When dealing with a rough day at home or work, it is normal to feel low or sad from time to time. But this isn’t the same as depression. Being unhappy and being depressed are two words often used interchangeably by people. In reality, depression is a much more serious condition and can have a long time effect on your mental and physical health.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression is the main cause of disability worldwide and India is one of the most depressed countries of all. Most people do not seek help due to social stigma or lack of knowledge, which can make their condition even worse.
What is depression?
Depression is described as a mood disorder with a persistent feeling of sadness, loneliness and loss of interest. It is a long term problem, which is triggered by any major life-changing event like bereavement or the loss of a job. It can last from several weeks to years.
The experts in the field have yet been able to completely understand the cause of depression, but there is a high possibility that it is triggered by a combination of factors:Genetical features
Changes in the brain’s neurotransmitter levels
Psychological and social factors
Bipolar disorder and other conditions
Here are some common symptoms of depression:
1. Endless sadness
Feeling low from time to time is part of normal life. But experiencing a depressed mood for more than two weeks in a row can be a sign of depression. A person suffering from depression may often feel sad or cry frequently. They often feel some kind of emptiness.
2. Loss of interest
The second common symptom is the loss of interest or pleasure in things that you once enjoyed. In medical terms, this condition is also called anhedonia. In this phase people generally withdraw from activities they once looked forward to in the past— sports, hobbies, or going out with friends. They may also lose interest in sex.
3. Fatigue and excessive sleeping
Sleeping seems to be the best way to escape from the problem for people suffering from depression. They generally feel excessively tired and lazy due to the overwhelming feeling, hence they sleep a lot. In some cases, depression may lead to insomnia and restlessness at night.
Anxiety and depression are often linked with one another. Severe anxiety may often give way to depression. Nervousness, restlessness, feelings of danger, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, trembling or muscle twitching are some of the common signs of anxiety.
5. Uncontrolled emotions
Drastic mood swings, where one minute the person feels all happy and jubilant then they burst out in anger can be a sign of the mental disorder. People feeling depressed often experience drastic mood change without any specific reason.
6. Concentration issue
Lack of concentration or finding it hard or having a hard time making any decisions is also a common sign of depression. People suffering from depression often recognise that they are struggling to think clearly and stay focused.
Depression is a mental disorder which can easily be treated with cognitive behavioural therapy, medication and support from the family. The medication to treat depression should only be taken on the recommendation of a doctor.
Some medicines take time to show positive results in the mood and behaviour, but you should never stop taking depression medication suddenly as it may lead to a relapse.