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 governing body for world health (WHO – World Health Organisation) states that depression is a serious mental condition with 7 noticeable, although not always easily noticeable, signs. These signs of depression range from:
If symptoms of depression are ignored or improperly treated it could lead to disastrous consequences for the person involved and their friends and family.
As mentioned before depression can be difficult to spot especially with those who suffer from it always trying to put on a “brave face” to mask their issues. This is one of the reasons why it is consider as a progressively deteriorating disease, meaning that it gets worse if it is not treated. When you consider these hard to find symptoms, the degenerative nature of the disease and its hard to spot symptoms you can easily understand why depression is considered such a serious issues these days, and why more people want it to be considered as a serious mental illness.
Depression like any disease has different stages of severity. In some cases the condition relates to a person emotional state and there is usually a way to get them back to their “old selves” however in come cases where the damage is physical (within the brain) there is sadly no coming back. Furthermore there are even cases of those who do bounce back from depression but they never feel like their old selves again anyway.
This secondary outcome is more likely to be the case if a serious episode or change has been the cause of the depressive symptoms showing up. For example if someone becomes depressed due to a bereavement they will obviously never be the same because their life is forever changed i.e. in the case of a husband/wife losing their married partner. Other serious episodes/changes that could cause depressive symptoms to crop are the likes of losing your job, being attacked/injured, serious economic loss (House destroyed,gambling debt) and divorce.
These can also lead to further obsessive disorders depending on the type of change i.e. divorce could lead to paranoia, money loss/gambling could lead to further obsessive compulsions to continue gambling etc. The episodes/changes are sometimes consider triggers because they are responsible for triggering a serious condition.
Finally it should be understood that one of the greatest hidden triggers to depression is life itself. What we mean by this, that as people grow old and life goes on without them things change and support structure that where once there are there no longer. Retirement can lead to depression as the person becomes less motivated to do things they once had a purpose to do. Children leaving the house can result in someone feeling lonely and sad because they are now without company.
As we grow old we can no longer do the simple things we once could such as going for walks, eating a normal meal. This final detail about life being a trigger hints at the persons morality being a cause for depression. The end is near for some and they become worried, sad and distraught about the final outcome. Like most conditions talking about it can help and also seeking help/support in anyway can always be beneficial i.e. support groups. Better education on depression is also important so we as a society can understand its presence so we can tackle it before it consumes us.
We touched on some of the potential triggers of depression above, however mentioned below are typical forms of depression, their symptoms and potential triggers.
Life Changing Events – This type of trigger can range from losing someone close to you such as a family member, close friend or work college but it can also relate to employment or financial losses. This is because our jobs, money, family and friends are our main “pillars of support” in the world and losing these “pillars” can obviously be damaging. Triggers like these become stressful for us to deal with and without counselling or at the very least effective counselling could lead to depression.
Illnesses/Health – A persons health is an obvious potential trigger for depression. A serious illness can takes it toll on our bodies and make us so debilitated and sad that we wish for a easy release from the pain. In some cases suicidal thoughts can take over. As mentioned before, the effects of old age can also effect us greatly. Not only in regards to the person seeing themselves get weaker and weaker (fatigue) but how they perceive themselves around others i.e. an unfortunate burden on family and friends. From a physical point of view and serious head injury can result in the brain not working properly and a person could be in a physically inflicted case of depression. These cases are usually much harder to treat as the brain is constantly working against itself even when being treated.
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. Further to this if someones family has a history of mental illness then they too are likely to struggle with mental conditions in their future as well. In some cases a condition could develop as a result of this or the individual is just more likely to suffer a depressive episode when a trigger arises.
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.