If you experience some dark times that seem to be unusually strong and long-lasting, there is a chance you are in the early stage of depression. Students that stopped caring about their homework, who don’t even ask the experts to “write an article for me” so they can save time for the proper rest, are at risk in the first place. We tell you what to do if the world no longer seems colored.
Symptoms and Causes of Depression
Depression is a common mental disorder that manifests itself in emotional disturbances: a person feels sadness, anxiety, and guilt. Many people complain of anhedonia (loss of capacity for pleasure), apathy (lack of both positive and negative emotions), and a tendency to mental self-harm.
Worries almost always affect the body’s physical state: a depressed state is accompanied by loss of appetite, weakness, sluggishness in actions, reactions, and speech, and problems with sleep and concentration of attention. Some people have intestinal and sexual dysfunctions, headaches, heart or abdominal pain, and skin disorders.
A person who is depressed usually appears passive, withdrawn, and irritable. They avoid socializing and refuse to engage in their usual activities. They may overuse alcohol and drugs or engage in indiscriminate sexual relations.
The International Classification of Diseases distinguishes different forms of depression:
- depressive episode;
- recurrent depressive disorder;
- bipolar disorder.
According to the best writing services, scientists believe that the causes of depression always lie in a combination of biological, mental, and social factors. For example, brain studies have shown that people prone to depression have abnormalities in the metabolism of neurotransmitters, i.e., reduced function of the interaction between nerve cells and the passage of electrical impulses. And more recently, Japanese scientists have found that the herpes virus type 6, dormant in every person’s body, increases the risk of developing the disorder.
Mental factors – self-esteem disorders and relationship problems:
- Some people believe that they are not worthy of love and respect. They try to earn it: they try to act reasonably, correctly, perfectly – this is how perfectionism develops. This compensation model has a negative effect: a person accepts themselves only when they or others do not see any flaws in them. And this is either a short-term phenomenon or unattainable. Constant dissatisfaction with oneself also leads to depression.
- Lack of personal boundaries leads to a person “dissolving” in a relationship. The dependent person will feel this as an irreparable loss of self. They do not live their lives because, to feel alive, they need the other person’s presence. When the distance shrinks, the donor person feels the pressure and tries to get out of the “suffocating” relationship.
The social mechanisms for the development of depression are embedded in the culture. The media and traditions broadcast the rules accepted in society. In developed countries, one needs to be successful, rational, well-off – good enough to be happy. If people compare themselves to others and see their superiority, they can develop depression.
How to fight depression
The best form of coping is prevention. An active lifestyle, a healthy diet, proper rest, and even frequent walks under the sun reduce the likelihood that the disorder will develop or return. Attention to self and well-being, a balance between work and rest, and strong social connections (friendships, romantic relationships) strengthen the effect.
A healthy diet helps the body cope with stress — people who are overweight experience depressive episodes more often than others.
If depression has already occurred, it is most often treated with antidepressants or psychotherapy.
These are substances that affect neurotransmitter levels. Mood improves, sadness, anxiety, and irritability decrease. The other symptoms also go away. The person, even when depressed, can return to an entire life.
Psychiatrists choose medications. To write a prescription, they must assess patients’ clinical picture, tolerance, and preferences. The selection of medication and dosage may take several months, and the effect of therapy does not begin until 4-6 weeks.
Antidepressants are not a panacea: they help only 50-60% of the time. If medications do not produce a positive effect, psychotherapy is essential.
The gold standard in the treatment of depression is considered to be cognitive-behavioral therapy, which has been used for over 45 years. It is used both in combination with antidepressants and alone. At the same time, the effectiveness of therapy is higher than that of drug treatment. This is especially evident in the long term: changing behaviors and improving life attitudes reduce the likelihood of depressive episodes returning.
Symptoms of depression prevent a person from living a normal lifestyle, forcing them to abandon their favorite activities. The list of things to do increases, making it more difficult to escape from this cycle. A physician helps you get back into a familiar pattern. The therapist with the patient lists tasks – from those that need to be resolved soon and those that brought joy before. Completing the items gives the patient back their self-esteem and former rhythm of life.
Working on thinking patterns plays an essential role in therapy. During a depressive episode, the person pays attention to the negative and ignores the positive. The therapist helps learn to evaluate one’s judgment in fairness and realism. There is also work on the traumas that caused these negative attitudes. Usually, beliefs originate in childhood.
When to see a doctor
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, the first thing to do is to rule out other illnesses. This disorder can be a symptom of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, which accompany cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Apathy and lethargy can occur due to decreased thyroid function, so you should definitely visit an endocrinologist.
If the specialists find no somatic diseases and the symptoms never go anywhere, there is a high probability that the cause is depression. Depending on which methods you find more appealing will determine the choice of a specialist. A psychologist provides only psychotherapeutic help, and a psychiatrist prescribes medication. A psychiatrist who has received additional training is called a psychotherapist. He may combine therapy and antidepressants or prescribe something alone. As we have said, treatment with medication is not always practical or necessary.
It is difficult to come out of depression on your own. More often than not, patients lack the strength and motivation to do so. But if you don’t want to turn to the services of specialists offline, try psychological help sites. There are free demo consultations and discussions of the problem with visitors to the site – perhaps they will suggest a suitable solution for you.