Millions of Americans are under intense pressure to balance work, school, and family responsibilities. The feeling of overwork is rampant, with nearly half of employees feeling overworked or overwhelmed by their workplace responsibilities. As a result, depression cases are on the rise in the United States and around the world. So what is depression? Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively influences how you feel and how you act and think. Depression causes an individual to feel sad and lose any interest in activities that he or she used to find enjoyable. Depression leads to a variety of physical and emotional problems and can reduce a person’s ability to function at home and work.
Depression differs from sadness caused by a bereavement
Risk Factors for Depression
Depression affects anyone, even people who appear to have a healthy life the following are some factors that can trigger or play a role in causing depression
Biochemistry: differences in certain chemicals within the brain that contribute to depression symptoms can cause depression.
Genetics: Depression sometimes runs in families, it is likely that if one identical twin has depression, then there is a 70% chance that the other twin will have depression sometime in life.
Personality: pessimistic people or people with low self-esteem have a high probability of experiencing depression.
Environmental factors: abuse, neglect, poverty, and exposure to violence may make some people more vulnerable to depression.
Depression is treatable. However, it is paramount to note that depression can be caused by thyroid problems, vitamin deficiency, or brain tumors. These three conditions have symptoms that mimic symptoms of depression. So when treating depression, it is paramount to rule these conditions.
The diagnostic evaluation will play a significant role in identifying environmental factors, family or medical history, and cultural factors, thus helping arrive at a planned course of action or diagnosis.
Medication as a treatment is mainly used for Biochemistry caused depression. Antidepressants should be prescribed and help in modifying brain chemistry. Antidepressants should not have a stimulating effect on individuals with no depression history. Antidepressants are not tranquilizers or sedatives. Antidepressant starts showing the result a week or so after one starts taking them
Psychotherapy works for mild, moderate as well as severe depression. It is a talk therapy that can be accompanied by taking antidepressant medications. Cognitive-behavioral therapy focuses on the problem at present and how to solve the issues. This therapy helps an individual identify distorted thinking and change their thinking pattern and behavior. Even though psychotherapy involves only the individual being treated, sometimes family members can be included to address issues within these close relationships. Treatment can take a few weeks to more depending on severity. In many cases, it takes between 10 to 15 sessions.
Electroconvulsive Therapy: commonly applied to patients with bipolar or severe major depression and has not responded to other treatments. This kind of therapy involves getting brief electric stimulation of the brain. The patient needs to be under anesthesia while receiving ECT. The procedure is managed by a physician assistant, a nurse, an anesthesiologist, or a psychiatrist and is done two to three times a week, a total of six to 12 treatments. The treatment procedure has had significant improvement since its introduction in 1940.
Self-help and coping include regular exercise, eating healthy, and avoiding depressants such as alcohol. All these will help create a positive feeling and improve moods.
Depression is a real illness, and it is paramount to see a physician if one feels depressed and request a thorough evaluation.