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Depression can be defined in many ways because it affects people differently depending on their age, gender and social environments. However, at the same time it can have common characteristics which are noticeable in different people. Early diagnosis is key to treating people successfully and helping them get back to their normal lives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines depression as a common mental disorder which is characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep, erratic appetite, feeling of tiredness and poor concentration. These are the 7 warning signs you must look for when concerned about friends, family or yourself.
If symptoms of depression are ignored or improperly treated it could lead to disastrous consequences for the person involved and their friends and family.
Depression is a progressive disease which makes it even more difficult to recognize during its early stages. Unfortunately, it is sometimes called the “common cold” of psychiatry which is true to a certain extent, as most of us at some point in time do face this illness in some form or another.
Some of the powerful triggers do not allow individuals to bounce back. As mentioned above, a depressive episode or a trigger can occur with virtually all psychiatric and physical diagnosis. It is a by product of these ill-fated findings. Some people can overcome depression but they may never “feel” like their old selves to their friends or family.
All of us face social and economic turbulent times. However, some cope with the abrupt change rather easily while others fail to do so. Stressful life events, bereavement, divorce, job/monetary loss and death of close ones are some of the triggers which can result in psychiatric disorders. Persistent abnormal behavior and change in personal attributes are some of the depression symptoms. It is a manifestation of an underlying serious illness.
Incidentally, even chronic physical illnesses can trigger depression. This could happen to people both young and old. In the latter case, the chances of a person slipping into depression increase tenfold due to lack of motivation, support system and weak physical being. While in younger people the tendency to turn to alcohol as a quick getaway from the trauma is not quite uncommon. Addiction actually aggravates the depression further, leading to more serious condition, even suicidal thoughts.
Mentioned below are typical forms of depression, their symptoms and triggers.
Life Changing Events – Loss of close friend and family member, job and monetary loss, divorce and parenting troubles can lead to depression. These are stressful events and needs proper counselling and psychiatric advice. If left diagnosed or untreated it can quickly jump up a couple of notches and turn into an acute depression.
Illnesses – Whether chronic or otherwise can trigger bouts of mood swings. Life threatening diseases such as cancer, heart attack and head injuries can really take a toll on a person’s mental and emotional attributes. Unlike cancer and coronary heart illness, chronic sufferings have also been found to cause falling interest in social life. The associated fatigue and lack of interest is a perfect breeding ground for depression, which sets in silently. On the other hand, severe head injuries can trigger several behavioral changes such as extreme mood swings which can result in emotional repercussions.
Personality Traits – People with low esteem and morale are more susceptible to depression while facing some of the adversities of life. This can be traced to both genetic or hereditary factors. Moreover, any stressful event during childhood manifests itself later which can have profound effect on the way you think and behave.
Postnatal depression – This form of depression is brought on after child birth and is commonly known to affect women but can also affect men. It occurs when either person (mother/father) feel overwhelming pressure in regards to looking after their child both shortly after birth and during their upbringing. Most cases revolve around the idea of “I can’t do this” and can have disastrous effects on mother, father and baby. Support groups are recommended, one-on-one talk with a therapist and anti-depressants are also available to deal with this. However most medical institutions look for signs of this depression in the time the family are staying in the hospital and going for check ups.
Family History of Depression – As mentioned above, personality traits are hereditary in nature. However, even family history plays an important role in the way a person handles stressful events. Individuals belonging to families with a history of depression have more chances of falling into that same malaise than others. Research has proved this beyond any doubt.
There are different types of treatments for depression which range from treating those who live with it and those who are trying to get over it. Commonly it is advised to talk about it to the people close to you or a valid counselor who deals in your type/origin of depression. For example bipolar disorder, gambling addiction, chronic pain etc. In the cases of people living with depression, medications are available such as CBD oil, medical marijuana, prozac, luvox and many others. Each provide different results so balance and trial and error are encouraged to those trying them.
Overall, the best way to fight depression is through education on the subject at an early age. This will help promote a generation of mentally healthy individuals who can spot the signs of depressions and recommend ways of dealing with it to help themselves and others.
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