One of my close friend is going through a bad phase of her life. Her husband has been diagnosed with depression and put on medication. The last six months were really difficult for her as she was not aware what was going on with her man, who is otherwise a fun-loving jovial personality.
It all started with the death of her father-in-Law, with whom her husband was very close; However he was behaving strangely even before of the loss. She used to come to me and cry her woes for hours and hours. Her husband had stopped participating in almost everything and was not enjoying the life as he used to earlier. Even, his profession and work started getting affected. Though, there was no disease as such but he was not into himself. I suggested her to go to a doctor as it seem to be a never-ending story.
We were shocked what doc told us, he was going through a major depression and immediately put on medication. But, the most important aspect was to ensure that he is not alone any time. The moment he’s left alone , his mind will start dwelling upon negativity.
Many of us go thorough minor or major depression without even knowing it at one point of time. A person who is going thorough it will have sudden mood swings and negative thoughts. But, it is much more than that and needs a proper treatment. Let us take a deeper look.
What is Depression
If you check the dictionary meaning of ‘Depression’, it is “feelings of severe despondency and dejection”. According to the doctors, Depression is a real illness that impacts the brain. A person who is suffering from depression will tell you, it’s not imaginary or just to gather some ‘sympathy’.” Depression is more than just feeling “down.” It is a serious illness caused by changes in brain chemistry. Research tells us that other factors contribute to the onset of depression, including genetics, changes in hormone levels, certain medical conditions, stress, loss of a near one, grief or difficult life circumstances.
Is it really caused by chemical imbalance? Though, most of the public has accepted that the major cause of the depression is chemical imbalance in the brain and taking anti-depressant will fix that. But, there are not much proofs regarding that. Clinical depression and its increase are more to do with the way society and lifestyles are changing.
Depression is actually a state of high arousal. Depressed people have higher concentrations of stress hormones (cortisol, noradrenaline) than non-depressed people. The apathy and exhaustion seen in depressed people is a consequence of too much arousal, and the way the body and mind respond to this arousal.
The way we respond to situations like hopelessness, helplessness, anxiety, anger, etc. effects the emotions we feel which, in turn effect the chemicals which are released. Thyroid problems, food intolerances and other physical illness can lead to feelings of depression but less than 10% of clinical depression is thought to have a chemical basis. Men and women of every age, educational level, and social and economic background suffer from depression. There is no area of life that does not suffer when depression is present.
Symptoms of Depression
People with depression may experience a variety of symptoms, but most commonly, “a deep feeling of sadness or a marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities,” according to the American Psychiatric Association. Other symptoms of depression may include:
- Irritability, agitation or restlessness
- Lower sex drive
- Inability to focus
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Change is appetite, eating too much or too little
- Chronic fatigue and lethargy
- Unexplainable crying spells
- Unexplainable physical symptoms such as headaches or body aches
- Feeling hopeless and worthless
- Withdrawal from social situations and normal activities
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Of course, the above mentioned symptoms are not very uncommon and most of us are likely to experience 1 or 2 of these. It does not mean that the person is going through depression. To be sure, you definitely have to visit a healthcare provider.
Treatment of Depression
When you’re depressed, it can feel like you’ll never get out from under a dark shadow. However, even the most severe depression is treatable. So, if your depression is keeping you from living the life you want to, don’t hesitate to seek help.
The best way to treat depression is to become as informed as possible about the treatment options, and then tailor them to meet your needs. As ‘no size fits all’, not a single medicine or treatment method works for all. Treatment takes time and medication alone won’t work. You have to go for psychotherapy and need social support. The more you cultivate your social connections, the more protected you are from depression. If you are feeling stuck, don’t hesitate to talk to trusted family members or friends, or seek out new connections at a depression support group.
Include a good exercise routine in your daily life; it can be walking , going to gym, yoga, any dance activity .It’s good if you can find a partner with you while doing the activity. Doing meditation for just 10 minutes everyday will also make a lot of difference.
All of these depression treatments take time, and sometimes it might feel overwhelming or frustratingly slow. That is normal. Recovery usually has its ups and downs.
What is needed to do to avoid it at any point of time.
So, to sum up, beating depression is not about bad things happening to us but rather how we have learned to respond to life events – good or bad. It is important to have an accepting attitude towards life and try to be neutral in difficult situations. The most important thing is, keep yourself busy with different activities or whatever you enjoy.