Have you ever felt so tired, tired of everything, tired of everyone? Have you ever been in a state where things that matter to you on a normal day don’t mean anything anymore, when you don’t feel like trying your best at things you usually do on a regular basis? It could be an hobby, your work or something as simple as tipping a beggar or feeding your pet. At times you just feel like eating is an unnecessary stress and talking to people, sharing thoughts or having a good time is boring and normal day to day work become a burden. All the aforementioned are obvious signs of imminent depression and with this article, I would like to sensitive the general public to the detriments, causes, signs and practical treatments for this condition.
The situation where an individual feels perpetual depressed mood or loss of interest in activities with significant impairment in daily life is what is commonly known as depression. Ordinarily, most people feel depressed at one or more points in their lives. This can be due to increased pressure from work, from home or from a spouse and it can also be due to loss or bereavement. These types of depression are usually gotten over within a short time or when the source of depression is removed from the individual life.
However, major depression or Clinical depression which is the topic of this article is a persistent feeling of depressed mood over a lengthy period of time usually spanning between two weeks or more. The signs and symptoms of clinical depression are revised in the next few sentences. Daily feeling of worthlessness or guilt is a sign of depression. This is usually accompanied by anxiety, mood swings, sadness and general disinterest in affairs that would normally concern the individual. This could lead the individual to ignoring day to day activities, abandoning their work post and performing less than expected in their relationship with people.
An individual who is depressed would tend to either sleep excessively with restless sleep or wake early while having little to no sleep. This is usually due to the unstable state of the mind. Depressed people would usually at first try to take solace in sleeping: trying to forget all their worries and this could lead to excessive sleep and lethargy during the day. On the other hand, such individual might be afraid of sleep. This is so because, paranoia being a sign of depression could make the individual think they would be attacked in their sleep by the people who make them feel bad. Insomnia could also result from fear of being reminded of their fears and problems through their dreams.
Usually, the problem is mental and the depressed person cannot help but think about the problem every other time. Usually, in times of physical ailments of terminal diseases, they think, ‘Why did this happen to me? ‘, ‘Why does it have to be me? ‘, ‘What could I have done to prevent this?’ and the likes. Over thinking only lead to losing track of time and these individuals often forget about eating after they lose in things.
‘Why should I eat when all these calamities are bothering me?’ is the question most people have. Fatigue and excessive hunger due to under eating and over thinking are very common amongst depressed people. This is due to the fact that the brain which is the center for thinking usually consumes 80% of dietary glucose intake and over thinking in someone who is under eating and already deprived of glucose can lead to accumulation of lactic acid in the body and acute fatigue. Restless is also often seen because a hungry person who doesn’t eat would feel uncomfortable due to the brain demanding for nutrition. Some patients of depression undergo excessive weight loss while it is the opposite to others. Weight gain could be as a result of the depressed person taking solace in eating and sleeping.
Binge eating and excessive sleep could increase the body sugar level and in the long run increase total body weight and size. Loss of weight is often always caused by under eating and over thinking where there is little to no food consumption while the brain uses up majority of the residual glucose in the body. Strenuous activity would later cause the body to seek energy from non dietary carbohydrate sources, soon the body utilizes the body fat and total body weight is reduced. Mentally, depressed people show lack of concentration, slowness in activities and thoughts of suicide. The lack of concentration and slowness in activities are usually attributed to under eating, lack of glucose or energy supply in the body and disinterest in the activities being performed. They could also show signs of tiredness after little work and/or unexplained body pains due to excessive sleep and prolonged inactivity.
Suicidal thoughts are usually the end stage symptoms of depression when individuals feel like they have had it all and would like to put a permanent end to their own miseries. This could be caused by hormonal imbalances which could be inherited or acquired via negative and depressed thinking.
Depression, however mild or severe is to be attended to by family members, friends and colleagues of the person who is depressed. Treatments for depression include use of antidepressants coupled with psychotherapy. Talk therapy is also suitable as it makes the individual discuss his problems and find possible solutions to them.
In cases where the problem has no solution, the individuals are employed to move on with their lives and maladaptive coping strategies are taught to such people either individually or as a group. Exercise and eating of fruits amongst all other things is good to reduce the risk of depression and in some cases, it could help relief the condition. During exercise, the body produces various hormones and chemicals which could help alleviate the symptoms of depression. Fresh fruit has antidepressant effect and help make the individual feel relieved and healthy.
Other options for clinical depression such as electroconvulsive therapy, also called ECT or shock therapy can be used if drugs prove ineffective or symptoms are severe.
With the little information contained in this article, it is obvious that depression is not just a mood disorder and should not be seen as such. Rather, it should be treated as one would treat patients suffering from physical ailments.