Everyone faces moments of stress, disappointment, or sadness in their lives. Such feelings become concerning when they persist and impact daily life, potentially indicating depression.

Causes of Depression

  • Genetic Predisposition: A family history of depression, a sensitive nature, anxiety, a pessimistic outlook, or a chemical brain imbalance can predispose individuals to depression.
  • Childhood Environmental Factors: The manner in which someone was raised and their surrounding influences play a role.
  • Stressful Events: While depression can arise from specific stressful situations, some cases develop without any evident triggering factors.

Risk Factors Associated with Depression

Depression escalates the risk of various health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, thyroid issues, allergies, immunodeficiencies, dementia, and even cancer. There's also an increased risk of accidents, drug misuse, and suicidal tendencies.

Types of Depression

Depression can be divided into two primary types:

  • Major Depressive Disorder: This type involves patients experiencing intense and persistent sadness for a prolonged period of time.
  • Bipolar Disorder: This type is characterised by more severe mood swings than what is typically observed in the general population. These mood swings fluctuate between extremes of highs and lows, significantly impacting a person's quality of life.

Symptoms to Watch for Depression

Consistent exhibition of five or more of the following symptoms over a two-week period could indicate depression:

  • Prolonged feelings of sadness or frustration.
  • Apathy towards activities.
  • Disturbed sleep patterns.
  • Fatigue and lack of energy.
  • Changed eating habits.
  • Diminished self-worth.
  • Difficulty focusing or hesitancy in actions.
  • Sluggishness or restlessness.
  • Thoughts of self-harm.

Diagnosing Depression

Diagnosis involves a comprehensive assessment of the patient's symptoms, interviews with the patient and occasionally their family, and a review of their medical history to rule out other potential disorders.

Treatment Options

  • Psychotherapy and Counselling: Professional guidance and therapy play a crucial role.
  • Antidepressant Medication: While effective, it's essential to note that antidepressants are non-addictive and do not induce any trance-like states.

Side Effects of Antidepressants

While generally safe, there might be minor side effects with antidepressants. Concerns about addiction or altered mental states due to medication are unfounded.

Prevention Measures for Depression

  • Dietary Choices: A balanced diet, including essential nutrients like omega, vitamins E, C, D, iron, and copper, can aid prevention.
  • Regular Exercise: Engaging in physical activity for 30-40 minutes, at least four times a week, is recommended.
  • Adequate Sleep: Ensuring enough rest and sleep rejuvenates the mind and body.
  • Mindfulness Practises: Techniques that enhance mental well-being and decrease stress.
  • Maintaining Optimism: A positive outlook can provide the mental resilience required during challenging times.