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According to national alliance on mental health, 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide, that’s 5% of the world’s population. It is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. from ages 15 to 44.3.

The major depressive disorder affects more than 14 million American adults or about 6.7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5 years old. It is more prevalent in women than in men. Major depression cuts across the world so this article delves into understanding depression and offers help for people with depression.

Helping Young Adult Children Cope with Depression

Helping Young Adult Children Cope with Depression

Occasionally, we all deal with feelings of sadness. Feeling sad could be due to having a bad day or week, failing an exam, fighting with a friend etc. This sadness doesn’t stay long and usually disappear within a few days. Because we all feel bad from time to time, it’s easy to conclude that we understand what depression is all about and have an in-depth knowledge about ways of fighting depression.

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I’ve heard people say depression isn’t real. Some of them even go as far as saying that the depressed people chose to be in that state. How can you know where the shoe hurts if you’ve not tried it on? The same question goes, what does it feel like to have a major depressive disorder? The truth is that only those who have been depressed or are currently facing a depressive state would understand what it truly means.

US Adults in major depressive disorder

US Adults in major depressive disorder

What does it mean when you’re depressed

Depression is more than just a melancholic feeling; Major depression is a grave disturbance that causes Anhedonia {inability to feel pleasure in normally pleasurable activities}. It drains a person’s energy, optimism and motivation.

People with major depression have these intense fear and mental confusion; they are filled with deep sorrow and anguish. They can sleep continuously and never feel like waking up, cry excessively for no reason.

women in depression

women in depression

Imagine having a deep visceral pain in your abdomen and not being able to pinpoint where you feel the pain, that’s what depression feels like. There’s this constant fear that they usually can’t explain and a complete refusal to talk to anyone about it. They feel constantly sad and irritable.

They find it very difficult to deal with their emotional anguish. Their suffering can be so intense and the physical pain they feel heightened. Some of them feel completely out of place and lose the will to live. They always feel guilty about something most especially the things that are out of their control.

The cause of depression varies. It can sometimes be caused by an unfortunate life event. It happens in the blink of an eye and catches the patient’s unawares. They feel dejected and listless. Sometimes, it has no obvious trigger and yet the same feeling persists where one’s life becomes hopeless and usually covered by a dark cloud.

It could get to a stage where some depressed people become so overwhelmed by the feeling of despair that they wish to die and sometimes have the predominant thoughts of committing Suicide.

Depression and mental health

Adults depression- Bad lifestyle

Adults depression- Bad lifestyle

Depression affects the mental health of those affected. It is predicted to be a major cause of disability by the year 2020. Mental illness symptoms can affect emotions, thoughts and behaviors.

Depression knows no boundaries as it affects the mental health of everyone. These include children, teenagers, young adults, adults, and the elderly. It affects both the rich and the poor.

What causes depression and anxiety

Bad lifestyle causing depression

Bad lifestyle causing depression

There are several causes of depression and it manifests in different age group.

  1. Teenage depression can be due to physical and emotional changes which come with puberty. It can flood them with fear and anxiety which exposes them to negative states of mind. Most teenagers have self-esteem issues and are vulnerable to negative emotions resulting from peer pressure.
  2. Depression sometimes can be as a result of a profound loss. It may be due to the death of a loved one or the loss of one or both parent through divorce.
  3. Embarking on a new phase of life and leaving behind your old life
  4. Leaving behind your beloved friends e.g. when you’re moving to a new city.
  5. Family history of depression. People with history of depression in the family are more prone to be depressed.
  6. Abuse and neglect
  7. Job loss
  8. Regret over a failed relationship.
  9. Family tension
  10. People with learning disabilities are prone to depression
  11. Poor nutrition
  12. Substance abuse
  13. Side effects of certain drugs

Symptoms of major depression

Depression is diagnosed when you show a number of symptoms every day, most of the day, for at least two weeks. A relatively brief episode is referred to as a depressive episode. Dysthymia is a more chronic form of mild or moderate depression. It is diagnosed when symptoms persist for at least a year with no more than two months of relief.

Criteria for diagnosing depression

Depressed mood OR loss of interest or pleasure (anhedonia). » Minimum period of 2 weeks: Activities that were once fun and interesting are now perceived as boring.

silence in depression

silence in depression

PLUS four of the following symptoms:
1. Change in sleep patterns (sleeping more or less): People with depression sleeps either too little or too much. They may stay up all night and sleep throughout the day.

2. Change in appetite or weight (eating more or less): Disorders such as anorexia, bulimia, and compulsive overeating often coexist with depression.

3. Agitation or psychomotor retardation (lethargy): When no physical cause can be found, headaches, back pain, stomachaches may indicate underlying depression.

4. Loss of energy, fatigue

5. Feelings of self-blame, worthlessness, guilt: People with depression becomes highly self-critical, feeling like a complete failure, even though the facts may indicate otherwise.

6. Difficulty concentrating, indecisiveness

7. Thoughts of death or suicide: They may become preoccupied with suicide thinking of the best way to take their lives.

How to prevent depression

Have a close confidant: having a close confidant decreases the risk of depression. Confidants can be friends, family, colleagues at work, marriage partner. Surround yourself with positive people, have good relationships in your place of work or school, and most especially have a very close family life. These are prerequisite for overcoming depression.

Be more active in your day to day life: in my previous post ‘how to cope with Loneliness’ I addressed the importance of engaging in fun and interesting activities. This prevents the feeling of Loneliness. Talk to friends, neighbors. Clean your house, rearrange the book shelf. Occupy your mind with several productive activities that brings satisfaction.

Think positive: it’s very easy for the human mind to dwell on the negative things. So program your mind to think the right things and dismiss the negatives. Where your mind goes, your energy flows. There’s a power in positive thinking. You’re less likely to be depressed when you think positive.

Keep on moving forward: some people tend to dwell on their past mistakes. When you fall down, make sure you fall forward not backwards. The present is what we have to make us who we are.

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Overcome deep depression.

Overcoming deep depression takes time. It requires a constant positive attitude towards life. It involves a combination of medical treatment, lifestyle changes, and following a good routine. More so, you need very good relationships be it husband, family or friend because they’ll encourage you not to give up.

People with depression need all the support they can get including the medical approach that is made available to them. Depression should never be ignored because it can worsen in such a short time and lead to suicidal thoughts.

Coping with Depression

Coping with Depression

Overcoming deep depression requires the physician to play their parts most especially with the many treatment options available. The physician can advise the patient on self-care for depression.

There are different treatment options for depression depending on the severity and symptoms which varies according to the types of depression experienced. Many patients would be helped by their family, friends and the others may need a more intensive treatment. The doctor would advise if herbal treatment, dietary changes or exercise would be helpful.

Types of depression

The effectiveness of medical therapy depends on the type of depression experienced. These include:

  • Major depression: symptoms of major depression can lasts for six month or longer if left untreated and these has an adverse effect on the life of those affected.
  • Bipolar disorder: also called manic depression. Patients often experience episodes of hyperactivity (manias) and very low hypoactive states (depression).
  • Dysthymia: it has depressive symptoms that make it impossible for the patients to function normally.
  • Postpartum depression: is a debilitating emotional condition that affects many mothers after they give birth.
  • Seasonal affective disorder: is a type of depression that’s related to changes in seasons.

Coping with depression

• Living with depression can be very devastating. It feels like you’re wallowing in a state of constant suffering and no one would understand. This makes you want to avoid people completely most especially people who matter most to you. You feel so ashamed of yourself. This makes coping with depression very difficult. The truth is there’s nothing to be ashamed of. The first thing to acknowledge is that there are many people out there with the same condition as you. So you’re not alone.

• Support group can be helpful in coping with depression. It helps a lot when you are in a place where you’ll not be judged. A place where you can freely express yourself. You’re surrounded by compassionate listeners who encourage you that you can snap out of it.

meditation and yoga for Depression

meditation and yoga for Depression

• Meditation and mindfulness also plays a big role in coping with depression. You’re able to relax your mind and let go of all your worries. Playing beautiful meditative songs is of great help for people with depression. It helps you unwind. Registering for a yoga class can be a life saver also.

• Outing, exercise and nutrition can help cope with depression. In my previous post “Improve Your Health with These Helpful Tips’ I highlighted in details what exercise and nutrition can do for you. Eat the right type of food and ensure you partake in frequent exercise. It revitalizes the mind and body.

medical counseling to overcome depression

medical counseling to overcome depression

Help for depression

• How can you get help if you suspect you’re depressed? First do not conclude that you have major depression because it could be something else altogether. There’s a difference between being sad and being depressed. Be watchful of the symptoms listed above. If the condition persists for a period of two weeks, then it’s time to consult a doctor.

• Provide the doctor with accurate information most especially recent changes noticed. The doctor is usually a compassionate listener so take the time to tell him/ her exactly how things have been so they’ll be able to make the right diagnosis. It’s usually impossible to reach a final decision on what is to be done so the doctor can always advise for several sections to do able to reach a diagnosis.

• Ensure to ask the doctor any questions you may have. Don’t feel shy to talk about anything with your physician because he’s bound by the doctor patient confidentiality.

Common issues seen in depression

• Friends or family members with little or no medical training can tell you which treatment to accept or which to reject. Ensure that at the end of the day, you get help from a reliable source.

help to Overcoming Depression

help to Overcoming Depression

• Do not be discouraged about the treatment. It might take time for the treatment to take effect so be patient and trust that it’ll be okay. Communicate with your doctor and discuss your fears with him and if need be, he’ll review your medication.

• Do not stop your medication abruptly because you feel you’re getting better. Ensure to complete your drugs and visit your doctor after completing your drug regimen. He’ll most probably advise to keep taking your drugs as depression can return.

Help for people with depression.

Treatment can be pharmacological or psycho-therapeutic. Most times, both are used. The psychological treatment is often followed up with psychological intervention.

Psychological approach

Psychological approach

Pharmaceutical products

Antidepressants in some cases can relieve psychic pain and minimize suicidal tendencies. Antidepressants work to balance the activity of neurotransmitters in the brain. In many cases, it alleviates the symptoms and strengthens the effect of psychotherapy. Several types of medications may be used till the best is found.

A wait of several weeks is necessary to see results. Therefore supervision is necessary to prevent the patient from stopping the medication with the belief that it’s not helpful.

Psychological approach

Planning out a daily routine is one of the strategies used by psychologists. It is a schedule to be fulfilled by the patient. In several weeks, it is planned with the help of the family.

Planned daily routine:

• The most pleasant activities are chosen.
• Reducing number and hours of normal work but not stopping it completely.
• Manual work is advised.
• Physical exercise is encouraged. “ click to read about physical exercise
• Schedule of planned activities should be precise and detailed as possible

Physical exercise is encouraged

Physical exercise is encouraged

 

Adjust way of thinking:

• Individuals are taught to intentionally focus on their thought pattern.
• Avoiding thoughts of inferiority and self-pity.
• Focus on beautiful and pleasant memories.

Family support

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• For the progression of treatment, Family support is very important. It is vital that their family and friends are there for them.
• They should listen with attention and sympathy.
• Treat them calmly and naturally.
• Plan outings for the individual.
• Support medical treatment by reminding them to take their drugs.
• Expect difficult times and manage them properly.
• Monitor the individual so that they eat properly and do not use alcohol or illicit drugs.

 

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Acts of service: It helps the individual know that he can also be of help to others. It offers encouragement and is therapeutic. E.g. shopping for an elder, doing volunteer jobs, visiting someone who’s hospitalized.

Be hopefully about the future: It is important to understand that the future is not at the mercy of circumstance and you are an important part of your tomorrow.

Explain failure with reality: Be aware of strength and weaknesses. Analyze situations in a well-balanced manner e.g. instead of seeing yourself as useless for not getting a particular job, consider that it was a difficult position to obtain and there were probably lots of candidates and then encourage yourself to try better for the position you want.

Divine therapy: Trusting that God is willing to help, protect and cover those who seek him.

breathing techniques for stress free mind

breathing techniques for stress free mind

Limitations of antidepressants

• Antidepressants can bring some form of temporal relief however they do not cure the disorder.
• The elimination of agents that cause stress (“click to read about stress and how to manage it”) along with changes of attitude and psychotherapy is what really contributes to the cure.
•The Improvements with antidepressants are not felt until 2-3 weeks after starting treatment.

Side effects of antidepressants

  • Problems with sexual performance
  • Cardiovascular alterations
  • Sleepiness or insomnia
  • Blurred vision
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Dry mouth etc.

Self-care for depression

inner strength

inner strength

• Count on a friend or a confidant.
• Keep yourself busy.
• Do not blame the past.
• Eliminate alcohol completely.
• Maintain a healthy diet.
• Get enough sleep.
• Engage in physical exercise.
• Be positive.
• Assume a hopeful attitude
• Practice meditation and mindfulness
• Pray always.

 

 

Please watch out for signs and symptoms of major depression. It could be you, friends or your loved ones. So take adequate measures to protect your mental health and the health of others.

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Until next time. Görüşürüz.

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