Depression: Causes, Symptoms and the Role of Antidepressants

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.

What is Depression?

Depression is a feeling of extreme dejection and sadness and usually comes with a feeling helplessness and discontent. You feel as if you have no control of everything happening in your life and the whole world has departed you. Your mental health state is agitated and lacks the power and will in concentrating with your normal functions at work or sleep.

Dangers of Depression

According to health experts at the College of Family Physicians in Canada, depression if not treated on time can lead to serious temporary or permanent health complications which can negatively affect your character. Depression has been known as a major cause of suicide when you find it as the only mean of escaping the agony. With depression, you are more likely to resort to alcoholism and drug abuse through self medication and finally become an addict. There have been numerous cases of people permanently harming their bodies as a result of depression with some succumbing from such injuries. Others turn their anger to close relatives and loved ones which in some cases result to divorce or separation. Other dangers of depression include lack of concentration in schools leading to poor performance and dropping out. Depressed people are likely to make wrong decision in simple matters in life leading to compound harmful effects later in life.

Who can get Depression?

Every person can get depression but research shows that women are more vulnerable than men. During pregnancy, women become more culpable to depression due to hormonal changes. The same case applies after birth especially due to the more time and energy they spend in attending to their bundles of joy. Inadequate sleep while concentrating to their toddlers also increases* the feeling of dejection. You are more likely to become depressed when experiencing financial difficulties. According to Dr. Marie Savard in an interview on “Good Morning America”, elderly people are much more likely to be alone, socially isolated or feel a general lack of purpose making them more susceptible to depression.

Inadequate Sleep

How do I know if I know if I have Depression?

You can easily tell if you are suffering from depression by lack of energy to concentrate in whatever you do and a feeling of restless or frustration. You start focusing on negative things losing interest in life and start contemplating of suicide. Your sleeping pattern is also altered giving too little or more time in bed than usual. Worry and guilt accompanied by frustrations and unexplainable aches on your body also signals a state of depression.

What Causes Depression?

Depression is directly linked to chemical imbalances in the brain that break coordination of nerve cells inhibiting normal responses to stimuli. Depression in some cases run in families as it is genetic though doesn’t affect the whole relatives. Events in your daily life directly relate with depression especially if you are unable to cater for basic needs especially food following a sudden dismissal from work or joblessness. If you live in isolation while experiencing the stresses of life, you risk getting depressed since you don’t get a chance to speak them out. Lack of frequent interaction with other people due to personal commitments or lack of a close confidant elevates occurrence of depressive illnesses. Accidents can lead to permanent illnesses or disabilities which can leave negative feelings which cause depression. Patients diagnosed with chronic illnesses and drug addicts who fail to quit are prone to dispirited lives unless they undergo special treatments.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

Depression symptoms differ from one person to another. There are several psychological and physiological changes which you will experience when suffering from stress. Mental symptoms include loss of interest at work or school, indecisiveness and reduced* self esteem. Anxiety, unfounded worries and a drop in hobbies are clear symptoms of depression. You are also unable to cope with your colleagues at job or home. You exhibit negative overreactions to simple jokes with workmates and friends. Behavioral changes resulting from stress comprise of lack of appetite, change in tone when speaking and interrupted sleeping patterns. Nightmares and restlessness in bed could mean the same. Depressed women may suffer altered menstrual cycles. Constipation, loss of libido and soured relations with your partner can be great indicators of depression too.

The Role of Anti-Depressants

To avoid dangers of depression, you should seek fast medical attention where doctors will prescribe antidepressants depending on the cause. Anti-depressants work by correcting chemical imbalances of serotonin in the brain. During depression, the level of serotonin is decreased* inhibiting coordination. An Anti-depressants increase* the levels of serotonin which serve as chemical carrier in the brain. After being restored to normal function, your brain stimulates the standard functioning of other organs involved in hormonal secretions, digestion and respiration. Patients using antidepressants regain their health in about two weeks.

Side Effects of Anti-Depressants

However, there are various negative effects to expect when using anti-depressants. They include loss of appetite, delayed orgasms and erection problem in men. In some case there is increased perspiration, sleeplessness and blurred sight. Dehydration and bodily tremors are also imminent when using anti-depressants. There is no point of worry or concern if you experience these side effects since the positive roles the drugs play will be notable in a fortnight.

Diagnosis Options for Available for Depression

There are two types of diagnosis for depression. Clinical diagnosis involves tests for nutrients imbalances and a scrutiny for thyroid activities in secretion of hormones. It is extremely important for you to open up to your medical practitioner on your condition to avoid instances of misdiagnosis. Report the use of alcohol or drugs since they may alter the outcome of these tests. A clinical test can involve a short memory test on your abilities to concentrate and comprehend. Behavioral observations diagnosis is applicable mostly in young people and kids. You will observe the desire to isolate from others, irritability and sadness. If treatment doesn’t improve* in a month, you should consider seeking referral to a psychiatrist from your health care provider.

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Expert Author : Joan Raynor (Consumer Health Digest)

Joan Raynor is a health researcher and expert writer specializing in mental health issues where she provides hope and support to persons with treatment-resistant depression and other chronic mood disorders.

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