Depression is very common among the people across the globe and its nearly affected more than 264 million peoples worldwide. (1)

Moreover, the current pandemic situation caused by Covid-19 has made paradigm shift in our lifestyle and forced many of the us in condition of depression which may lead to severe illness.

Depression is very much different from the regular mood swings or fluctuations and short span emotional responses to the challenges from day to day activities. (1)

Do you feel sad, empty lonely, unhappy, rejected and hopeless almost entire day or for several days? Have you lost interest in your hobbies, family and friend? Do you have trouble sleeping, eating and functioning? If you do possess these symptoms for more than 2 weeks, you might have condition of depression. (2)

It is often understood depression as a result of chemical imbalance in the brain, but the mechanism which causes depression is far more complex than just chemical imbalance. (3)

The condition of depression is rarely considered as severe illness however its severe condition may lead to suicide. Around 800,000 people die every year due to suicide and is the second most cause of suicide in the age group of 15-29-year. (1)

Though there are effective treatment for this however a large group ~ 76% and 85% of people from middle- and low-income group devoid of such treatment. (1)

What is Depression….?

Depression which is also known as clinical depression or depressive disorder is the health condition that causes unpleasant symptoms which might have detrimental effect on eating, sleeping, daily activities, people interactions. (2, 4, 5)

If you do have these symptoms continuously for more than 2 weeks, then only it can be diagnosed as depression and can be treated accordingly. (2)

Types of Depression

The classification of depression is based upon its occurrence and some unique circumstances.

Major Depression: In this depression ate symptoms are nearly occurred every day and continued for more than 2 weeks which affects the eating, sleeping, working, studying, happiness of the life. This depression usually occurs once in lifetime moreover, a person may have several episodes. (2, 5)

Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): In this health condition, the symptoms of depression may persist for more than 2 years which multiple episodes in between with less severe symptoms. (2, 5)

Perinatal Depression: Women with perinatal depression may have major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). (2)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): This kind of depression have onset and offset with season, it typically starts in late autumn and early winter and goes during spring and summer. (2)

Psychotic Depression: In this depression condition the people may have major depression along with other psychosis element such as delusions and hallucinations. (2)

In delusion people may have false fixed belief which hallucination is the condition which may have seeing and hearing of upsetting things which might not be true for others.

Bipolar Affective Disorder: This is also known as manic-depression and consists of both major depression and maniac episodes separated by normal mood episodes. People with bipolar disorder exhibit extreme high euphoric or irritable moods called mania or less severe case called hypomania. (1, 2)

In addition to these there are other form of depression such as disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (present in children and adolescents) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder. (2)

Symptoms of Depression

Different people might have different symptoms, however some of the common symptoms of depression include: (1, 2, 4, 6)

  • Persistent feeling of sadness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
  • Feeling of low energy, energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Trouble sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Unexplained appetite and/or weight changes
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Unexplained metabolic disorders, pain, headaches, cramps, without significant health condition

Causes of Depression

Depression can affect different age-group in different way. It can affect men, women, older adults, young children and older children and teens. The most common cause of depression includes: (2, 4, 5, 6)

Personality: People who have very low self-esteem and often suffered by the stress in their day to day life, are the victim of depression. These people lack in optimism and fall under the trap of depression.

Genetics: If your any of the family member have condition of depression or other mood disorder, it very likely that you might face similar health condition. Genes also play a major role in deciding the onset of these disorders in twin children.

Environmental Factors: Continuous exposure of extreme violence, abuse, rejection, poverty may cause development of depression among any group of people. Domestic abuse and violence are the major cause of depression among women and elderly people.

Biochemistry: Prolonged drug abuse, alcoholism, medication may lead to change fundamental chemistry of the brain. The imbalance of essential chemicals in our brains may result in depression.

Medical Condition: Certain chronic health conditions such as insomnia, chronic illness, chronic pain and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorders may put individuals at greater risk of depression.

Early Childhood Trauma: The trauma experience in childhood such as parental abuse, violence, child sexual abuse, bullying may invoke sense of fear among the children at later stage of life and sometimes it changes the complete perspective of life.

Drug Uses: Prolonged consumption of any medication may result in change in biochemistry of the brain. Excessive consumption of alcohol and narcotic drugs may also put you in some sort of long-lived depression and even invoke you to commit suicide.

Treatment of Depression

Living with depression is very difficult but fortunately there are various treatment available for this. People can either opt for one treatment or the combination of various treatment. Some of the treatment of depression includes:

Medications

The common medicine used to treat depressions is called antidepressant. It takes 2 to 4 weeks to have any observable progress. However, it may have side effects, but it may lessen with time.

It always advisable to consult your doctors before taking any antidepressant which may have some side effects and cause serious health issues.

In teens and younger adults may cause severe health condition in initial phase of consumption. They may be agitated and may have suicidal tendency before the medicine shows its impact. (2, 4)

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy and is one of the proven treatments against depression and provide very different perspective to the life. It helps in changing the behavior of the individual, ways of thinking and habits.

This method is very much helpful in the treatment caused by the relationship or work-related depression condition. It is generally used in association with antidepressants medications. (2, 4)

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

This treatment of depression is considered as the last line of defense and is only used in case of other method of treatment have filed in obtaining any positive results.

In this method patients are given brief electrical stimulation to the brain under anesthesia. It generally includes 2-3 session in week and total of 6-12 sessions.

It is conducted by the trained professional along with psychiatrist, an anesthesiologist and a nurse or physician assistant. (2, 4)

Alternative Methods

There are varieties of things we can do to reduce the effects of depressions. The alternative methods of treatment may include: (2, 4, 6)

  • Exercise
  • Avoid Alcohol & Drug
  • Healthy Diet
  • Quality Sleep

Summary

Once again, we reiterate that depression is real illness and may have serious health conditions. But fortunately, the treatment of this illness is available. With timely and proper diagnosis and treatment people can overcome depression. If experience any of the symptoms of depression its high time to consult the doctor and start the treatment immediately. “Stay Positive, Stay Happy”.