Signs and symptoms of depression
Depressed persons may not experience each and every symptom of depression. There are those who experiences most of the symptoms while the rest only experiences a few of them. The degree of suffering varies from each affected individual. The severity of symptoms of depression differs among the affected persons and also over time. It is also important to note that there are also common signs and symptoms that affect every depressed person (Spek et.al, 2007). Although some of the signs and symptoms do not necessarily mean that an individual is suffering from depression, the severity determines if one is depressed. The signs and symptoms of depression include:
Constant and overwhelming feeling of sadness or an empty mood
Feelings of hopelessness or cynicism
Loss of appetite and weight loss
Difficulty sleeping, as an individual may be affected by insomnia or hypersomnia
Irritability and restlessness
Loss of interest in daily activities like hobbies
Poor concentration, dementia, and difficulties in making decisions
Feelings of guilt, irrelevance, or even helplessness
Fatigue and lessened energy
Persistent pains, cramps, headaches, or digestive problems
Reckless behavior like drug and substance abuse, reckless driving, compulsive gambling, or any other escapist behavior
Depression and the risk of committing suicide
Depression is considered among the major risk factors for suicide. The feelings of hopelessness, despair, pessimism, helplessness, or even guilt might tempt an individual to commit suicide as a permanent solution to his/her woes. In case a person is depressed, it is always necessary to take any suicidal talk or behavior with seriousness to avoid attempts of committing suicide. The warning signs of suicide include: talking about committing suicide, acting recklessly like over speeding, an unusual preoccupation with death or dying, saying goodbye to close relatives and friends, etc.
Treatment and Prevention strategies
Studies have indicated that most depressed people do not undergo seek for medical assistance for treatment of the pathological condition. It is necessary to seek for treatment to avoid problems in the future. The treatment of depression may include medication, psychotherapy or even a combination of both.
Physicians prescribe antidepressants drugs which a play a significant role in altering the mood after affecting the brain chemicals in the body. Although the categories of antidepressants are several, physicians prefers starting with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). If the condition of the patient fails to improve, others drugs are prescribed. The SSRIs focus on serotonin since it’s a chemical said to cause depression (Gholipor, 2015). Apart from SSRIs, other antidepressants drugs that can be used to treat depression include Norepinephrine and Dopamine Reuptake Inhibitors (NDRIs), Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs), and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) (Gholipor, 2015).
It involves counseling or talk therapy, and it has proven to be very effective for most of the patients. A combination of both psychotherapy and treatment remains highly effective in treating patients diagnosed with severe depression. Psychotherapy involves several types including interpersonal therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, acceptance and commitment therapy, dialectic behavioral therapy, and mindfulness techniques.
Less common treatments
If both treatments fail, the physicians might try Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) which had proved effective in regulating mood and depression.
There are no specific ways to prevent depression, but several strategies may assist towards prevention. Any activities that can prevent a depressed move are welcomes as prevention strategies. These include eating a balanced diet, sparing enough time for leisure activities, taking part in the regular physical exercise, and many others. It is also important to ensure that you take the necessary steps that will control stress like increasing resilience and boosting self-esteem. Also, when one in crisis, it is advisable to consult and share the problem to close relatives and friends as it assists in lowering depression levels. Seeking for medication in early stages of depression is also key since it avoids worsening the situation.
Short and long term effects of depression
There are several short-term effects of depression. The major one include the loss of interest in life. When affected by depression, individuals lose their motivation and enthusiasm towards achieving their goals and objectives. The affected persons are always lonely and feel that their woes are incurable. It becomes hard for them to take good care of them since psychological depression lowers their energy levels. Some victims decide to stay unhealthy and unclean since they neglect their past hygiene behavior as well as healthy eating. Also, the depressed persons lack energy and zeal and opt to escape from the reality of the world.
The consistent loss of energy and the alteration of sleep patterns leads to chronic fatigue. As a result, body’s immune system is weakened, and the victim may develop a physical illness due to higher susceptibility. Chronic aches and pains are also common long-term effects of depression (Spencer, 2008). If one is affected by depression for a long period, it becomes difficult for them to express affection and this destroys relationships. Also, long-term depression leads to memory loss and concentration problems. The affected persons develop a problem as they become very forgetful and unable to perform their duties in their workplace.
Spek, V., Cuijpers, P. I. M., Nyklícek, I., Riper, H., Keyzer, J., & Pop, V. (2007). Internet-based cognitive behaviour therapy for symptoms of depression and anxiety: a meta-analysis. Psychological medicine, 37(03), 319-328.
Spencer, J. (2008, February 25). Short And Long Term Effects Of Depression - Get The Facts. Retrieved from http://ezinearticles.com/?Short-And-Long-Term-Effects-Of-Depression---Get-The-Facts&id=1067961
Gholipour, B. (2015, January 10). What Is Depression - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment. Retrieved from http://www.livescience.com/34718-depression-treatment-psychotherapy-anti-depressants.html