What Is Depression?
Depression is a serious and widespread illness that negatively affects a person’s life, affects feelings, thoughts, behavior and physical functions.
There are various reasons people suffer from depression. It can occur because of prolonged depression, or it may appear suddenly after psychological trauma, high stress, or exacerbation of household problems.
In addition, lack of sunlight and malnutrition can also lead to depression. Depression can occur at different stages of life and in many circumstances.
Although studies show that women (especially in the postpartum period) and the elderly are at higher risk of developing depression, we should bear it in mind that the disease can affect anyone.
One of the most severe diagnoses of depression is clinical depression, a serious illness with a long-lasting feeling of depression that makes normal daily life impossible. This condition affects your feelings, thoughts, behavior and physical function.
You feel depressed for a long time – sometimes for several months in a row. When left untreated, depression affects your physical, mental and social condition.
In addition, depression in its worst form can endanger your life, as the disease can lead to loss of appetite and thirst, and a significant deterioration in the physical functioning of the body.
Unfortunately, clinical depression can often lead to suicide, so we should take very seriously the first symptoms of depression and we should seek specialist help in a timely manner.
Other Types of Depression
Some types of depression have specific symptoms or are observed in specific situations and age groups.
- Melancholy – a form of depression with pronounced physical symptoms: poor sleep, lack of energy, reduced interest in sex.
- Atypical depression – if you do the opposite of the usual, for example, instead of falling asleep you sleep more than usual, instead of losing your appetite, you overeat, and mood swings can be the opposite of normal – in the morning you are better, but in the evening it gets worse.
- Agitated depression – You are depressed, but at the same time anxious and restless, you walk around restless, breaking your arms, but unable to define your problem.
- Masked depression – can manifest as fatigue, headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches, etc.
- Seasonal affective disorder – can occur in autumn and winter, the disorder is more common in patients in countries where there is little daylight during this time.
- Postpartum depression – develops in women in the postpartum period, making it difficult to take care of the child and daily life.
- Depression in elderly patients – often occurs in combination with a physical illness, it can also be contributed by the social conditions in which a person lives.
- Double depression – if you already have a form of depression that appears episodically, but suddenly there is a serious deterioration in your condition.
- Secondary depression – certain serious and long-term illnesses (arthritis, stroke, AIDS, etc.) can contribute to the development of depression, thus causing secondary illness.
Depression Or Fatigue?
It is perfectly normal for a person to sometimes feel sad, lonely or tired of life. It is a natural reaction to various life changes, especially in the autumn, when the body secretes increased sleep hormone (melatonin) because of the loss of sunlight.
But if the feeling of sadness and loneliness regularly deters participation in social life and physical activity, there is reason to suspect a serious illness – depression.
In this article, we will talk about what depression is, what its symptoms are, and how to treat it with natural remedies.
Signs of Depression
Each of us may feel unhappy, sad and simply tired in our lives, but depressed mood and weakness do not indicate that a person is suffering from depression, so it is important to distinguish between normal mood swings and mental illness.
- fatigue (people with depression often feel exhausted and unable to do physical or mental work);
- sleep disorders, especially insomnia;
- cognitive dysfunction and difficulty concentrating, such as difficulty planning or solving problems;
- feeling worthless and hopeless;
- irritability or restlessness;
- loss of interest in hobbies and things that used to bring joy;
- loss of appetite or, conversely, a sudden increase in appetite;
- frequent pain in muscles, joints, especially in the back;
- digestive problems;
- feeling anxious and panic;
- sexual dysfunction;
- thoughts of suicide.
The major sign of depression is a constantly depressed mood. Your thoughts have been overwhelmed by sadness and hopelessness, everything seems so gray and pointless. In addition, there is a feeling that something threatening and scary can happen out of your control.
It is also possible to change your mood when you feel depressed when you get up in the morning, but during the day your mood improves and in the evening you are ready to communicate with others and do your daily work.
For others, the opposite is true – the good mood in the morning becomes worse and worse, until in the evening depression and hopelessness take over.
Almost everyone who suffers from depression has negative thoughts caused by depressed mood. These thoughts are fueled by the feeling of guilt that you are lazy, selfish, or do not live up to expectations.
You may feel guilty about things you have done or done wrong. Sometimes your guilt may be justified, but much exaggerated.
Depression contributes to the anxiety and anxiety that can be associated with your daily problems, such as finances. If you suffer from major depression, you may be afraid of various unrealistic things and situations, such as major disasters, natural disasters, and so on.
Sometimes your mood swings can manifest as irritability, you can easily get angry, and you quickly become offended, restless, and even aggressive. You also have low self-esteem, pessimism and negativity.
If you are depressed, your psychomotor pace will often decrease significantly. As a result, you think, speak and act much more slowly than usual.
In addition, a smile has practically disappeared from your face, your facial expression hardly changes, but there are long moments of silence and brief eye contact in contact with others.
Slow functioning also slows down your speech and movements, and makes it difficult for you to decide and think.
Because you have lost interest in yourself and what is going on around you, there is a high risk of not being able to do the job.
Many people with depression have severe sleep disorders associated with changes in the chemical media in the brain.
Sleep changes can manifest as difficulty falling asleep, it can also be a regular waking up at night. Because of disturbed sleep, you cannot sleep and rest, often get up very early and fall asleep more.
If you suffer from depression, you have a lack of appetite, so you are not getting enough energy and you may lose weight. Some people eat too much under the influence of depression, because they do not feel full.
Depression can also make the pain of various chronic illnesses worse and worse, for example, if you are already suffering from back pain or rheumatism, the pain may seem even more severe than usual.
Even if you have not had a severe illness so far, you may still experience muscle and joint pain, stomach or headache, and so on.
Depression causes tension, so you may find it difficult to relax both physically and mentally.
If you suffer from major depression, you may have psychotic symptoms. If you suffer from psychotic depression, your thoughts may become unrealistic and incomprehensible to others.
You think you are to blame for major accidents and disasters, or you are sure that you are a bad person. As a result, your appetite may decrease and your physical condition may become critical.
Sometimes, you can stop eating and drinking completely, then the situation can quickly become life-threatening and you need to be hospitalized immediately.
During an episode of psychotic depression, you may become paranoid and feel persecuted. You may feel that some people or secret organizations want to harm or punish you.
Hallucinations and Obsessive Thoughts
Psychotic depression can cause hallucinations, which can take the form of voices that oppress you and tell that they should punish you.
In addition, they can persuade you to punish yourself – maybe even commit suicide. Here, intensive hospital treatment is required. Therefore, seek professional help immediately.
What Causes Depression?
Studies have shown that depression is usually twice as common in women as in men. Latvian research data shows a similar trend. In Latvia, as in other European countries, depression currently affects 7 out of every 100 adults.
Although statistics show that women and the elderly are at higher risk of developing depression, we should bear it in mind that the disease can affect anyone, and it can happen suddenly there are no psychosocial or socio-economic boundaries.
This is also confirmed by several famous people who have suffered from depression, including Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Robert Schuman, Ludwig van Beethoven, Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Vincent van Gogh.
Although depression can affect anyone, the good news is that effective treatment is available.
What Increases the Risk of Depression?
If your parents, children, brother or sister have recurrent episodes of depression, unfortunately there is a 20% risk that you may get depressed.
Although research shows that women are twice as likely to develop depression, many men also suffer from the disease and rarely seek help.
Depression can develop at any age, but women aged 40 to 50 are at a slightly higher risk.
People from lower socio-economic groups are at higher risk of developing depression.
Psychological shock or trauma can cause depression.
Sexually abused children are at increased risk of developing depression later in life.
People who suffer from depression are most often divorced.
Depressed people suffering from depression are often unemployed.
Prolonged grief can lead to depression.
Virtually all illnesses can contribute to the development of depression.
Pregnancy and childbirth
Some women develop depressive disorders during pregnancy, while some of them appear after the first 12 months after giving birth and manifest themselves as problems in contact with the child and inability to take care of themselves.
Psychological shock before the first episode of depression
When a person has suffered a major psychological trauma, we may follow it by the first episode of depression, and later, when faced with minor psychological shocks, various episodes of depression may occur.
Tendency to Depression
Various external and internal psychological factors can increase your predisposition (predisposition to depression). Often these are external factors related to events in your childhood, such as poor contact with parents or early lost parents because of their death or divorce, and lack of attention.
In addition, adults who suffer from depression remember upbringing and certain vivid episodes ten times better than healthy people.
Other important external factors that have emerged in childhood include physical and sexual violence, conflicts and disagreements at home, and parental shame and unreachable demands.
Certain present events, such as intense divorce, prolonged unemployment, and loneliness, together with experiences, can become the trigger for depression.
You are at increased risk of developing depression if you have a strongly negative mindset, are passive and usually run away from them instead of solving problems. It also increases the risk of depression for emotionally unstable and vulnerable people with low self-esteem.
Keep in mind that people who are too much perfectionists or are overwhelmed by some unrealistic ideas have a higher chance of developing depression.
Psychological factors such as thoughts, feelings and behaviors can prolong depression. Namely, when you feel sad, your memory focuses mainly on the negative aspects of life, thus creating the feeling that your life has been a waste of time so far.
Because it depresses you, your behavior with other people also changes, and unfortunately these changes can lead to a deterioration in your relationship.
Therefore, instead of supporting and helping you, sometimes those around you turn away and distance yourself from you, which can lead to even deeper depression, creating a vicious circle fueled by your negative thoughts and feelings, and negative relationships with others.
Natural Depression Treatment
One of the most important treatments for depression is a healthy diet.
Experts recommend supplementing the menu with fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains, but to limit the consumption of semi-finished, processed foods and sweets.
It is important to eat the saturated fats found in coconuts and fresh milk.
Physical activity also plays an important role in the recovery process, because exercising the body releases endorphins (hormones of happiness), which improves our well-being, so we recommend it to exercise for at least 20 minutes five times a week.
The Bottom Line
Remember, if a person suffers from depression, he needs the support of someone close to him, someone who talks and listens!
It is important to start the recovery process gradually and move forward in small steps, because even slight changes in lifestyle will have a positive effect in the future.