What is Depression
In medical terms, depression is listed as abnormal mental condition which reflects low mood and low energy in people experiencing phase of depression for long period of time. In depression, low moods and lack of interest in social life drastically affects and upset person’s thinking,behavior, feelings and sense of well being i.e. happiness, success fullness,interest in world, health and prosperity.
Depressed people may feel sad and dejected for no obvious reason and they are prone to mood swings from high to low more often than normal people. It is estimated that depression and sadness hit people in their teen age and mis-20s. Surprisingly sadness and anxiety issues leaded by depression affects one in 15 adults every year and it is estimated that this mental illness of low mood damages social life and may develop suicidal tendency in one out of 6 people for once in their life. Sadly depression arouses multiple physical and emotional challenges for depressed people and it drastically hinder their day to day activities causing hopelessness, dejection,anger and irritation.
Depression is no doubt treatable and it is counted as most common condition of psychiatric syndromes such as major depressive disorder and dysthmia.
Depression vs. Major Depression
Both are abnormal mental condition of mood disorders, depression and major depression (major depressive disorder) are same conditions of mental illness leading to low mood and loss of interested in affected individuals.
But somehow, major depression is chronic mental disorder as it involves low mood and hallucinations i.e. false beliefs and illusions.
Mental condition of major depression may induce low energy, low self-esteem, lack of interest in worldly affairs and physical acute pain with no clear cause.
All these abnormal mental state and physical complications of low mood and low energy negatively affect depressed patients for at least two week in major depression episodes. And this phase of major depression (extreme sadness) causes severe problems in personal life, work as well as damages general health (sleeping and eating habits).
Types of Depression
According to Angelos Halaris, MD, and a professor of Psychiatry and medical director of adult psychiatry at Layola University Medical Center in Chicago;
“Depression is much more than just a sad mood”
Symptoms of sadness and depression vary from person to person and it is because of different forms of depression i.e. major depression and dysthmia, categorized under umbrella term of depression.
Following are identifies types of depression,which may develop under specific circumstances, such as:
1- Major Depression
According to National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) , about 7% of adult in U.S are being diagnosed with this debilitating mental health condition of major depression. Major depression causes extreme sadness and helplessness and this abnormal state lasts for two long weeks in depressed people making their life hell. People suffering with major depression are prone to develop physical pains with no clear cause and health problems (sleep or eating habits). In severe cases, major depression(extreme sadness and irritability) may provoke depressed people to attempt suicide in order to end feelings of guilt and hopelessness.
2- Dysthmia (Persistent Depressive Disorder)
Dysthmia is the most common form of depression that involves depressed mood and episodes of major depression for at least two years. It is determined that about 2% of American population develops dysthmia that causes low mood and sadness over a long period of time. Dysthmiais accompanied by visible symptoms of sadness, problems to focus things,fatigue and health problems of loss of appetite and inadequate sleep or too much sleeping.
3- Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is a serious mental condition which hit parents after childbirth and it involves extreme sadness,low energy, and anxiety, changes in sleeping or eating patterns, crying episodes, and irritability in both sexes. Mostly mothers are prone to experience postpartum depression due to fear of not handling responsibility of baby and it negatively affects 1 in 8 women during first month after childbirth. Physicians have not yet diagnosed the exact cause of development of such serious depression among parents but it is believed that this may contribute to some environmental or hormonal changes. Postpartum depression can really make parents feel extreme sadness and hopelessness which is contradictory of attaining such beautiful blessing of becoming parents and such confusion and guilt feelings may provoke suicidal attempts too among depressed parents.
Seasonal Effective Disorder
Some people might not even consider it as abnormal mental condition that in winter season, they get depressive and develop anxiety issues as the season changes to winter! Seasonal effective disorder is termed as winter depression or winter blues which involves severe mood change, depressed with no real cause, low energy and too much sleeping. Seasonal effective disorder causes many psychological problems for people in America, up to 1.4 % and surprisingly about 9.9% in Alaska.
According to National Library of Medicine, "some people experience a serious mood change when the seasons change. They may sleep too much, [may] have little energy, and may also feel depressed. Though symptoms can be severe, they usually clear up.
5- Atypical Depression
According to a study of JAMA psychiatry, atypical depression is under diagnosed form of depression but it relates to major depression as it involves physical pain i.e. heaviness in arms and legs-like a form of paralysis. The study of JAMA psychiatry indicates that atypical depression can be diagnosed by two specific symptoms of overeating and over sleeping which negatively affects health of people by making them gaining extra weight in no time.
Atypical depression is more common in women that strike them to enjoy happening events with unusual energy and it involves improved mood in response to positive events, these fluctuation is moods from low to high affects the people emotionally in long period.
6- Psychotic Depression
Psychotic depression is most serious and severe form of depression as it involves hallucinations and delusions i.e. people experiencing psychotic depression see or hear things which do not really exist in real world and they lose touch with reality.
National Institute of Mental Health states that a person who is psychotic is out of touch with reality.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about 20% of people experiencing depression often suffer with psychotic depression and develop the severe symptoms of hallucinations and delusions (misinterpretation of things that do not really exist)
Psychologists believe that psychotic symptoms i.e. hallucination and delusions usually occur with episodes of major depression and they last for at least two weeks.
7- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
In medical terms, premenstrual dysphoric disorder is serious premenstrual syndrome which involves abnormal behavior of low mood and low energy during second half of menstrual cycle in women.According to Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders pre menstrual dysphoric disorder is a form of depressive disorder which affects 3-8% of menstruating women. Women may develop mood swings, anxiety issues and sheer sadness.
8- Situational Depression
As the name suggests, situation depression occurs in response of stressful or unexpected events, and it affects people’s way of thinking and lifestyle. Situational depression involves excessive sadness, worry, or nervousness in response of life changing event, such as job loss, the death of a loved one, trauma— even a bad breakup. It should not be ignored as the symptoms of sadness and anxiety issues may lead to development of major depression if not treated in time.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Depression is a mental condition,which is all about feeling sad and experiencing low energy all the time. But there are certain signs and symptoms which can be considered as serious warnings of developing depression and severe mood disorders of sadness, if not treated or considered important in initial stages. Following are symptoms of depression, which may change from time to time or may vary from person to person, but you must check these abnormal health and mental conditions, which can be the reasons of extreme sadness for no clear cause.
- No interest in social life and reluctant to join social gatherings
- Social boycott, no interest to meet friends or family
- Problem in concentration overwork or project
- Too much consumption of sedative and alcohol
- Feelings of guilt and irritation
- Frustration and disappointment
- Lack of confidence and fear of losing
- Sadness and unhappy
- Feeling worthless and blaming yourself as a douche bag
- Life seems hard or boring
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness and nervousness
- Loss of appetite and sleep problems (too much sleeping or inadequate sleep)
Causes of Depression
Like other mental disorders, doctors have not determined the exact causes of depression. Depression is not contagious as viral or bacterial disease but this mental illness is severe than physical complications as it damages social and general health of people causing persistent feeling of sadness and hopelessness which triggers other chronic brain disorders.
Following are some environmental and physical factors which may involve in development of depression and overwhelming feeling of sadness and loneliness.
1- Stressful events
It is believed that life events such as mental abuse, physical abuse or sexual abuse can affect adults drastically, making them liable to develop feelings of guilt and depression. Apart from mental abuse, stressful events i.e. death of close relative or friend or loss of job or significant projects can make people depress. ("Sexual and physical abuse in childhood is associated with depression and anxiety over the life course: systematic review and meta-analysis")
2- Substance abuse
There some specific drugs which are used to treat acne such as;isotretinoin, the antiviral drug interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids, they are related to develop problems like depression and low mood in many patients
Over usage of sleeping pills and consumption of alcohol and drug can develop clinical depression.
It is believed that some people are prone to develop depression and mental disorder of sadness as they worry a lot and may over think about problems.People with perfectionists-addiction are mostly depressed as they try to control things according to their wish but fail to develop sadness and low self esteem.
4. Serious health problems
There are some health problems i.e. nutritional deficiencies, neurological conditions and physiological problems which are co-related with depression and sadness.
Women experience depression in menstrual cycle, pregnancy and after child birth, dueto hormonal changes that triggers emotional complications of stress,frustration, and ultimately depression. About 8% to 15% women feel sadness and irritation during menopause and often feel sick and sad in beginning of perimenopause.
Diagnosis of Depression
Depression should be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible as it negatively affects social life and general health of people and the sad part is it can also irritate your near and dear ones too. For the diagnosis of depression, doctors or psychologists will do
Mental health assessment and may refer to a psychiatrist for a more in-depth assessment if needed.
Diagnosis involves semi structured interviews of Questionnaires and checklist which has to pass the criteria of Schedule for Affective Disorders and Schizophrenia (KSADS) and the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV (SCID).
For the quick assessment and diagnosis of depression, your doctor can ask certain symptoms and signs of depression which are required to match the criteria of Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, in order to start the treatment.
Treatment of Depression
After the comprehensive diagnosis of Psychiatric evaluation, treatment of depression starts to cure sadness and control the symptoms and cause of depression, which are responsible in triggering of feeling of sadness and hopelessness.
• Psychotherapy for depression
Psychotherapy includes three common talk therapy i.e. cognitive behavioral therapy,interpersonal therapy, and psycho dynamic therapy, whose mission is just to talk to patients and depressed people to boost their willpower and self esteem to control their anger and sad emotions.
• Medication for depression
Medicines or drugs are usually not used to treat depression especially it if is prolonged for more than two weeks. In 2009, the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence has guided doctors and psychologists not to use anti depressants routinely for the initial treatment of mild depression, because therisk-benefit ratio is poor.