Everybody experiences times in their life where they feel sad, un-energetic, or unmotivated. However, if you have been experiencing feelings of sadness, numbness, emptiness, or lacking motivation for longer than two weeks, you may be suffering from depression.
What is Depression?
Depression is a common and severe mood disorder that negatively impacts the way a person feels, thinks, and acts. Depression often leads to feelings of sadness, emptiness, or loss of motivation for living one's life. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 264 million people of all ages are suffering from depression worldwide.
What are the Symptoms of Depression?
Depression is a severe mood disorder that negatively impacts the sufferer's quality of life. Depression can look different in everyone. The most common symptoms of depression include:
Feelings of sadness and despair. Depression can suck the joys out of a person's life, regardless of what their life looks like on the outside.
Loss of interest in hobbies and activities that once brought you joy.
Appetite changes. Some people experience a lack of appetite, while others may find themselves overeating.
Sleep issues. Some people experience insomnia and have trouble falling or staying asleep while others find themselves oversleeping and struggling to get out of bed.
Feelings of lethargy or fatigue. One may experience a lack of energy, feeling too tired and unmotivated to do anything.
Hyperactivity or slowed movements. Some people experience hyperactivity, finding it difficult for them to sit still; while others experience slowed movements and speech.
Feelings of worthlessness. Depression can leave its victims feeling unworthy, unimportant, or guilty regardless of their circumstances.
A clouded mind. People suffering from depression may experience confusion, struggle to concentrate, or generally feel as though their thoughts are foggy.
These symptoms are the most common symptoms experienced by those suffering from depression. If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms for a period of longer than two weeks, you may be suffering from depression. Seeking the help of a mental health professional can help you determine if you are suffering from depression or if there are any other possible causes for you feeling this way.
What Causes Depression?
It is often said that depression is caused by a chemical imbalance of the brain. This, however, is not necessarily the best explanation for what causes depression. While a chemical imbalance does contribute to the development of depression in most cases, a chemical imbalance is not as simple as having too much or too little of a certain chemical in the brain.
There are a lot of possible culprits that can cause depression such as genetics, stressful life events, medications, or medical issues. Different cases of depression can be caused by different aspects of one's life, whether it be by the brain, external factors, physical health factors, or a mix of them. It is important to understand which factors are causing an individual's depression in order to find the right treatment plan for them. A few possible causes for the development of depression include:
The interactions between certain regions of the brain that impact your brain's mood regulation. When there is an issue in these areas of the brain, mood regulation is affected which can lead to the development of depression.
The communication efficacy between the nerve cells can also have an affect on your brain's ability to regulate your mood.
Genetics. Genes can have an impact on the development of depression.
Stressful life events. Hard and stressful events in life such as the loss of a loved one, divorce, or assault can lead to the development of depression.
Physical health issues. When one experiences certain illnesses or takes certain medications, it can have an affect on the brain's ability to regulate mood, which can lead to the development of depression.
Regardless of the causes behind your depression, it is imperative to seek help in order to find the right treatment for you. Finding the right mental health professional can help you understand the root causes of your depression and find the right treatment to help you get through it. To find a therapist who will offer experienced and compassionate support, click here.
Different Types of Depression
Depression affects everyone differently. If you believe that you are suffering from depression, reach out to your doctor or a mental health professional. They will help you work through your symptoms and find the best treatment for you. There are a few different types of depression. A few different types of depression are:
Major Depressive Disorder: This form of depression affects the sufferer every day for most of the day and negatively impacts their quality of life.
Persistent Depressive Disorder: This form of depression is characterised by feelings of depression that last for two years or longer.
Bipolar Disorder: This mental health issue is characterised by alternating feelings of hypomania, in which one feel happy or invincible, and depressive episodes, in which one experiences feelings of depression.
Seasonal Depression: This form of depression comes and goes with certain times of the year. For example, one may feel fine during the summer months, but feel depression kick in as the winter months begin.
Postpartum Depression: This form of depression occurs during or shortly after a pregnancy.
Possible Treatments for Depression
Treatment for depression is dependent on the symptoms, severity, and personal preferences of the sufferer. Treatment can include psychotherapy or medication. In severe cases of depression, hospitalisation may be necessary. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a form of psychotherapy that has been proven to be affective in many cases of depression. Medications for depression have also proven to be effective in many cases of depression. Depression looks different in everybody. Understanding the causes, type, and severity of depression is necessary to choose the best treatment plan.
How We Can Help
Depression is hard to deal with. You are not alone. The first step to healing is reaching out to a mental health professional. If you are searching for a therapist to help you work through your feelings of depression, you can book a session with one of our experienced and compassionate therapists.