- Mental Health
Depression and anxiety’s-Who suffers from it and how do we treat it?
Who does depression effect?
Depression can effect anyone and everyone!
Most people think of depression and anxiety only affecting adults. The truth is, it affects people of all ages including children.
We do not think of children being depressed in their small young carefree worlds but these days children probably have as many stressful factors in their lives as adults.
Depression in Children
What is depression?
Depression, the thing that many say they have when really they are just feeling a bit down and others who say they are fine are really slowly drowning from the effects of depression. Here I hope to give you a little insight into what depression is and how you might know if you really have depression or if you might just be needing a good night out with the guys and/or gals!
Depression is a condition, some would say a disease, which affects the way we think and the decisions we make. Some people are able to live with it and go about their daily life whilst just being a bit grumpy on the service or distant at times while others struggle to just get out of bed in the morning.
Depression can be caused by many things: Grief, loss or change of job, new child, relationship breakdown, verbal or physical abuse/attacks, hormone changes within the body, stress, lack of natural light even, but of course these are not the only things that course depression, the list really is endless as the slightest little thing can trigger the electrical activity in the brain to change which can then start causing depression.
Treatment for depression is relatively easy to come by, although it is not always successful. Many things have to be achieved before the condition can be deemed under control, yet never cured. The doctor may prescribe you tablets to help with your mood control or to help you sleep. They may suggest attending a councillor or therapist of some kind for treatment sessions.
Causes of depression
As I stated above there really are many things that can trigger depression. One of the more common causes and what started my depression, a bereavement. For some it may be a close family member taken too soon or a friend.
From my experience young people seem to struggle more dealing with a bereavement when it is an unexpected death such as a parent or friend. It is harder for the the individual to reason with these types of death, after all the process or order of death should be elderly grandparents first followed by parents when then get to a ripe old age. Friends depart as we get older as well, we certainly do not expect to lose a close friend while still in our 20's or 30's.
Work pressures! These are another top contender for causing depression and anxiety related health issues. We all look for that perfect job and try to do our best and impress the boss in the hope that we might get a pay rise or promotion even. Yet the truth of the matter really is all we are achieving is driving ourselves into the ground. We work more and more, becoming more tired and irritable towards our close ones. We find ourselves turning to alcohol in the evenings to try and relieve some of the stress, telling ourselves that it is okay as it is only one! Problem is that one leads to another one and if you are not careful not only do you have a stress/depression problem you have an alcohol problem linked in with it.
The winter blues! Many people suffer more with depression in the winter due to the lack of natural light. Many people are up and at work before it is even light during the winter months and do not leave work until after dark. This type of depression is much easier to manage as you can try and get outside during break periods to allow the natural UV light into your body. There are also lights which can be purchased to help with this.
Mental Health Illness around the World
1 in 4 adults will be diagnosed with a mental health illness during their lifetime in England
Around 18.2% of the population will be diagnosed with some form of mental health illness in the United States of America.
1 in 5 adults will admit to having suffered from some form of mental health illness in a year.
There may be at least 100 million people in China suffering from a mental health illness. The true number is unknown as many do not seek help!
Treatment and support for depression
No matter what the cause of your depression it is important to identify what treatment is best for you.
When deciding what treatment is best it is firstly very important that you acknowledge that you have a problem, as without this acknowledgement treatment will not work to its full potential and most likely as a patient you will not be compliant with medications or appointments.
The most common form of treatment for depression is the famous antidepressant which comes in various forms, but generally for most mild depressions these are a successful form of treatment. A doctor may also prescribe you with a sleeping tablet and lack of sleep can be a trigger for depression so it is important that you gain enough sleep.
If you find that you are struggling and the antidepressants are not helping your mood you could try counselling or other forms of Cognitive Behavioural therapy CBT. This can be very helpful for people who do not fully understand what is causing their depression and can very often get to the root of the problem and talking to a complete stranger is a lot easier than talking to a friend or relative!
For some none of these therapies will work and they will become further withdrawn into their lonely and solitary life or even more normal/active all of a sudden making their families think that everything is okay. Unfortunately this is usually the beginning of their mental health decline as they come to terms with their feelings and realise that for them there is no way out other than ending their own life. For these troubled souls much more support is required and for them there are homes/sanctuaries where they can go for support. Hospitals sometimes have mental health wards where patients can be admitted and seen by the crisis teams.
These are all very good forms of treatment but there is one form of treatment which very often goes forgotten, exercise! Exercise is known to increase the happy hormones within the body making this one of the best treatments, and cheapest, for depression as long as you are able to carry it out. You don't have to run a marathon to get exercise, just going for a brisk walk, offering to walk a neighbours dog, joining a running club who offer beginners classes. Try the gym, although everything you do there is individual you have other people around you in the room. Remember whatever you start you must keep doing for a length of time.
As I mentioned at the beginning, I have suffered with mild depression for some time.
Mine began following the death of my father in 1991 when I was just 12. Although I did not begin to suffer immediately by the time I was 14 my mental health had started to deteriorate. I was faced with bullying at school which I pushed to one side ignoring it, pretending it would go away. All my spare time was spent playing golf if I could, meaning I didn't have to talk to people and I could just do my own thing.
By the age of 15 my school had recognised that I had a problem (walking out of a class probably gave the game away) and they organised counselling for me, I still remember her name 'Kate'. This was certainly a big help. It helped me understand what had happened and why I felt the way I did. Once I understood this I was able to move forward, which I did for many years.
I had a relapse following being made redundant from my first proper job. I felt very concerned as we had just purchased our first home and had a mortgage to pay. A trip to the doctors and some antidepressants soon got me back on track.
However following the birth of my first son I developed symptoms again, I hear you say "she had postnatal depression", and yes you are probably right but I did nothing about it, carrying on as normal, proving to everyone that I was fine and that I could be a good wife and mum. I would find an excuse to pop to the shops and then not want to go home. I mood improved as I started going for walks with my son in his pram. We walked miles but it helped. That was when I realised that for me exercise was key to my mental health.
I had a further relapse after my second son was born. I would hide in my bedroom and sit on the floor slumped against the wanting to cry so much as I felt useless and drained being pulled in every direction. I had support from my mum but nobody knew how I felt because yet again I hid it, carrying on as normal. So many times when i finished work I would find reasons to be later home because I did not want to face people. It was not until I agreed to have a family worker to help with my youngest sons behaviour problems that I again realised that I needed help - antidepressants to the rescue again along with a local running club and my bike.
Bereavement is definitely a trigger for me and unfortunately in just 26 years I have had to say goodbye to 10 family members and 3 close friends one of whom was younger than me. She died of a brain tumour which was caused by her pregnancy. She left behind her 2 young children and partner who not only lost her but their unborn child as well.
I am currently in an okay place, kind of at peace with the world but teetering on the edge, feeling like the slightest little push could push me over the edge. I feel worst when I am tired but find myself unable to sleep well. Problem is I don't really want to take sleeping medication in case my boys need me in the night (I am often alone at night as my husband works away at times). I am constantly reminded by my memories that my boys need me and for that reason I keep exercising, sometimes with the running club and sometimes on my own and if things start to get really bad then I seek help from my doctor.
The most important thing to remember is that no matter how sad or hopeless or you feel there is always somebody out there who can help you and they are usually the people closest to you, just ask for help!
Do you, or have you ever suffered from depression?
Do you, or have you ever suffered from depression?
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