Depression (Or Major Severe Depressive Disorder) is a disorder of the brain that causes mood disruptions. Depression is a very common disorder but it is very serious and not to be taken lightly. It causes symptoms that affect how an individual thinks, feels, and handles daily situations in their life. It can affect how a person sleeps, eats, and even their work performance. In order for an individual to be diagnosed with depression, symptoms must persist for at least two weeks or longer. Depression does not mean an individual is weak, and someone suffering from it can not just "snap out" of it. Depression can occur only once in someone's lifetime or it can be a lifelong struggle. Depression is often an umbrella term, there are many different kinds of depression.
What are some symptoms of depression?
While depression can occur only once in someone's lifetime, individuals often experience multiple episodes. Some individuals may experience symptoms on a constant level, which is classified as chronic depression. For many individuals suffering with depression it can cause enough of a noticeable disruption in day-to-day activities including school, work, social activities, and relationships with others. Some individuals experiencing depression may feel hopeless or miserable on a daily basis without knowing why. Some symptoms of depression are:
Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, hopelessness, or emptiness.
Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over minor matters. (I.E. a tangled electrical cord that an individual can not untangle.)
Loss of interest/pleasure in hobbies, sex, sporting activities, or normal activities.
Sleep disturbances (Insomnia or Sleeping too much.)
Fatigue and lack of energy in even small tasks.
A reduced appetite/weight loss or Increased Food intake/Weight Gain.
Anxiety, agitation or even restlessness.
Slowed speaking, slowed body movements, and even slowed thinking.
Feelings of worthlessness/guilt, fixations on past mistakes and self-blame.
Troubles with making decisions, thinking, concentrating, and remembering things.
Frequent or recurring thoughts of the individuals own death.(This may lead to suicide attempts, suicidal thoughts, or suicide.)
Unexplainable physical problems such as back pain or headaches.
What are some symptoms of depression in young children and teens?
Symptoms in young children may include: Sadness, irritability, clingyness, worry, aches/pains, refusing to go to school, and being underweight.
Symptoms in teenagers may include: sadness, irritability, feeling negative/worthless, anger, poor performance/attendance at school, feeling misunderstood, being extremely sensitive, partaking in the usage of recreational drugs/alcohol, eating/sleeping too much, self-harm (IE cutting), loss of interest in normal activities, and avoidance of social interactions with peers.
What causes Depression?
Biological differences: People who suffer from depression appear to have physical differences in their brains from individuals without depression. The significance of these changes while still relatively unknown may eventually help pinpoint causes of depression.
Brain Chemistry: Naturally occurring brain chemicals called neurotransmitters are likely to play a role in depression. Research indicates that changes in the functionality and effect of these neurotransmitters and how they interact with the neurocircuits in the brain may be involved in maintaining mood stability may play a significant role in depression and the treatments of depression.
Hormones: Changes in one's hormonal balance may be involved in triggering or causing depression. Hormonal changes can result with pregnancy or the weeks/months after pregnancy (postpartum), thyroid conditions, menopause, or other varying conditions.
Inheritance: Depression is more likely to be found in individuals that have other blood relatives that suffer from this condition. Researchers have been trying to locate genes that may be involved in causing depression.
What are some risk factors involved with Depression?
Some of the factors that may increase the risk of development or triggering depression are certain personality traits (low self-esteem, being too dependent, self-criticism, or pessimism.), Traumatic/Stressful events (death/loss of a loved one, sexual/physical abuse, difficult relationships, or financial problems), Blood relatives with a history of Depression (or bipolar disorder, or alcoholism/suicide.), Being in an unsupportive situation, History of other mental health disorders (I.E. Anxiety disorder, eating disorders, or Post Traumatic Stress disorder), Abuse of Alcohol/drugs, Serious/Chronic illness (cancer, stroke, chronic pain, or heart disease.), and certain medications (Blood pressure medications or sleeping pills).
What are some complications that can arise from having Depression?
Examples of complications that come with depression are excess weight/obesity (can lead to heart disease/diabetes), pain/physical illness, Alcohol/drug misuse, anxiety, panic disorder, social phobia, family conflicts, relationship difficulties, work/school problems, social isolation, suicidal feelings/attempts, self-mutilation (cutting), and premature death from medical conditions.
What are some steps to take to help ease the effects of Depression?
Take steps to minimize daily stress, Reach out to family/friends, Maintain a strong support system, get treatment at the earliest signs of symptoms, consider getting long-term maintenance treatment, find hobbies/activities you enjoy.