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Depression is a medical disorder that affects an individual's mood and mental health. A long-lasting fluctuation in mood can be a sign of depression. For example, it can affect a person's ability to hold a job or sustain meaningful relationships. According to estimates, around 10 percent of people will experience depression at some point in their lives. This mood disorder is characterized by symptoms such as feeling sad, distressed, excessively tired, unmotivated, and losing interest in once pleasurable activities. It can last for two weeks to months or even years.

Indications Of Depression

The symptoms of Depression are classified into three categories:

1. Feelings of an Individual

a) Constant feelings of sadness

b) Anger

c) Guilt

d) Hopelessness

2. Behavior of an Individual

a) Social withdrawal

b) Poor concentration

c) Low motivation

d) Significant changes in appetite

e) Lack of energy

f) Insomnia or excessive sleepiness

3. Thoughts of an Individual

a) Thought of suicide

b) Poor self-esteem

c) Loss of interest in regular or once pleasurable activities

Different Types of Depression

Depression is broadly categorized into eight types:

1. Major Depressive Disorder (MDD):

Major Depressive Disorder, also known as clinical Depression, is the most common form of Depression. It is characterized by persistent low mood, loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities, and lack of motivation to carry out basic tasks. To be diagnosed with clinical Depression, symptoms must persist for at least two weeks consecutively.

2. Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD):

Persistent Depressive Disorder, also known as Dysthymia, is similar to Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) but is characterized by long-lasting symptoms. The symptoms of PDD are similar to those of MDD, but they are often fewer in number and not as intense. To be diagnosed with PDD, these symptoms must have been present for at least two years.

3. Psychotic Disorder:

This subtype of major depressive illness is characterized by the presence of a form of psychosis, such as hallucinations, delusions, or other breaks from reality, in addition to the typical symptoms of major Depression. These symptoms must be present for at least two weeks in order to be diagnosed with Psychotic Depression.

4. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD):

SAD is a subtype of major depressive illness that is triggered by the change of seasons, usually starting in the fall and continuing through the winter months. The symptoms of SAD are similar to those of major Depression, including feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in once-pleasurable activities. In addition, individuals with SAD may experience symptoms such as fatigue, changes in appetite, and difficulty sleeping. Light therapy, medication, and psychotherapy are some of the treatment options for SAD.

5. Bipolar Disorder:

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings. Individuals with bipolar disorder experience episodes of mania or hypomania (elevated or irritable mood) and episodes of major depression. These episodes can last for days, weeks, or even months and can greatly impact an individual's ability to function in daily life. Bipolar disorder is a serious condition that requires proper diagnosis and treatment.

6. Postpartum Depression:

Postpartum depression is a form of depression that can affect some women within four weeks to six months after giving birth. Symptoms may include severe mood swings, difficulty bonding with the baby, withdrawal from family and friends, loss of appetite or overeating, insomnia or excessive sleep, fear of not being a good mother, feelings of worthlessness, shame, guilt, severe anxiety, or panic attacks.

7. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMOD):

PMOD is a unique disorder that affects women, typically beginning the week before menstruation and subsiding within the first few days of menstruation.

8. Atypical Depression:

Atypical depression is a significant depression episode characterized by unusual features not commonly found in other forms of depression. Most commonly, an individual's mood improves significantly upon hearing good news.

Causes of Depression

The following factors can cause depression:

  • One of the significant causes of depression is the death of someone close, and the person cannot handle the loss, grief, and sadness.
  • Depression can be caused by significant conflicts with loved ones like family and friends, with whom emotional detachment is complex.
  • Some medications or drugs, usually used to cure a severe medical condition, can also increase the risk of depression.
  • If someone has faced any abuse, whether it is emotional or physical, then they are more likely to become depressed.
  • If someone has a family history of depression, they risk depression due to the family genes.
  • Depression can also be triggered if a person suffers from a significant illness.
  • Some significant events in life, like failure, losing a job, or getting married against will, can also cause depression.

Remedies to Prevent Depression

Getting enough or healthy sleep can reduce the chances of depression because it helps refresh the body and mind. To combat depression, it is important to watch what you eat. Consuming foods containing folic acid and Omega-3 can help ease depression. People suffering from depression should try to exercise regularly, as it can improve their mental health. Spending more time with loved ones like family and friends can also improve mood. To further reduce the risk of depression, it is advisable to avoid drugs and alcohol known to contribute to depression.

Medical Attention to Cure Depression

Depression is a severe problem that should be treated promptly. Here are the following ways to treat it:

1) Counseling

If you feel your depression is becoming more severe, you should consult a mental health professional. They can provide psychotherapy or counseling to assess your problem and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

2) Medication

Doctors also prescribe antidepressants to treat individuals suffering from depression, as this can help change a patient's brain chemistry.

3) Alternative Medicines/Treatment

Alternative treatment options, such as yoga, meditation, relaxation techniques, acupuncture, etc. can also be considered.

4) Therapies

People suffering from severe depression should seek medical attention promptly. They may be able to benefit from Brain Stimulation Therapy, which can help in treating depression.

Final Thoughts

Depression has become prevalent in today's world. Despite being a serious issue, some individuals may not take it seriously. In the early stages, it can be treated without medical intervention by maintaining a proper diet, sleep, exercise, meditation, reducing stress, and engaging in activities that bring happiness. However, if these measures are not effective, it is important to seek medical help immediately.

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