Children Are Not Immune To Depression
A myth exists that says childhood is always a joyful, carefree time in our lives. While children don’t experience the same problems that adults do, like work-related stress or financial pressures, this doesn’t mean that they can’t become depressed. Childhood brings its own unique set of stresses, such as bullying and the struggle for peer acceptance.
What Are The Symptoms Of Depression And How Is It Diagnosed
The NHS recommends that you should see your GP if you experience symptoms of depression for most of the day, every day, for more than 2 weeks.
Doctors make decisions about diagnosis based on manuals. The manual used by NHS doctors is the International Classification of Diseases .
When you see a doctor they will look for the symptoms that are set out in the ICD-10 guidance. You do not have to have all of these to be diagnosed with depression. You might have just experience some of them.
Some symptoms of depression are:
- low mood, feeling sad, irritable or angry,
- having less energy to do certain things,
- losing interest or enjoyment in activities you used to enjoy,
- reduced concentration,
You may also find that with low mood you:
- feel less pleasure from things,
- feel more agitated,
- find your thoughts and movements slow down, and
- have thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
Your doctor should also ask about any possible causes of depression. For example, they may want to find out if youve experienced anything traumatic recently which could be making you feel this way.
There are no physical tests for depression. But the doctors may do some tests to check if you have any physical problems. For example, an underactive thyroid can cause depression.
On the NHS website, they have a self-assessment test which can help you to assess whether you are living with depression: www.nhs.uk/mental-health/conditions/clinical-depression/overview/
Personal Factors That Can Lead To Depression
Personal factors that can lead to a risk of depression include:
- family history depression can run in families and some people will be at an increased genetic risk. However, this doesnt mean that a person will automatically experience depression if a parent or close relative has had the condition.
- personality some people may be more at risk because of their personality, particularly if they tend to worry a lot, have low self-esteem, are perfectionists, are sensitive to personal criticism, or are self-critical and negative
- serious medical conditions these can trigger depression in two ways. Serious conditions can bring about depression directly or can contribute to depression through the associated stress and worry, especially if it involves long-term management of a condition or chronic pain
- drug and alcohol use can both lead to and result from depression. Many people with depression also have drug and alcohol problems.
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Untreated Depression Is A Common Cause Of Suicide
The proper diagnosis and treatment of depression is very important in preventing suicides. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 45% of those who commit suicide are suffering from some sort of mental illness. And this includes people with undiagnosed, untreated, or under-treated depression.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
Eye Problems Or Decreasing Vision
Do you find that the world looks blurry? While depression may cause the world to look grey and bleak, one 2010 research study in Germany suggests that this mental health concern may actually affect ones eyesight.
In that study of 80 people, depressed individuals had difficulty seeing differences in black and white. Known by researchers as contrast perception, this might explain why depression can make the world look hazy.
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Can You Prevent Depression From Happening
While theres no surefire way to prevent depression, one of the greatest protective factors for depression is social connection and social support, says Jessica Stern, Ph.D., clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health. Maintaining healthy friendships and relationships, she says, can potentially significantly decrease the likelihood or severity of depression. Whats more, the chance that an individual will receive care for symptoms of depression is often based on their social situation, Dr. Murrough says. Friends or family notice that someones not themselves, having trouble getting out of bed, and missing activities and appointments, and will help them seek care. Someone whos relatively isolated may be at risk for not getting treatment, and in turn, fall into deeper depression. The key? Nurture your relationships and encourage each other to talk openly about your feelings, without judgment. The more we can de-stigmatize emotions, the more we can help prevent or slow down the progression of negative emotions to depressive symptoms, says Dr. Stern.
Can Depression Go Away On Its Own Without Treatment
Surprisingly, some experts say that it can. For some people, depression is cyclical or seasonal, and they can eventually recover and remit without any specific intervention, says James Murrough, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the Depression and Anxiety Center for Discovery and Treatment at Mount Sinai. “But we also know that treatments like psychotherapy and medications can severely reduce the symptoms and duration of an episode of depression. Many individuals who suffer from depression never seek treatment, and thats why from a public health perspective we want to keep reducing the stigma around it.
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Achieving Remission In Patients With Physical Symptoms
Treating both the emotion and the physical symptoms associated with depression together is an important part of achieving remission. Unlike selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors such as sertraline and paroxetine, the dual-action antidepressants venlafaxine and duloxetine inhibit the reuptake of both serotonin and norepinephrine. This dual action gives them a robust efficacy in combating depression and preventing the persistence of symptoms, which increases the likelihood of achieving remission. Numerous reports have indicated that therapeutic agents that act on multiple neurotransmitters are associated with higher rates of remission than are single agents. The selection of therapeutic agents proven to effectively promote both an elimination of a broad spectrum of symptoms and a return to full social functioning is important to the treatment of depression.
Because a majority of patients with depression initially seek treatment for the physical symptoms of depression rather than for their emotional symptoms, physicians are often aware of patients’ physical symptoms when treatment commences. Primary care physicians may want to consider using dual-action antidepressants as a first line-treatment in depressed patients who present with physical symptoms.
Can A Person Die From Depression A Dangerous Fact
Unlike physical diseases, depression does not kill people directly. However, the psychological problems that it caused can lead to physical illness which in turn causes death if not treated.
The reason why some deaths are associated with depression is that depression, in most cases, triggers suicide. If depression strikes, a person may feel helpless and loses hope. It triggers negative thoughts that make a person think that he/she is worthless and must die.
With the recorded number of deaths associated with suicide, approximately half of it is caused by depression. The problem of this psychological issue is that it is not only hard to treat but also difficult to notice.
The cure may always emanate from the patient. If a person does not want to be cured, then mental health professionals can do nothing.
Suicide is an extreme outcome. But apart from that, depression can also cause several health problems. In fact, most depressed people also develop heart disease. When psychological and biological ailments combined, a person is at greater risk.
Depression is also associated with poor focus, attention, memory, and life choices. This is because a depressed person is incapable of making a sound decision. As a result, he/she makes a lot of mistakes.
Shortcomings from poor decisions may, in turn, contribute to depression. A person may not be able to function well in his/her daily routine resulting in lousy performance in many aspects of life.
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What If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment
If you are not happy with your treatment you can:
- talk to your doctor to see if they can suggest changes,
- get an advocate to help you speak your doctor,
- ask for a second opinion if you feel it would help,
- contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service and see whether they can help, or
- make a complaint.
There is more information about these options below.
An advocate is independent from the NHS. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.
There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like. They arent available in all areas.
You can ask an advocate to help you make a complaint. Advocates that do this are called NHS complaints advocates. They are free to use and don t work for the NHS. They re available in all areas.
You can search online to search for a local advocacy service. If you cant find a service you can call our advice service 0808 801 0525 . You can email us too at . We will look for you.
Talk to your doctor about your treatment to see if you can resolve the problem with them first. If you dont agree with their decisions about diagnosis or treatment, you could ask for a second opinion. You are not legally entitled to a second opinion, but your doctor might agree to it if it would help with treatment options.
- Advocacy by clicking here.
Depression Can Be Triggered By A Variety Of Life Events Even Positive Events Having An Awareness Of Triggers Allows People To Be Mindful And Seek Treatment When Needed
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Depression triggers are common. About10% of Americans live with depression.According to the World Health Organization , depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Depression isnt always caused by a depressing situation. Many people become depressed, even when everything in their life is going well. Thestructural, physiological and biochemical changes that occur in the brain that cause depression can have one or more causes including:
- Dysfunction in the brains mood regulation mechanism
- Genetic vulnerability
- Stress or negative life events
- Medication side effects
- Various triggers
Depression is often triggered by a stressful or negative life event. Similarly, a recurrence of a previous depressive episode can be brought on by situational causes.
Feelings of depression or anxiety can lead to suicidal thinking. If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts or tendencies, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at .
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Take Care Of Yourself
You can also improve symptoms of depression by taking care of yourself. This includes getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet, avoiding negative people, and participating in enjoyable activities.
Sometimes depression doesnt respond to medication. Your healthcare professional may recommend other treatment options if your symptoms dont improve.
Substance Abuse And Addictions
It will probably be no surprise to you that depression and addictions and substance abuse go hand in hand. All mental problems are linked in some way and people often find themselves suffering from more than one. If you are addicted to drugs and or alcohol, this affects the chemistry in your brain and is known to cause depression.
Things like gambling addictions, food addictions and basically any other type of problems that you can think of can also result in depression. This is due to the horrible side effects that these type of addictions cause. Its like an endless cycle when you are stuck in this carousel of depression and addictions. You need to tackle both, or youll never be free of either.
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How Is Genetics Linked To The Risk Of Depression
We know that depression can sometimes run in families. This suggests that there’s at least a partial genetic link to depression. Children, siblings, and parents of people with severe depression are somewhat more likely to have depression than are members of the general population. Multiple genes interacting with one another in special ways probably contribute to the various types of depression that run in families. Yet despite the evidence of a family link to depression, it is unlikely that there is a single “depression” gene, but rather, many genes that each contribute small effects toward depression when they interact with the environment.
Biological Causes Of Depression
There are different biological processes going on in our body that can have an impact on depression and can also be impacted by depression. Sleep disorders, for example, dont only add to the chance of developing depression depression adds to the chance of developing a sleep disorder.
Thus, the biopsychosocial model makes sense: our biology influences our behavior and our behavior influences our biology. Its a chicken or egg? scenario, that makes simple-seeming answers quite complicated.
The three biological causes of depression we will examine are what goes on in our 1. brain cells, 2. hormones, and 3. genes.
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Life Events And Depression
Research suggests that continuing difficulties, such as long-term unemployment, living in an abusive or uncaring relationship, long-term isolation or loneliness or prolonged exposure to stress at work can increase the risk of depression.
Significant adverse life events, such as losing a job, going through a separation or divorce, or being diagnosed with a serious illness, may also trigger depression, particularly among people who are already at risk because of genetic, developmental or other personal factors.
Beyond Treatment: Things You Can Do
Here are other tips that may help you or a loved one during treatment for depression:
- Try to be active and exercise.
- Set realistic goals for yourself.
- Try to spend time with other people and confide in a trusted friend or relative.
- Try not to isolate yourself, and let others help you.
- Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately.
- Postpone important decisions, such as getting married or divorced, or changing jobs until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well and have a more objective view of your situation.
- Continue to educate yourself about depression.
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Does Depression Look The Same In Everyone
Depression can affect people differently, depending on their age.
Children with depression may be anxious, cranky, pretend to be sick, refuse to go to school, cling to a parent, or worry that a parent may die.
Older children and teens with depression may get into trouble at school, sulk, be easily frustrated feel restless, or have low self-esteem. They also may have other disorders, such as anxiety and eating disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or substance use disorder. Older children and teens are more likely to experience excessive sleepiness and increased appetite . In adolescence, females begin to experience depression more often than males, likely due to the biological, life cycle, and hormonal factors unique to women.
Younger adults with depression are more likely to be irritable, complain of weight gain and hypersomnia, and have a negative view of life and the future. They often have other disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, panic disorder, and substance use disorders.
Middle-aged adults with depression may have more depressive episodes, decreased libido, middle-of-the-night insomnia, or early morning awakening. They also may more frequently report having gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation.
What Does Depression Look Like
Well raise your question with a few Qs of our own: Are you female? Are you a teen? Depression can also affect different ages and genders in unique ways:
Women are more likely to ruminate . This can look like negative self-talk, sudden crying spells, feelings of guilt, or blaming oneself. Women are also more likely to have depression at the same time as an anxiety disorder, such as panic disorder, eating disorder, or obsessive-compulsive behavior.
Men with depression are more likely to show signs of irritability, anger, apathy, escapist behavior , or reckless behavior .
Younger people can struggle with depression and MDD . Children and teens may sometimes exhibit oversensitivity, social withdrawal, poor school performance, frequent physical complaints , or feelings of incompetence and despair .
Older adults and the elderly are often misdiagnosed or undertreated for depression because their symptoms can be mistaken for other disorders , or they may assume their feelings are just an inevitable part of aging. For many, sadness isnt the biggest indicator of depression instead, physical complaints are often the predominant symptom. Sleep trouble, low motivation, neglect of personal care or hygiene, and fixation on death are other signs of depression in older adults.
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Genes’ Effect On Mood And Depression
Every part of your body, including your brain, is controlled by genes. Genes make proteins that are involved in biological processes. Throughout life, different genes turn on and off, so that in the best case they make the right proteins at the right time. But if the genes get it wrong, they can alter your biology in a way that results in your mood becoming unstable. In a person who is genetically vulnerable to depression, any stress can then push this system off balance.
Mood is affected by dozens of genes, and as our genetic endowments differ, so do our depressions. The hope is that as researchers pinpoint the genes involved in mood disorders and better understand their functions, depression treatment can become more individualized and more successful. Patients would receive the best medication for their type of depression.
Another goal of gene research, of course, is to understand how, exactly, biology makes certain people vulnerable to depression. For example, several genes influence the stress response, leaving us more or less likely to become depressed in response to trouble.
The evidence for other types of depression is more subtle, but it is real. A person who has a first-degree relative who suffered major depression has an increase in risk for the condition of 1.5% to 3% over normal.