Depression is one of the most common mental disorder. It is classified as a type of mood disorder. It can be characterized as the feeling of sadness, angry or loss which affects the day to day activities of a person.
Sadness and anger are basic human emotions. Every individual does experience these emotions from time to time. But if a person experiences these emotions on a day to day basis, there are high chances that the person might suffer from depression and consulting a mental health expert is highly recommended.
Depression is a serious mental health condition. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) it is the main cause of disability worldwide. Depression can occur at any stage of a person’s life, be it childhood, adolescent or adulthood.
Depression involves persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest from daily activities. Major life events such as death of loved ones, bereavement, loss of job are few events that can cause depression. It is not a passing phase, but a persistent one . It is a serious medical condition and can worst if not treated properly.
Symptoms of Depression
The symptoms of depression are as follows :
• Persistent low mood
• Loss of interest even from activities once enjoyed
• Sudden change in weight
• Reduced sexual desire
• Change in appetite
• Unstable sleeping patterns
• Slow movement or speech
• Agitation and restlessness
• Feeling of worthlessness
• Fatigue or low energy level
• Difficulty in thinking, concentrating and making decisions
• Recurrent thoughts of death and suicidal tendencies
However, the symptoms of depression can vary depending on the age group and gender the persons belong. Usually woman are more likely to develop depressive disorder in comparison to their male counterparts. The symptoms must stay for a minimum of 2 weeks for a person to be diagnosed with depression. It can however stay for several weeks, months and years.
Causes of Depression
Though the medical community can not designated any specific cause of depression, however it can be an interplay of several causes which combined triggers the symptoms.
• Family History : An individual is at high risk of developing depression if they have a family history of the same. Genetics are a predominant factor of any mood disorder.
• Childhood trauma : A person who has had a traumatic childhood, such as experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse during childhood are at higher risk of developing depressive disorders.
• Substance abuse : A person who has had a history of substance abuse be it drug or alcohol abuse has higher probability of developing depression.
• Brain structure : The vulnerability of depression increases if the frontal lobe of the brain is less active. Scientists however are unsure if this happens before or after the onset of depression symptoms.
• Medical condition : An individual’s mental condition also has an impact. Individual suffering from chronic illness, insomnia or chronic pain usually has higher chances of developing symptoms of depression.
Types of Depression
Depression can be categorised into several types depending on the severity of symptoms the individual experiences. Broadly there are two types of depression, major depressive disorder and persistent depressive disorder.
• Major depressive disorder: It is the more severe form of depression, characterized by persistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness and worthlessness. It is necessary to show minimum of 5 symptoms for at least 2 week period to be diagnosed of clinical depression.
• Persistent depressive disorder: It is the milder form of depression but a chronic one. PPD is usually called dysthymia. To be diagnosed of PPD it is necessary for the symptoms to last for at least 2 years.
Depression is not an ongoing phase , it a serious mental health disorder. Seeking help is nothing wrong rather it is a must.