Major depressive disorder, clinical depression, or simply depression is a common, serious illness in our society. Depression is characterized by symptoms that affect how you feel, how you think, and how you carry out your daily activities. Depression consists of various sub-types. The kinds of depression differ from one another by severity, length, and number of symptoms.
Major depressive disorder is common among adults but can affect children and adolescents. Young people are more susceptible to disruptive mood dysregulation disorder and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) than some other subtypes.
Symptoms that are happening every day for at least two weeks would determine whether there is a need to see a doctor or not.
Moreover, not all depressed people have all of these symptoms. They may experience only a few of them. To determine if signs they are experiencing qualify as major depressive disorder, you need to look at the persistence of the symptoms, the level of their severity, and how frequent they happen. These will be key points to make clear when you consult your doctor.
Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia): A depressed mood within the framework of two years. You will need two weeks of continuous depressed mood to qualify for a diagnosis someone of this depression.
Psychotic depression: It is a severe depression plus psychosis. Psychosis is having delusions (a firm belief in false truth) and hallucinations (hearing and seeing something that is not present). This form of depression usually has a “theme” which can be about the sense of poverty, illness, and guilt.
Postpartum depression: This kind of depression is more than just the “baby blues” (mild depressive anxiety symptoms within two weeks after the delivery of the baby) the mothers are experiencing after they gave birth to their babies. The symptoms include their difficulty in carrying out tasks because of the depressed mood and will affect both the mother and her baby.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): In countries that have the winter season, this form of depression occur when there is less exposure to sunlight. The depressed mood will eventually lift away during summer and winter. Meanwhile, in other countries, it can be the rainy season for them but with the same effect. The symptoms include social withdrawal, weight gain, and increased amount of sleep.
Bipolar disorder: This condition is not part of the forms of depression, but the symptoms somehow are similar to the standard criteria for bipolar depression. This kind of disorder has some series of extremely low moods. Other times, they will feel an extreme amount of bliss to the point of being irritable (mania), and a less severe feeling (hypomania).
Depression: The Risk Factors
The following are the most common causes of depression:
Depression is a common mental disorder in which more than 300 million people of all ages, around the world, have. Also, it affected more women than men when it comes to gender concern. The World Health Organization (WHO) ranked depression as the 4th leading cause of disability worldwide and even expects it to land on the second spot by the year 2020.
There was a report which identified “The 10 Most depressed Countries in the World”. The countries included in the list have a significant burden in mental and behavioral disorders. They are (according to the list) China, India, US, Russia, Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, and Germany.
There are treatments even in the most severe cases of depression as long as addressed immediately. In treating depression, medications, lifestyle changes, and psychotherapy or even both of them can be used.
Medications include antidepressant medicines. They can help to improve the brain’s reaction to various chemicals controlling motor stress. They can manage some of the symptoms and lightens the usually low mood. Medication can work somehow slower, commonly 2-4 weeks, and so the effect will be gradual and not instantly. We can also consider antidepressants used by a relative and proven effective.
Lifestyle changes include more socialization and other activities which promotes healthy well-being. We can have more active activities like family outings, hiking, mountain climbing, group jog, and even a regular outdoor exercise. We can also add healthy eating habits. Eating healthy and living healthy at the same time.
Psychotherapies (talk therapy or counseling) include brain stimulations like problem-solving therapy, interpersonal therapy (IPT), and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Some studies said that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) could also be an option to medicine-resistant forms of depression. Also, we can include the interactions between people with the same condition in the self-help groups.
In whatever form of depression though, one of the biggest needs is support. The love, affection, and sense of security will help them. So for everybody’s benefit, let us not judge them but instead try to understand the nature of their condition.