Depression: What You Need to Know

  • Post:Shampa Gupta, Vice Principal, Neotia Academy of Nursing
  • 20th December 2021
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  • Post:Shampa Gupta
  • December 20, 2021
 

Depression: What You Need to Know

Depression, a very common but serious mental disorder where a person lacks his or her interest and pleasure in daily activities leading to significant weight loss or gain, insomnia or excessive sleeping. It is also associated with lack of energy, inability to concentrate, feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt and recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. Globally an estimated 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression. According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) 2 out of 100 young children and 8 out of 100 teens may have serious depression. World wide depression is a leading cause of disability and a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.

Causes of Depression:

Though depression is common in all ages but elderly are at higher risk of depression. Women are more prone to be depressed than man. Any death or loss, abuse (physical, sexual or emotional), conflicts within person, family members or friends are common causes of depression. Family history of depression may increase the risk, and any major events good or bad acts as a triggering factors of depression.

Child development especially stressful home life in early childhood, parental disharmony, familial conflict, discrepancy in school and adverse environmental issues increases the risk of depression. Other physical illnesses, like diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and chronic pain can causes depression. Depression can make these conditions worse, and vice versa. Certain medications taken for illnesses like isotretinoin (used to treat acne), the antiviral drug interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids, can increase the risk of depression.

Sign and Symptoms of Depression:

Common symptoms of depression are

  • Persistent sadness, anxiety, or “empty” mood.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism.
  • Feelings of irritability, frustration‚ or restlessness.
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities.
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
  • Difficulty sleeping, early morning awakening, oversleeping.
  • Changes in appetite or unplanned weight changes.
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and that do not ease even with treatment.
  • Suicide attempts or thoughts of death or suicide.

Manifestation of depression varies in different age groups –

Children - anxious, cranky, pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die.

Older children and teens - easily frustrated‚ restlessness, or have low self-esteem. anxiety, eating disorders, excessive sleepiness (called hypersomnia), increased appetite (called hyperphagia), attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or substance use disorder.

Younger adults - irritable, weight gain ,hypersomnia, negative view of life and the future, generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, and substance use disorders.

Middle-aged adults - decreased libido, middle-of-the-night insomnia, or early morning awakening, gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation.

Older adults - sadness or grief, lack of emotions. In severe cases, memory and thinking problems (called pseudodementia) may be prominent.

Treatment of Depression:

Depression can be treated by –

  • Self-help - Regular exercise, enough sleep, and spending quality time with family and friends.
  • Counseling or Psychotherapy - talking with a mental health professional for support.
  • Alternative medicine - complementary therapy mainly massage, acupuncture, hypnosis and biofeedback.
  • Medication - antidepressants medication
  • Brain stimulation therapy: - electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) in severe depression.

15 ways to avoid depression are –

1. Exercise regularly

2. Reduce social media time

3. Build strong relationships with family and friends

4. Minimize daily choices to reduce conflict

5. Reduce stress by -

  • Avoiding overcommitting to things.
  • Practicing mindfulness or meditation.
  • Learning to let things go which is not under control.

6. Maintain treatment plan

7. Get adequate sleep

 

8. Stay away from toxic people

9. Eat well balanced diet

10. Maintain a healthy weight

11. Manage chronic conditions

12. Avoid over the counter drug. Read prescription medication side effects carefully

13. Reduce alcohol and drug use

14. Get rid of nicotine

15. Plan for unavoidable known triggers

 

Reference:

1. Depression - WHO | World Health Organization. Available from: https://www.who.int › Newsroom › Fact sheets › Detail

2. Depression - American Psychological Association. Available from: https://www.apa.org › topics › depression

3. NIMH » Depression - National Institute of Mental Health. Available from: https://www.nimh.nih.gov › health › topics › depression

4. Bruce DF. Causes of Depression: Genetics, Illness, Abuse, and More. Available from: https://www.webmd.com › Depression › Guide

5. Gotter A. How to Avoid Depression: Prevent Relapse and Avoid Triggers. Available from: https://www.healthline.com › health › how-to-avoid-de...