Have you been down in the blues a lot more recently? Have you experienced a traumatic incident and have been feeling low since then? Is your sadness not going away, even after a long time? There’s a high chance that you may be suffering from depression.

What is depression? Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a widespread disease and is one of the most prevalent mental health disorder in the whole world. This mental disorder has a lifetime prevalence of 15% and an annual incidence of 7%. Major depressive disorder is linked with significant detrimental impacts on the quality of life, loss of work productivity, and a high risk of mortality. 1

If you want to learn more about the symptoms, effects, and treatments of depression – continue reading this article.

Symptoms Of Depression

Do you always feel hopeless and sad but aren’t sure if your condition qualifies as being depressed? The symptoms below will help you understand what depression really looks like:

  1. Feeling hopeless
    Depressive disorders affect how the person views their life. The most common symptom experienced by people suffering from depression is having a hopeless outlook on life.

Depression may cause people to feel that they are worthless or aren’t good enough. They may blame themselves for everything wrong in their lives. It’s hard for people to look at the glass half full, and they constantly fear being a “failure” or a “burden on people.”

  1. Lose interest in things they were passionate about
    Most people suffering from depression may lose pleasure or stop enjoying the things they love. A loss of interest or withdrawal from activities you once looked forward to is another sign of major depression.
  2. Feelings of fatigue and tiredness
    Depression may be linked to insomnia and anxiety disorder. Lack of sleep may affect a person’s behavior and mental health. Depression often leads to a lack of energy and an overwhelming feeling of fatigue. One of the main reasons why one may stop doing the things they love is because they are exhausted.
  3. Changes in appetite
    People diagnosed with depression may observe a drastic change in their diet. People may either overeat to make themselves feel better or not eat because they are conscious of how their bodies look. This eventually leads to the development of eating disorders in depressed people.
  4. Changes in emotions
    Depression reduces the level of dopamine being produced in the brain. This may cause people to experience mood swings or feel frustrated, angry, or sad, and they may isolate themselves from others.
  5. Suicidal thoughts
    According to the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionTrusted Source, depression is sometimes connected with suicide. The study showed that in 2013, more than 42,000 people died from suicide in the United States. People who commit suicide show the symptoms first. They may talk about suicide or express their desire to die before doing so.

Treatment Options For Depression

In the post-pandemic time, we can see that mental disorders are a major public health concern. The global lifetime prevalence of mental disorders and illnesses in adults is estimated to be between 12.2 and 48.6 per cent. 2

Mental disorders are largely contributing to the global disease burden. A 2013 study showed that 5.4% of global disability-adjusted life years. Whereas 17.4% of global years lived with disability were due to mental disorders. 3

Here are a few methods that you can use to treat your depression:

  1. Cognitive behavioural therapy
  2. Interpersonal therapy
  3. Psychodynamic therapy
  4. Medications

Difference Between Depression And Chronic Depression (Dysthymia)

Medical professionals use PDD to describe a person experiencing clinically significant depression for a long period. As a result, the most important difference between depression and chronic depression (dysthymia) is how long people experience their symptoms.

The symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of major depressive disorder – shortly known ad MDD. For persistent depressive disorder (PDD) to be diagnosed, the symptoms must have been present for at least two years.

In addition to this, the two depressive disorders also differ in terms of recurrence and severity.

People with PDD may experience symptoms of depression longer than someone suffering from clinical depression. Therefore, PDD symptoms may not be severe enough for an MDD diagnosis.

However, people with PDD can still experience major depressive episodes, and those diagnosed with PDD may later start feeling general, less severe depression.

On the other hand, people who have been diagnosed with MDD may return to a regular mood baseline between major episodes. During this gap (between depressive episodes), they may or may not experience any symptoms of depression at all.

How Does Depression Affect The Individual And Their Family And Closed Ones

In 2016, a study was published in the journal – Issues in Mental Health Nursing. The study found that relatives of people suffering from severe depression experienced significant burdens while they took care of their ill loved ones. 4

Living with and taking care of a person with depression may be challenging. During their time of recovery, caregivers may experience a mental toll.

In addition to this, family members may feel that health professionals ignored their insights and knowledge. Thus, medical negligence may increase the chances of family members becoming ill. Loved ones of depressed individuals may face an increased risk for:
● Burnout
● Exhaustion
● Depression
● Psychological distress

Furthermore, while looking after a loved one diagnosed with depression, family members may also experience fear and anxiety about their loved one’s condition. Family members may also feel hopeless and powerless – they may blame themselves for ignoring their loved one’s condition. Other than this, others in the household may also feel angry or irritated. This can cause them to feel guilty and ashamed for upsetting their depressed loved ones and friends.

When To Get Help For Depression

Here’s a good rule of thumb: If your depressed mood lasts for more than two weeks, is seriously interfering with your ability to function at work, with your family, and in your social life, or is causing you to contemplate or plan to commit suicide, it would be a very good idea for you to consult with a mental health professional so you can learn how to cope effectively and get your quality of life back.

References

  1. Mathers, Colin D., and Dejan Loncar. “Projections of global mortality and burden of disease from 2002 to 2030.” PLoS Med, vol. 3, no. 11, 2006, p. 20. PubMed, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17132052/.
  2. Kessler, Ronald C., et al. “Prevalence, severity, and unmet need for treatment of mental disorders in the World Health Organization World Mental Health Surveys.” JAMA, vol. 291, no. 21, 2004, p. 10. PubMed, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15173149/.
  3. “Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 310 diseases and injuries, 1990–2015: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2015.” Lancet, vol. 388, no. 1545–602, 2016, p. 58. PubMed, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27733282/.
  4. H, Skundberg-Kletthagenletthagen, et al. “Relatives of Inpatients Suffering from Severe Depression: Their Burden and Encounters with the Psychiatric Health Services.” Issues in Mental Health Nursing, vol. 37, no. 5, 2016, p. 298.