What Are the Symptoms of Depression and How to Deal With It?
People can feel sad and overwhelmed at times, but Depression, also known as Major Depressive Disorder or Clinical Depression, is a common but serious mood disorder. It is a chronic feeling of sadness, emptiness, and the inability to feel joy. These feelings may appear for no apparent reason and not only does this affect how a person feels but alters the way they think or act. It can lead to not only a variety of emotional and physical problems but can decrease a person’s ability to perform even the simplest of tasks. Clinical Depression leads to broken relationships, loss of jobs, poor health, and in severe cases, may lead to suicide. Adults are not the only ones who are prone to this illness. Children and teenagers can be affected by it as well.
Depression is very different from the average sadness or grief a person might feel, though they can both act as a trigger that leads to Depression, it is not always so. It is not something one can simply overcome. It requires long-term treatment.
Symptoms of Depression
There are different kinds of depression, and each carries its symptoms, but nearly all these symptoms overlap and it is up to the Therapist, Psychiatrist, or Psychologist to determine which form of Depression the patient is suffering from. Some may be easy to determine and treat but others might require more testing and further research. The most common factors of Depression to look for are:
- Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness. All these emotions are persistent and weigh heavy on the mind.
- Frustration with situations, angry outbursts, or irritability over the smallest matters.
- Loss of interest in favorite hobbies and activities.
- Self-loathing and loss of self-esteem.
- Decreased energy, feeling tired all the time, lack of energy for even the smallest task.
- Sudden loss of weight and reduced appetite, or in some cases, increased cravings for food and weight gain.
- Trouble thinking, focusing, concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions.
- Constant headaches, backaches, or body aches.
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, self-blame.
- Fixating on past mistakes and obsessing over them.
- Slowed thinking, speaking, or body movement.
- Restlessness, anxiety, or agitation.
- Clinginess is a symptom that occurs in children. Along with refusal to go to school.
- Difficulty in going to sleep or waking up in the morning.
- Thoughts of death, causing self-harm, suicide attempts, or suicide.
How to deal with Depression
No two people are affected the same way when it comes to depression. It may take trial and error to find a treatment plan that works best for a patient, but the good thing is that, even in the most severe cases, it can be treated. Experts have named different types of depression according to the symptoms. To try and work through Depression a person must first identify, with the help of an expert, which forms of depression they suffer from.
- Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): Also known as clinical depression, this type of depression has overwhelming or intense symptoms that last longer than two weeks. It can lead to interference with everyday life such as the ability to work, sleep, study and even eat.
- Psychotic Depression: A severe form of depression where a person experiences disturbing delusions or hallucinations. They also show severe signs of depression.
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): As the name suggests, this form of depression changes with the season. It usually starts in late fall or early winter. This Disorder is seen to have affected people who live in countries with long, chilly winters.
- Perinatal and Postpartum Depression: This form of Depression is more commonly known. Affecting pregnant women, this form of depression can occur either before or after birth. It can persist for months or years.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD): Another name for this classification is Dysthymia. A person suffering from PDD may experience episodes of major depression along with milder symptoms that cannot be classified as MDD.
- Medication: The most commonly used medicine to treat depression are Antidepressants. as they might help to improve the chemical imbalances in the brain or control the mood of a person. Every person responds differently to antidepressants and it is through trial and error that a person finds a medication that suits them and makes their symptoms manageable. They usually take 4 to 8 weeks to work.
- Psychotherapy: Talk Therapy or Counseling is a major form of treatment for depression. It can be in the form of a one-on-one session or even group therapy. This helps the people by teaching them new ways of thinking and behaving and how to change their habits that led to depression.
- Brain Stimulation Therapies: This is considered the last resort if medication and talk therapy do not work. The brain is exposed to certain electric waves which can cause relief from depression. This is known as Electroconvulsive Therapy. Side effects can include confusion, disorientation, and memory loss.
Depression is not something that can be treated overnight. It takes time and dedication to work through the symptoms. Learning all about the types of depression a person suffers from is the first step, as understanding the illness can help the person beat it. They would know what to do and what to avoid as it takes trial and error to find the right treatment and the support that works best. Every person is different and requires different strategies and medications. Reliance on medication should not be the only resort. Social support is extremely important, especially that of family members and close friends. Finally, a patient should not stop the treatment or medications unless the therapist or psychiatrist advises them to do so. Most people start to feel better after a few months and decide to go off their treatment course or medication on their own. It causes them to relapse worse than they were before. If the patient remains true to the treatment plan they can become a better and healthier version of themselves.