Being unhappy is not similar to being depressed. Often, people loosely use the term depression as a sign of how they feel after an unfortunate incident at work or personal life. It is normal to feel down at times especially after an embarrassing situation. But if despair and hopelessness overtake our emotions, then that’s the recipe for depression.

Depression can interfere with the normal functions of the body, and how we perceive things around us. However, once you understand the triggers of depression and be able to identify the types/symptoms of depression, you will easily overcome the condition.

What is depression?

Depression is a condition that is often characterized by feelings of sadness, and extreme loss of interest. Depressed people change the way they function, feel and think. In fact, it interferes with a person’s quality of life; how you eat, work, study and sleep. As a result, most people feel unworthy, lose hope and become helpless.

Taking Care of Depression

How to know if you are depressed

The following are the common symptoms of depression

1. Behavior change

  • Not completing your school or work projects
  • Relying on sedatives and alcohol
  • Unable to focus: feelings of dizziness or withdrawal in the middle of a task, or loss of memory
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Not socializing

2. Thoughts

Thoughts associated with depressed individuals include:

  • “people would thrive in my absence”
  • “I am worthless”
  • “Nothing good will ever come from me”
  • “It is always my fault”
  • “I cannot make it in life”
  • “I am not worth living”

3. Physical changes

  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Significant weight gain or loss
  • Churning gut
  • Sick and worn out
  • Ever tired
  • Change or loss of appetite
  • Muscle pain and headaches without a cause

4. Feelings

  • Disappointed
  • Unhappy
  • Frustrated
  • Guilty
  • Overwhelmed
  • Lack of confidence
  • Easily irritated and angry
  • Sad
  • Miserable

Causes of depression

There are a few contributing factors to depression. These include:

  • Medications: corticosteroids, antiviral interferon-alpha, and isotretinoin are some of the drugs that increase the chances of depression.
  • Abuse: emotional, sexual or physical abuse increases the chances of clinical depression.
  • Conflict: friends or family disputes.
  • Loss or death: grief and sadness from the loss or death of a friend/family member can raise the chances of depression.
  • Genetics: Depression can also be passed from one generation to the other. For instance, if a family has a history of depression, the prevalence of the condition will still remain high among the unborn children.
  • Substance abuse
  • Serious health conditions: at times depression results from a major disease or a medical condition.
  • Personal problems

How to treat depression

Luckily, depression is a mental illness that can be treated. Taking the right treatment will help you overcome the situation.

Treatment options include:

  • Use of drugs e.g. antidepressants
  • Psychotherapy
  • Support: Teaching family and caregivers on how to handle depressed persons

In conclusion

Most people withhold their actions to seek help for depression due to the stigma connected to any mental health disorder. The feeling of depression does not necessarily portray a deterioration of character, or its inadequacy whatsoever. Therefore, if you notice any of the symptoms of depression, it is advisable that you seek help as soon as possible.

Depression can be treated using a combination of strategies, including the use of medications e.g. antidepressants, psychotherapy treatment, and lifestyle changes e.g. diet, exercise and stress management. Combining these treatments can indeed help you overcome depression and boost your mood.