Patient's Complete Guide to Depression

Overview of Depression

Depression is a serious mental disorder that affects your ability to think, feel and react. Learn more about the causes, types, symptoms, and treatment methods.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Feeling sad in a difficult period of life is quite normal. The problem arises when you have persistent sadness. It can affect your brain in a very bad manner.

Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that is quite common, affecting about 264 million people across the globe. Yearly, every one of 15 adults is affected by depression.
Women are at higher risk or depression than men. People are more likely to experience depression during the late teenage to the mid-20s. Depression is very different from the emotional response to daily life challenges. It is long-lived and makes you constantly sad for no reason.
Depression acts as a silent killer. It triggers anger and frustration which can directly affect your daily life activities and personal relationships. Depression can be moderate to extremely severe and can lead to suicide.

Types of Depression

Depression symptoms are variable depending on the age group and gender of people who are experiencing it. Some symptoms are associated with your body while others are linked with your mood. Occurrence of these symptoms on a daily basis can significantly increase your risk of suffering from depression.

Depression in Males

Male experience symptoms of depression associated with some factors such as financial and family responsibilities. Some symptoms of depression in men are:

  • Overtime working
  • Avoiding social contact and spending minimum time with family
  • Difficulty in concentrating and completing tasks
  • Authoritative behaviour and controlling family members hastily
  • Being abusive to spouse and children
  • Engagement in high risk-taking activities
  • Anger and frustration
  • Drug addiction
  • Lack of sexual desire

Depression in Females

Females are more emotional as compared to males. They are highly susceptible to depression. Some symptoms of depression that often appear in females:

  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Fatigue and anxiety
  • Loss of interest in social activities
  • Altered sleep patterns
  • Pessimistic approach to life
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Body aches
  • A headache and cramps

Depression in Children

Children are bad when it comes to expressing themselves with words. Children suffer depression due to the excessive burden of studies and heavy competition. Another cause of depression might be a family environment or parental issues.
Some symptoms in children are:

  • Disobedient behaviour
  • Low energy and lack of interest
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weakness and silence
  • Crying and vocal outburst

Depression in Teenagers

Symptoms of depression in teenagers reflect a significant change in overall behaviour and attitude which include physical changes as well.
Some symptoms they might experience are:

  • Stress and lack of concentration in studies
  • Self-criticism and exaggerated reactions over trivial things
  • Crying for no reason
  • Conflict with peers and family members
  • Feeling empty and useless with no hopes
  • Temptation for suicide and restlessness

Depression in Adults

Adults try to calm down things. However, when they fail to do so then, they try to ignore it. Meanwhile, they get a mountain of frustration that turns into depression.
Depression in adults has following signs and symptoms:

  • Fatigue and drained mind
  • Physical pain and aches
  • Agitation
  • Sleeping a lot or not at all (insomnia)
  • Feeling alone and hopelessness
  • Negative thoughts
  • Confusion and difficulty in decision making

Health Issues associated with Depression

Persistent depression can cause other health issues. It can make worse many other health diseases such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Asthma
  • Arthritis
  • Obesity
  • Cardiovascular disorders

Causes of Depression

Types of depression include the following:

  1. Depressive Episode

The depressive episode is a typical form of depression. It can develop all of a sudden or may take a few weeks. A depressive episode is characterised by persistent symptoms of depression for a period of at least two weeks or more. People going through a depressive episode are likely to have recurrent depressive disorder in their life.

  1. Recurrent Depressive Disorder

Frequent or repeated depressive episodes lead to recurrent depressive disorder. According to a study people with recurrent depressive episodes are 40-59 years of age.

Some identified factors that are linked with this disorder include:

  • Unemployment
  • Lower educational level
  • Inadequate money for necessities of life
  • Usage of non-prescribed antidepressants or other drugs
  • Childhood abuse
  • History of panic attacks
  1. Dysthymia

Dysthymia is a mild type of depression that can be chronic. It usually starts during adolescence and can last up to a decade or more.

This form of depression is diagnosed if symptoms persist for a minimum of two years. It affects your life more than type one due to prolonged duration. If dysthymia and depressive episodes coexist, the state is referred to as double depression.

  1. Psychotic Depression

Delusional or psychotic depression is a special form of depression. It is characterised by hallucinations and false ideas. Delusion often arises from guilt and exaggerated feelings such as inferiority, poverty, and incurable illness.

Psychotic depression if not treated on time can be a cause of suicidal thoughts. Thus, people suffering from it may need immediate treatment to minimize the side effects.

  1. Bipolar Depression| Manic Depressive Disorder

They are less frequent and more severe types of depressive disorders. Bipolar disorder is further categorized into two subforms:

  • Bipolar 1

People with this type suffer from both manic and depressive episodes. After several depressive episodes, a sudden manic episode occurs which leads to the diagnosis of bipolar depression.

Mood swings are sudden and frequent at night. Manic phases are associated with hyperactivity, irritability, reduced sleep requirements, and restlessness.

  •  Bipolar 2

It is a hypomanic episode. This is a less severe form of depression that doesn’t lead to any severe mental health problem. A person suffering from hypomanic and depressive episodes is diagnosed with Bipolar 2 disorder.

  1. Atypical Depression

Atypical depression is the same as typical depression regarding the symptoms except for two i.e. overeating and oversleeping. People who suffer from atypical depression can experience mood improvements when something positive happens around them.

  1. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

People with SAD suffer from atypical depression. This depression is for a specific season mostly autumn and winter during the whole year. People usually get better at the end of their specific depressing season.

Risk Factors of Depression

Depression affects every person differently. Similarly, the cause of depression also varies according to mental health and the environment of a person.

A more severe form of depression is known as clinical depression that is also known as major depressive disorder. The medical community is unable to figure out the real cause of depression. Sometimes several factors are combined to induce depression.

Some factors that play a crucial role in depression are:

  • Early childhood trauma
  • Medical conditions such as chronic diseases
  • Environmental, social and psychological factors
  • Genetics and family history
  • History of drug addiction
  • Less effective frontal lobe of the brain
  • Low self-confidence or inferiority complex
  • Stressful relationships or economic issues

Prevention

A few people are at higher risk of depression than others.

  • Experiencing stressful life events such as financial problems, medical issues, work and relationship concerns
  • Sustained injuries or disabilities
  • Unable to develop coping strategies
  • Previous episode of major depression
  • Chronic illness

Feeling low at times is a part of life but it’s important to realise when things get out of control. Persistent sadness isn’t normal.

Treatment of Depression | When to Consult a Doctor

1- Physical examination where your physician can make a right diagnosis according to your clinical signs and symptoms after doing psychological assessment. A common approach is to ask some questions regarding yours:

  • Sleep pattern
  • Appetite changes
  • Moods and thoughts

There is no particular test for diagnosing depression however many other health complications are associated with depression. A healthcare provider can conduct some tests to rule out other medical disorders that can cause depression.

Some tests include:

2- Blood tests for thyroid or vitamin D deficiency as it is considered as a potential cause of depression.
3- Brain Scan or MRI to check the electrical activity of the brain. MRI can pinpoint subtypes of depression which is helpful for treatment.

Healthcare Providers

Consult with Best Doctors for Depression

Dr. Khalid Masood Ahmed, Psychiatrist
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Ms. Fariha Naz, Psychologist
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Ms. Fouzia Khan, Psychiatrist
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Dr. Muhammad Imran Afzal, Psychiatrist
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Dr. Muhammad Mujtaba, Psychiatrist
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Ms. Ayesha Shahid Sheikh, Psychologist
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Ms. Ayesha Shahid Sheikh

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