Depression is a mental disorder that causes a person to experiences longer spans of being sad and down. In this disorder a person usually shows lack of interest in every situation and does not find any pleasure in the usual activities of his day. Now these are emotions that we all experience sometimes but if these emotions stay on a person's mind for too long it is labeled as a mental illness and demands a treatment.
According to the statistics released by Centers for disease control and prevention there are almost 7.6 percent people out there above the age of twelve who experience cases of depression with the span of two week period. This shows how common depression has become and have surrounded us.
World Health Organization also released its statistics stating that depression is one of the most common leading disorders worldwide and also happens to be a major cause of widespread disability.
It is generally observed that depression rates are higher among women as compared to men. Basic symptoms include lack of happiness due to things that once was a cause of happiness to the person suffering from depression. Mood swings are commonly observed in depression and a person would be happy at one moment and there would be variation in their mood within seconds. Though the exact causes of depression are unknown but it is said that the most probable reason behind depression would be linked to heredity factors and can also be influenced by environmental conditions and traumas.
Diagnosis of this mental inability to be emotionally normal starts by seeking out help from a mental health specialist. For the treatment of depression it is important to attend sessions with the doctor so that a proper diagnosis can be ensured. Also it is crucial because it will ensure safe and effective treatment. Sessions with the doctor will also ensure if there are any physical conditions developed that led to this disorder. Hamilton depression rating scale is one of the tools that is used around the world that can determine how severe depression is. The scale consists of 21 questions which are scored when answered and the resulting score determine how severe the condition is.
It would be important to state here that the temporary mood swings or temporary feeling of sadness or any sort of fluctuation in one's mood are completely normal. These type of temporary emotional acts is not classified as depression. Similarly emotional responses due to the death of a certain close one also doesn't qualify for depression. It would be classified as depression if the feelings last for a longer period and there happens to be no way the person could feel better about himself. The common symptoms that are known to occur in depression are as follows:
- constant feeling of being depressed.
- interests in the things that once made the patient happy are known to be reduced.
- It is also observed that person suffering from depression also faces loss of libido or sexual desire.
- Weight loss is commonly observed along with a decreased appetite.
- depression isn't always linked to insomnia sometimes people suffering from depression can also experience hypersomnia (increased tenure of sleeping).
- A common condition between those who suffer from depression is Psychomotor agitation. In this condition a person faces restlessness.
- There is also slowed function and movement during speech.
- A person might experience loss of energy or fatigue.
- Feeling of not being enough or being worthless are common.
- Concentration of the person breaks down, a person become decisive as well as ability to think also weakens.
- There are also recurrent suicidal thoughts accompanied by a constant fear of dying.
As mentioned earlier that causes of depression aren't properly known but it is said that the disorder require combinations of things that can cause trauma or sadness to persist. Here are enlisted some factors of why depression occurs:
- genetics can also play an important role in depression. It can be caused due to depression cases among immediate relatives.
- variation in neurotransmitter levels can also lead to depression.
- The stress can be environmental that might include pressure from work. It can also be caused due to a divorce or financial issues. Poor health can also lead to to depression.
- Not being able to socialize can also lead to depression.
- Childhood mishaps or traumas can also lead to depression.
- Some prescribed drugs like corticosteroids if taken for a long time can also lead to stress and depression.
- Excessive alcohol intake or drug use can also lead to depression.
- injury to head in the past can also lead to depression.
- If a person had a single experience of anxiety or depression in the past they might be more vulnerable to another attack.
- Diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases can also cause depression to happen.
Fortunately depression is a mental illness that can be treated and these treatments can be divided into three constituents.
- Having sessions with therapists where you can tell them about how you actually feel about yourself and your emotions can be classified among Cognitive behavioral therapy. And these are used during mild stages of depression. If the condition is worsened due to any factor CBT can be used as side treatment. CBT can be done while sitting in the groups or having one on one session with the therapist.
- There are also treatments through drugs particularly antidepressants. These are not allowed to be used by children and are prescribed only to adults. These drugs should be continued even after the symptoms are gone so as to prevent the relapse.
- Exercise may also help in curing depression that are at mild stages as it increases endorphin levels which results in better working of neurotransmitters that releases norepinephrine that plays an important role in maintaining one's emotional responses.
Depression is a serious social threat and shouldn't be taken lightly and everyone deserves a proper treatment in order to feel joy again.
Antidepressants are those clinical drugs that are used to treat depression. That being said the use of these drugs is not limited to just depression as they can be used to treat multiple disorders as well. These disorders are listed as follows:
- Panic disorders or frequently occurring panic attacks can be treated by antidepressants.
- In OCD antidepressants are prescribed.
- PTSD is also treated by using the antidepressants.
- Patients experiencing anxiety disorders are also prescribed with the antidepressants.
- Phobias that can lead to depression like agoraphobia are also treated with the antidepressants.
People who are suffering from chronic pains that are usually prescribed with the antidepressants so as to minimize the pain they are going through.
Usually when these drugs are being prescribed they are accompanied by the Cognitive behavioral therapy in case of depression. CBT is a one-on-one session between the patient and the therapist which is usually used as an approach to solve behavior issues and to improve the mood. During the cases of mild depression antidepressants aren't prescribed and this is because the drug is known to render less effect on the people who are suffering from depression. In exceptional cases of mild depression the drug is prescribed to see if it improves the symptoms. If the results are negative then the drug is withdrawn slowly to avoid further complications. The most common antidepressants which is largely prescribed is SSRI. The drug maintains the serotonin levels in the body because depression is linked with the imbalance of serotonin levels in the body. If the drug renders low or very less effects then either the dosage is increased or an alternate drug is prescribed.
In children who are suffering from depression between 12-18 years fluoxetine is the drug that is recommended but psychotherapy is given in the most cases. Fluxoetine is also an SSRI and sometimes both treatments are given in the combination.
In case of chronic pain normal pain killers like paracetamol doesn't help much in treating pain so in order to keep the pain at lower levels antidepressants are prescribed. These antidepressants are tricyclic antidepressants and were originally manufactured solely for treating depression but research suggested that they are good painkillers as well. Now these are prescribed to the people who are suffering from chronic nerve pain which is also known as neuropathic pain and is caused by damage to a nerve. Amitriptyline is a commonly used drug in this regard and is prescribed to aid minimizing the nerve pain. Nerve damages like sciatica can be treated using these. SSRIs can also be used to treat chronic pain as well.
Children who have a habit of bedwetting are also prescribed with antidepressants. Thee drugs aids in the relaxing of the bladder muscles which ultimately increases the capacity of bladder and therefore reduces the urge for urination.
Working of antidepressants:
The working of antidepressants is not fully known but it is suggested that these increases the level of neurotransmitters in the brain. Neurotransmitters like serotonin and noradrenaline are known to be linked with emotions. Antidepressants comes handy while limiting depression but they don't help find the root cause of the depression.
- Antidepressants are usually not recommended to the women who are pregnant especially during the early stages of pregnancy. This is due to the fact that they might actually harm the baby more than the good it will cause. In exceptional cases where depression can be a life or death situation for the woman who is pregnant these drugs are prescribed. Also during breastfeeding the use of the drug should be avoided at all.
- People who have a habit of drinking alcohol should avoid the use of either the drug or alcohol. This is because alcohol is a depressant and its use accompanied by antidepressants will worsen the situation. While taking TCAs when you're addicted to the consumption of alcohol you might feel drowsy or you will faint. In case of SSRIs there are lesser chances of unpleasant experiences but caution and restraint is recommended.
- Taking of illegal drugs while using antidepressants can also prove to be bad for your health as these can induce more suicidal thoughts and will render the effects of antidepressants useless. These drugs include cocaine, heroine etc.
- antidepressants might also make you feel dizzy so driving after taking these should be avoided.
- SSRIs are not suitable when you are suffering from bipolar disorder and in diabetes as well.
- The use of these drugs should be avoided when suffering from a kidney disease.
- If the epilepsy is controlled the use of these drugs isn't recommended.
- SNRIs cannot be taken if the patient have a history of heart disease and if the blood pressure isn't controlled.
- TCAs cannot be taken if the patient is suffering from liver disease, bipolar disorder etc.
SSRIs and SNRIs long term use can make a person feel anxious.
- Feeling sick is a commonly observed by the use of SSRIs.
- Indigestion and pain in stomach.
- Depraved appetite is also observed.
- low libido.
- erectile dysfunction is also observed.
TCAs can have following adverse effects:
- dizziness and weight gain is commonly observed.
- increased usage of these drugs can cause heart rhythm problems and might cause excessive sweating as well.
- Patient might feel drowsy all the time.
These can also result in some potential health risk as well:
- Serotonin syndrome can occur as well. This will cause an increased serotonin level in the brain. The patient will feel confusion, agitation and muscle twitching will result in. shivering and diarrhea is commonly observed symptom.
It is advised to take these drugs with proper caution and it is better to consult the physician every now and then. In severe syndrome patient might feel unconsciousness and seizures. The right intake of these drugs will help reduce the depression and the proper withdrawal will also help.