Depression

 

  • Symptoms & Signs

    If you have been experiencing some of these signs and symptoms nearly every day since at least the last two weeks, you may be suffering from Depression:-

    • Feeling helpless and worthless
    • Having negative expectations about the future (pessimism)
    • Restlessness, sadness or anxiety that lasts for the most part of the day
    • Difficulty in concentrating
    • Problems in making decisions
    • Getting irritated very easily
    • Lowered energy levels
    • Constant tiredness
    • Either sleeping too much or not sleeping at all
    • Feeling restless
    • Having trouble sitting still in one place
    • A change in weight or appetite
    • Problems in digestion, aches, pain and/or cramps for no clear reason
    • Thinking about death or suicide
    • Attempting suicide
    • Headaches or digestive problems without a clear cause
  • Causes

    We are yet to pinpoint the exact cause of Depression.  However, a number of things are often linked to its development. It is believed depression is caused by various biological, psychological, and social factors:-

    • Life events – Experiencing difficulties such as unemployment, being in an abusive or uncaring relationship, loneliness, prolonged work stress etc. for a long period of time are likely to cause this disorder. Besides this, recent events such as loss of a loved one or a combination of long term and recent events can also ‘trigger’ Depression.
    • A family history of depression (genetics) – Depression often occurs generation after generation in certain families. This points to both genetic and parental factors.
    • Medical illness – Physical changes in the body often trigger mental changes. Illnesses and the stress of dealing with the ones such as Cancer, a heart attack, and hormonal disorders can lead to Depression. This makes the sick person unwilling to care for his or her physical needs, and thus aggravates the situation.
    • Personality issues – People with low self-esteem tend to have a pessimistic outlook towards the world. This makes them more vulnerable towards depression.
    • Drug abuse – More than 30% of people with substance abuse problems often experience symptoms of clinical depression.
    • Certain medication – Depression is a side effect of many medications.The list even includes drugs used to treat simple acne. This disorder can also occur because of many drugs used to treat conditions such as Anxiety, Insomnia, high blood pressure and menopausal symptoms.
  • Types

    • Bipolar Disorder
    • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
    • Major Depressive Disorder
    • Psychotic Depression
    • Postnatal Depression
    • Adjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood
  • Assessment

    Certain assessment tests can help figure out the exact problems that could be causing your symptoms of Depression:-

    • Psychological assessment – Your Psychologist or Psychiatrist will ask about your symptoms, feelings and behavior patterns and you might be asked to fill out a questionnaire.
    • Lab tests – In a few cases, your Psychiatrist may also ask you for your thyroid test reports to make sure it’s functioning properly.
  • Therapy

    Therapists use various therapeutic approaches for the treatment of this disorder. The approaches include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Behavioral Therapy, Interpersonal Therapy etc. A therapist may use individual, as well as group therapy, depending on the severity of the disorder and individual comfort.

    However, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most commonly used and effective approach for treating Depression. Several research studies claim that CBT is a safe and effective treatment method for treating people of all age groups suffering from this disorder.It is a structured treatment process which emphasizes on the fact that the way we think (cognition) and act (behavior) eventually affects the way we feel. It changes the thoughts and behavior pattern of an individual by teaching to think rationally about common difficulties. Hence, it shifts negative or unhelpful thought patterns towards a more positive problem-solving approach.

    CBT involves working with a professional therapist to identify and change thought/behavior patterns that cause depression. Therapists often use this technique during video or audio sessions as well.