Depression can also be commonly referred to as major depressive disorder. According to the American Psychological Association, depression is a medical condition that is grave and common, and generally affects how one feels, thinks and even their behavior. However, this is not to say that this condition is not treatable. In fact, Beck, Ward, Mandelson, Mock and Erbaugh (1961) noted that it is a very treatable condition if well managed. Generally, people that are depressed usually exhibit feelings of unwarranted sadness, as well as a general loss of interest in things or activities that these individuals once found enjoyable. As such, if not properly handled, depression may develop or advance into different emotional and physical problems in people’s lives and may eventually lead to a decreased ability in the functionality of people, both at home and work.
Depressed people may exhibit a variety of symptoms. These could be, generally being sad for no reason, little or no interest in things or activities that were once pleasurable, appetite changes which may include weight changes unrelated to feeding habits, no or excessive sleep, feeling fatigued, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, poor decision making, lack of concentration and suicidal thoughts. For proper diagnosis of depression, the symptoms in an individual should have lasted more than or at least two weeks. It is also important that some other medical conditions such as vitamin deficiency or thyroid problems may imitate depression symptoms, which is why it is vital to make a proper diagnosis to rule out these cases.
They will generally feel an emptiness inside their chest for no particular reason. The chest feels hollow, which is fatigue but this makes the depressed feel tired and lethargic. They develop an addiction to being alone, and being left alone with the disease, as they try to sort out the problem. However this aggravates the disease as they feel themselves sinking deeper and deeper in the hole and loneliness sets in as they witness all of their social circles close. The depressed person will find it difficult to show up anywhere. Avoiding interpersonal contact at every turn with people in general (family, friends, workmates, everyone..) as much as possible. Large groups are usually avoided like the plague.
Lack of personal hygiene, showering, brushing teeth and all type of unclean living, often you’ll find their home a mess and they in their bedclothes, these are tail-tell signs of depression. The depressed person will feel that a trip to the bathroom to relieve themselves, to brush their teeth or to shower might as well be a hike up Mount Everest.
Another symptom of the disease is eating habits change dramatically, either the depressed person will eat too much or eat too little or in some cases very serious cases they eat nothing at all. This aggravates the depression as they see their body image changing.
Unusual a change in social skills is another dead give away that someone is going through a bout of depression. They become slightly off in their conversation. Having spent so much time alone, the depressed person finds it difficult to reenter the world and will often exhibit bouts of nervous laughter, or chatter about, lack of participation in conversation and unable to concentrate.
The depressed will either have insomnia or sleep more than usual. The lack of sleep or too much sleep contributes and aggravates the aforementioned afflictions and symptoms seen above.
Statistics show that depression affects one in every fifteen adults in the United States every year. It also goes to say that at some point in people’s lives, one in every six people will encounter depression at some point in their lives, especially in their late teens. Other studies also show that women are at a higher risk of suffering from depression than men.
Depression and stigma
As seen earlier, depression usually makes one feel worthless, which in turn makes them incapable of leading a normal life. As a result, they may feel sidelined because “normal” people may refrain or keep away from them due to their mental condition. According to Givens, Katz, Bellamy, and Homes (2007), stigma usually leads to numerous misconceptions and may make sufferers to feel embarrassed to come out for fear of being seen as “crazy”. Fortunately, many governments worldwide have rolled out special programs to help sensitize people and create awareness to this problem, while at the same time trying to minimize stigmatization. The depressed individual may not even realize it that they are depressed and so they will start in denial. They will attribute their reasons for alienation for tiredness and or other factors that really have nothing to do with anything more than the lack of desire to put themselves out there socially. When the depressed person figures out that they do have a problem coping with everyday issues than they are overcome with a feeling of shame and try to masquerade these feelings and to divert any and all attention that might hint towards this condition elsewhere.
Shame and loneliness
The shame involved with depression is in not wanting to appear that you are a stick-in-the-mud or for a more updated term and urban expression a “Debbie-Downer.” Eventually, people will attribute this lack of participation as a slight and will drop the relationship altogether thinking that the depressed person is reluctant to participate in their lives on purpose. The depressed person will then sink further in to the abyss experiencing the loneliest part of the disease. Their walls start to close-in, bridges are burned and friendships are lost as they see themselves as social outcasts. In purgatory at this point, the depressed is desperately looking for the way out and for guidance with no one there to help and provide it. So they are stuck in shame in a cavern of their own imagination perhaps but in self imposed solitary confinement do to the shame of not speaking-out about their depression. Eventually, and with time they start to lose social skills and are completely alienated.
Also, other underlying reasons could be a lack of proper diagnosis. For instance, depression is a symptom for Diabetes and Thyroid problems so those should be checked along with a variety of medical concerns that could be the true reason for the depression.
Finally, the well-known potential culprit of the malady is usually a brain chemical imbalance.
Exercise can help with these imbalances but a depressed person’s best bet if after trying everything else is to go see your doctor for treatment.
Knowing the diagnosis is half the battle and the other is getting and sticking to proper treatment. Keep in mind, you might have to try a variety of different medications before you hit on the right one for you and for your own specific body chemistry.
Keep in mind, that depression is like any other life threatening disease and should be taken just as seriously. You have the right feel how you feel and you are not bothersome nor alone. Speak up and say so and never mind those that don’t understand you, just make sure that you and your doctor understands you.
In this regard, therefore, depression can be treated effectively with the use of psychopharmacological and cognitive behavioral interventions. In essence, these interventions usually target various symptoms that are associated with depression and therefore there is a need for further studies in this area to help improve future outcomes. There is also the treatment of these disorders through the use of pharmacological therapy. This is because various neurotransmitters participate in normal conditions and in conditions termed depressive by these individuals. This is why each of these systems is a possible target for intervention pharmacologically. Worth noting is the fact that despite the importance of pharmacological intervention, there exist only a few classes of medications that are used clinically for the treatment of depression. These are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, benzodiazepines, anti-seizure medications, and tricyclic antidepressants. Another commonly used intervention is the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (Holden, 2003). Studies are showing that the lack of vitamins (vitamin deficiency) could be one probable cause of depression such as: Vitamin D and Magnesium. These usually run low in depressed people, studies show.
World Health Organization Studies
Depression should never be left untreated. The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined in 2018 that over 300,000,000 people worldwide suffer from depression or different types of fluctuating depression. Their studies show that when long-lasting depression whether it be moderate or severe in intensity can become a serious health condition. It can cause the person afflicted to suffer greatly and function poorly in all aspects of life (i.e. work, school, family life, etc.) At it’s worst depression can lead to suicide. Close to 800,000 people die each year worldwide due to suicide stemming from depression. Depression is the second leading cause of death in 15 to 29 year-old’s.
So, if you feel depressed and unable to cope for a period of time that is longer than usual please seek help. Call someone and see a physician and say the words out loud to him. He’ll take it from there and put you back on the proper road to mental health.