Dealing with Depression: How to Identify Symptoms and Possible Treatments
Our daily life struggles; physically, psychologically, and emotionally is giving birth to all kinds of mental health illnesses. One of the most common and serious types is depression. Depression is a depressive mental illness that affects the way you think, feel, and act. It can make you feel sad and hopeless, believing that there is no solution or end to your problems. At a point, you may lose interest in things/activities that once kept you happy. It is estimated that one in 15 adults experience depression in a year, while one in six persons suffer depression at some point in life. Although you can experience the condition at any point in your life, learning how to stay in good mental health can help minimize the effects.
The good news is that depression is manageable and treatable, and you can get back to your normal life. Let’s now deeper into depression, looking at its symptoms and available treatments.
Types of depression
Depression comes in different types and forms. The types include:
Major depression disorder: this type of depression can come with strong symptoms and may last for a longer period. It can affect your daily life activities.
Perinatal and postpartum depression: This type of depression is related to women and comes during and after pregnancy. Symptoms include baby blues, worry, sadness, and stress.
Bipolar depression: people suffering from bipolar disorder experience both low mood and high energy periods. In their low mood, they can have depression symptoms like hopelessness, and sadness.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PDD): This is a very serious form of the premenstrual disorder (PMS) and affects women before their menstruation.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): It is season-related depression, and usually comes during late fall to early winter. But in summer and spring, it disappears.
Psychotic depression: Psychotic depression comes with severe depressive symptoms. Patients can also experience hallucinations and delusions.
Causes of depression
Physical and emotional abuse
- Use of some medications
- Loss of a loved one
- Genetic factor
- Personal problems (relation, family, and work-related issues)
- Substance abuse
- Health conditions
Symptoms of depression
Depression has several symptoms, which can be mild or severe. They may include
- Extreme sadness and mood swings
- Weight gain or loss due to a change in appetite
- The feeling of guilt and worthlessness
- Loss of interest in things or activities you loved
- High fatigue level
- Anger and irritability
- Restlessness and taking up activities without aim. You may be unable to sit still
- Having suicidal thoughts
- Loss of focus and inability to make decisions
Note: Having any of the above symptoms doesn’t mean you have depression. Sometimes it is very normal to feel sad; maybe you heard a bad news or a loved one passed on. Many other health conditions also have some of the above systems. However, if the symptoms persist for more than two weeks, it is recommended to see a mental health psychiatrist for possible diagnosis and treatment.
Before making that move, you need to question yourself. You are the only person who deeply knows you. You know things typical of you, so once you start feeling alien to yourself, including having uneasy feelings, and a lack of motivation, then, there is a problem. Start answering the following questions.
- Do you currently worry more about past events than before?
- Do you feel restless and find it difficult to sleep?
- Are you always sad or do you feel empty and hopeless?
- Have you been ignoring your friends and loved ones lately?
- Have your interests gone down?
- Are your current moods affecting your relationship?
- Do you have a challenge working?
If the answer is yes for all or most of these questions, and has lingered on for more than two weeks, then you need help.
If for some time now you are feeling alien to yourself, visit the hospital or reach out to a mental health professional for help. At the hospital, you may be referred to a therapist depending on how serious the situation is.
You may undergo a series of diagnostic tests to determine whether you are suffering from depression or not. This is because several medical conditions have symptoms identical to depression. Your therapist will also ask several questions to have insight into what you are experiencing.
You have to be very open and honest during such conversations to get the necessary help.
How to manage depression
Depression has several treatment options depending on the type you are experiencing. Aside from the treatment offered by your therapist, you need to take certain steps to cope with the symptoms. There isn’t any single successful management tip, and what works for one person may not work for the other. But you can try the following management tips.
- Don’t try to suppress whatever you are feeling. Your current feeling doesn’t mean you are weak, hopeless, or a failure. You are just undergoing a medical condition, which is absolutely not your fault. So, don’t criticize yourself for your feeling.
- You need to take it slow and do one thing at a time during such a period. Don’t force yourself into taking any major decision or overworking your brain. Take on smaller tasks and gradually get yourself to your former state.
- Sleeplessness can worsen your depression state. Sleep well and have enough rest whenever possible. At least, having 7 hours of good night’s sleep is recommended.
- Eat a well-balanced meal to have all the necessary vitamins, minerals, and strength to aid the healing process.
- Exercises, including long walks, weight lifting, swimming, jogging, etc. strengthen your cognition, and focus, and take your mind off worrying. Exercising also releases chemicals called endorphins that can improve your mood.
Possible depression treatments
Several therapies are available for treating depression. These include interpersonal therapy, exposure therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and problem-solving. Companies like WiseMind Counseling in Denver, Colorado also do Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Based on CBT, it helps people who feel emotions intensely receive the specialist treatment they need, with the aim of understanding and accepting any difficult feelings they have. As well as this, receiving prescribed medications like antidepressants and mood stabilizers may also be a course of treatment to consider.
The bottom line
Anyone can fall into depression, so never be ashamed when it happens to you. Open up and speak to family and friends about whatever you are feeling. They can help you get the necessary help through recommendations and also help in the treatment process. Be very open to your therapist to get the best possible treatment and support.