What is Depression
According to NIH, 1 out of 10 US adults and 5% of teenagers suffer from moderate to severe clinical depression. What does depression feel like? What are the depression symptoms you should be aware of? Is there any specific cause or risk factor for depression? We understand the train of questions your mind is popping up. Suffering from depression and other mental illnesses can mess up one’s mind. But study the depression statistics and know that you are not alone! Besides, the good news is, all of this is treatable! We believe no one deserves to feel that way and hopes that this article brings a change in the way you think about depression.
Depression is a mood disorder. It is the feeling of sadness coupled with emptiness, loss of interest, and critical thoughts like, ‘I am worthless, ‘I want to die’, ‘I want to kill myself. Moreover, depression is associated with behavioral and psychological changes leading to emotional and physical disturbances.
Note: You don’t get depressed because you consider it cool. Recognizing it as a serious mental illness is important.
People suffering from clinical depression know there is nothing cool about depression. In fact, it’s the opposite!
There are various symptoms and signs of depression. And different patients may experience different signs and symptoms. Moreover, your doctor will diagnose depression if your symptoms last for two weeks at least. So the good news is, if you relate with either of these symptoms, it doesn’t necessarily mean you have depression.
- Sadness, feeling of darkness or loneliness all around
- Pessimistic behavior
- Anxiety, agitation, mood swings
- Anger outbursts
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Weight gain or loss due to changes in appetite
- Laziness, tiredness, frustration
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that you once found cheerful.
- Difficult to think straight, low self-esteem, and feeling of hopelessness
- Reduce body movements and noticeable change in speech
- Constant or recurrent thoughts of death
- Suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts
- Headache, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and other digestive problems with no known underlying cause.
You may experience multiple symptoms of depression all the time, every day, or every other day with a sudden feeling of going into the black hole again.
Note: The signs of depression and anxiety disorder may overlap. That is why it’s important to visit a therapist to avoid a wrong diagnosis.
Signs of Depression in Women
Did you know women are twice as likely to suffer through depression as men? That’s right! Female reproductive hormones and societal pressure might be the two most important contributing factors in this regard. However, the signs of depression in women do not vary a lot from signs of depression in men. Following are the most common signs and symptoms of depression in women:
- Loss of energy and ability to work
- Feeling tired, scared, nervous, and anxious
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- Unhealthy sleeping pattern
- Blaming oneself for all the bad
- Females who have depression tend to feel sad, hopeless, apathetic, unlike men.
- Baby blues in postpartum depression
- Suicidal thoughts
Signs of Depression in Men
Even though the stats tell us that women tend to develop depression more than men. But this does not mean that the idea of depression in men is negligible because it’s not! We all see the societal and biological difference between men and women, where men have to act ‘manly’ bottling up their feelings inside. This might be the reason why the depression statistics are higher in women than men because men can be depressed but their depression can go unnoticed.
Anyhow, below are the signs of depression in Men:
- Angry, irritable mood
- Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness
- Men distant themselves and guard their feelings
- Blaming others for all the mistakes
- Difficulty in sleeping or staying awake
- Loss of concentration affects their work-life terribly
- Poor memory
- Suicidal thoughts
- Depression can physically affect men’s health as well.
Note: Usually, men lose interest in most of the social and pleasurable activities. However, most men still try to indulge themselves in various activities like sports, video games, TV, sex to avoid interacting with others.
Symptoms of Depression in Children
It is important to note that depression not only affects adults, but it can spread its wings taking children and teens into the darkness as well. However, no matter at which age depression develops, we should never take it lightly.
Following are the signs of depression in children you should beware of:
- Irritability, sadness, aggression
- Clingy behavior
- Constant worry
- Complain of physical aches and pain
- The child might be too lazy or sleepy
- Unwilling to attend school
- Refusing to eat
Below are the signs of depression in teens:
- Sadness, emptiness, loneliness
- Agitation, irritability
- Inability to sleep properly
- Staying awake for days
- Feeling worthless, hopeless, and anxious
- Distancing oneself from others
- Missing schools and tuitions
- They get extremely sensitive
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Getting addicted to drugs
- Suicidal thoughts and attempts
Note: Call a therapist if you notice any of these signs and symptoms of depression in children or teenagers.
Have you ever wondered what causes depression and why certain people develop this psychiatric disorder while others do not? Do you think depression can be hereditary? Or is it something that develops over time?
Hold on! Let’s have a look at the main causes of depression that will answer all your queries.
- Physical, emotional, sexual abuse
- Traumatic or stressful events
- Long-lasting medical illness
- Death of a close relative, friend, lover
- Family history of depression
- Personal or public conflicts
- Female gender
- Hormonal changes in females
- Personal issues like being different or being called a ‘weirdo’ can lead to self-isolation resulting in depression.
- Certain drugs and substance misuse.
Studies show that 30% of people with a history of drug abuse or any other sort of addiction were diagnosed with clinical depression.
Unfortunately, depression does not exist in just one form. This means it has multiple faces or types, affecting the patient’s life in different ways. Let’s highlight the various types of depression.
Major or Clinical Depression
Major depression is the most common type of depression affecting around 7% of the adult population in the U.S alone. It is also known as Major depressive disorder. Plus, you would also see the term clinical depression being used interchangeably with the term ‘depression’. The clinical depression symptoms are all the same described above. However, it is interesting to note that Major depression usually shows up in the late 20s. Moreover, it most commonly affects females, people with financial issues, or those who had a family history of the same disorder.
Persistent depressive disorder or dysthymia is a less known and rare type of depression. It affects 2% of Americans with no deadly consequences. Most probably, this is the first time you are hearing about persistent depression, isn’t it? Given that very few people know about it.
The major symptoms of persistent depression include a constant feeling of sadness for a long time, trouble falling asleep, hard to maintain focus, fatigue, changes in appetite.
Postpartum depression is very common in women after childbirth. It occurs within a year after weeks or months of delivery. Did you know approximately 16% of women experience postpartum depression? Plus, 85% of women develop mild postpartum depression, typically known as ‘baby blues’ lasting for two weeks only. These women get feelings of sadness, anxiety, tiredness, and all the symptoms of depression. However, some women get super angry and fear losing their children with their own hands.
Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder)
Though bipolar disorder is not truly the type of depression. However, it’s in this list because of the resemblance of manic depression symptoms with that of clinical depression. A person with manic depressive disorder either experiences extreme happiness (mania) or sadness (depression), there is no in-between. This alternation of symptoms between high and low tides is referred to as bipolar disorder. There is also an increased risk of suicide in these patients.
Psychotic depression, as the name implies, is a mental illness associated with delusions, hallucinations, and other psychotic symptoms. It can occur when the other types of depression take a severe form leaving the person in a disturbed mental state. Depression psychosis leads to false, fixed beliefs, and an inability to differentiate between reality and illusion.
It is also known as maternal depression or prenatal depression. And it is common for pregnant women to feel depressed or get baby blues. Though, it is good neither for the mother nor the baby. Such mothers tend to be the least interested in the child’s life and try avoiding the child and other family members for the sake of mental peace. Studies show that perinatal depression affects at least 1 in 7 women. So, you should not feel lonely and different. Most importantly, do not blame yourself!
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder
It is important to differentiate PMDD from PMS which affects almost every other woman. Whereas, PMDD only occurs in around 5% of women and is a rather serious health issue. It is a feeling of agitation, anxiety, mood swings (not like the usual ones) that a woman experiences one or two weeks before she bleeds. But it does not necessarily come with every cycle. However, if you have PMDD and have PMS as well, you will easily notice the difference.
Note: Women with PMDD are at high risk of developing postpartum or maternal depression as well.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Do you ever feel lonely, irritable, and distant especially during winters? Well, this is called winter blues. SAD appears in winters and affects a low percentage of people but can get critical if not taken care of on time. However, the good part? It is treatable! Experts believe that SAD occurs due to the decrease in sunlight, therefore, it is commonly seen in the winter season. But light therapy or artificial light treatment can help treat Seasonal Affective Disorder.
As shocking as it may sound, atypical depression is not a rare type. In fact, it’s another common type of depression. Though there are a few atypical symptoms that might explain the name given to this disorder. For instance, overeating, excessive sleeping (for more than 10 hrs), weight gain, restlessness, complexities in relationships, heaviness in limbs (close-to-paralysis). However, the most important symptom of the atypical disorder is the positive change in mood on the occurrence of pleasurable events or on hearing good news.
Also known as adjustment disorder, situational depression arises due to certain situations. For instance, physical or mental trauma, some personal stressful event, unhealthy relationships. This type of depression is thrice more common than major depression. And it most commonly occurs due to stress.
The signs and symptoms of all the depression types are very similar. Not even the patients can tell which type of depression they have. However, you can take an online depression test to educate yourself. But note that only your licensed therapist can correctly diagnose the type of depression you have. But one thing is clear, you have to stay motivated to fight all types of depression. Do not suffer in silence. Talk to your friend, sibling, or anyone you feel close with.
Remember that you are not alone!
Depending on the severity and type of depression you have, only your doctor can recommend the best treatment for depression for you. Generally speaking, medications and psychotherapy work wonders in treating depression. Most patients, however, opt for the combination of two and it has proven effective in many cases.
Now let’s have a look at the best treatment methods for depression:
Natural Depression Treatment Methods
Shocked? All these years and you didn’t know about the existence of natural remedies for depression? Well, now you know! Following are the well-known natural antidepressants with a natural tendency to alleviate the symptoms of depression:
- Omega-3 Fatty acids
- Folic acid
- Diet and lifestyle
Note: Most of these natural remedies for depression have contraindications. For example, the popular St.john’swort is forbidden for pregnant women, patients of liver or kidney diseases, and bipolar disorder. Therefore, it’s always recommended to acknowledge a doctor first before opting for medicine.
Psychotherapy for Depression
Believe it or not but talk therapy or psychotherapy for depression is the best treatment option with efficient outcomes in almost all cases. A psychotherapist helps you in a way that no other antidepressant can. There are various types of psychotherapies you can opt for. Let’s have a look at each one of them:
Cognitive therapy for depression is a great treat for the mind. It focuses on bringing positivity to one’s life. This type of therapy targets the negative thoughts that run in your mind and turn them into positive notions. Moreover, Cognitive therapy when combined with antidepressants helps in treating severe or chronic depression.
This type of therapy is more commonly known as Behavioural Activation. In simple words, it encourages people to participate in the activities they once enjoyed, re-opening the doors of pleasure and joy. The therapist tries to bring positive change in the patient’s behavior and help him learn new ways to cope with everyday sadness and stressful events.
CBT is the combination of the two most effective psychotherapies. In fact, both cognitive and behavioral therapy for depression is usually done together. The aim is to help the patient in dealing with thoughts, sadness, anxiety, behavioral, physical, and emotional changes that keep him occupied during depressive episodes.
Psychodynamic Therapy for Depression Treatment
This type of therapy involves digging into the past from where it all started to correlate it with the present and treat the current situation. It might get uncomfortable and patients do get sudden emotional outbursts while remembering the bad memories. Plus, the therapy may take up to a year. But its effects are amazing. In the end, it’s all worth it!
Note: In psychodynamic therapy, the patient-therapist relationship matters a lot. Be open and talk freely with your therapist to get the best outcomes.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Depressive Patients
Initially developed for patients with Borderline Personality Disorders, DBT has now proven its efficacy in treating depression as well. DBT therapy for depression helps to reconstruct the negative thoughts and brings improvement in the patient’s self-destructive behavior and changes in the way they think about themselves.
We have bulleted down a few medications that are used for depression. We do not expect you to begin taking either of the drugs without first visiting a doctor. Depression medications do a great job in relieving depression symptoms. However, there are several medications for depression. Besides, one type of drug does not necessarily prove effective in all patients. This is why keep hunting until you find the medicine that works for you rather than giving up on the first try.
You must remain under the expert’s supervision at least in the first few weeks of treatment.
Furthermore, it is important to note that each depression medication starts showing its effectiveness in 4 to 6 weeks. Hence, if you aren’t noticing any improvement, don’t worry! That’s how it’s supposed to work! And once you start seeing improvement, do not stop any medication on your own. Your doctor will help you gradually lower down the dosage after you start getting better.
Note: Abruptly stopping the medication treatment results in withdrawal symptoms.
Let’s highlight the most important medications that are currently in use:
The typical antidepressant includes SSRIs and SNRIs. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or simply, SSRIs are the most commonly used medications for depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
Below is the list of SSRIs you must have already heard of:
SNRIs stand for Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors. Following are the SNRIs doing double jobs in relieving the depression symptoms:
The other Atypical, older, and less common antidepressants include:
Moreover, Bupropion is another important Antidepressant that is specifically used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder.
Ketamine for depression has recently been approved by the FDA. Ketamine therapy affects the brain circuits which help in improving the symptoms of depression. Moreover, Ketamine for depression is a fast-acting drug, acting within hours, unlike the rest of the antidepressants that take weeks to show improvement. However, among all the good points, we can’t ignore the other side of the coin. Following are the side-effects of antidepressants that have been reported by the consumers:
- Weight gain
- Sleep disturbances
- Sexual problems
As the name suggests, Antipsychotics are used to treat psychosis in depressive patients. Following are the Typical or first-generation antipsychotics or neuroleptics:
The second-generation medications are considered Atypical antipsychotics that include:
There are many side effects of antipsychotics listed by the FDA. However, if you notice any other adverse event you should inform your doctor.
As we all know that depression is a mood disorder. And in many types of depression, patients experience serious mood swings requiring medical management before they get any worse. Following are the most effective mood stabilizers:
Note: Other than these, Brain Stimulation Therapies help in treating severe or treatment-resistant depression.
Whether you need inpatient treatment for depression or not depends solely on your mental health and how you are coping up in times of crisis. Depression treatment centers are located all around the world. You can join your nearest site and start with therapy right away.
Residential Inpatient Treatment Centers for Depression
Residential Treatment Center (RTC) is also known as a luxury rehab. It provides the patient with a comfortable, home-like environment with all the facilities. It includes 24-hours of monitoring by staff and 60 or more days of stay within the center. The first few days and weeks are crucial for both the doctors and patients. The residential programs are especially for those who are at risk of taking a harmful step or suicidal attempt. These Residential centers help in preventing such actions.
Benefits of Residential Inpatient Treatment
The Residential Inpatient depression treatment has several benefits as the focus is entirely on the patient’s well-being. Following are the benefits claimed by the people after successful residential therapy for depression:
- Reduction in stress and anxiety
- Improved self-esteem
- Higher self-confidence
- Positive thoughts and behavior
- Balanced outlook on life
- Reclaim interest in the pleasurable activities
- Better mental and physical health
Luxury Depression Rehab Facilities
Did you know, out of 18 million Americans suffering from depression, only around 29% of them chose Luxury depression centers for treatment? A nice location, private rooms, multiple doctors, and staff are not all that you have to look for when registering at a luxury depression treatment center. These factors add to the luxuries but your priority should be the security, support system, 24-hours availability of the nurses and staff, a licensed center, and all those things that prove the worth of every penny that you are spending. Then proceed if your budget allows!
Outpatient Depression Treatment Programs
In contrast to Inpatient programs, outpatient treatment centers are considered best for people with mild and moderate depression. It involves a team of therapists and provides you with different types of therapies like; CBT, group therapy, private sessions, meditation, DBT, and even family therapy if needed. You may also acknowledge yourself about the Depression Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) that helps patients with severe or critical depression.
Depression can occur at any age. And ignoring the signs and symptoms of depression can only negatively impact one’s health. You may find yourself in a dark room, closed at all ends, with no doors, no windows. And you may feel gloomy, lonely, worthless, unwanted, and distant. Whatever it is, you have to learn to erase all the toxic thoughts and make room for positivity in your mind and your life.
Talk. Take therapy. Enjoy. But don’t let depression eat you from inside!
How long treatment for Depression lasts?
It varies from patient to patient depending on how much you improve over time. Treatment may take weeks, months, or even years to work out in some patients.
How much does Depression Treatment Costs?
To be upfront, depression does empty your pockets in months, let alone taking a toll on your mental health. It costs around 100$ an hour or 400$ a month depending on the clinic you choose. Depression treatment might take tons of dollars from you. But it is rather cost-effective than being costly.
What is the Best Treatment for Depression?
Medications and psychotherapy are the two best treatment options for depression. However, you must follow your therapist’s advice in all regards.
How to Treat Depression without Antidepressants?
Undoubtedly, antidepressants are highly effective. However, looking at how expensive treatment with medications gets, you may choose other options for depression therapy: Meditate, exercise, jog, keep yourself busy. Take mental therapy. Eat healthy meal. Work on your hobby. Talk to your loved ones. Acupuncture has also proven its effectiveness in some patients.
What does Depression look like?
It’s hard to explain depression as symptoms vary in each patient. You may have a persistent feeling of sadness. Or you may feel a sudden gust of loneliness, sadness, exhaustion but be happy the next moment you indulge yourself in your favorite activity. Depression does not always co-exist with sadness though. You can be happy and feel depressed the second you hit your trigger point. As we said, it’s not easy to put the feeling of depression into words.
How does Depression affect the brain?
The major effect of depression is on the brain, as we already know. However, it not only affects the brain mentally but causes severe physical and structural damage to its parts in chronic cases. For instance, depression may affect the hippocampus (the part of the brain that stores memory) resulting in memory loss.
When does Depression turn to Anger?
Long-term aggression is one of the symptoms of depression. According to a study, around 50% of people with depression complain of anger issues. As a matter of fact, depression and anger can coexist. In fact, one can lead to another resulting in poor self-esteem and creating issues in close relationships.
Why should Depression be taken seriously?
Just like we would take any physical trauma seriously, a mental disorder needs your utmost attention. Depression is a mental illness. It engulfs millions of people into the darkness every year. And only those who have suffered through it know how bad it can get if not treated at the right time. Not taking it seriously is simply out of the question.
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