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Depression: more than feeling blue

What is depression? Depression is often dismissed as “feeling blue” or “feeling sad”, but in reality, depression is not these short-lived mood changes that are often responses to daily challenges an individual may face in their life. Depression isn’t something one can easily “snap out of”, it’s a mood disorder.  Depression can make it difficult for an individual to continue with their normal daily activities, and at its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Depression can last for several weeks, months, or years.   Depression Symptoms The depression symptoms include:
  1. Extremely low mood.
  2. Disinterest or displeasure in all activities individual used to enjoy before.
  3. Significant weight loss or weight gain.
  4. Decreased or increased appetite. 
  5. Insomnia or hypersomnia. 
  6. Fatigue or loss of energy.
  7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive feelings of guilt. 
  8. Inability to concentrate and struggling with being decisive. 
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation.
  Types of depression
  1. Major depression: It is characterized by trouble sleeping, changes in appetite or weight, loss of energy, and feeling worthless. Thoughts of death or suicide may occur.
  2. Dysthymia: It is characterized by a low mood that lasted for at least two years but does not reach the intensity of major depression. Many people diagnosed with Dysthymia can function day to day but feel low or sad the majority of the time. 
  3. Bipolar disorder: People with bipolar disorder experience episodes of depression marked with low energy, and they also experience episodes of high energy or activity, also known as mania. 
  4. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): It’s characterized by depression that occurs at the same time every year. SAD occurs in climates where there is less sunlight at certain times of the year.
  5. Psychotic depression: Its a subtype of major depression that occurs when a severe depressive illness includes a psychosis. The psychosis could be hallucinations, delusions, or some other distortion in reality. 
Depression types that are unique to women:
    1. Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): This type of depression is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Symptoms of PMDD usually begin shortly after ovulation and end once menstruation starts.
  • Perinatal depression/Postpartum depression: This type of depression includes major and minor depressive episodes that occur during pregnancy or in the first 12 months after delivery.

Causes of depression

The exact causes of depression are still unknown, it involves a variety of factors, such as:

  • Brain chemistry: Recent research shows that changes in the function and effect of neurotransmitters and how they interact with neurocircuits involved in maintaining mood stability may play a significant role in depression and its treatment.
  • Hormones: Changes in the body’s balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression. 
  • Family history: Depression can be inherited and is more commonly found in individuals whose blood relatives also have the same condition. 
  • Early childhood trauma: Traumatic events at a young age affects and shapes the way one’s body reacts to fear and stressful situations.
  • Medical conditions: Certain conditions may put an individual at higher risk of depression, such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  Ways to manage depression

There’s no sure way to prevent or cure depression. However, there are certain ways you can manage depression: 

  • Reducing stress
  • Exercising regularly 
  • Building strong relationships with others
  • Building a support system that one can reach out to
  • Getting an adequate amount of sleep
  • Maintaining a treatment plan, one may see a professional when things get hard or when they relapse
  • Cutting back on social media
  • Staying away from toxic people
  If you or anyone you know is struggling with depression please reach out for help, at Shivtensity we provide psychosocial aid through consultations with professionals who are empathetic, patient and non-judgemental.
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