(ORDO NEWS) — March 24 is International Depression Day. On this day, it is customary to talk about one of the most severe mental disorders, which greatly affects the quality of life every year and causes hundreds of thousands of deaths. In honor of International Depression Day, we answer the top five questions about this severe mental illness.
Depression is often referred to as the “disease of the 21st century”. And for good reason – according to the World Health Organization (WHO), about 280 million people suffer from depression in the modern world. Of these, over 700,000 die due to suicide each year.
What causes depression?
The most important thing to remember is that depression is a disease. A disease diagnosed by a psychiatrist. Depression is not laziness, boredom or a bad mood. This is a complete diagnosis that can be treated.
Depression can develop under the influence of several factors: biological, psychological and social. For example, some people develop depression due to a genetic predisposition. Other people simply can’t handle life’s crises, or experience the loss of loved ones or the loss of a job.
At the same time, it is important to take these factors into account in a complex way – if one of your close relatives suffers from depression, this does not mean at all that you will also get sick. Or vice versa – you can develop depression even if you do not have a genetic predisposition, but you live under psychological pressure all the time.
There are two types of depression: psychogenic depression and endogenous depression . We have already talked about psychogenic – it can develop under the influence of social and psychological factors (for example, your boss at work constantly breaks down on you or your family does not support you).
But with endogenous depression, things are more complicated. This type of disease is caused by disturbances in the functioning of the brain, that is, a person cannot affect his well-being in any way, because his body fails.
What are the symptoms of depression?
During a depressive episode, a person may experience several conditions at once:
- Depressed mood (feelings of sadness, irritability, emptiness);
- Loss of pleasure or interest in activities (most of the day, daily for at least two weeks);
- Poor concentration;
- Feeling of excessive guilt;
- Low self-esteem, self-flagellation;
- Feeling hopeless about the future;
- Thoughts of death or suicide;
- Sleep disturbance;
- Changes in appetite or weight;
- Feeling of irresistible fatigue, lack of strength even to perform simple actions.
In this case, depression can be expressed in the form of diseases of the body. If, for example, you suffer from insomnia, itchy skin, migraines, chronic pain, etc. for a long time, but doctors shrug their shoulders and don’t know what it is connected with, it’s a reason to contact a psychotherapist.
By the way, there are special tests that help determine the presence and degree of depression – for example, the Beck Depression Scale.
The peculiarity of this test is that it was developed on the basis of clinical observations of people with depression. That is, it contains questions that a healthy person may not even think of, while a depressed patient thinks about them all the time.
How is depression treated?
Fortunately, depression is treatable. And the choice of how to deal with it depends on the severity of the disease.
Mild depression can be cured with the help of psychological practices. For example, if a psychotherapist or psychiatrist has determined that you have psychogenic depression, then after psychotherapy you may feel better.
But if the doctor has determined that depression arose due to disturbances in the functioning of the brain and has already passed into a severe stage of the disease, then medication is indispensable. In this case, the specialist selects the necessary drugs (antidepressants) that will help the patient feel better.
When it is important to remember that antidepressants have a cumulative effect, that is, you should not expect that after the first pill you will immediately become healthy. In addition, in some cases, you have to try several drugs to choose the right one – there is nothing to worry about, this is a variant of the norm.
Can depression go away on its own?
Experts note that the symptoms of depression can indeed disappear on their own. The question is, how long will it take.
In other words, how long a person with depression will have to suffer, how many opportunities, impressions and social connections he will lose before he gets better. If it does at all. But this applies to mild depression – severe depressive episodes, as a rule, do not go away on their own.
In addition, depression can have a recurring character – for example, seasonal depression is known, which occurs only in spring or only in autumn.
Therefore, of course, if you begin to notice symptoms of depression in yourself and exclude physiological diseases that can also cause them, contact a psychotherapist. It’s not scary or embarrassing.
How to talk to people who are depressed?
If your loved one has been diagnosed with depression and found the strength to share it with you, then the worst thing you can do is discount it. In no case do not tell him that this is all nonsense, that he just needs to rest and the like. People with depression need your attention, acceptance and love. What can be done:
1 – Don’t blame
When someone close to you gets depressed, changes in their behavior are most often visible to the naked eye. And in this case, do not remind him how merry he was before, and how dull he has become now.
Don’t accuse him of being “just lazy” or that “it’s not easy for everyone right now.” Tell him that you are very worried about him and want to help.
2 – Accept and love
When a person falls into the abyss of depression, he ceases to understand how to continue to live. He may experience feelings that he has never experienced before: anger, envy, hatred. And he will despise himself for it.
And in this situation, you must show that you accept him as anyone and love him just like that, simply because he is.
3 – Repeat that you can handle everything
Most often, a depressed person cannot even imagine that this unbearable state can somehow be stopped. He may stop leaving the house, brushing his teeth, just getting out of bed.
And in this case, be close to him and help him with the performance of some actions. For example, help clean up the apartment, buy food and medicine, make an appointment with the doctor. And remind him that he is not alone, and together you can do it.
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