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Depression: Symptoms, Causes, Guide to Treatment

Aug 10, 2021

Depression: Symptoms, Causes, Guide to Treatment

The moods we experience as humans can be typically summarised into five main emotions: joy, happiness, calm, depression, and hopelessness. It is normal for people to feel all of these moods at different times. However, sometimes people can feel moods for longer than usual. Depression is a mental health condition however is characterized by a low or depressed feeling that lasts for a long time and has a serious impact on life and work. It is typically characterized by these symptoms:

  1. Decreased motivation
  2. Negative thinking
  3. Loss of interest in activities
  4. Fatigue for no reason
  5. Changes in sleep - both insomnia and hypersomnia
  6. Changes in appetite 

There are many reasons why people may experience depression. Some people may begin to experience it without any real triggering events but there are certain experiences that may increase a person's likelihood of developing depression.

Firstly, a person has suffered a traumatic event in their life (e.g. loss of love, loss of a loved one, loss of a friend, etc.) and is immersed in sadness and cannot move away from that feeling. They do not know how to regulate their emotions or they cannot find an outlet for them. Of course, it is normal to feel sadness when such an event occurs but if the feeling extends beyond a period that a person feels is appropriate or starts to dominate their life it may be that this event has led to them developing depression.

Secondly, excessive occupational stress can be a precursor to experiencing depression. Occupational stress is a double-edged sword; it can be a motivator that drives someone to greater results when experienced in a healthy amount, but it can also make a person depressed. A bit of occupation stress can be okay as long as the individual feels that they are receiving what they are giving in their job. However, if there is not an overall balance to the effort put in and the reward received in return, a person may experience a chronic build-up of emotional stress resulting in depressive symptoms. 

Thirdly, low self-esteem can be an indicator that a person will develop depression at some point in their life. People who struggle to value themselves are less likely to develop deep relationships and be satisfied in their day-to-day life. This can lead to feelings of hopelessness, despair or apathy which left unchecked may develop into long-term depression.

Understanding any factors that may have contributed to a person developing depression is obviously useful in treating the condition. However, regardless of the factors that have led to a person experiencing this mental health condition, there are some universal things that can be done to manage it. What you can do:

  • Talk about it - share how you are feeling. This can make you feel better about what you are feeling as well as let people know to check in on you.
  • Focus on a routine that allows you to reduce procrastination. This will promote a sense of accomplishment and make you feel better about your day. 
  • Engage in activities that you enjoy no matter how big or small, whether it be drinking a cup of tea or building a table from scratch.
  • Eat well. It is harder for your brain to be healthy if your body isn't healthy.

 

 

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