Depression Symptoms and Warning Signs!
What is depression?
Depression is a real illness that impacts the brain.
Anyone suffering from depression will tell you, it's not imaginary or all in your head. Depression is more than just feeling down. It is a serious illness caused by changes in brain chemistry. Research tells us that other factors contribute to the onset of depression, including genetics, changes in hormone levels, certain medical conditions, stress, grief or difficult life circumstances. Any of these factors alone or in combination can precipitate changes in brain chemistry that lead to depression's many symptoms.
Depression is a serious condition:
It's also, unfortunately, a common one. The World Health Organization characterizes depression as one of the most disabling disorders in the world, affecting roughly one in five women and one in ten men at some point in their lifetime. It is estimated that 21% of women and 12% of men in the U.S will experience an episode of depression at some point in their lifetime.
Depression does not discriminate:
Men and women of every age, educational level, and social and economic background suffer from depression. There is no area of life that does not suffer when depression is present. Marriage, parenting, friendships, careers, finances every aspect of daily living is compromised by this disease.
Once an episode of depression occurs, it is also quite likely that it will recur. And the impact of depression can be even more severe when it occurs in combination with other medical illnesses such as diabetes, stroke, or cardiovascular disease, or with related disorders such as anxiety or substance abuse.
The problems caused by depression are made worse by the fact that most people suffering from the disease are never diagnosed, let alone treated. The good news is that when depression is promptly identified and treated, its symptoms are manageable and there are many effective strategies for living with the disease. Depression and bipolar disorder are both treated most effectively in their earliest stages when symptoms are less severe.
Are you depressed?
If you identify with several of the following signs and symptoms especially the first two and they just won't go away, you may be suffering from depression.
- you feel hopeless and helpless.
- you've lost interest in friends, activities, and things you used to enjoy.
- you feel tired all the time.
- your sleep and appetite has changed.
- you can't concentrate or find that previously easy tasks are now difficult.
- you can't control your negative thoughts, no matter how much you try.
- you are much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual.
- you're consuming more alcohol than normal or engaging in other reckless behavior.
What causes depression?
Although scientists agree that depression is a brain disorder, the debate continues about exact causes.
Many factors may contribute to the onset of depression, including:
- genetic characteristics.
- changes in hormone levels.
- certain medical illnesses.
- grief, or substance abuse.
Any of these factors alone or in combination can bring about the specific changes in brain chemistry that lead to the many symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder and related conditions.
What are the symptoms of depression?
Depression commonly affects your thoughts, your emotions, your behaviors and your overall physical health.
Here are some of the most common symptoms that point to the presence of depression:
- Angry outbursts.
- Loss of interest in friends, family and favorite activities, including sex.
- Trouble concentrating.
- Trouble making decisions.
- Trouble remembering.
- Thoughts of harming yourself.
- Delusions and/or hallucinations can also occur in cases of severe depression.
- Withdrawing from people.
- Substance abuse.
- Missing work, school or other commitments.
- Attempts to harm yourself.
- Tiredness or lack of energy.
- Unexplained aches and pains.
- Changes in appetite.
- Weight loss.
- Weight gain.
- Changes in sleep ñ sleeping too little or too much.
- Sexual problems.
Of course, all of us can expect to experience one or more of these symptoms on occasion. An occurrence of any one of these symptoms on its own does not constitute depression. When healthcare professionals suspect depression, they commonly look for clusters of these symptoms occurring regularly for two weeks or longer, and impacting functional aspects of the person's life.
How the signs of depression can vary?
Depression often varies according to age and gender, with symptoms differing between men and women, or young people and older adults.
Men and Depression:
Depression has sometimes been referred to as the under disease: under-diagnosed, under-discussed, and under-treated. This is especially true for men, who may associate the symptoms of depression with weakness of character, or believe that they should be able to overcome their symptoms on their own.
What are the symptoms of depression in men?
Both men and women may experience many of the same symptoms of depression. But because men tend to focus on physical problems like fatigue, physical pain and sleep problems rather than emotional ones, diagnosing depression in men can be a challenge.
The abuse of alcohol or drugs is one symptom that is more common in men than in women. It has been demonstrated that men are more likely than women to turn to alcohol or drugs in an attempt to mask the symptoms of depression. Recent studies at the University of Michigan have shown that the best outcomes result when depression and alcohol abuse are treated at the same time.
How is depression diagnosed and treated in men?
The same tools are used to identify depression in men and women. Depression is a treatable illness. including medications, psychotherapy and neuromodulation techniques, which have been proven effective in managing the
symptoms of depression in both men and women.
In addition, research has shown that patients with depression can benefit from making lifestyle changes on their own. From nutrition to sleep to exercise to stress reduction, there are dozens of steps you can take to help you feel and function better.
Women and Depression:
Depression impacts twice as many women as men. Nearly one-quarter of all women will experience depression at some point in their lives. Those statistics are due in part to the biological changes women encounter at different stages of life, such drops in estrogen levels following childbirth or with the onset of menopause.
Depression may be more likely to affect a woman at a particular time of her life, such as during pregnancy, after giving birth, or during menopause, or even at different phases of her menstrual cycle.
What are the symptoms of depression in women?
Depression behaves differently in women than in men, too. Although it’s important to keep an eye out for all of the warning signs, some specific symptoms are more likely to impact women, including:
- Overeating (especially carbohydrates).
- Weight gain.
- Sensitivity to rejection.
Doctors sometimes use the term a typical depression to describe this cluster of symptoms.
Depression in women may also be accompanied by other problems such as anxiety or eating disorders. This is in contrast to depression in men, which is more likely to be complicated by substance abuse.
How is depression diagnosed and treated in women?
The same tools are used to identify depression in men and women. Some of the most commonly used tools are reproduced in the Are You Depressed?
The same treatment options are available for both men and women as well, including psychotherapy, medication and neuromodulation techniques. In addition, for both men and women, additional self-care strategies such as exercise, proper nutrition, stress management and healthy sleep habits are critical to managing the symptoms of depression.
Depression in teens.
Irritability, anger, and agitation are often the most noticeable symptoms in depressed teens not sadness. They may also complain of headaches, stomachaches, or other physical pains.
Depression in older adults:
Older adults tend to complain more about the physical rather than the emotional signs and symptoms of depression: things like fatigue, unexplained aches and pains, and memory problems. They may also neglect their personal appearance and stop taking critical medications for their health.
Know your treatment options:
There are a number of treatment options available to patients diagnosed with depression, bipolar disorder or related illnesses. The main treatments can be divided into three categories:
- and Neuromodulation.
Additional treatment strategies, including exercise, nutrition, stress management and healthy sleep habits.
relies upon the interchange between an individual or group and a trained counselor to help bring about positive changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Psychotherapy can take many forms:
a therapist can work one-on-one with one individual, with a couple or family, or with a group of people who share common characteristics or challenges.
The goal of psychotherapy is to help individuals address the issues that contribute to their depression, including resolving conflicts, improving family and work relationships, recovering from trauma or loss and learning how to deal with recurrent stresses.
2. Medication (pharmacotherapy):
In recent years, more and better medications have been developed to treat depression and bipolar disorder. When administered properly, medications can help many people find relief from the symptoms of depression, with manageable side effects.
In cases of moderate and severe depression, medications are often essential and even life-saving. Different classes of antidepressant medications are available to help minimize the severity of symptoms, and mood stabilizing medications are available to reduce the frequency of episodes of depression or mania. To achieve the desired outcome from medications, an adequate dosage over a sufficient period of time is required.
administers electrical or magnetic currents to stimulate the brain and alter (or modulate) brain activity. There are a variety of neuromodulation methods currently in use to treat a range of brain illnesses, including depression, Parkinson's disease and tics.
Neuromodulation techniques have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for patients who have not found relief with other treatment approaches (a condition known as treatment resistant depression, or TRD).
Depression causes and risk factors:
- Loneliness and isolation.
- Lack of social support.
- Recent stressful life experiences.
- Family history of depression.
- Marital or relationship problems.
- Financial strain.
- Early childhood trauma or abuse.
- Alcohol or drug abuse.
- Unemployment or underemployment.
- Health problems or chronic pain.