Understanding Depression, And Its Signs, Symptoms, & Consequences
Depression is quite prevalent these days thanks to multiple possibilities of being emotionally vulnerable. Constant exposure to social media, peer pressure, stressful school and college environments, unhealthy professional competition, and social anxiety all play huge roles in determining the stability of the mental health of an individual.
More often than not, these factors go on to influence an individual’s life for the worse leading to clinical depression due to the accumulated stress and tension over a period of time.
There are plenty of myths and wrong beliefs pertaining todepression. Also, people wrongly assume it to be only a phase than rightly recognizing it as an actual medical illness.
Let’s delve more into the details of what clinical depression really is, how is it diagnosed and treated, and what can you do to address it.
What is clinical depression?
Depression, often confused with temporary sadness, is strikingly exclusive and long-lasting. It can be compared to long bouts of remaining sad, demotivated, stressed, indifferent, and disinterested in almost everything that occurs in daily life.
On the other hand, sadness isquite short-lived and is gone within a few hours, or days at the most. A period of sadness lasting about 4 weeks or more is quite likely to be a state of clinical depression. However, like any other illness, depression cannot be diagnosed at home only by having other people read your signs and symptoms.
In order to be sure of your state of mind and its health, one needs to go see a psychiatrist. A professional psychiatrist subjects one to a number of tests to correctly deduce whether the patient is really clinically depressed or just a subject of a prolonged phase of stress and anxiety.
Based on the results, the conclusion is drawn and the individual is termed clinically depressed or not. A psychiatrist can not only diagnose your illness well, but will also help you get out of it sooner than you can fathom.
What does it stem from?
The causes of depression vary fromperson to person. What may be pretty threatening or emotionally exhausting for some may not hold the same effectsfor another. Having said that, there are a few standardreasons whypeople fall prey to depression. Some of them are:
- Changing phases like graduating, moving on, getting a job, retirement
- Losing a loved individual i.e. death, divorce, breakups, or othercauses
- Constant failures and setbacks
- Genetics and hereditary factors
- Personal problemslike beingoutcast, betrayal, social isolation, or chronic illness
- Physical, emotional, or substance abuse.
- Chronic sadness or grief
How is depression diagnosed and treated?
Yourdoctor may run a few blood tests to determine the onset and severity of your illness. Depression is a really a mental situation, but it still takes quite a toll on your physical health as well. Hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, hereditary factors, hypertension, obesity, and cardiovascular disorders may all point towards the occurrence of depression in most cases.
These health conditions may not necessarily mean that one is suffering from depression. However, chronic disorders such as the ones mentioned above are quite likely to be the signs and symptoms of the same. Top that up with the other mental signs like fatigue, stress, and low self-esteem, and your doctor can tell exactly if you have depression or not.
Depending on the severity and intensity of your condition, yourdoctor will prescribe medications accordingly. The most common form of treatment includes putting the patient on antidepressants to help curb their depressive phases and tone them down to the point of non-existenceover a period of time.
In addition to that, talk therapy, psychotherapy, art therapy, and aromatherapy also help trigger the happy hormones in your system. These catalyze your recovery process leading to better and faster healing in due course of time.
What are the signs and symptoms of major depression?
- Sudden and excessive loss or gain in body weight, i.e. 5% or more of the overall body weight
- Decreased concentration, inconsistent focus, and reduced productivity
- Contemplating suicide due to increased, or unnecessary, feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- Giving up activities that the individual once enjoyed the most, like hobbies, sports, cuisines
- Insomnia or hyper-insomnia becomes a norm
- Loss of appetite or eating frequently
- Impaired self-esteem and constantly beating oneself up
- Irritability, frustration, agitation, and anger are all at the brink waiting to come out at the slightest inconvenience caused. Frequently crying in petty situations may also be considered
- Falling ill more often and loss of happiness and spark in daily life
- Constant fatigue, lethargy, restlessness, stress, anxiety, and tiredness in terms of physical, mental, and emotional aspects
Sometimes, substance abuse like drugs, alcohol, and smoking can also lead to depression. Although these are usually the result of being clinically depressed for long, substance abuse may also be the cause of depression in some situations.
Nearly 30% of all people who undergo substanceabuse have some depressive traits in them. They are either diagnosedfor depression or on the verge of getting so.
How can CBD help in this regard?
CBD or cannabidiol is one of the products of the cannabis plant. When ingested, CBD bindsto the endocannabinoidreceptors in the human brain thereby leading to beneficial consequences.
This receptor, whenbound to CBD, helps regulate your essentialand vital functions like appetite, moods, pain, sleep, pleasure among other feelings.
In addition to that, it even monitors the releaseof your happy hormoneslike serotonin and dopamine and suppresses cortisol to cause an overall happy and joyful phase.
It is important to remember that CBD does not necessarily‘cure’ depression. Instead, it helps curb the signs and symptoms of it in order to facilitate healthy and quick healing of the same.
CBD also helps induce an anti-anxiety effect that enables the individual to regulate their responses to stressful situations.
In other words, with regular useof CBD, you can keep a clear head during tensed situations and seek rational and logical solutionsinstead of getting all stressed and unnecessarily worked up.
You can simply use products containingCBD to ensure that you milk the maximum benefits out of itwhile not letting go of your treatment at the same time.
In addition to being anexcellent contributor to an anti-depressantmechanism, CBD also has numerous other functions. It gets rid of acne, facilitiesneuroprotective properties, benefits heart health, prevents diabetes, and inducesanti-cancer properties.
What are the possible side-effects of using CBD for depression?
Although generally there are little to no side effects of CBD, the effects can vary from person to person. Ensure that you speakwith your doctorbefore getting started on any CBD treatment.
What other practical solutions can you use to address depression along with medical intervention?
These are the most recommended types of treatment for depression to be simultaneously along with medical aid and antidepressants.
- Cognitive behaviouraltherapy:
This is, by far, the most promising and the most effective treatment of all as far as depression is concerned. Cognitive behaviouraltherapy enables your psychiatrist to study your thought process, negative ideas, and sad emotions.
They even study the triggers that give rise to an anxious, stressed, or depressed state of mind. Based on this, they help you address your thinking and ideas better, thereby leading to a genuine treatment addressing the root cause of the issue.
- Talk therapy:
Talk therapy, as the name suggests, works on the principle of speaking your mind out, preferably to someone who can not only understand your concerns but also help you seek a way out. You can use talk therapy with a psychiatrist, counsellor, psychologist, a trusted friend, or a reliable family member.
Talk therapy works wonders for a person with depression. It gives you an insight into your problems, allows you to seek a different perspective, and even paves way for solutions.
It is a popular belief that speaking out about your problems actually shows that they seem much largerand uglier in your head than they really are. And talk therapy proves this belief to be true.
This includes a whole range of therapies like individual therapy, group therapy, couples therapy, and family therapy. These are all types of psychotherapy that your psychiatrist may sue to address a depressed state. Some doctors even use a mix of two or more therapies for a better and longer lasting effect of the treatment on the patient.
- Art therapy:
Coloring, drawing, painting, and sketching are all common forms of art therapy treatment that psychiatrists recommend for people struggling to get a grip on their mental state of mind. Art therapy, although used widely for depressed people, isn’t quite limited to them.
Anyone who is looking to calm their headspace and relax their mind after a stressful and hectic situation can use art therapy as a welcome change. You can even use any other form of creative art to help you in this cause.
The concept of aromatherapyis to use the pleasant and sweet fragrances of essential oils into soothing and calming down your own senses. Oils like jasmine, sandalwood, lavender, rose, chamomile, clary sage, and basil leaves are quite popular and widely used in aromatherapy.
You can use aromatherapy in the form of skin and hair products, massages, baths, room sprays, or spreading the fragrance all over the place using a diffuser. Your mind goes into a tranquillizedand relaxed state by using aromatherapy regularly.
What daily habits must you set to beat depression?
- Get a well-balanced nourishing diet in order to meet your physical requirements. This, in turn, will ensure that your mental state of health also improves gradually.
- Exercise more often, if not every day. Working out regularly initiates healthy blood circulation in your system that leads to an energetic and motivational vibe.
- Get into a routine. Your body is nothing short of a machine. Sleeping, waking, eating, and working at odd hours is most likely to throw your mental and physical energy off balance. Setting a routine helps your body get into a particular zone at a given time, which will favouryour chances of recovery the most.
- Monitor your circadian rhythm. In other words, sleep and wake up at the same time each day. And assure that you get nothing less than 7 hours of sleep daily. True that your body can function on much less than that, but 7 hours of sleep is crucial for somebody looking to heal from a state of clinical depression.
- Have fun! You needn’t do over-the-top activities to have fun. Just simply getting in touch with your hobbies, watching your favouritemovie, meeting old friends, or putting on a new dress are activities that will induce happiness and joy in you.
Remember that, when in a state of clinical depression, you cannot solely rely on these tips alone. These practical techniques will only work if you carry them out along with medications like antidepressants as per your doctor’s prescription.
These activities lead to the release of happy hormones in your system like dopamine and serotonin which, consequently, suppress stress hormones like cortisol, paving your way to a bright and cheerful day!
Summing it up:
Depression, although long-lasting and difficult to combat, does have quite a possible cure.However, one needs to be consistentand regular with the treatment process in order to ensure its good resultsmanifestingthemselves in due course of time.
Along with the medications and treatment, it is importantthat the individual also resorts to using non-medical treatmentsand small dailyimprovements. Make it a point to go out more often, meet new people, consciously monitor your thought process, and guide your emotions voluntarily to make the best use of your medicines and speed up your recovery.
Having said that, the will torecoverand be happy again overshadows all your medical and non-medical techniques to combat depression. The patient should want to recover and regain their lost cheerful personality and the will to enjoy to live life to the fullest.