What is depression?
Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. In the United States, about 10% of adults struggle with depression.
But because it is a mental illness, it can be much more difficult to understand than, say, high cholesterol.
A major source of confusion is the difference between having depression and just feeling depressed.
Almost everyone feels depressed from time to time. Getting a bad grade, losing a job, arguing, even a rainy day can lead to feelings of sadness. Sometimes there is no trigger.
It just appears out of nowhere. Then circumstances change and those sad feelings disappear. Clinical depression is different
It’s a medical condition, and it won’t go away just because you want it to. It persists for at least two consecutive weeks and significantly interferes with the ability to work, play, or love.
Symptoms of depressions are low mood, loss of enthusiasm, feeling of unnecessary worthlessness or remorse, loss of memory and not having the ability to sleep well again, unrest, or feeling sluggish In doing things normally a loss of recurring suicidal thoughts.
If you have at least five of these signs of depression symptoms, according to psychiatric guidelines, you are eligible for a diagnosis of depression. And it’s not just behavioral symptoms.
Depression has physical manifestations within the brain. First, some changes can be seen with the naked eye and with X-rays. These include smaller frontal lobes and volumes of the hippocampus.
On a more micro-scale, great depression is associated with a few things: abnormal transmission or depletion of certain neurotransmitters, especially serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine, blunted circadian rhythms, or specific changes in REM and slow-wave parts of your sleep cycle.
And hormonal abnormalities, particularly as high cortisol and dysregulation of thyroid hormones.
But neuroscientists don’t yet have a complete picture of the
causes of depression.
It seems to have to do with a complex interaction between genes and the environment, but we do not have a diagnostic tool that can accurately predict where or when it will appear.
And because the symptoms of depression are intangible, it’s hard to tell who may look good but is struggling.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, it takes the average person with mental illness more than ten years to ask for help. Base on the depression test that has been deal with in the previous years
But there are very effective treatments. Medications and therapy work together to stimulate chemicals in the brain.
In extreme cases, electroconvulsive therapy, which is like a controlled seizure in the patient’s brain, is also very helpful.
Other promising treatments are also being investigated, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation. So if you know someone who is struggling with depression, kindly encourage them to seek out some of these options.
You can even offer help with specific tasks, such as finding therapists in the area or making a list of questions to ask a doctor.
For someone with depression, these first steps may seem insurmountable. If they feel guilty or ashamed, explain that depression is a medical condition, just like asthma or diabetes.
It’s not a weakness or a personality trait, and they shouldn’t expect themselves to get over it any more than they could to get over a broken arm. If you have not experienced depression yourself, avoid comparing it to times when you have felt depressed.
Comparing what they are experiencing with normal, temporary feelings of sadness can make them feel guilty for fighting.
Even talking openly about depression can help. For example, research shows that asking someone about their suicidal thoughts lowers their risk of suicide.
Open conversations about mental illness help break down the stigma and make it easier for people to seek help.
And the more patients seek treatment, the more scientists will learn about depression and the better the treatments will be.