Depression

depression_1The word "depression" comes from the Latin word, "deprimere", meaning to press down or depress. Anyone who has ever suffered from depression recognizes the connection between the physical feeling of being pressed down and the emotional and spiritual sensation of feeling depleted of energy for living. It can be described in vivid terms such as "being in a deep, dark pit", "feeling hopeless about life", "total apathy for living" and "absolutely no enjoyment in life anymore".

The bad news about depression is that it impacts every aspect of an individual's life: social, physical, spiritual, emotional, and cognitive changes occur as it becomes more and more difficult to cope. The good news about depression is that it is very, very treatable.

Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a serious illness and usually more common that we realize.

Globally, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression.  Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and is a major contributor to the global burden of disease.

It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Suicide results in an estimated 1 million deaths every year. People are most likely to suffer their first depressive episode between the ages of 30 and 40, and there is a second, smaller peak of incidence between ages 50 and 60. More women are affected by depression than men

Warning Signs of Depression Include:depression_2

  • Feeling sad most of the day
  • Feeling irritable most of the day
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Impaired concentration and ability to think
  • Sleeping more/less than usual
  • Increased/decreased appetite
  • Significant weight gain/loss
  • Indecisiveness
  • Loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyed
  • Fatigue, low energy
  • Missing class/work/duties
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Moving or speaking more slowly than usual
  • Recurrent thoughts of death

If you are experiencing three or more of these symptoms nearly every day for two or more weeks, then you may be suffering from depression.

What Causes of Depression

depression_3The exact cause of depression is not known. Many researchers believe it is caused by chemical changes in the brain. This may be due to a problem with your genes, or triggered by certain stressful events. Depression can also be caused by environmental factors like emotional traumas or climatic conditions as too little sunshine and Changes in hormone levels: in adolescent, after childbirth (baby blues), after miscarriage, in menopause (menopausal depression), in low thyroid function (hypothyroidism)

What is the Medical Treatment:

depression_4Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment though it is completely reversible and treatable by two main ways, these include:

  • Medications called antidepressants and mood stabilizing drugs. These aim to correct the chemical and biological abnormalities that occur in the illness
  • Talk therapy, called psychotherapy

Antidepressants work by boosting one or more chemicals (called neurotransmitters) in the nervous system. These chemicals may be present in insufficient amounts in depression, resulting in the symptoms of the illness. All antidepressants take a minimum of three weeks (and sometimes up to eight weeks) to start to work, and once they have started working the depression recovers gradually. Treatment usually goes on for 6 months.

Mood stabilizers: these medicines are used to boost the effects of antidepressants.

Talk Therapy: Talk therapy is counseling to talk about your feelings and thoughts, and help you learn how to deal with them.

If you have mild depression, you may only need one of these treatments. It takes time to feel better, but there are usually day-to-day improvements.

Special type of depression:

Postpartum Depression: Sadness after the Stork's Visit. A whopping 85 percent of new moms feel some sadness after their baby is born — but for about 13 percent women, that sadness is serious enough to be diagnosable. Postpartum depression is characterized by feelings of extreme sadness, fatigue, loneliness, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, fears about hurting the baby, and feelings of disconnect from the child. It can occur anywhere from weeks to months after childbirth, it most always develops within a year after a woman has given birth.

Depression Self Help Suggestions:

depression_5•  Lift your spirit and turn to Allah (swt)! Search for a higher goal of your life and connect yourself strongly to this goal. Attend religious services, serve others, Volunteer, Be helpful to the needy. This will give you an inner sense of satisfaction, peace and meaning to life. Do dhikr and supplicate.

•  Keep a journal! Record your feelings on paper - especially painful feelings. This can help you gain an insight into your emotions. Don't think; just write whatever comes to your mind and do not censor yourself. You will find that putting your thoughts on paper will help you sort through painful emotions, clarify decisions

•  Go out and move your body! Take a half an hour walk every day or cycle or do horse riding or jump a skipping rope or do any other exercises. Frequent exercise can be a powerful mood enhancer and depression help.

•  Water therapy- At the end of your morning shower, turn off the warm tap and have a cold shower on your entire body. It has a strong vitalizing and activating effect

depression_6•  Turn the Telly off and meet people! The longer you watch television, the more your mood suffers. Studies have shown, that people who watch a lot of television, tend to have intensified feelings of isolation.

•  Do creative activities! Any type of arts and crafts, like painting, modeling, knitting or stitching can give you joy and success.

•  Diet: Eat plenty of fresh food, drink lots of water, cut back on caffeinated drinks and junk that is high on sugar.

Depression is not a weakness but a serious illness with biological, psychological, and social aspects to its cause, symptoms, and treatment. You can't beat it through sheer willpower, but you do have some control. The key is to start small and build from there. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there if you make positive choices for yourself each day.

depression_7

Sources:

http://www.paraklesiscounselling.com/self-help/self-enrichment-courses/depression

http://www.christinas-home-remedies.com/depression-help.html

Compiled by: Neelam A. Ismail

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