Sadness and grief are common human emotions that we all experience from time to time. But, they may lead to severe problems if they persist longer and do not go away independently. This might start a painful mental health condition known as “Depression” or major depressive disorder.
It is estimated that about 16.2 million adults in the U.S., or 6.7 percent adult population of America, have had at least one depressive episode in a given year. Today’s blog will cover most points associated with this human disorder. Please keep reading about Depression awareness and its treatment.
What do we understand by Depression?
Depression is a real-world problem and a common medical condition that affects your behavior and function. This disorder can also produce difficulty with thinking, eating, memory, and sleeping. Depression and anxiety involve a persistent loss of interest and feelings of sadness. It is different from the mood and behavior fluctuations that people experience as a part of their life.
Depression is a persistent health condition, not a passing one. It consists of episodes during which the primary symptoms last for at least two weeks. Depression can last for several months or years.
Depression and mood swings
Loss of a job, death of a loved one, or ending a romantic relationship are difficult experiences to endure. And the development of sad feelings or mood swings in response to such situations is normal, but considering these emotions as depression is not fair.
They may be different in the following ways;
In grief, mood swings or sadness come in waves, often intermixed with good memories of the deceased. In depression, mood and interest decrease for most of the two weeks.
In normal mood fluctuation, self-esteem is usually maintained, while in depression, thoughts of worthlessness and self-loathing are common.
In mood swings, thoughts of death may surface when fantasizing about joining the deceased loved one. In depression, feelings are focused on ending one’s life due to views of the worthlessness of living or unable to cope with the pain of depression.
Causes of Depression and how does it affect the brain?
Lots of things can trigger depression, including the following;
- Abuse: Sexual, physical, and emotional abuse can make you more vulnerable to major depressive disorder.
- Age: Elderly patients are at higher risk of depression. Several other factors can be made worse, like living alone or experiencing a lack of support.
- Medications: Certain drugs like isotretinoin and antiviral drug interferon-alpha can increase the risk of depression.
- Death or loss: Mood swings after the loss of a loved one, though natural, can increase the risk of depression.
- Conflict: Depression in someone with a biological vulnerability may result from personal disputes with friends or family members.
- Gender: Women are about twice as likely as men to experience depression. The hormonal changes that women face from time to time may play a role.
- Significant events: Even good events like starting a new job, getting married, and graduating can lead to depression.
Physical effects of depression that can affect your brain
Brain Size: Professionals believe that several parts of our brain shrink in individuals with depression. Specifically, these brain areas lose GMV or green matter volume. And GMV loss seems to be higher in patients with chronic or ongoing depression.
Researchers have found that depression can also lower GMV in;
Hippocampus: It is an essential part of our brain that helps us learn and memorize. Hippocampus connects to other parts of our brain and is responsible for stress hormones. Depression can affect the work process of the hippocampus.
Typical behavior of a person suffering from Depression?
- Agitation: Depression can cause turmoil, and the individual can find it difficult to sit or lie still. And to extreme agitation, patients may show some behavioral changes like increased anger, frustration, and impulsive behavior.
- Hibernation: People with clinical depression may find it challenging to join social events. While joining a social event, they may feel depressed, irritable, and anxious.
- Lethargy: People with severe depression may find their motivation drops. They may behave like someone with a heavyweight on their shoulders and dragging weights around their ankles.
- Sleep problems: People with depression can feel sleeping difficulties and find it hard to sleep. They may wake up early in the morning and not sleep again.
How to battle Depression at work?
You can try the following tips to deal with depression at work. They are not intended as the complete treatment of depression at work but could help you better cope with depression.
Acknowledge depression: First of all, you need to acknowledge your depression at work and understand your depression. This may be challenging to define your depression, but it is crucial to managing the situation.
TYPES OF DEPRESSION
We can describe depression in terms of various circumstances, and there are multiple forms of depression to start with first is
- Persistent Depressive Disorder: Medically, we call it DYSTHYMIA; it means a depressed mood that has lasted for at least more than two year
- Postpartum Depression: Faced by women within two weeks after their delivery. This feeling of exhaustion, anxiety and sadness makes it difficult for new mothers to complete daily care activities for themselves and their babies. CDC studies show that 1 out of 8 women in the US report symptoms of Postpartum depression.
- Psychotic Depression- A term for those who have severe depression along with psychosis. The most common Psychotic symptoms show depressive themes such as delusions of guilt, poverty, and illness.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder– Mostly characterized by the onset of depression during the winter when there is not enough sunlight by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain. As predicted, it comes back every year as Seasonal Affective Disorder, and in most cases, this depression indeed lifts during summer and springtime.
There is a whole book waiting to talk about this, but let’s proceed to its other factors.
TREATMENTS AND THERAPIES-
Depression is not something everyone can relate to. It is a disorder that varies with every patient in terms of everything. No two people can be depressed in the same way. Depression isn’t a dress size that would fit all, or someone has to fit according to it, so its treatment concerning every person is the trial-error method, and with time, it adjusts and becomes best for you.
Doctors go on with two types of treatment, i.e., either medication or psychotherapy, and in most cases combination of two is prescribed as best.
Psychotherapies, also referred to as Counseling, are one way to help people share their thoughts openly without any second thought and feel at ease. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), Interpersonal therapy (IPT), and Problem-solving therapy can help people with depression.
Medications, primarily antidepressants, are commonly used to treat moderate to severe depression. Serotonin inhibitors, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, tricyclic antidepressants, and atypical antidepressants are several antidepressants. Likewise, to treat general anxiety or anxiety with depression, Xanax(alprazolam) is prescribed.
It reduces pressure by reducing the increased serotonergic activity. It is a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat panic attacks, anxiety, and depression-related disorders.
Uses of anti-depression medicines
It may be prescribed as off-label medicine by some doctors, but 30 years back, clinical studies have shown it can help treat major depressive disorder when prescribed in double the dosage used for anxiety relief for a short time. Indeed, this medicine has its side effects, but it can do miracles under proper guidance and care.
Evidence has shown that Xanax is moderately more effective than a placebo than conventional antidepressants.
If taken for more than 12 weeks in a very high amount, it can become highly addictive due to its sedative properties. Doctors prescribe Xanax in extreme cases in high doses for a short period and then continue with other antidepressants.
Make sure you take your prescription from a qualified doctor and fill it in at a reputable pharmacy.
Be sure to check the dosage of the medication you are purchasing because even a bit of a mistake could be dangerous. There is a risk of abuse, misuse, and addiction with Xanax, leading to serious side effects.
Avoid self-medicating in Xanax because people tend to be their doctors and purchase it through illegal sites and local street dealers, as you cannot fix and cure your illness yourself. Then there are high chances of your getting addicted to Xanax.