Facts About Depression

Facts About Depression

Depression, also known as Major Depressive Disorder, is one of the most common mental health disorders, affecting people of all ages and across cultures and populations. Symptoms of depressions can vary from mild or moderate to severe cases depending on the total number of symptoms a person has and to what extent the symptoms are impacting a person’s life. However, even in the mildest form, the disorder can cause significant effects on a person’s ability to carry on normal life activities and maintain quality of life.

What do the symptoms mean?

There are several symptoms that are categorized under the diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder including some symptoms that are considered atypical or that are less common. Some of the more classis symptoms of depression include sadness and loss of interest in activities.

When a person becomes depressed, it is rather common to experience ‘low’ or ‘sad’ mood. The affected person often tends to think sad thoughts or is more likely to become saddened due to hypersensitivity to things in their environment (e.g., issues in relationships, at work, or even watching a sad movie).

People with depression also tend to lose interest in activities or tasks that typically make them happy or that they usually enjoy doing. They tend to describe that the activity loses its appeal or they simply don’t have the energy to do it. Loss of interest in activities also includes any type of occupational task that the person must do, like work, go to school, or do household chores like cooking and cleaning. These activities will most likely be abandoned entirely when a person becomes depressed.

Other symptoms of depression can include feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, low self-esteem, sleeping too much or not enough, decreased or increased appetite, low energy, irritability, crying, and decreased concentration. In severe cases of depression, some people may have thoughts of suicide, think about death, or may make attempts to harm themselves.

Symptoms of depression vary widely from person to person. While some depression cases may look very similar, as some people may have a more classic symptom profile of the disorder, other cases may be more difficult to identify. For example, some people may have a predominate symptom of irritability or anger while others may be agitated during a depressive episode rather than being fatigued or demonstrating low energy. For these reasons, it’s important to undergo a full assessment by a mental health professional in order to receive an accurate diagnosis if you suspect that you may have depression.

Treatment Options

The most common treatments for depression include medication and/or psychotherapy. For more severe cases of depression, medication is often recommended in order to stabilize symptoms since people who are in the midst of a more serious depressive episode may not benefit from intensive therapy until symptoms subside a bit.

Psychotherapy (also known as therapy or counseling) is always recommended for the treatment of depression, even if a person is taking medication. The positive effects of medication will wear off as soon as a person stops taking medication, but with therapy, the benefits can last even after the person has stopped attending sessions.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Interpersonal Therapy (IPT), and mindfulness strategies are a few examples of popular and effective treatment strategies for depression. Some people choose to learn about treatment approaches on their own through reading and self-study; however, it is advisable to seek treatment from a mental health professional that specializes in the treatment of depression. Prevention and immediate treatment are critical when addressing depression. The disorder can progress in severity; therefore, an accurate and timely diagnosis followed by treatment can provide promising results and improved emotional wellbeing.