Depression is one of most common mental illnesses worldwide. Anyone can experience it regardless of your age, status, gender, or ethnicity. But, have you ever wondered what really are the causes of depression and how can this be treated?
When I was a high school student, I had a classmate who was really fun to be with. He had this jolly and cheerful personality that everyone loved. No one could ever think he would end his life in just a blink of an eye. Yes, he committed suicide and we never expected he would do such a thing.
At that time I really didn’t know what depression is all about. If I had known it, I would have been able to help him and give him pieces of good advice even in my own little ways. I was totally unfamiliar about this illness since we never studied this at school, but as I have grown older and remembered that awful time, I came to realize that he might have been experiencing depression back then. That incident drove me to study about mental illnesses. Mind you, I am neither a health professional nor a mental health expert. I am just a person who has developed a great interest in learning about mental health. I believe that everyone should be aware of what depression is all about so that they will know what to do and how to deal with people who need our help. Being aware of it can help save more lives.
So what is depression? Depression is a mental illness that adversely affects how you think, feel, and act. It can cause feelings of sadness, loss of interest to things you used to enjoy. It can also greatly affect how you function and deal with daily activities like eating, sleeping and working normally.
Depression can be experienced by anyone. However, research shows that depression is more prevalent in women than men. Factors include biological, psychological, and sociocultural could contribute as to why it is more common in women. Women have a stronger predisposition that makes them prone to developing depression. Their hormone levels are more unstable compared to men as well. Women tend to overthink more which causes them to worry even about petty things. They also take the relationship seriously, so when problems arise, they tend to get affected more causing them to develop depression. Lastly, not only do women do household chores, take care of husband and kids, but also most women work full time at the same time. Gone are those days where women only stay at home and take care of their family. This modern family set up extremely causes them to get severe stress and anxiety that can lead to depression.
Sadness or grief is also sometimes thought of as synonymous to depression. Take note that it is different from depression. The death of someone we love, breakups or losing jobs surely cause us to feel sad or grieve which is just a normal reaction to the events. However, they can also massively lead to depression if the feelings last for at least two weeks. When grieving, self-esteem is still maintained. In depression, you feel self-worthlessness and you have low self-esteem.
Knowing about the symptoms of depression is very important to help prevent them from getting worse and so that proper medical treatment could be provided.
Below are some of the common symptoms you should be aware of:
Research shows that there is actually no single cause of depression and that there are a lot of factors that can cause depression.
Below are just some of the factors that can play role in depression.
Genetics can be a major cause of developing depression. It runs in the families. So, when your first cousin is having depression, it is most likely you’ll have it too.
The place where we live also affects our overall health. Living in a stress-free environment where there is no violence, abuse, and poverty makes someone feel healthier and happier. Stressful environment increases the risk of developing depression.
Each one of us has unique personality that differs from other people. People who are overthinkers, pessimistic and get easily overwhelmed by stress are more prone to having depression.
Fortunately, depression is one ot the mental illnesses that can be treated. A health professional must first conduct a thorough diagnostic interview about the patient’s medical and family history, cultural and environmental factors before the treatment.
Here are some of the common treatments for depression:
It is also called talk therapy. The patient usually consults and talks with a mental health expert who helps in finding the underlying causes of her/his depression. There are different approaches that the therapist usually apply in treating with patients and they could be done individually or with groups. Some of these approaches are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy. Though the techniques may vary, they share the same goals which are to make the patient feel better through teaching them to change irrational or negative feelings to rational beliefs. In addition, they also help in establishing good relationship with families and friends and help patients buid self-esteem.
Use of Antidepressants
Antidepressants are drugs that are common to treat depression. While it is considered to be an effective treatment, it can also worsen one’s condition if not taken properly. One must first consult a health professional who knows better what antidepressant is appropriate.
Working out regularly helps promote good health. When exercising, the brain produces a hormone endorphin which is also called “natural pain killer” that can help reduce pain, make you feel relaxed, energetic, and happy.
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
Electroconvulsive therapy is used when people with severe depression have been unresponsive to other medical treatments. Research shows it’s one of the safest way of treating suicidal patients and people with severe depression.
Get Social Support
Your family and friends can help you fight against depression. Problems are just normal and everyone experiences it. They can either make you stronger or weaker. It just really depends on you how you handle problems. If you are someone who prefers to face big problems by yourself even if you can’t handle it anymore, then it’s time for you to change it and start reaching out to your family and friends. Sharing your problems with them lessens your worries and anxieties. Plus, you will develop strong relationship with them preventing the feeling of isolation which is one of the major causes of depression.
Depression can happen to everyone. But then again, if we just increase depression awareness among the public and to the people who are also going through it, then we can be more sensitive and understanding in dealing with them and we will be able to extend our help to them.