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Depression- Its Symptoms, Causes and Diagnosis

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Depression is a common serious disorder which affects your mental health, the way you think, how you feel and behave negatively. Its a major depressive disorder that afflicts over 10% of the total world’s population. It is a very common mental health disorder that affects over 10 million people in India (per year). Although we as a society know less about it but fortunately it is curable. It can be difficult to understand depression personally because unlike any other diseases, it does not show any obvious symptoms like vomit, fever, etc.

Depression can get to anyone at any time, but according to studies, on an average, it first appears in your late teens and in twenties. It is highly likely for women to suffer from depression than men. Studies also show that a third of women may encounter a major depressive phase in their lifetime.

What depression feels like?

Depression is rather a disorder defined by thoughts, feelings, emotions and behaviours. It can cause a whole lot of emotional and bodily troubles and might lower your capacity to function at office and at home. In order to really understand depression we have to get to the symptoms. It can have various symptoms which the other person can see easily around us if they are really close to us emotionally.

First, It has symptoms related to how someone is feeling on a daily basis:

  • Almost constant feelings of Sadness
  • Anger without much reason
  • Hopelessness
  • and constant feeling of guilt

Next are the symptoms related to the behaviour of a person, which include:

  • low motivation to do even your favourite work
  • feeling lack of energy
  • sudden social withdrawal
  • constant feeling of tiredness
  • changes in appetite
  • sleeplessness or sleeping too much
  • difficulty to think or concentrate

Finally, there are symptoms which are related to thoughts, which are:

  • low self esteem
  • loss of interest in daily activities even in pleasurable ones
  • thoughts of suicide or deaths

These symptoms of this disorder must last at least a week and denote changes into your basic functioning and behaviour. Symptoms of depression may also come and go like a light switch turning it on an off, over a long period of time.

Although sometimes the symptoms are in common with other diseases also and which can happen due to their medication. So it is important for one to know and separate out those general medical symptoms and not to confuse them with depression.

Why Depression Happens?

Our thoughts, behaviour and feelings are always influenceable by our surroundings. What we observe in our surroundings isn’t imaginary, so remember that they can play a great role in affecting your mental health. The exact causes of depression are not better understood but there’s still an idea to the factors that may trigger depression. And there can be many reasons which can lead to it and not just one.

The changes to the neurotransmitters in the brain may have a major effect on depression. And many medications which are in use of the treatment of this disorder work on the levels of these hormones. There is also a higher chance of heritability of depression (around 40%) when the first generation has experienced depression. However, it is not mandatory that if someone’s parents had depression they will have too, but the chances increase.

Environmental factors like living in poverty, experiencing a traumatic event or living in abusive surroundings or stressful situations may possibly trigger the mental disorder. The natural feelings of sadness and grief over losing a loved one can also lead to depression. A person who have had depression once is more likely to experience phases of this disorder in future.

Depression affects people of different ages differently and there are varying reasons also. People who are older are more likely to fall into depression which can happen due to living alone and poor social connections or support. Teenagers mainly are affected due to their surroundings and the parenting or friends they get. It influences their minds a lot. Whether peer pressure or violence or poverty or bullying, it all leaves a bad impression on one’s mind and makes them feel isolated and helpless.

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How is depression diagnosed?

The effective methods that are in use by the doctors for the diagnosis of depression is communication and careful screening of the patient. These methods mostly happens during a visit by them. And for the effective diagnosis doctors hear the specific behaviour of the patients and symptoms. Also getting to know their feelings and thoughts through talking which can be relevant to make a diagnosis. Also patients themselves can report their own behaviours, moods and habits on a daily basis.

Your medical doctor will compare your signs and symptoms, which includes how long you have had them, when they started, and the way they had been treated. They’ll ask about the things you feel, which includes whether or not you’ve got any signs of depression. In fact, there could be some physical signs of it as well; that is, back pain, joint pain, tiredness all the time, sleeping problems and other.

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Where to get help for depression?

To help cure this disorder there are several medications which are in use of its treatment. If you feel any of the above symptoms for more than a week or two, it is better to see a doctor and get started with the treatment. Remember that it is curable and feeling depressed and getting help for it is common! So it will be good the sooner you check if you are diagnosed with it and cure it.

There are several therapies as well which can help in the treatment of depression. And some people also try a combination of therapy and medication to get better results. Talk, cognitive, behavioral and cognitive behavioral are the therapies which are in use for treatment of it. And there are several natural remedies as well.

There are various support groups and foundations as well which can help in online assessment and guide you while these rough times. You can visit here also to get the helplines and other details:
11 Natural Depression Treatments.