Depression is a mental illness which is characterized by feelings of profound sadness and lack of interest in enjoyable activities. All people may feel sad sometimes and sometimes blue,a persistent low mood that interferes with the ability to function and appreciate things in life is referred to as depression. It can cause a large damage both physically and mentally.
Causes for depression
The exact cause for depression is not known till. The possible causes may be mental, physical, and environmental in nature and they may include :
Stress in life which may be chronic.
Helplessness and Hopelessness, ie.,lack of control over circumstances.
Negative thoughts and beliefs.
Heart disease or any surgery.
Imbalances in brain chemicals and hormones.
Altered brain structure and function, including after a stroke.
After child birth called postpartum depression.
Due to some chronic diseases like anemia, hypothyroidism, cancer.
A risk factor is nothing but the one that increases the chance of getting a disease or condition.
The following are some Risk factors,
Sex especially in female.
Physical or mental illness which may be chronic like thyroid disease, headaches, chronic pain and stroke.
Stressful life events.
Previous episodes of depression.
Little or no social support.
Lack of personal control over circumstances.
Family history of depression.
Feelings of helplessness.
Due to certain medications, including medications used to treat asthma,high blood pressure,arthritis,high cholesterol, and heart problems.
Depression symptoms are variable from person to person and over time.Some persons have only a few symptoms while others have many.
Some of the symptoms may include :
Persistent feelings of sadness, anxiety, emptiness.
Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless.
Loss of interest in hobbies and activities.
Loss of interest in sex.
Trouble concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
Trouble sleeping, waking up too early, or oversleeping.
Eating less or more than usual.
Weight loss or gain.
Thoughts of death or suicide with or without suicide attempts.
Restlessness or irritability.
Physical symptoms that do not respond well to medical treatments.
There are no diagnostic test for depression. The physician will ask about the symptoms and medical history and then diagnose.
It may include,
Alcohol and drug abuse.
Thoughts of death or suicide.
Previous episodes of depression.
To obtain detailed information about the patient's speech, thoughts, memory and mood, the physician will perform a mental status examination. A physical examination and other diagnostic tests can help rule out other causes for the symptoms.
The treatment can be of psychotherapy, medication, or may be the combination of the two.The symptoms can be releived by medicines.Psychotherapy helps to learn more effective ways to deal with problems or to identify and resolve the conflicts contributing to the depression. Severe cases of depression may require hospitalization.Depression with psychotic features usually requires hospitalization and use of antipsychotic drugs such as olanzapine.
Here are some points to reduce the chance of becoming depressed.
Being aware of your personal risk.
Having a psychiatric evaluation and psychotherapy if needed.
Developing social supports.
Learning stress management techniques.
Do not abuse or overuse alcohol or drugs.
Getting adequate sleep, rest, and recreation.