Did you know that depression is a serious medical condition that has both emotional and physical symptoms?
The exact cause of depression is unknown but like most mental disorders a variety of factors is involved such as:
- Biological differences – People with depression appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain, but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
- Brain Chemistry – Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals. Recent research indicates that changes in the function and effect of these neurotransmitters and how they interact with neuro-circuits involved in maintaining mood stability may play a significant role in depression and its treatment.
- Hormones – Changes in the body’s balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression. Hormone changes can result with pregnancy and during the weeks or months after delivery (postpartum) and from thyroid problems, menopause or a number of other conditions.
- Inherited traits – Depression is more common in people whose blood relatives also have this condition. Researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing depression.
Although depression may occur only once during your life, usually people have multiple episodes of depression. It is estimated that by the year 2020 depression will be the second highest killer after heart disease.
Some of the emotional symptoms of depression include:
- Feelings of sadness, emptiness or unhappiness
- Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
- Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities, such as sex
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibility.
- Anxiety, agitation or restlessness — for example, excessive worrying, pacing, hand-wringing or an inability to sit still
- Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
- Frequent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
Physical symptoms may include:
- Sleep disturbances, including sleeplessness (insomnia) or sleeping too much
- Tiredness and lack of energy, so that even small tasks take extra effort
- Changes in appetite — often reduced appetite and weight loss, but increased cravings for food and weight gain in some people
- Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
- Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain, other aches and pain, headaches, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply “snap out” of. It isn’t demon possession or a spiritual attack. Depression may require long-term treatment. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychological counselling or both.
Join us on The HealthZone today for an in-depth discussion on DEPRESSION