What is Depression?
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What is depression?
Most people sometimes feel sad or depressed. It is a normal reaction to the loss or difficulties of life.
But when intense sadness, which includes feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness, lasts for days or weeks and prevents you from living your life, it can be more than sadness. You may have a clinical depression, a treatable medical condition.
It is also quite common. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
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It estimates that 8.1% of American adults 20 years of age or older experienced depression over a two-week period between 2013 and 2016.
People suffer from depression in different ways. This can interfere with your daily work, resulting in wasted time and decreased productivity. It can also affect relationships and some chronic diseases.
It is important to realize that being depressed is sometimes part of normal life. Sad and disturbing events happen to everyone. But if you feel miserable or desperate regularly, you may be experiencing depression.
Depression is considered a serious illness and can get worse without proper treatment. However, those who seek treatment often find that the symptoms improve in just a few weeks.
Depression can be more than a constant state of sadness or feeling “blue.”
Major depression can cause a variety of symptoms. Some affect your mood, others affect your body. Symptoms may also be in progress or come and go. Depression can affect men, women and children differently.
Symptoms of depression in men may include:
Mood: anger, aggression, irritability, anxiety, agitation.
Emotional: feeling empty, sad, hopeless
Behaviour: loss of interest, no longer having fun practising your favourite activities, feeling tired easily, suicidal thoughts, drinking too much, using drugs, participating in high-risk activities
Sexual: reduction of sexual desire, lack of sexual performance
Cognitive: unable to concentrate, difficulty performing tasks, late responses during conversations
Sleep: insomnia, restless sleep, excessive sleepiness, do not sleep at night
Physical: tiredness, pain, headaches, digestive problems.
Symptoms of depression in women may include:
Emotional: feeling sad or empty, anxious or hopeless
Behaviour: loss of interest in activities, withdrawal of social commitments, suicidal thoughts.
Cognitive: think or speak more slowly
Sleep: difficulty sleeping all night, getting up early, sleeping too much
Physical: decreased energy, increased fatigue, changes in appetite, changes in weight, muscle aches, pain, headache, increased cramps.
Symptoms of depression in children may include:
Mood: irritability, anger, bad mood, crying
Emotional: feelings of incompetence (for example, “I can’t do anything good”) or despair, crying, intense sadness
Behaviour: having problems at school or refusing to go to school, avoiding friends or siblings, thoughts of death or suicide.
Cognitive: difficulty concentrating, decreased academic performance, changes in grades
Sleep: difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
Physical: loss of energy, digestive problems, change of appetite, loss or weight gain.
Symptoms can spread beyond your mind. These eight physical symptoms of depression show that depression is not alone in your head.
There are several possible causes of depression. They can range from biological to circumstantial.
Common causes include:
Family history. You’re at a higher risk for developing depression if you have a family history of depression or another mood disorder.
Early childhood trauma. Some events impact the way that the body reacts to fear and stressful situations.
Brain structure. There’s a greater risk for depression if the frontal lobe of your brain is less active. However, scientists don’t know if this happens before or after the onset of depressive symptoms.
Medical conditions. Certain conditions may put you at higher risk, such as chronic illness, insomnia, chronic pain, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Drug use. A history of drug or alcohol misuse can impact your risk. Many other people may never learn the cause of their depression. About 30 per cent of people who have a substance use problem also experience depression. In addition to these causes, other risk factors.
- low self-esteem or being self-critical
- personal history of mental illness
- certain medications
- stressful events, such as loss of a loved one, economic problems, or a divorce
- Many factors can influence feelings of depression, as well as who develops it and who doesn’t. The causes of depression are often tied to other elements of your health.