The unfortunate and uncertain happenings in one’s life result in negative thoughts and sadness, Demise of a loved one, bad grades, relationship problems and other day to day issues induce sadness and passive feelings. The person going through such phases is considered as ‘depressed’. Many people confuse sadness with depression. Feeling blue at times especially when one has gone through a critical phase in life, is completely normal! So what is depression?
When one is feeling sad, alone and cannot perform routine activities well and this feeling is NOT due to a reason. It’s without reason and comes to a person’s life unexpectedly. When this feeling prevails and has no apparent reason then it’s classified as ‘clinical depression’
SO, how to know if you suffer from depression? The person who is suspected to develop the depression should be observed for two weeks before getting a diagnosis. After diagnosis, it’s essential to get a proper treatment because depression is real and a serious mental illness. Before diagnosis, it is also essential to rule out other medical conditions also. Thyroid gland problems or vitamin deficiency can also mimic the symptoms of depression.
Also, it’s important to differentiate between normal ‘sad’ feelings and depression. Self-loathing is common during a depressive phase while during normal life happenings a person does not develop passive feelings for himself.
When to seek help?
It is often ‘assumed’ that a depressed person will get better on his own and often is neglected and ignored ‘for good’. Due to social pressures and considering mental illness a taboo, even a depressed person himself is reluctant to see a psychiatrist. It is advised that a depressed person should seek medical help as soon as possible. This can be done by his/her friends and family as a depressed person usually retaliates. It’s great to provide a healthy atmosphere for the patient and family should monitor his/her eating and sleeping patterns. The depressed person needs the same care as any other patient. Due to overwhelming negative thoughts and feeling of self-pity and self-loathing, the patient can develop thoughts to harm himself. Their practice of harming themselves with any object or throwing objects out of anger should never be ignored. IF A PERSON IS FEELING SUICIDAL THEN MEDICAL HELP SHOULD BE PROVIDED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
Signs of clinical depression (symptoms of depression)
- Prevailing sadness: Feeling blue, sad and down without any reason. This sadness can lead to self-loathing.
- Feeling of anger: Feeling of restlessness and anger (Especially in teens).Teenagers usually have extreme emotions when they are depressed. This is due to the production of large amount of ‘testosterone’.
- Mood swings: Drastic ups and downs in mood. Usually, a depressed person feels very low and is unable to get out of bed and face the world.
- Bad sleeping routine: Sleeplessness or sleeping too much. Generally one awakes early in the morning.
- Appetite problem: No hunger at all or feeling too much hungry. Loss of appetite is generally observed in depressed males and depressed females are observed to eat too much when depressed.
- Feeling of hopelessness: Person feels hopeless and thinks that he has no future. Feeling of hopelessness leads to severe depression.
- Suicidal thoughts: Person feels that his life is a burden for himself and for others. Dying seems to be an easy way out. The person can have suicidal thoughts and can act accordingly as well. This type of patient should be supervised all the time.
- Loss of motivation: Person feels that he/she doesn’t have any life goals. Patient does not even feel to get up from the bed. Patient becomes feeble and has very low energy levels.
- Feeling no pleasure whatsoever: Feeling indifferent. Person feels no happiness in any hobby or activity. There is loss of this hormone called as ‘serotonin’
Types of depression
- Major depression: This type of depression is severe and lasts for not more than six months. Major depression can lead to other mental illnesses. All the symptoms of depression are very severe and the patient can only be treated with medications. During major depression, drastic mood swings are observed. Suicidal thoughts are very common during major depression.
- Persistent depression: It can be up to two years. Person feels depressed all the times and the symptoms prevail for years.
- Psychotic depression: Psychotic depression is associated with all the symptoms of depression along with hallucinations and/or delusions.
- Post-partum depression: Mothers after childbirth can suffer from post-partum depression.1 out of 7 women suffer from post-partum depression. Patient feels sad and can also think to harm her child. Post-partum depression should not be ignored and medical advice should be taken.
Natural ways to get out of depressive phase
- Talk it out: Share your thoughts, ideas or whatever you are feeling. A good friend or a trusted family member is the best option for this.
- Change in routine: Go out, change your environment and routine. This can have good effect on a person’s mood.
- Exercising: Take a walk and exercise for some time. Breathing in and out peacefully can be very relaxing.
- Pen it down: If you do not feel like sharing your thoughts with anyone, just write down your thoughts. Writing can help you to think about yourself and your ideas and one feels light.
- Laughter therapy: Smile, giggle and then laugh out loud! Laughing produces ‘happy hormones’
- Seek medical help: Know that depression is a disease like any other. It should be treated by a professional. Don’t think it as a taboo and be brave to seek help. Taking medications as advised by a psychiatrist is very important as leaving or skipping medicines can result in reoccurrence.