What is depression ?
Depression is the most prevalent of all the emotional disorders. This may vary from feelings of slight sadness to utter misery and dejection. It brings together a variety of physical and psychological symptoms which together constitute a syndrome. Each year over 17 million American adults experience a period of clinical depression.
Depression is the most unpleasant experience a person can endure. It is far more difficult to cope with than a physical ailment. The growing complexities of modern life and the resultant crisis, as well as mental stress and strain in day to day living, usually leads to this disorder. It also arises out of the monotony and drudgery of a daily routine, without any meaningful variation in urban life. Suicide is the major risk in extreme cases of depression.
Impact of Depression:-
- Adversely affects the lives of families and friends.
- Disrupts the lives of millions of people.
- Reduces work productivity and absenteeism.
- Causes tremendous emotional pain.
What are the symptoms of depression ?
The symptoms of depression may vary from person to person, and also depend on the severity of the depression. Depression causes changes in thinking, feeling, behavior, and physical well-being.
It is not always easy to diagnose depression clinically. The most striking symptoms of depression are feelings of acute sense of loss and inexplicable sadness, loss of energy and loss of interest. The patient usually feels tired and lacks interest in the world around him. Sleep disturbance is frequent. Usually the patient wakes up depressed at 4 or 5 in the morning and is unable to return to sleep. Other disturbed sleep patterns are difficulty in getting off to sleep on going to bed at night, nightmares and repeated waking from midnight onwards.
Some of the common symptoms of depression includes :-
- A change in appetite causing weight loss or gain
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Aches and pains (such as recurrent headaches)
- Difficulty making decisions
- Crying easily or crying for no reason
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Types of depression are :-
- Hypomania depression
- Agitated depression
- Cyclothymia depression
- Major Depression
- Dysthymic Disorder
- Neurasthenia depression
- Bipolar Disorder
- Manic Depressive Disorder
- Postpartum Depression
What are the causes of Depression ?
Depleted functioning of the adrenal glands is one of the main causes of mental depression. Irregular diet habits cause digestive problems and lead to the assimilation of fats.
The excessive and indiscriminate use of drugs also leads to faulty assimilation of vitamins and minerals by the body and ultimately causes depression. The use of aspirin leads to deficiencies of vitamin C and antacids can cause deficiencies of calcium and vitamin B. Diabetes, low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia) and weakness of the liver resulting from the use of refined or processed foods, fried foods and an excessive intake of fats may also lead to depression
Some of the more common factors involved in depression are :-
- Family history. Genetics play an important part in depression. It can run in families for generations.
- Trauma and stress. Things like financial problems, the breakup of a relationship, or the death of a loved one can bring on depression. You can become depressed after changes in your life, like starting a new job, graduating from school, or getting married.
- Physical conditions. Serious medical conditions like heart disease, cancer, and HIV can contribute to depression, partly because of the physical weakness and stress they bring on. Depression can make medical conditions worse, since it weakens the immune system and can make pain harder to bear. In some cases, depression can be caused by medications used to treat medical conditions.
- Pessimistic personality. People who have low self-esteem and a negative outlook are at higher risk of becoming depressed. These traits may actually be caused by low-level depression (called dysthymia).
Home remedies for Depression
- Steep 1/2 ounce each of finely chopped poplar bark and gentian root in two pints of water for fifteen minutes. Boil and add 1/2ounce each of agrimony and centaury. Simmer for ten minutes, cool, and strain. You can add honey for sweetener if you desire. Take three or four tablespoons before meals.
- Take a tablespoon amla juice with 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg powder three times a day.
- Mix equal parts of kava, lemon balm, valerian root and St. John’s wort. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tsp. of herb mix. Drink 1 cup three times daily, one hour after meals.
- Drink tea with 1/4 teaspoon powdered cardamom seeds.
- Crush cloves and add to sage, camomile or peppermint tea and a dash of ginseng powder to lift mild depression.
- Take one teaspoon tincture of Saint-John’s-wort leaf and ½ teaspoon tinctures of licorice root, ginseng root, lemon balm leaf and ashwaganda leaf (if available). Combine ingredients (if you do not or cannot drink alcohol, buy glycerine instead of tinctures). Take 1 dropper ful 3 times a day.
- Using mind or body techniques, such as bio feedback, meditation, and tai chi, are effective ways to prevent or reduce symptoms associated with depression, Adequate sleep, regular exercise, and a balanced, healthy diet may help prevent depression and diminish symptoms of this mood disorder.
- Once you feel better, it is important to keep taking your antidepressant for as long as your doctor tells you to. Continued use, if recommended by your doctor, can help lower your chances of becoming depressed again in the future.