In this article, we’ll look into details of What Is Depression? And also, What Causes Chronic Stress? Whereby, we’ll start by identifying it, and the medical consequences it can have. As we also try and describe ways to manage chronic stress and depression. Agreeably, short-lived feelings of stress are a regular part of our daily life, but vital signs should not be ignored.
And since everyone can become a victim, it’s therefore, not a laughable matter as such. Also, not to mention, when these feelings become chronic, or long-lasting, they can severely impact a person’s healthy life. For your information, people experience depression in different ways. It may interfere with your daily work, resulting in lost time and lower productivity.
Equally, it can influence relationships and some chronic health conditions. But, it’s not advisable to try and deal with stress or depression alone. If self-help strategies are not working, a doctor can provide support and some advice about other best treatment options that are suitable for you. Then again, these certified doctors (e.g Mayo Clinic) can also refer a person.
Especially, to a more specialized healthcare provider, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. And by all means, anyone feeling overwhelmed by stress should see a doctor as soon as possible. Especially, if they are having suicidal thoughts or using drugs or alcohol to cope. That said, let’s now learn more about what depression really is plus some best remedies.
What Depression Is All About
Depression is classified as a mood disorder that can be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with the everyday activities of a person. And as a matter of fact, depression is fairly common as a result of long-term stress. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 8.1 percent of American adults ages 20 and over had depression.
And that’s, for sure, in any given two-week period. More about this can be found here – in the Prevalence of Depression Among Adults Aged 20 and Over in the United States, 2013–2016 journal. It’s important to realize, the WHO is continually working on improving the mental health of individuals and society at large. Including the promotion of mental well-being.
As well as the prevention of mental disorders, the protection of human rights, and the care of people affected by mental disorders. Depression is a condition that can be treated with medicine, talking to a therapist, and even changes to our lifestyle. Whatever the cause, your first step is to let your doctor know how you’re feeling.
Simply, because all depression types are not the same. You may refer yourself to a mental health specialist to help figure out the type of depression you have. After all, this diagnosis is important in deciding the right treatment for you.
What Really Causes Depression?
In reality, feeling down at times is a normal part of life. Sad and upsetting events happen to everyone. But, if you’re feeling miserable or hopeless on a regular basis, you could be dealing with clinical depression. And over the course of your life, if you experience mental health problems, your thinking, mood, and behavior could be affected.
Patients with chronic depression are also more likely than patients with episodic depression to report childhood trauma and a family history of mood disorders. Because the chronic one lasts longer and tends to be more severe than an episodic one, treatment is more intensive. Relapse is also a challenge.
Majorly, depression is a common and treatable mental disorder characterized by changes in mood, and cognitive and physical symptoms over a 2-week period. It is associated with high societal costs and greater functional impairment than many other chronic diseases, including diabetes and arthritis.
Depression rates differ by age, sex, income, and health behaviors. The prevalence of depression is based on scores from the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9). This is a symptom-screening questionnaire that allows for criteria-based diagnoses of depressive disorders. Something that, in the end, will help health practitioners to be able to manage the situation.
Other known factors include:
- Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
- Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
- Family history of mental health problems
In fact, mental health problems are common but help is available. Whereby, people with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely. And since good mental health is related to mental and psychological well-being, below are the forms and types of Depression.
1. Major Depression
Your doctor might diagnose you with major depression if you have five or more of these symptoms on most days for 2 weeks or longer. At least one of the symptoms must be a depressed mood or loss of interest in activities. You may hear your doctor call this “major depressive disorder.” Also, you might have this type if you feel depressed most of the time, on most weekdays.
Other Symptoms include:
- Loss of interest or pleasure in your activities
- Weight loss or gain
- Trouble getting to sleep or feeling sleepy during the day
- Feelings restless and agitated, or else very sluggish and slowed down physically or mentally
- Being tired and without energy
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of suicide
All in all, talk therapy can greatly help! You’ll meet with a mental health specialist who will help you find ways to manage your depression. Additionally, medications called antidepressants can also be useful.
2. Persistent Depressive Disorder
By the same token, if you have depression that lasts for 2 years or longer, it’s called a persistent depressive disorder. After all, this term is used to describe two conditions previously known as dysthymia (low-grade persistent depression) and chronic major depression.
You may have symptoms such as:
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions
- Change in your appetite (not eating enough or overeating)
- Sleep too much or too little
- Lack of energy, or fatigue
- Low self-esteem and a feeling of hopelessness
You may be treated with psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of the two.
3. Bipolar Disorder
Someone with bipolar disorder, which is also sometimes called “manic depression,” has mood episodes that range from extremes of high energy with an “up” mood to low “depressive” periods.
When you’re in a low phase, you’ll have the symptoms of major depression. Medication can help bring your mood swings under control. Whether you’re in a high or a low period, your doctor may suggest a mood stabilizer, such as lithium.
3 approved medicines by the FDA are:
Doctors sometimes prescribe other drugs “off label” for bipolar depression, such as the anticonvulsant lamotrigine or the atypical antipsychotic Vraylar. Traditional antidepressants are not always recommended as first-line treatments for bipolar depression.
More so, since there’s no proof from studies that these drugs are more helpful than a placebo (a sugar pill) in treating depression in people with bipolar disorder. Also, for a small percentage of people with bipolar disorder, some traditional antidepressants may increase the risk of causing a “high” phase of illness or speeding up the frequency of having more episodes over time.
4. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
By definition, the seasonal affective disorder is a period of major depression that most often happens during the winter months when the days grow short and you get less and less sunlight. It typically goes away in the spring and summer. If you have SAD, antidepressants can help. So can light therapy. You’ll need to sit in front of a special bright lightbox for about 15-30 minutes each day.
5. Psychotic Depression
People with psychotic depression have symptoms of major depression along with “psychotic” symptoms, such as:
- Delusions (false beliefs)
- Paranoia (wrongly believing that others are trying to harm you)
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
A combination of antidepressant and antipsychotic drugs can treat psychotic depression. ECT may also be an option.
6. Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression
Women who have major depression in the weeks and months after childbirth may have peripartum depression. Antidepressant drugs can help similarly to treating major depression that is unrelated to childbirth.
7. Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Women with PMDD have depression and other symptoms at the start of their period. Besides feeling depressed, you may also have:
- Fatigue, Irritability, and Anxiety
- Trouble concentrating and Mood swings
- Change in appetite or sleep habits
- Feelings of being overwhelmed
Antidepressant medication or sometimes oral contraceptives can treat PMDD.
8. Situational Depression
This isn’t a technical term in psychiatry. But you can have a depressed mood when you’re having trouble managing a stressful event in your life. Such as a death in your family, a divorce, or losing your job. Your doctor may call this “stress response syndrome.” Psychotherapy can often help you get through a period of depression that’s related to a stressful situation.
9. Atypical Depression
This type is different than the persistent sadness of typical depression. It is considered to be a “specifier” that describes a pattern of depressive symptoms. If you have atypical depression, a positive event can temporarily improve your mood.
Other symptoms include:
- Oversensitive to criticism
- Sleeping more than usual
- Feeling of heaviness in your arms and legs
- Increased appetite
Doctors may sometimes recommend an older type of antidepressant called an MAOI (monoamine oxidase inhibitor) to treat the condition. MAOI is a class of antidepressants that have been well-studied in treating atypical depression.
10. Episodic Depression
The differences between episodic and chronic depression encompass more than just duration. Studies show that, compared with episodic major depression, chronic depression causes other abnormalities. Like more functional impairment as well as increased risk of suicide. And is more likely to occur in conjunction with other psychiatric disorders. In this case, Antidepressants can help and your doctor may suggest a type called an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) as the first-line treatment.
Am I in Stress or Depression?
In this life, the one before and after, as human beings, we all crave on having good mental health and physical fitness wellness. And if you are feeling overwhelmed by stress, you are not alone; it’s practically a fact of life for many.
A poll conducted by mtvU and the Associated Press in the spring of 2009 reported that 85% of students say they experience stress on a daily basis. On one hand, stress is good if it motivates you but it’s bad if it wears you down. And many factors can contribute to the stress you experience.
Unfortunately, this stress can cause changes in your body that affect your overall physical, emotional, and even mental health. On the other hand, depression is more serious and long-lasting than stress and requires a different kind of help.
Related Resource: What Is High Blood Pressure? How To Fight Hypertension
In a 2010 survey by the American College Health Association, 28% of college students reported feeling so depressed at some point. They had trouble functioning, and 8% sought treatment for depression. Fortunately, the good news is that depression is a highly treatable condition.
However, it’s not something you can snap out of by yourself, so it’s important to get help. How do you tell the difference between stress and depression? Both can affect you in similar ways, but there are key differences. When it comes to mental health, symptoms of depression can be much more intense and last at least two weeks.
Depression causes powerful mood changes, such as painful sadness and despair. You may feel exhausted and unable to act. Chronic Stress, per se, is a biological response to demanding situations causing the body to release hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones help prepare the body to take action, for example by increasing the heart and breath rates.
When this occurs, a doctor might describe a person as being in a state of heightened alertness or arousal. And if you are stressed out completely, there are many good ways to get relief. Drinking or taking drugs, however, won’t solve anything and can lead to more problems.
Is Depression related to Mental Health?
According to anxiety-related articles on BetterHelp, we live in a day and age where it’s very easy to undergo both anxiety and anger for various reasons. Believe it or not, these two emotions do share certain parallels and they have more in common than many people might initially suspect.
In general, Mental Health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being and it affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.
So, in other words, our mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. And according to the World Health Organization, mental health is defined as a state of well-being.
A state of wellness is the one in which;
- every individual realizes his or her own potential,
- can cope with the normal stresses of life,
- can work productively and fruitfully,
- and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.
The positive dimension of mental health is stressed in WHO’s definition of health as contained in its constitution: Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
This fact highlights the important aspects of mental health and disorders. Having said that, you can have a look at 10 Facts about Mental Health to gather more resourceful information details.
Antidepressants are a class of drugs that reduce symptoms of depressive disorders by correcting chemical imbalances of neurotransmitters in the brain. Chemical imbalances may be responsible for changes in mood and behavior. In that case, neurotransmitters are vital, as they are the communication link between nerve cells in the brain.
In reality, neurotransmitters reside within vesicles found in nerve cells, which are released by one nerve and taken up by other nerves. Neurotransmitters not taken up by other nerves are taken up by the same nerves that released them. This process is called “reuptake.”
The prevalent neurotransmitters in the brain specific to depression are serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine (also called noradrenaline). In general, antidepressants work by inhibiting the reuptake of specific neurotransmitters, hence increasing their levels around the nerves within the brain.
Such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and antidepressants that will affect serotonin levels in the brain. Antidepressants are not only used for depression but, they are also used to treat several other conditions.
These conditions include:
- chronic depression,
- generalized anxiety disorder,
- obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD),
- manic-depressive disorders,
- childhood enuresis (bedwetting),
- major depressive disorder,
- diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain,
- neuropathic pain,
- social anxiety disorder,
- posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), etc.
Off-label uses of antidepressants include:
- chronic urticaria (hives),
- hot flashes,
- hyperhidrosis (drug-induced),
- pruritus (itching),
- premenstrual symptoms,
- bulimia nervosa,
- Tourette syndrome,
- binge eating disorder, etc.
About half of patients with chronic depression who respond to treatment will suffer a relapse within one to two years if they stop treatment.
Whether with antidepressants, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. For that reason, some type of maintenance therapy may be necessary.
What Are The Side Effects Of Antidepressants?
Antidepressants that belong to the same class of antidepressants produce similar side effects. For one thing, antidepressants may cause withdrawal symptoms if abruptly discontinued. Withdrawal symptoms include; nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, irritability, sleep disturbance, nightmares, psychosis, and seizures.
All antidepressants have a warning about use in children and adolescents. It’s also important to realize that antidepressants increased the risk of suicidal thinking and suicidal behavior in short-term studies. particularly, in children and adolescents with depression and other psychiatric disorders.
Anyone considering the use of the antidepressant in a child or adolescent must balance this risk of suicide with the clinical need for the drug. Patients who are started on therapy should be closely observed for clinical worsening, suicidal thoughts, or unusual changes in behavior.
What If The Antidepressant Does Not Work?
Antidepressants differ in their effects on neurotransmitters, established uses, adverse effects, and drug interactions. All antidepressants that are used for depression are effective; there is no evidence that one antidepressant is more effective than another.
However, patients may respond to or tolerate one antidepressant, and not respond to or tolerate another antidepressant. When therapy and medication aren’t working, two other options your doctor may suggest are:
ECT uses electrical pulses and rTMS uses a special kind of magnet to stimulate certain areas of brain activity. In the end, this helps the parts of your brain that control your mood work better.
How To Manage Depression
Instead of talking about how they feel, some people use alcohol or drugs to feel better. But, in the end, this usually makes things worse, certainly in the long run.
For instance, your work will suffer and alcohol often leads to irresponsible, unpleasant, or dangerous behavior. You also focus more on work rather than on relationships or home life. And this can cause conflicts with your husband, wife, or even your partner.
Conditions that can get worse due to depression include arthritis, asthma, cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, or even obesity. And for most patients, episodes of major depression last a limited amount of time.
In fact, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) specifies that symptoms last at least two weeks. And also, treatment studies report a median duration of about 20 weeks. But, for some patients, the condition becomes chronic — with symptoms lasting at least two years.
More Related Resources:
- What is Alcohol Abuse?
- Chronic Stress | Signs, Symptoms, Risks & Management
- Traumatic Brain Injury | How to Heal a Fatal Head Trauma
- Anxiety During Pregnancy: Causes And Coping Mechanisms
- Vitamins | 5 Essentials for your Body to Stay Healthy
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