Depression is more than just a low mood.
According to the World Health Organization, depression is a serious mental health condition that affects around 300 million people worldwide. Currently, it is the leading cause of disability across the globe. However, a large number of people affected by this never seek medical treatment, thus remaining undiagnosed and untreated.
The factors that cause depression are very different and recognizing them is an important part of successful treatment. Similarly, there are specific signs that classify a certain mental health condition. Based on their severity and number, depression can be categorized as mild, moderate or severe.
What is Depression?
Depression is a psychological disorder that affects all age groups. According to beyondblue, over 500,000 Australians will experience depression and a substance use disorder at the same time, at some point in their lives. Australian men are as vulnerable to mental health disorders as women, but they are less likely to seek help than women. At the same time, men are more likely to engage in risk-taking behaviours such as substance abuse or violence.
What Causes Depression?
A large body of research was conducted to determine the underlying factors that trigger this mental health disorder and the best strategies for preventing this condition or/and overcoming its symptoms.
For some people, a major life event, such as the death of a close person may be a factor that triggers this disorder.
In some cases, depression is caused by another chronical physical and psychological illness. Also, people who survived trauma or/and abuse often develop this disorder. Studies show that childhood traumas can increase a person’s risk of experiencing depression in adulthood. Also, if you have a family history of this disorder, you may be more likely to develop this condition in your lifetime.
In addition, some people may be at higher risk because of their personality, especially if they have low self-esteem, tend to worry a lot or are prone to self-criticism and negative self-thoughts.
Finally, life circumstances such as low income, divorce, chronical illness, substance abuse, and increased work demands are factors often linked to this disorder.
Signs of depression may include emotional, cognitive, social, and physical components.
People that suffer from this disorder often experience anxiety along with feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, guilt, shame, and sadness. These feelings occur as everyday patterns of a person’s emotional life.
However, the most noticeable symptom is feeling sad for a long period of time. To be diagnosed with this disorder, this feeling of sadness needs to last at least for two weeks. Yet, in most depressed people, this symptom lasts for much longer and usually brings on many other conditions; for example, the feeling of permanent sadness may trigger suicidal thoughts.
Depression affects memory as well as the ability to critically think and make decisions. In addition, a person’s concentrating ability and the mind flow may be very slow and ineffective.
People who suffer from this disorder tend to withdraw from social life. They don’t like spending time with other people anymore and lose interest in activities that they used to enjoy. Some people may also develop social anxiety.
Physical signs are variable and may include aches and pains without a clear physical cause. Also, they may include cramps and digestive problems, as well as appetite and sleep issues. In addition, the libido usually weakens and a person loses interest in sex.
People with depression may need a lot of attention and support, but they don’t need a person caring for them to be overprotective. Excessive compassion may increase the feelings of guilt and shame in the depressive person.
When recognized on time and treated accordingly, without stigma and with lots of support, depression is a highly treatable condition.
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