People often say they are depressed when feeling ordinary blues or having a bad mood, which usually goes away by themselves within a couple of days. In reality, depression is a disease that can ruin your life for many years and never fades away without treatment.
The Definition of Depression
Depression is a severe illness that is characterized by apparent symptoms that distinguish it from just a bad mood. The main signs of depression include:
• Sad, depressed state;
• Frequent and sudden mood swings;
• Anhedonia, loss of the sensation of pleasure (nothing pleases the person, and nothing seems interesting);
• Inability to concentrate, impaired memory;
• Failure to make a decision, constant return to the same questions;
• Fear, anxiety, panic attacks, aggression, and many others;
If these symptoms appear at the same time and last for several weeks, then there is every reason to suspect depression. We are used to thinking that depression is always the result of some sad events, such as the loss of loved ones, divorce, or the loss of a favorite job. However, it is not entirely true. There are three main types of depression: reactive, somatic and endogenous.
Reactive depression is the result of dramatic changes in life or the experienced injuries.
Endogenous depression appears “out of the blue,” for no apparent reason. There are reasons, but they are just not so noticeable to others. Endogenous depression can be the result of a hormonal imbalance (post-natal depression is especially widely known), taking certain medications, alcohol or drugs.
Somatic depression is one of the manifestations of another disease, such as Alzheimer’s disease, hypothyroidism, traumatic brain injury, or even ordinary flu.
Besides, the residents of northern countries often experience seasonal depression associated with a lack of sunlight. It is very dangerous to underestimate or poetize depression. There is nothing attractive or romantic about this sate as it destroys the life and personality of a human, affecting not only him or her but also the relatives. Tips to “stop whining” and “get yourself together” are not just useless but can even be harmful. Remember that a person who suffers from depression is unable to control this condition just as a patient with a broken arm cannot lift weights. Reproaches of friends lead only to the fact that a person is even more convinced of his or her weakness and worthlessness and plunges even deeper into the state of depression. The opinion that this disease is the result of the tendency to analyze things too much is not valid either.
Depression is also inherent in children. Depending on the age, its symptoms manifest themselves in different ways. Thus, the depression of children under 7 is less distinct and difficult to recognize because of the fears that are common to babies, and the inability to tell about their condition. Later at 13-14, these symptoms are magnified.
The treatment and prevention of depression imply rational psychotherapy. It is based on the use of sound logical arguments that help people reconsider the situation. After all, if we are not able to change it, then we need to change our attitude towards it (for example, abandon unlimited claims, unrealizable plans, far-fetched concerns). Correction of mental attitudes and behaviors that lead to neurosis is needed to overcome the personal crisis and prevent relapse.
Alcohol and drugs are strictly prohibited, as they aggravate the disease. Vitamins of group B (especially B6 and folic acid), vitamin C (ascorbic acid), honey, dark chocolate, figs, bananas, as well as outdoor walks, sun baths, pleasant and melodic music, aromas of some plants are excellent and natural antidepressants. All this contributes to the production of endorphins — “hormones of happiness,” normalizing mood, giving strength and vitality.
Sometimes it is useful to change the surrounding and switch attention to relieve stress. If there is total darkness in your soul, you should not isolate yourself from your friends. Most significantly, do not be shy to embrace other people. Accept a helping hand.
For the treatment of depressive disorders, doctors prescribe various antidepressants that regulate the metabolism of biologically active substances in the body. However, the use of such drugs without the recommendation of a specialist might result in serious complications. Overall, competent medical care must be combined with other efforts.
Best Ways to Fight Depression
Change of activities
Endless routine monotonous working days can cause depression in anyone. To not allow despair to develop, you need to change your actions in time, at least for a while. So, if a person continually spends time at the computer, then the most optimal way to prevent the onset of depression will be to rest actively. For example, a visit to the gym, swimming pool or fitness club will help to tone up and increase your ability to work. If that is complicated, walk by foot, viewing the surrounding landscapes, houses, people, or visit friends, an exhibition, or a festive event.
However, what to do if the depressed state has already developed? In this case, you should take a vacation and spend it actively. For example, you can go to the mountains and go skiing. Such a trip should bring a lot of bright new impressions and drive away the blues.
Today, the activities of an increasing number of people (in particular, urban residents) are connected to computers. Many of us sit in front of the monitor for days. Therefore, it is not surprising that recently “office” diseases have become so widespread. Hypodynamia is the cause of the development of not only obesity and cardiovascular pathology, but also purely psychological problems. Sport is an effective way to combat depression. Unfortunately, the tight work schedule does not always allow devoting enough time to training. In this case, the ideal option is a daily exercise that takes no more than 10-15 minutes. It is enough to increase the concentration of “hormones of happiness” in the blood and raise the mood.
If Nothing Helps
Depression, even mild, is not among the conditions that pass quickly. A depressed person often needs to do significant internal work before going back to the normal state. Sometimes you may need drug support. If you feel that your condition does not improve over time, or if you find yourself showing signs of moderate and severe depression, take the right step and seek the help of a psychotherapist. Together with a specialist you can see the right way out of misery and use the most effective measures in your case.