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Depression is among the most common but serious mental disorders that affect the mind. This condition influences mood, thinking, and actions negatively. It is also referred to as ‘major depressive disorder.’ According to Britannica, “Depression in psychology is an emotional state or mood marked by feelings of low self-worth and a reduced ability to enjoy life.”
Often, people refer to “depression” as “major depression” or “clinical depression.” According to NIMH’s Trusted Source, 19.4 million adults (7.8%) in the United States experienced at least one episode of major depression in 2019.
These episodes of depression were more common among women than men. To elaborate further, around 9.6% of women underwent depression, against 6% of men. Additionally, the survey states that around 15.2% of the affected group were between the 18 – 25 age group.
Apart from causing emotional and physical problems, depression makes it difficult for an individual to function optimally at work and home. Although it is a widespread medical condition in today’s world, it is still not discussed openly for fear of society’s reaction.
Many studies have been conducted on this issue, but none have pinpointed what exactly causes depression. It is believed to be caused by numerous factors, including brain hormones, chemistry, and genetics.
To put it simply, there is no single cause of depression. It is triggered when several things add up and eventually push a person to become depressed. Approximately 40% of depression can be inherited from first-degree relatives (parents/children/siblings).
There are usually numerous reasons why an individual might be depressed. The causes range from biological to circumstantial factors. Some of the very common causes that lead to depression are:
Brain chemistry, hormone levels, family history, early childhood trauma, brain structure, medical conditions, substance use, and pain. However, depression can affect anyone in any circumstance.
For instance, even people who seem to live in relatively idyllic circumstances can suffer from depression. It is necessary to closely evaluate these cases to understand the problem and determine a course of action.
An individual suffering from depression may experience more than a constant feeling of sadness with various other symptoms. Some of these symptoms affect the mind, while others affect the body. Furthermore, some may be ongoing, and others may come and go.
Depression does not affect each one in the same way. The severity, frequency, and duration of symptoms may vary. Some of the general symptoms include:
Furthermore, symptoms of depression are experienced differently by men, women, teens, and children. In men, anger, aggression, and irritation are possible moods, whereas, in women, irritability may be present. At the same time, children may feel anger and experience a sudden mood shift.
Depression may be mild, moderate, or severe in an individual. A proper evaluation and in-time treatment help people manage their symptoms and stop them from progressing into something severe. Generally, mental health professionals carry out a diagnosis when:
A person experiences 5 out of 9 main symptoms that last more than 2 weeks and affect their daily life.
The treatments for depression include medications (antidepressants), psychotherapy, Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS). Other complementary treatments such as acupuncture, light therapy, and natural remedies can also be used.
People can do several things to reduce the symptoms of depression. Regular exercise, for instance, helps many people create positive feelings and improve their mood. Also, eating a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol (a depressant) can help reduce depression symptoms.
Depression is a severe illness that can be treated. The majority of people are capable of overcoming it with proper diagnosis and treatment. The first step to defeating it is to seek help without shying away from it.
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