Depression is a common mental disorder.
It is characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that leads to loss of interest in activities that one once enjoyed.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-5, someone is said to be depressed when experiencing at least 5 of the following symptoms for up to 2weeks period…
• Depressed/ Irritable mood
• Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
• Loss of appetite or significant weight loss
• Difficulty in concentrating
• Tiredness or fatigue
• Feelings of worthlessness
• Suicidal ideation
Below are 7 facts about depression that you should know
1. Depression affects all ages
Depression can affect anyone at any age. However, teenagers and adults especially those going through major life challenges are more prone to depression. According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 2 to 3 percent of children, between the ages of 6 to 12 may develop serious depression. Changes in the society seem to be the cause of an increase in the number of depressed children. “Kids today are not getting the exercise we got as kids” says Carl Tishler, a psychologist and associate professor of psychiatry at the Ohio State University. According to her, helping children stay active helps reduce the onset of depression. For younger adults, depression sets in as a result of negative happenings, unmet expectations and so on. On the other hand, symptoms of depression in older adults my appear a little different and may be due to illnesses and medications employed to treat them.
2. Triggers of depression may differ in individuals
A lot of things can trigger depression. Triggers could differ in different individuals. Common triggers of depression include abuse whether sexual, physical and emotional abuse, death or loss of a loved one, medications like corticosteroids, events like losing a job or getting divorced and serious illness. Other triggers include rejection, stress, insomnia, childbirth (postpartum depression), stillbirth, menopause and so on.
3. Gene play a role in the development of depression
A study has shown that someone who has a relative with depression has five times risk of developing the disease. The British research team identified a gene common in family members with depression. Therefore, scientists believe that about 40% of depression cases are genetically linked. These genes thought to be associated with depression may be responsible for the formation and activity of the neurotransmitters involved with depression.
4. Depression differs from grief
While grief involves feeling of sadness caused especially by death of a loved one and usually accompanied with emotional pain, it doesn’t come with loss of self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness as depression. Depressed individuals are usually filled with despair and constant feeling of sadness that doesn’t seem to go away with time. However, grief can trigger depression but not everyone that grieves experiences depression.
5. Depression causes cognitive psychomotor and other types of dysfunctions.
Your attention span may be reduced as a result of depression. If you are depressed, you would find it difficult processing information and making timely decisions. In one of the studies conducted using positron emission tomography, images produced showed a diminished activity in the prefrontal cortex in patients with depression. Depression can also lead to loss of coordination, lack of movement control, and sluggish movements. Depression also have a negative impact on sexual health leading to decreased libido and difficulty in arousal. The NIMH explains that women being more prone to depression can lead to a drastic change in their overall sex life. Men on the other hand have more tendency to lose interest in activities when depressed.
6. Depression increases risk of cardiovascular disorders
Research shows that depression can lead to the development of cardiovascular diseases. This is exacerbated with lack of physical activity and for those on medications, non-adherence to their medications. Studies have shown that mental health conditions impacts a person’s heart negatively. Common heart conditions that can be caused by depression include high blood pressure, artery damage and irregular heart rhythm. For individuals with known cardiovascular disease, depression can lead to heart attack and coronary artery disease.
7. Depressed people are less likely to look depressed
As humans, we are encouraged to live our best life no matter the circumstance. We are also told not to let the world see what we are not and thus stay positive at all times. As a result, people tend to deny any inward struggle affecting their mood. Hence, people battling with depression puts up a cheerful façade which makes people believe all is well with them. Depression is a health condition that requires to be given adequate medical attention. If you find yourself depressed or experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, kindly speak with a mental health professional as soon as possible to help manage your condition.
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Pharm. Ifeoma Ikechukwu
Ifeoma is a Pharmacist and a passionate Writer. As an avid reader and a clinical practitioner, she uses her knowledge and experience to provide adequate health-care tips and services to humankind