People who are depressed could "snap out of it" if they tried hard enough. Those ones who self-harm are manipulative and attention-seeking. Depression is nothing more but a sign of weakness and attempting suicide is just attention seeking and shouldn't be taken as a serious risk to life.
No, depression is more than that, even if society refuses to take it seriously and stigmatizes those who battle with it. One can't "make" himself depressed. And there are other ways of seeking attention than harming the body. Even if it's true that we all feel unhappy if something bad happened, depression is more than that.
Unlike other health problems which affect everyone in much the same way, depression is experienced differently from one individual to another. It can present itself in different ways, at different times and for different reasons. As a result of the fact that everyone perceive it in a different way, psychiatric and psychological schools find it difficult to agree over a definition of the term.
However, there are some symptoms that could indicate a condition of depression, such as:
- crying a lot for no clear reason
- less of pleasure in life
- feeling helpless or empty
- feeling guilty, worthless and helpless
- finding it hard to concentrate or make decisions
- insomnia, sleeping more than normal, waking up very early
- physical aches and pains with no clear reason
- thinking about death and suicide most of the days
The occurrence of the symptoms depends on the type of depression presented:
- mild depression: few symptoms, doesn't have a major impact on daily life
- moderate depression: daily life is difficult
- severe depression: many symptoms and the daily life is hard to cope with
POST-NATAL DEPRESSION is also a form of depression which appear from two weeks to a few months or more after the birth and affects one in ten new mothers. Current research suggests that this form of depression is a result of tiredness, lack of sleep and major lifestyle changes.
BIPOLAR DISORDER is characterized through periods of depression that alternate with periods of "mania". The mood change can take place gradually or it can be rapid and frequent. Sometimes, people with this disorder are highly creative in their manic phase. Some well-known examples, both today and from history are: Florence Nightingale, Vincent Van Gogh, Vivien Leigh, Virginia Woolf, Sinead O'Connor, Kerry Katona etc. The most commonly medication prescribed for this treatable condition is Lithium.
SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER is most likely to occur in winter months and is more common in the more northern latitudes of the northern hemisphere. The lack of sunlight and bright daylight affects the production of serotonin in the brain, a key component for stable, realistic. and positive moods. It is a condition that responds to antidepressant medication.
An important step in dealing with depression and starting to feel better is the acceptance of what is happening and trying to identify the cause. It won't make depression go away, but won't feel so much as a bolt from the blue, you'll have some control over it and you may find ways to make it better. It is recommended to see a doctor and keep in mind the thought that they see people with depression every day.
Keeping a journal with brief notes about feelings and where would be mentioned small positive things(a text from a friend, something interesting in a magazine, s glimmer of sunshine, the dog running to welcome) that happened during the day can lift the mood significantly.
TYPES OF TREATMENT
If in case of other health conditions it's easy to know what treatment to follow, with depression things are different as there isn't one universally agreed, tried -and-tested form of treatment. But there are ways of finding help. Here are some suggestions:
- talk to your doctor
- talk to the pharmacist
- find a local self-help group
- check the local library for the section(usually called bibliotherapy) with information about problems such as depression, anxiety and stress
- search for trustworthy sources on the internet
The most familiar treatment for depression is MEDICATION, in the form of antidepressants. It is mainly used to treat moderate and severe depression. In order to feel better, it is important to take the medication in the right way, being aware of its side-effects and the time needed to have an effect. The benefits of antidepressant medication start to manifest after three weeks and will achieve its maximum effect in six weeks or more. Those using a combination of various drugs must be aware of the impact that it may have on other conditions. E. g.: garlic and Ginko biloba can cause bleeding if are taken with warfarin; ginseng can increase blood pressure etc.
ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY TREATMENTS
YOGA it is a practice of physical postures or poses completed one after another that helps to achieve total relaxation of the body and mind. It can be practiced at hoe using DVDs, books or at a local class. Yoga breathing puts an emphasis on breathing exercises and it is said that headaches and blocked sinuses benefit from it too. The exercise is performed in a comfortable place while sitting in an upright position. First, the thumb will close off the right nostril while inhaling through the left nostril. Then, then the left nostril will be closed off with the index finger, allowing the right nostril to open again and exhaling through the right nostril. The exercise will be repeated from five to ten times.
MEDITATION also can produce deep physical relaxation and, despite the general belief, it doesn't have to be done while sitting cross-legged on the floor. A good baseline to start from would be a 15-20 minutes of meditation per day. It is not recommended to overdo it because longer periods of meditation could reverse its beneficial effects or produce unwanted emotional experiences.
ACUPUNCTURE helps decrease the fast delta brainwaves and increase the slower alpha brainwaves associated with relaxation.
REFLEXOLOGY it is an alternative therapy that became very popular in recent years. Through specific techniques pressure is applied with fingers and hands on feet to encourage bodily relaxation.
KEY STRATEGIES FOR OVERCOMING DEPRESSION
- Positive thinking, challenge negative thoughts, finding ways to encourage mental well-being
- Building mood-lifting activities into each week
- Having a balanced lifestyle
- Being realistic about life and choosing a life map
- Building supportive relationships with trusted friends, family, a counsellor, a self-help group etc.
Another aspect to keep in mind is that depression can recur, so it is important to pay attention to what is happening in personal life and to subtle changes in thinking or behaviour for being prepared to prevent its return. Action must be taken right away to reduce the potential of feeling overwhelmed. Cognitive behaviour therapy offers the necessary tools to overcome and avoid depression.