The World Health Organization (WHO) puts depression at the top of the list of the most common illness worldwide and the leading cause of disability. The Organization estimates that 350 million people around the world are affected by depression.
It is also one of the most misunderstood afflictions in our modern society. Often, sufferers are told to cheer up, or snap out of it.
A person does not choose to feel depressed. It happens. And before they realize it, depression takes over their life and even their ability to react to the problem itself in the most severe cases.
What are the causes?
Depression can be triggered by an event. The loss of someone close is a reason for deep sadness. Other triggers are violence, financial difficulties, solitude or unexpected life changes. It always strikes without prior notice and strikes hard.
Depression is also linked to lifestyle and dietary habits. Individuals deal with it in different ways, but there are general approaches that prove to be helpful in most cases.
What are the symptoms?
The same way that its causes vary from one patient to another, the symptoms of depression are not always the same. As a rule of thumb, though, one should be aware of:
- feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- loss of interest in daily activities
- loss of energy
- sleep changes
- unexplained aches and pains
What is the treatment?
Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to depression. The cure is related to its causes which again, varies widely from one patient to another, but some steps may ease the suffering.
As not all depression is the same, it’s important to collect as much information as possible about it. By understanding the condition and learning about its potential triggers, treatment can be facilitated. While some cases can be controlled by lifestyle changes, medical treatment might be necessary.
The first, most important, and sometimes the hardest step towards overcoming depression is getting help. It is important to break the communication barrier and overcome taboos.
Because depression is a unique condition, it may not always be easy to find the most appropriate treatment at first. While everyone hopes for a fast solution, recovery might take some time.
While medication and therapy are well-known ways to treat depression, some changes in lifestyle can also contribute to a fast and long-lasting recovery.
Exercising is an excellent opportunity to interact with others and break the isolation status of depression. It also boosts serotonin, endorphins, and other feel-good brain chemicals. It also triggers the growth of new brain cells and connections, just as antidepressants do.
Balanced meals are key to maintaining energy levels and avoiding mood swings. An imbalance in the ratio of the omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids may be responsible for some symptoms. The lack of the amino acids tyrosine and tryptophan is also associated with low mood. Vitamins B2 and B6 have also been found to improve mood.
Depression may cause sleep problems and sleep problems may cause depressive disorders. Sleep deprivation worsens irritability, moodiness, sadness, and fatigue. At the first signs of a change in sleep pattern, either insomnia or oversleeping, make sure to investigate its cause.
The increase in the levels of cortisol caused by stress is responsible for the reduction of serotonin and dopamine. This reduction has been linked to depression. In addition to traditional treatment, alternative and complementary techniques prove themselves effective in the control and recovery from depressive states. Reiki, Yoga, and meditation can be extremely helpful.
In extreme cases, depression may lead to suicidal behavior.
If you notice the first signs of depression in yourself or someone close to you, ask for help. Some cases can be dealt with family support and lifestyle changes. Others, however, more serious, may require psychological treatment (with or without medication).
Remember that the journey to depression relief doesn’t have to be a lonely one. Neither the sufferers or those close to them should feel guilty or responsible for the condition. There is no one to blame. The only thing that is important is building a support system that eases the healing process.
HELP IS AVAILABLE:
Should you or a loved one need trauma counselling or support please contact Lifeline: on
National Counselling line: 0861 322 322
In addition to the telephone counselling offered by a number of centres around the country, the national counselling line receives an average of 200 calls a day, allowing callers to discuss a range of challenges from trauma and suicide to relationship issues.
This line operates 24 hours / 7 days per week – feel free to call for more information and/or counselling.