Recent shocking news declared that by 2020 the major depression will be second only to ischemic heart disease in terms of the leading causes of disability in the world. It means the frequency of depression is growing rapidly and nowadays many experts speak about depression.
Many people with depression don’t receive any adequate treatment because they fail to realize and even accept having depression – they don’t understand that there is a physical cause to their depressed moods. They could spend years trying to find the “real” cause of their symptoms. Untreated depression is increasing the frequency of depression in the population. Left undiagnosed and untreated, depression can worsen and last many years – this can cause on-going suffering and possible suicide attempts. It was noted that in certain period of life (ages 10-24) the suicide is becoming the third leading cause of death.
Facts about depression
Everybody could feel sad or depressed at certain period of life but it does not mean we all have depression. Negative feelings (sadness, unhappiness, helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, etc.) can be just a normal reactions to negative stress factors (trauma physical or psychological, problematic relations, conflicts at work or in schools, etc.) but if bad mood and depressive state remains long (weeks, moths, years), it means you already have a disease called “clinical depression”.
Depression is not just bad moods and occasional melancholy; depression is not just feelings ups and down; depression is not just sadness – depression is on-going long (weeks, months, years) complex of symptoms which usually disturb normal daily life.
There is a long list of depression symptoms but it is not necessary to have all symptoms at the same time. Different people could have different symptoms of depression and even different severity of symptoms.
It is important to mention that usually clients with depression have least 5 symptoms of depression (at the same time) for more than 2-3 weeks. The duration of depression could last months and years (especially if untreated).
Here are most common symptoms of depression:
- Concentration problems – reduced ability to think clearly, difficulty staying focused, difficulties in concentration on subjects and remembering details, short term memory loss;
- Constant unhappy feelings –feeling sad, guilty, worthless, helpless, hopeless;
- Sleeping dysfunctions – interrupted sleep, insomnia, early morning wakefulness, excessive sleep, nightmares;
- Eating disorders – binge eating, overeating, refusing food, appetite loss;
- Suicide episodes – intrusive thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts, suicide fantasies, thoughts of self-harm;
- Loss of pleasure in life – loss of interest in social activities, rejecting pleasant (before) hobbies, refusing sexual relations, cancelling and/or refusing meeting and invitation, lack of motivation, withdrawal from friends and family;
- Decreased energy – fatigue, slowed speech and movements, restlessness, constantly feeling tired, passive pessimism;
- Irritability, anxiety, extreme impatience and/or emptiness, sometimes panic attacks;
- Difficulties in making decisions – hesitating to take responsibilities, doubting in decision making, unsure in decisions made;
- Persistent aches and pains – muscle and joint pain, headaches, cramps, digestive problems, constipation or other intestinal problems;
- Changes – in weight, appearance, behavior, character, interests, lifestyle;
- Easily annoyed, bothered and/or angered.
Depression risky behavior
Depression carries a high risk of suicide and many cases of suicide accidents could be prevented by family members and friend, by loved once and by society in general.
Depression risky behavior could be recognized in time and should be treated by professionals. The following symptoms could be considered as warning signs of depression risky behavior:
- Often thoughts and/or talk about death or suicide;
- Often thoughts and/or talk about self-harm or harming people;
- Previous suicide attempts;
- Aggressive and/or violent behavior without any objective reasons;
- Permanent impulsiveness without any visible reasons.
There are several types of depression with specific causes and symptoms:
- Major Depression (unipolar depression, major depressive disorder);
- Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder;
- Dysthymia (Dysthymic disorder, mild chronic depression);
- Postpartum depression (postnatal depression, PND);
- Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD);
- Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive illness);
- Catatonic Depression;
- Minor depression;
- Atypical Depression;
- Psychotic depression;
- Agitated Depression;
- Anxiety Depression;
- Endogenous Depression;
- Existential Depression;
- Melancholic Depression;
- Depression induced by medication;
- Neurotic Depression;
- Situational Depression (Reactive Depression, Adjustment Disorder);
- Substance Induced Depression (Substance Induced Mood Disorder, SIMD);
- Double Depression;
- Chronic Depression;
- Psychotic Depression;
- Secondary Depression;
- Masked Depression;
- Chronic Treatment-Resistant Depression (CTRD).
Almost all types of depression can be treated with light therapy, antidepressants and other kinds of medications.
Why women suffer from depression more than men?
It is well known that about twice as many women as men experience depression. Millions of women experience depression each year. Depression is a serious medical condition that can occur in any woman – about one in every 7-8 women experience clinical depression during their lifetime. Women could have depression at any time of their life but most frequently depression is observed during reproductive period of women life – at 25-44. Depression in women does not have age limitation, race differences or social peculiarities.
Women body development, reproductive functions, hormones, genetic and general biological differences are contributing to depression development. Medical professionals noted higher frequency of depression in women during premenstrual period, pregnancy, post-partum, and menopause as well as during infertility.
Several surveys also discovered some social factors which could lead to higher rates of depression in women – stress and pressure at work place and family, sexual and/or physical abuse, social pressure in many societies, difficulties in career development, poverty.
Light Therapy for depression
Light therapy during depression is very simple, useful (effective), safe with very limited side effects, noninvasive, rather cheap and easy to use. Light therapy is recommended for almost all types of depression.
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