All of us can get depressed every now and then, yet there are people who get depressed at a pathological level. Thus it is important to let the public know the risks associated with this mental condition so that they can take means on how to prevent it.
Depression is more than a feeling of sadness. It is a feeling that one is lifeless, empty and apathetic; it may also cause a person to feel anger, aggressive and restless. Whatever its accompanying symptoms may be, depression is way different from normal sadness. It may often interfere with a person's ability to work, sleep, eat, have fun and other daily activities. These people may experience helpless, hopeless, and worthless and can find no relief.
If you are depressed, there are several signs and symptoms that you have to watch out for. Depression may bring about insomnia (lack of sleep) or hypersomnia (sleepy all the time), difficulty in concentration, hopelessness, helplessness, difficulty in controlling negative thoughts, loss of appetite, uncontrollable appetite, irritability, short temper, aggressiveness, alcohol abuse, reckless behaviour, and thoughts of suicide. Depression symptoms may vary from person to person, however the most common symptoms include feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, loss of interest in daily activities, weight changes and appetite changes, sleep changes, anger, irritability, loss of energy, self-loathing, strong feeling of worthlessness or guilt, reckless behaviour, concentration problems, and an increase in physical symptoms such as unexplained headaches, back pain, aching muscles and stomach pain. Depression is also a major contributor for suicide. Warning signs that a depressed person may soon commit suicide include talking about killing or harming one's self, expressing feelings of hopelessness, talking about death or dying, having death wishes, getting affairs in order, or a sudden and unexplained change in mood from depressed to being happy or calm.
Experts say that there are three types of depression: major depression, dysthymia, and bipolar disorder. Major depression is characterized by the inability of the person to experience pleasure and enjoy life. There may be moderate or severe symptoms. These symptoms may last for about six months. Dysthymia, on the other hand, is a type of long-term low-grade depression characterized by brief periods of normal mood and periods of mild or moderate depression. The symptoms may not be as severe as that of major depression, however, they can last for a long time. The other type of depression is bipolar disorder, wherein a persiin undergoes a series of cyclic mood changes. There may be episodes of depression that alternate with episodes of mania. It can be accompanied by impulsive behaviour, rapid speech, hyperactivity, little or no sleep, and impulsive behaviour. A manic or depressive episode may last for several weeks.
Not all people are prone to develop depression, only those with risk factors do so. Risk factors include loneliness, lack of social support, recent stress, family history of depression, financial problems, marital or relationship problems, childhood abuse or trauma, alcohol or drug abuse, unemployment or underemployment, and health problems or chronic pain.
Depression is treated by a combination of social support, lifestyle changes, professional help and emotional skills building. The person should learn how to cultivate supportive relationships, get regular exercise and adequate sleep, eat healthy food, manage stress, practice relaxation techniques, and change negative thoughts. If not, the sufferer may experience consequences that may affect health and well-being.
Depression and Heart Failure
If you think mental health problems cannot bring about health problems, you may be wrong. A latest study shows that moderate to severe depression may increase the risk of heart failure by 40%. This was according to a study presented at the EuroHeartCare 2014 which utilized data from about 63,000 Norwegians. The researchers found out that there is a dose response relationship between depressive symptoms and the risk of developing heart failure. That means that the more depressed a person feels, the more he or she is at risk.
You can read more about depression in our other articles here.