Depression is a serious mental condition and unfortunately a common one worldwide. The World Health Organization characterizes depression as one of the most disabling disorders in the world. According to a study conducted by World Health Organization approximately 350 million people are affected globally by depression. Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may turn out to be a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function defectively at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Over 800,000 people die due to suicide every year. The study also reveals that roughly one in five women and one in ten men at suffer from depression some point in their lifetime which means women are at higher risk of depression than men.
Now important question is what is depression? It is very necessary to know the answer, because in many cases depression remains untreated due to the lack of proper diagnosis. Depression is a common mental turmoil, characterized by sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, feelings of tiredness, and poor concentration. Depression can be long-lasting or recurrent, significantly impairing an individual’s ability to perform at work or school or deal with daily life. Depression can results in suicidal tendency at its most severe state. In simple words we can define depression as a state of mind while one feels sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time (weeks, months or even years) and sometimes without any apparent reason. Depression is more than just a low mood and a serious circumstance that affects your physical and mental health.
Forms of depression
Some forms of depression are to some extent different, or they may build up under exclusive state of affairs, such as:
Persistent depressive disorder is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years and also name as Dysthymia. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms, but symptoms must last for two years to be considered persistent depressive disorder.
Perinatal depression is the type of depression that many women experience after giving birth. Women with perinatal depression experience full-scale major depression during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The feelings of tremendous sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion that accompany perinatal depression may make it intricate for these new mothers to cope with daily care activities for themselves and babies.
Psychotic depression occurs when a person has severe depression with some form of psychosis, such as having troubling false fixed beliefs (delusions) or hearing or seeing offensive things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). The psychotic symptoms characteristically have a depressive “theme,” such as delusions of guilt, poverty, or illness.
Seasonal affective disorder is characterized by the commencement of depression during the winter months, when there is a reduced amount of natural sunlight. This type of depression is accompanied by social withdrawal, increased sleep, and weight gain, predictably returns every year in seasonal affective disorder.
Bipolar disorder is different from depression, but it is included in this list is since someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of enormously low moods that assemble the criteria for major depression (“bipolar depression”). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences intense high – euphoric or irritable – moods called “mania” or a less severe form called “hypomania.”
Signs and Symptoms
Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood, feelings of hopelessness or cynicism, irritability, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness, loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities, decreased energy or fatigue, moving or talking more slowly, feeling restless or having trouble sitting still, difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions, difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening or oversleeping, appetite or weight changes, thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts, aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause or that do not ease even with treatment are some common signs and symptoms of depression. It is not necessary everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience only a few symptoms while others may experience many. Several persistent symptoms as well as low mood are requisite for a diagnosis of major depression.
Depression is actually a result of multifaceted interaction of social, psychological and biological factors. People who have faced adverse life events like unemployment, bereavement, psychological trauma are more likely to build up depression. Depression can, in turn, direct to more stress and dysfunction and deteriorate the affected person’s life circumstances and depression itself.
Diagnosis and treatment
When mild, people can be treated without medicines but when depression is moderate or severe they may need medication and professional talking treatments. Depression is a disorder that can be reliably diagnosed and treated by non-specialists as part of primary health care. Specialist care is needed for a small proportion of individuals with complicated depression or those who do not respond to first-line treatments.
There are effective treatments for moderate and severe depression. Health care providers may offer psychological treatments such as behavioral activation, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT) or antidepressant medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).Health care providers should keep in mind the possible adverse effects associated with antidepressant medication, the ability to deliver either intervention (in terms of expertise or treatment availability), and individual preferences. Different psychological treatment formats for consideration include individual or group face-to-face psychological treatments delivered by professionals and supervised lay therapists.
Although there are known, effective treatments for depression, fewer than half of those affected in the world (in many countries, fewer than 10%) receive such treatments. Barriers to effective care incorporate a lack of resources, lack of skilled health care providers, and social stigma associated with mental disorders. Another obstacle to effective care is imprecise evaluation. In countries of all income levels, people who are depressed are often not appropriately diagnosed, and others who do not have the disorder are too often misdiagnosed and prescribed antidepressants.
Prevention programs have been exposed to reduce depression. Effective community approaches to put a stop to depression include school-based programs to enhance a pattern of positive thinking in children and adolescents. Interventions for parents of children with behavioral problems may reduce parental depressive symptoms and improve outcomes for their children. Exercise programs for the elderly can also be effective in depression prevention.
The burden of depression is currently on ascending condition globally. To cope with this situation on 10 October 2016, WHO launched a one-year campaign: ‘Depression: let’s talk’. The goal of the campaign is that more people with depression, in all countries, seek and get help.
Nusrat Fatemee has graduated from Department of Pharmacy, East West University and she was Under Graduate Teaching assistant in department of Genetics in the same university. She can be reached at email@example.com
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