Depression is a mental disorder characterized by a serious illness that negatively affects how you feel, think, and act. It causes a loss of interest in any activity and creates a feeling of sadness. It decreases your ability to function properly at home and at work.
Over 264 million people, globally are impacted by depression and they cater to all ages. Worldwide, it’s a leading cause of disability. As per estimates more women are affected by the condition than men and can lead to suicide.
Despite having known treatment, it is a strange fact that over 80% of patients in low-and mid-income countries are denied treatment for the disorder. The reason being a lack of resources, trained healthcare providers as well as a social stigma. Another issue with depression is that patients are not correctly diagnosed while others who do not suffer from the disorder are misdiagnosed and prescribed antidepressants.
Genetic Factor: The exact causes of depression is not known. However, in many cases, it has been found that the disorder was caused due to genetic factors. As per a study, over 30% of the cases were due to genetic influences.
Social and environmental reasons such as financial issues, unemployment, loneliness, childbirth, retirement, failure in a relationship, or loss of someone can trigger depression. These are prevalent in more vulnerable individuals wherein unpleasant life events can worsen the illness. Stressful life at home or at work or conflicts with others can also impact the well-being of an individual leading it to a depressing state.
In depression, an individual’s personality type also plays an important role. Some personality types are negative and usually have a very negative view of themselves as well as the world around them. They hardly appreciate good things and these happen even when they are not depressed.
Some people are affected by depression due to either some kind of illness or due to some kind of medication. Illnesses like thyroid hormones, influenza, hepatitis, diabetes, glandular fever, birth control pills, alcohol or anemia, substance abuse, or medications such as those for blood pressure or heart conditions can also cause symptoms of depression.
Symptoms for depression include the following:
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- Having a sad mood
- Problem with sleeping
- Appetite issues
- Increased fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
- Thoughts of suicide
- Feeling worthless
Types of depression
Depression is categorized into several types which include the following
- Major Depression.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
- Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression.
- Bipolar Disorder.
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
- Psychotic Depression.
- Situational’ Depression.
Some of the common ways to prevent depression are as follows:
Exercising regularly increases body temperature and creates a calming effect on the central nervous system and thus helps keep mental health in order. Exercising boosts your mood as it releases a chemical called endorphins. It prevents worsening of depression as it decreases immune system hormones.
Strengthen your relationships
Having an active social life keeps mental health disorders away. Research has proved that having a strong support system can protect you against depression. Ensure that you have a good connection with your friends and family members. Having time for hobbies, social gatherings, and meeting new people can help in keeping away depression.
Have limited choices
In our life, we have too many choices to spoil us and researches show that such a plethora of choices causes significant stress in our mind forcing us to be depressed.
Stay away from stress
Stress forms the most critical cause of depression which is avoidable. Learn to cope up with excessive stress by not over committing, practicing meditation, reading, and keeping yourself busy.
Depression can be prevented by having a planned and well-balanced diet inclusive of lots of fruits and vegetables, lower sugar and fat intake, remove processed food, and add omega-3s foods like nuts and salmon.
Having a quality sleep of eight hours is a necessity for a healthy mind and body. People with sleeplessness have a higher risk of developing depression.
Maintain proper weight
Overweight and obesity is connected with depression as it lowers self-esteem. As per research, there is a correlation between being depressed and having overweight. A survey found that 43% of adults suffering from depression were obese. Furthermore, adults with depression were more likely to be obese.
Reduce alcohol consumption
Excessive consumption of alcohol and any drug abuse is associated with higher risks of depression and higher chances of relapse of depression.
Stay away from smoking
Smoking can perpetuate depression and it is advisable to stay away from all kinds of nicotine, especially smoking.
Stay away from negative people
Staying away from toxic people who spread negativity can help you be in a positive space. Such people lower self-esteem which is one of the causes of depression.
Depression has effective treatments both for moderate and severe conditions. Doctors providers may offer psychological treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral activation, and interpersonal psychotherapy. They may also prescribe antidepressant medication for example serotonin reuptake inhibitors and tricyclic antidepressants.
As antidepressants are not the first line of treatment for moderate-severe depression psycho social treatments come to the rescue in such cases.