Understanding Depression

by on January 25th, 2011 at 7:00 am

For the vast majority of us, it is getting harder and harder to find warmth, light and love. Yet, it is there. Some of us, with the right tools, are able to find a place within ourselves to keep us safe and positive and build a resistant wall against the knocks of stress and modern day living. But even this safe-haven can be short-lived.

So what happens when this place is not reached and protected? What causes some people to experience and suffer from severe depression that can greatly affect their ability to function on a daily basis?

Causes of Depression

Depression is a complex web of emotions that cannot be directed to one particular factor. Severe or major depression also occurs in those with no family history of the condition. As each individual is unique (and our response to turmoil is relative), childhood issues, a traumatic loss, chronic illness, difficult relationship, financial problem, or any unwelcome change in one’s life and understanding of it can trigger a depressive response that becomes difficult to break.

Very often, a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors is involved in the onset of a depressive disorder. Research and studies indicate a strong genetic factor to certain types of depression. This has been recognized with severe depression, but more particularly in bipolar disorder. However, genetic factors are not a guarantee of developing depression and it is important to understand that it is a combination of various external factors that can cause depression.

Furthermore, stressors that contribute to the development of depression sometimes affect some groups more than others. For example, minority groups who more often feel impacted by discrimination and are disproportionately represented. Socioeconomically disadvantaged groups, for instance, have higher rates of depression compared to their advantaged counterparts.

What are the Different Kinds of Depression?

  • Major Depressive Disorder:
    When people use the terms ‘depression’ or ‘clinical depression’, they are generally referring to major depressive disorder. Major depressive disorder is a mood disorder characterized by a depressed mood, a lack of interest in activities normally enjoyed, changes in weight and sleep, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness and guilt, difficulty concentrating and thoughts of death and suicide. If a person experiences the majority of these symptoms for longer than a two-week period, they may be diagnosed with major depressive disorder.
  • Dysthymic Disorder:
    Dysthymia comes from the Greek roots dys, meaning ‘ill’ or ‘bad’, and thymia, meaning ‘mind’ or ‘emotions’. The terms dysthymia and dysthymic disorder refer to a mild, moderate, or chronic state of depression. Those who suffer from dysthymia are usually able to function adequately but might seem consistently unhappy.
  • Atypical Depression:
    Do you experience symptoms such as improved mood when good things happen, overeating, sleeping too much or sensitivity to rejection? These are symptoms characteristic of atypical depression, which is a type of depression which does not follow the ‘typical’ set of depression symptoms, such as a lack of appetite and insomnia. It is actually more common than the name might imply and differentiates from severe depression in that the latter are not able to experience positive emotions even when good things do happen.
  • Bipolar Disorder:
    Bipolar disorder is an illness that consists of alternating moods from manic, i.e. elevated episodes, followed by depression. These mood swings can range in intensity from mild mania (called hypomania) to more severe, debilitating highs. Periods of mania can last for hours, days, weeks or even months before depression returns. Bipolar disorder is divided into type 1 and 2, with differences being between the severities of the alternating moods.
  • Postpartum Depression:
    Pregnancy brings about many hormonal shifts. These dramatic shifts can sometimes affect the emotional response to their newborn child. This is commonly known as the ‘baby blues’. Postpartum depression can be more than just a case of the blues, however. It can range from mild symptoms that will gradually disappear naturally all the way up to postpartum psychosis, which left untreated, may lead to devastating circumstances.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder:
    The most frequently reported symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS) include irritability, fatigue, anxiety, nervous tension, mood swings, depression, feeling overwhelmed or out of control, physical symptoms of swelling or bloating of the abdomen or extremities, appetite changes and food cravings, aches, and breast tenderness. These symptoms may occur for several days to 2 weeks before menstruation but subside with the onset of the menstrual period. When these symptoms, especially those of mood, are severe, a diagnosis of Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) may be made.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder:
    Weather changes may be accompanied by a severe drop in mood for some people. If you experience more consistent and apparent symptoms such as depression, sleepiness, weight gain and carbohydrate cravings during the winter months, but feel great as soon as spring returns, you may have a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Help for Depression

Whatever the causes of depression, the condition can have serious effects on your life, and should be properly diagnosed before pursuing any treatments methods. Take into consideration finding a specialist that will help provide a holistic approach to therapeutic measures and lifestyle changes.

Alongside many other forms of healing, natural remedies can play an integral part in helping one reach a healthy emotional state of mind. Natural yet gently effective remedies promote emotional and psychological well-being relating to a variety of mood disorders that will work with your body and mind in healing itself, helping you to reach that inner sanctuary enabling you to better understand yourself and deal with the outside world.

For adults: MindSoothePromotes balanced mood, emotional health and feelings of well-being

For children: MindSoothe Jr.Promotes emotional stability and balanced mood in children

2 Responses to “Understanding Depression”

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