemia can complicate into mood swings and mental disturbances.
- Vitamin C in the form of Ascorbic Acid is needed to produce serotonin, the chemical in the brain that affects mood.
- Eat right. Getting the right nourishment is necessary to be in the right state of mind. Avoid processed foods and all forms of toxins, if possible. Feast, instead, on raw vegetables, fruits, and fish. Foods that are high in B-vitamins and Omega-3 fatty acids are foods your brain needs the most.
- Exercise. Make time to exercise daily. Exercise regulates mood and balances the levels of your stress hormones.
- Avoid all forms of vices, especially smoking and substance abuse. Smoking and drug abuse affect oxygen levels in your brain, killing your brain cells.
With these preventive measures, you may be able to ward off chronic depression and/or keep it from progressing into schizophrenia.