Depression is more than simply feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days
Did you know that:
- Depression is a common mental disorder. Globally, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression.
- Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease, according to WHO.
- More women are affected by depression than men.
- There are effective psychological and pharmacological treatments for moderate and severe depression.
Most people go through periods of feeling down, but when you are depressed you feel persistently sad for weeks or months, rather than just a few days. Depression is classified as a mood disorder. People experience depression in different ways. It may interfere with your daily work, resulting in lost time and lower productivity. It can also influence relationships and some chronic health conditions.
How do I feel or act when I am depressed?
Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Symptoms must last at least two weeks and must represent a change in your previous level of functioning for a diagnosis of depression. Also, medical conditions (e.g., thyroid problems, a brain tumour or vitamin deficiency) can mimic symptoms of depression so it is important to rule out general medical causes.
What can cause a depression?
- Family history – You are at a higher risk for developing depression if you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder.
- Early childhood trauma – Some events affect the way your body reacts to fear and stressful situations.
- Drug use – A history of drug or alcohol misuse can affect your risk.
- Brain structure – There is a greater risk for depression if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active. However, scientists don’t know if this happens before or after the onset of depressive symptoms.
- Medical conditions – Certain conditions may put you at higher risk, such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Depression can be broken into categories depending on the severity of symptoms. Some people experience mild and temporary episodes, while others experience severe and ongoing depressive episodes.
There are two main types: major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder.
Major depressive disorder, or a Clinical Depression is the more severe form of depression. It is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that don’t go away on their own. Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) used to be called dysthymia. It is a milder, but chronic, form of depression. In order to diagnose PDD, symptoms must last for at least 2 years.
Treatment for depression can involve a combination of lifestyle changes, talking therapies and medicine. Your recommended treatment will be based on whether you have mild, moderate or severe depression.
The earlier that treatment can begin, the more effective it is. Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other brain stimulation therapies may be options to explore. Before a diagnosis or treatment, a health professional should conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation, including an interview and a physical examination.
Medication: Brain chemistry may contribute to an individual’s depression and may factor into their treatment. For this reason, antidepressants might be prescribed to help modify one’s brain chemistry. These medications are not sedatives, “uppers” or tranquilizers. They are not habit-forming. Generally, antidepressant medications have no stimulating effect on people not experiencing depression.
TCA – Tricyclic antidepressants: TCA is prescription drug recommended for major depressive disorder. They are non-controlled drugs and are legal prescription medications. As a result, anybody who has a prescription can buy it anywhere.
Antidepressants – How do they work?
It is not known exactly how antidepressants work. It is thought they work by increasing levels of chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. Certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and noradrenaline, are linked to mood and emotion.
While antidepressants can treat the symptoms of depression, they do not always address its causes. Therefore, they are usually used in combination with therapy to treat more severe depression or other mental health conditions. Furthermore, if you are interested when antidepressants are used, find out here.
Antidepressants take time – usually 2 to 4 weeks – to work, and often, symptoms such as sleep, appetite, and concentration problems improve before mood lifts, so it is important to give medication a chance before reaching a conclusion about its effectiveness. If you begin taking antidepressants, do not stop taking them without the help of a doctor.
Why to get tested for antidepressants use?
Since anybody can purchase an antidepressant such as TCA, we should all be cautious. Although these substances are not addictive, users develop a resistance for it. Later, they become dependent on it.
This dependence, unfortunately, has led to fatal overdoses in the US. Therefore, the need for drug testing. It can help save the lives of those who are taking TCAs to cope with depression.
Take care of yourself.
Here are other tips that may help you or a loved one during treatment for depression: Try to be active and exercise, set realistic goals for yourself, try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative. Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you. Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately. Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced, or changing jobs until you feel better – Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation and most importantly: continue to educate yourself about depression.
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