Depression is not something that stays with you – it comes and it goes, but the scary thing is that the traces of it lingers within the mind of the depressed person. Most often, people confuse depression with someone who is in the state of gloominess all the time – and that is certainly a very generic term. I have personally known the happiest person, who seemed to have no problems, and quite content with her life, broke down badly to an extend of committing suicide ; she kept her depression as a secret and refused for a professional intervention because she was afraid of being judged. I am not surprised by her “fear” because that is actually the truth and is a reality in some part of the world.
Patients brutally tortured in the name of “treatment”, being dragged to meet voodoo doctors, and being called a “curse” are just some of the cases in the list, and this, for me, is nothing but an act of stupidity and purely inhumane. We in the mental health industry, know that this is indeed a tough battle because as serious as the topic is, there are many phonies who freely claim to “suffer” from these illnesses for the sake of attention. In addition to that, studies has shown that more women suffers from depression than men and it is said that 12% of the general population will experience depression in their lifetime. Hence coming to that, I have compiled causes, symptoms and cure or interventions, that I believe will bring more goodness than harm after all it’s better to be prepared than be sorry.
What really is the real reason behind depression?
Believe it or not, depression is known as the “cold” of mental health, because it is common but never to take it lightly. Since depression is defined as an intensely complexed disease that figuring out the cause of it seemed to be almost impossible, hence, the reason can be anything. Depression could be the end result of a traumatic past event, it could also be a genetic condition or even medications such as isotretinoin (used to treat acne) and corticosteroids can increase the level of depression. In addition to that, depression is not thoroughly caused by negative experiences but events such as marriage, new job and even pregnancy is able to trigger this condition. Like I have said above, there is no specific reason of WHY depression happens.
What are the symptoms or signs of depression you ask ?
Depression is not sadness. Feeling the blues is something we all feel every now and then, it should not be confused with depression. When you are sad, you know you going to be okay when you continue to function and in no time, you are back up standing strong. But when you don’t get up after lingering in the “sadness” for a long time with waves of emotions hitting you, constant feeling of fatigue and physical changes happening gradually – this is the beginning signs of depression. I do understand that nothing is impossible but trust me when I say that people in depression will not be able to collect themselves up, feel better and move on. The only way to really feel better is through treatment, and hours of intervention.
And how can you be sure that it is Depression?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, also known as DSM-5 ( the new version representing the fourth edition since 2013) is used to identify the mental illnesses for both adult and children.
To know if someone is suffering from a severe depression, then there are few criterias that has to be met as per the DSM-5. This has been divided into five comprising of A,B,C,D & E. In criteria A, first and foremost sign is the person should be feeling unhappy mood or lost of interest, in many things for over 14 days in a row. On top of this, at least 5 of the symptoms below must be present for a period of at least two consecutive weeks. This is quite a complexed diagnosis that I will break down in another blog, for better understanding in the process.
What are the treatments available for Depression?
There are over 7 psychotherapy treatments that has been proved to be successful to cure depression but I am going to share 3 of the most sought after intervention which is also my personal selection.
Interpersonal therapy is basically a very short duration therapy, probably about 12-16, one hour per week sessions that focuses mainly on the relationships, so this includes improving patient’s skills like communication, resolving conflicts etc. This approach advises that improving relationship with people around can help in coping with depression.
Problem-solving therapy focuses on creating solutions to the problem. The session mainly looks at the problem and breaking it down, before offering multiple solutions for the patient to choose from – this approach provides the freedom to evaluate and make a decision based on it.
Supportive counseling this therapy is all about listening, so the psychotherapist listens to all that the patient has to share without being judgemental. Patient is free to talk about anything with the assurance of a genuine empathy and understanding received from the therapist.
Apart of the stated therapies, there are many other ways to cure this condition. One of it through medication, where patient is given antidepressants such as Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) which includes Elavil (amitriptyline), Tofranil (imipramine) and Pamelor (nortriptyline), that seems to work better based on individuals, however these medicines do come with side effects such as restlessness, drowsiness and sweating. I would definitely recommend psychotherapies because it is more personal, and humane compared to the rest.
How to cope with depression ?
I understand that having depression is never anyone’s cup of tea and I do know the struggle one goes through on a daily basis with this condition. So, I have researched for few tips and suggestions that I am keen to adapt and I believe this will be able to assist you throughout your journey.
Push Away Negative Thoughts – as a person who has been in depression for years, I do know how difficult it can be from creating negative thoughts in your mind. Curbing the thoughts from cultivating in your mind can be a huge help. You can start watching funny videos on Youtube, reading self-help book and anything that actually will be able to turn you mood into the happier one, instantly.
Create a Happy toolbox – Here is the truth, I am not suggesting much because idea might not be efficient or effective for you hence you will need to create your own happy toolbox in order to make yourself feel better. You can start by listing down all the things that makes you happy then do it when you are feeling low. This will instantly pump up your mood.
Build a Support Network – it is very important for you to build close ties with few family and friends that you can trust, and count on during the hard times. Having someone to talk heart to heart with, makes a major different in your daily life.
In summary, depression is a serious condition but with the right amount of love and care, it can be treated along the time. I hope this will be an eye opening message to them who has a very little idea on this mental illness and that it will not be taken as a “daily joke”. I sincerely hope that people will not look at this as “attention seeking” illness but something that needs to be take care of with immense empathy and compassion.