Depression

5 mins read

Introduction
Depression is a mood disorder, which is characterized by emotional sadness, loss of touch with the surrounding, behavioral modifications such as mood swings, occurrence of random thoughts, etc. Depression, also referred to major depressive disorders, often resulting in feeling of hopelessness and ‘blues’. Various factors have been known to cause depressive disorders, including life events such as tragedy, death in the family, persistent disease, or physiological factors. Whatever the reason are, depression often results in complete isolation of the individual, interferes with the normal functioning, decreases performance, and alters the life-work balance.

Causes Of Depression
Various factors have been known to cause depression.

1. Diseases
Various neurological disorders, physiological conditions, and fatal diseases have been indicated in the development of depression. Besides, depression is one of the early symptoms in the onset of various other non-related disorders.

2. Life Events
This is one of the major causes of depression. The current life is severe and full of traumas and tragedy. While some people are able to cope up with the events, others fall into the void of deep shock or major depressive disorder. The events may be: physical abuse, sexual exploitation, death, loss of a relationship, non-requited love, and bereavement.

3. Drugs And Medications
Various drugs and medications are known to cause depressive symptoms in majority of the patients. Treatment of hepatitis with interferon is one such example.

Symptoms Of Depression
Symptoms vary from person to person; however, some of the most common symptoms associated with depression are:

  • Persistent sadness and lack of interest in daily activities, including work, leisure, and alone time
  • Irritability and short tempered behavior
  • Lack of hope and increased pessimism
  • Fatigue and loss of energy for activities
  • Decreased affection toward peers, family, friends, and spouse
  • Altered eating habits, leading to either over-eating or under-eating
  • Cramps, joint pain, stomach disturbances, and constipation (rare)
  • Lack of sleep (insomnia) and other sleep-related disorders
  • Increased thoughts of suicide or suicidal attempts
  • Self-harming behavior and increased aggressiveness

While some of the symptoms are manageable with drugs and therapies, other symptoms such as thoughts of suicide or aggressiveness should be met with utmost care and expert therapies. Patients should be constantly monitored for the actions and behavior. Early diagnosis and therapy/treatment is most effective in both severe and mild cases.

Treatment Strategies
Depression is a mood disorder. Various clinical medications and physiological therapies have been indicated. However, it is pivotal to identify the cause and symptoms prior to initiating any treatment regimen.

Drugs For Depression
These include:

Antidepressants
Antidepressants fall into two categories, which include: tricyclic antidepressants and atypical antidepressants. While the former function as sedatives (nortriptyline and imipramine), latter are found to be associated with increasing the activity of the brain, triggering production of mood-altering hormones. Some of the atypical antidepressants include mirtazapine,vilazodone, and trazodone.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) And Serotonin And Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)
Unlike antidepressants that cause severe adverse effects on mental health and libido, these SSRIs and SNRIs are associated with fewer side effects. They include: duloxetine, desvenlafaxine, and venlafaxine (SNRIs); citalopram, escitalopram, and paroxetine (SSRIs).

Alternative Therapies

Lifestyle Modification
Although not convenient, the behavioral and physical modifications play a critical role in elevating mood, decrease feeling of loneliness, thoughts of suicide, and inculcate new direction in life. Various strategies are:

Meditation

  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Abstaining from drugs, smoking, and alcohol
  • Exercise and physical activities
  • Interaction with peers, family, and friends

Complications
Depression or major depressive disorder not only affects the individual, but also causes, coping problems for the immediate family, colleagues, and friends. Besides, the disorder causes long-term complications if left unattended. Some of the common complications are:

  • Obesity and eating disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Coronary heart disease and various other vascular disorders
  • Anxiety, phobia, or complete isolation from human interaction
  • Drug addiction and alcoholism

Alternative Treatment
Various natural remedies and therapies, other than the conventional health treatment strategies, have been indicated in depression. These include:

Herbal Treatment
Two supplements, SAMe and 5-HTP, are used in treating depressive symptoms. These supplements are safe and do not cause any adverse events.

Hypnosis
This is usually rare, and is practiced in various developing countries.

Massage Therapy And Meditation
It can promote relaxation and feeling of enlightenment.

Conclusion
Depression is a major mood disorder, which is characterized by loss of hope, a feeling of guilt or loneliness, and persistent sadness. Early diagnosis and treatment is effective in managing the symptoms and decreasing suicidal attempts.

Read More:
Don’t Ignore Depression Like Germanwings Pilot Andreas Lubitz; Treat It With These 4 Herbs
4 Little-Known Facts About Depression (& How You Can Manage It)
New Drug May Treat Depression In A Day
Is Depression Different In Men?
All You Need to Know About Depression (& How To Treat It)

References
1. Lubelski D, Thompson NR, Bansal S, et al. Depression as a predictor of worse quality of life outcomes following nonoperative treatment for lumbar stenosis. J Neurosurg Spine. 2014 Dec 19:1-6. [Epub ahead of print].

2. Ng CG, Wong SK, Loh HS, Yee A. Anhedonia among patients with Major Depressive Disorder: A comparison between patients on escitalopram and healthy controls. Clin Ter. 2014 Nov-Dec;165(6):e384-90.

3. Bao AM, Swaab DF. The stress systems in depression: a postmortem study. Eur J Psychotraumatol. 2014 Dec 9;5:26521.

4. Hagmayer Y, Engelmann N. Causal beliefs about depression in different cultural groups-what do cognitive psychological theories of causal learning and reasoning predict? Front Psychol. 2014 Nov 25;5:1303.

5. Pfeiffer PN, Bohnert KM, Zivin K, et al. Mobile health monitoring to characterize depression symptom trajectories in primary care. J Affect Disord. 2014 Nov 28;174C:281-286.

6. Button KS, Turner N, Campbell J, et al. Moderators of response to cognitive behavioural therapy as an adjunct to pharmacotherapy for treatment-resistant depression in primary care. J Affect Disord. 2014 Dec 6;174C:272-280.

7. Albrecht JS, Kiptanui Z, Tsang Y, et al. Patterns of Depression Treatment in Medicare Beneficiaries with Depression Following Traumatic Brain Injury. J Neurotrauma. 2014 Dec 19. [Epub ahead of print].

8. Bekhuis E, Boschloo L, Rosmalen JG, Schoevers RA. Differential associations of specific depressive and anxiety disorders with somatic symptoms. J Psychosom Res. 2014 Nov 14. pii: S0022-3999(14)00387-0.

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