Good day everyone…. It’s a beautiful Friday. The beginning of a great weekend. This morning I smelt and felt Christmas am sure a lot of us are beginning to feel it to. .. I really can’t wait for it.
My topic today is really an important one. Very important and can’t be neglected. What is depression? What causes it and how can we help?
Most people feel sad or depressed at times. It’s a normal reaction to loss or life’s struggles.
But when intense sadness — including feeling helpless, hopeless, and worthless — lasts for many days to weeks and keeps you from living your life, it may be something more than sadness. You could have clinical depression — a treatable medical condition.
What Is Depression?
Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
According to the DSM-5, a manual doctors use to diagnose mental disorders, you havedepression when you have five or more of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- You feel tired or have a lack of energy almost every day.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- You have a hard time focusing, remembering details.
Symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression. While these symptoms are common, not everyone with depression will have the same ones. How severe they are, how often they happen, and how long they last can vary.
Your symptoms may also happen in patterns. For example, depression may come with a change in seasons (a condition formerly calledseasonal affective disorder
Depression Is Different From Sadness or Grief/Bereavement
The death of a loved one, loss of a job or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences for a person to endure. It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to such situations. Those experiencing loss often might describe themselves as being “depressed.”
But being sad is not the same as having depression. The grieving process is natural and unique to each individual and shares some of the same features of depression. Both grief and depression may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from usual activities. They are also different in important ways:
- In grief, painful feelings come in waves, often intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. In major depression, mood and/or interest (pleasure) are decreased for most of two weeks.
- In grief, self-esteem is usually maintained. In major depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common.
- For some people, the death of a loved one can bring on major depression. Losing a job or being a victim of a physical assault or a major disaster can lead to depression for some people. When grief and depression co-exist, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression. Despite some overlap between grief and depression, they are different. Distinguishing between them can help people get the help, support or treatment they need.
How Is Depression Treated?
Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.
Before a diagnosis or treatment, a health professional should conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation, including an interview and possibly a physical examination. In some cases, a blood test might be done to make sure the depression is not due to a medical condition like a thyroid problem. The evaluation is to identify specific symptoms, medical and family history, cultural factors and environmental factors to arrive at a diagnosis and plan a course of action.
Medication: Brain chemistry may contribute to an individual’s depression and may factor into their treatment. For this reason, antidepressants might be prescribed to help modify one’s brain chemistry. These medications are not sedatives, “uppers” or tranquilizers. They are not habit-forming. Generally antidepressant medications have no stimulating effect on people not experiencing depression.
Antidepressants may produce some improvement within the first week or two of use. Full benefits may not be seen for two to three months. If a patient feels little or no improvement after several weeks, his or her psychiatrist can alter the dose of the medication or add or substitute another antidepressant. In some situations other psychotropic medications may be helpful. It is important to let your doctor know if a medication does not work or if you experience side effects.
Psychiatrists usually recommend that patients continue to take medication for six or more months after symptoms have improved. Longer-term maintenance treatment may be suggested to decrease the risk of future episodes for certain people at high risk.
Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” is sometimes used alone for treatment of mild depression; for moderate to severe depression, psychotherapy is often used in along with antidepressant medications. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be effective in treating depression. CBT is a form of therapy focused on the present and problem solving. CBT helps a person to recognize distorted thinking and then change behaviors and thinking.
Psychotherapy may involve only the individual, but it can include others. For example, family or couples therapy can help address issues within these close relationships. Group therapy involves people with similar illnesses.
Depending on the severity of the depression, treatment can take a few weeks or much longer. In many cases, significant improvement can be made in 10 to 15 sessions.
Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a medical treatment most commonly used for patients with severe major depression or bipolar disorder who have not responded to other treatments. It involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia. A patient typically receives ECT two to three times a week for a total of six to 12 treatments. ECT has been used since the 1940s, and many years of research have led to major improvements. It is usually managed by a team of trained medical professionals including a psychiatrist, an anesthesiologist and a nurse or physician assistant.
The truth is, a lot of us are going through depression and we don’t know. We only know that we feel different and when asked, we can’t just explain. I know the economic situation and our immediate problem and that of our families, for some people constantly weighs them down and suicide becomes an option.
We are cope with things differently. For me, truth be told I found out am worrying and thinking about a lot of things. I remember for a while I could barely sleep. When ever I closed my eyes to sleep, my mind and my brain kept being active. As usual, I did a lot of research to find out what was wrong with me. Then I realized I was just stressed over nothing. I was just thinking of different solutions for problems that were never there. Finally I turned to God. Because I was scared of getting depressed. My mum was constantly worried.
I decided to research and write on this because of the rate of suicide recorded all over the world. In Nigeria earlier this year, the report of suicides were so high and scary….. For me, death is not a solution. When I heard of the man who committed suicide in Kogi state because of the financial issues he was going through, I was so sad. This man and his wife had been looking for a child for years and now they had twins, he won’t be there to enjoy them. He has not been paid his salary for the past 11 months and couldn’t pay for his wife medical bills so she could be discharged. I wonder what he must have been thinking before resulting to suicide. Now his dead, what happens to his wife and children? Where does the help come from?
Rev. Mrs Nches Iredu, founder of sisters fellowship international, once wrote “if you found yourself depressed today, don’t give room to the devil through depression any longer. Don’t continue to analyze it, don’t dwell on it, don’t feed on it, and don’t give in to it! An important aspect of overcoming depression is, getting up and forcing yourself to throw it off whether you feel like it or not. As difficult as it may be, decide to be done with it! Throw it off and choose to take one small step towards a new life.just taking this first step could help you enjoy life Betty than you have in weeks”.
I know it’s not easy…. But we all have to find away to help each other on life… Start by praying and then find someone you can talk to….. When you learn to talk, your healing begins…. Jokingly we all use say Nigerians barely commit suicide buy it’s different now. Suicide and depression is not a thing of country, region, ethnicity or race… It’s a thing of the mind. That’s why we need each other. It’s no longer a joke. It’s as real as real can be….
It’s all about you….. Never forget that
American psychiatric Association
Searching for God’s heartbeat (July-Sept 2017).