Clinical depression is one of the most universal conditions in the world, but it remains one of the least diagnosed. Depression is surrounded by a cloud of misunderstanding and stigma. One of the biggest reasons for this is a failure to recognize the severity and understand the symptoms of depression. Estimations say 1 million Australians fight depression in any given year, displaying a wide range of symptoms.
Have you noticed these symptoms of depression?
Given its intangible and mental nature, it’s not always easy to diagnose symptoms but some red flags may point towards depression.
Everyone leads stressful lives, creating a thin line between normal anxiety and heightened ones. But one of the most easily recognizable symptoms of depression is emptiness. Over time the emptiness consumes the joy and motivation one feels in daily activities. This can lead them to withdraw socially, wrapping themselves up in a cocoon of loneliness. One can begin to feel worthless, triggering a vicious cycle in which depression and guilt continually feed on each other.
‘Checking out’ from daily life
A clinically depressed person feels apathetic towards everything around them including partners, children, and friends. They may withdraw from socializing and choose to spend more time alone, or they may begin to take more time off from work.
Physical depression symptoms
These are easier to understand but can be mistaken for other conditions. These include constant tiredness, insomnia, and loss of appetite. On the flip side, it can also lead to excessive sleeping and gluttonous behaviour but this is a rarer symptom. Depressive individuals are restless and have trouble concentrating and making decisions. They can suffer from general body pain and gut issues, affecting their sex drive and them feeling sick and run down.
What triggers the symptoms of depression?
The causes of depression symptoms are as varied as the symptoms themselves. Genetics plays an important role, with some people predisposed to the condition. In such cases, a trigger like a stressful life event can fan the flames of depression. It’s worth noting that powerful life events can trigger depression even in those with no genetic predisposition depending on how they react. This is reactive depression and is on the rise in our highly stressful lives.
However, depression is not always triggered by an event. Hormonal imbalances or biological factors may also cause it. According to Mayo Clinic, it may also be brain chemistry – changes in the way neurotransmitters work with neurocircuits in your brain.
Depression symptoms in women
According to Beyond Blue, 1 in 6 Australian women experience depression in their lives. Biologically predisposed to experiencing some mental disorders more than men, women also tend to give less priority to their health and well-being. Additionally, women are also a high-risk category for depression, especially, after giving birth or in the first year after having a baby.
How can depression be treated?
it might seem near impossible to emerge from this mental abyss but there are plenty of treatment options. If the depression is caused by a physiological factor like an imbalance in hormones, that can be remedied through medication.
Counselling may be used to unravel emotions and help the person arrive at the root of the condition. This usually takes time to work, requiring commitment and participation from the person experiencing depression, and often from their loved ones too.
It may take a combination of the above, with the addition of alternative treatments as well, but it is entirely possible to treat depression.
How does a mental health professional decide how to treat depression?
One of the first steps in the fight is to understand the cause. If it is due to a medical condition, treatment of the condition should help curb depression. If the causes are harder to pin down, therapy and lifestyle changes are the most powerful tools in a person’s arsenal for effectively dealing with the symptoms of depression. It takes time and investigation to understand the root of depression, but once the right approach has been decided upon, recovery should be noticeable.
Alternative treatments for depression symptoms
A mental health professional may recommend alternative wellness therapies to supplement recovery from depression.
Exercise is an effective solution to depression’s symptoms. It releases feel-good brain chemicals in addition to forming new brain connections without having to rely on medication. If you would like to book a personal trainer, Avaana can help you.
Strong social bonds with friends and family help to weaken the hold on depression. Volunteering or joining classes where you are likely to meet like-minded individuals is a great way to expand your social network. Join a group class to combine the benefits of social bonding and exercise.
Slowly emerging as a lifestyle change that may help beat depression symptoms because of the intimate link between the gut and depression. One should eat small, well-balanced meals of freshly cooked food avoiding processed junk as much as possible. Consult a nutritionist to create a food plan that works for you.
Another crucial aspect of depression management. Ensure you get enough shut-eye i.e. 7-9 hours every night to boost your mood and general well-being.
An important skill because stress is a well-known trigger for depression. Your mental health professional may investigate which aspects of life are causing stress and will try to minimize their impact for effective treatment of depression.
If you think you or someone you know is experiencing a mental breakdown, reach out for help.
Depression is a highly complex condition that affects every individual differently. Thus no two forms of treatment might work the same. It is best to experiment to see what works for you. Patience, time, and commitment are of utmost importance in this long and arduous battle against the mind. You might feel overwhelmed or hopeless from time to time but that is normal. Remember; one step back, two steps forward.