Depression is a common disorder that affects millions of people. It is characterized by a major change in the way a person feels, behaves, and thinks. The symptoms of depression vary widely. Some of the more common symptoms of depression are sadness, hopelessness, lack of energy, interference with one’s dreams, sleep disturbance, suicidal thoughts, and aggressive behavior.
In fact, it is estimated that at least one person in ten will experience some form of depression in their lifetime. This figure includes children who will eventually grow up to be depressed adults. It is a mood disorder that can last a very long time and even into adulthood.
Many studies show that there is a major imbalance in the brain structures of those who suffer from depression. Some of these studies suggest that the way in which the brain functions may be responsible for some of the symptoms. When a person has a depressed brain, the signals sent by the brain are interrupted. These interruptions cause the brain to work overtime and to get the signal that there is a problem. When there is an imbalance in the brain structures, it means that the person will experience many of the depressive symptoms mentioned earlier.
Which Common Signs of Depression can be noticed?
Depression is a condition that affects millions of people around the globe every day. However, very few people are truly aware of the symptoms of depression and how to tell if they are having any of them. It can make treating the condition difficult. Let’s take a look at some of the symptoms associated with depression.
The symptoms of depression include:
- Excessive sleepiness
- Trouble concentrating
- Decreased interest or enjoyment in hobbies or other activities
- Increased anxiety
- Irritability or restlessness
- Loss of interest in sex
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Feelings of guilt (especially reactive anger)
- Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
- Difficulty making connections
- Feelings of unreality or detached from reality
Other signs of depression include headaches, muscle tension, digestive disorders, weight gain or loss, insomnia, frequent infections, muscle cramps or spasms, urinary frequency, increased frequency of urination, decreased sex drive, and feelings of social isolation. These symptoms can be seen on their own or can be symptoms of an anxiety or panic attack.
Unfortunately, most people who experience some or all of these signs will never seek treatment because they assume that it is just part of the normal aging process. The good news is that once these symptoms are identified, they can be treated and help restore the joy and function in the life of the individual.
What Are Some Common Causes of Depression?
There are many different reasons for depression, and some of them are more common than others. Depression can happen for various reasons. No one really knows what causes it, but in most cases, it can happen for various reasons.
- Major Life Changes
Some individuals experience depression with major life changes like the loss of a job or a move. It usually does not lead to long-term effects unless it is a very serious event. However, it can cause someone to become depressed, especially if they have not dealt with losing a job before. Depression is also sometimes caused by genetics. If either parent or sibling has been depressed, you may be able to experience it too.
- Disturbing History
Certain people are more susceptible to depression than others. These include individuals who have had a history of sexual abuse or alcoholism. If someone in your family has had any of these conditions, you are more likely to experience depression as well.
- Certain Medications
Another reason that someone is more likely to suffer from it is if they use certain medications regularly. The medications may affect the chemical balance of the brain that can cause depression.
- Unwanted Incidents
Some individuals experience depression with major life transitions such as a death or a move. Changes in a person’s brain chemistry as a result of serious stress are another possible cause of depression. Other mental health conditions that might lead to this disorder include chronic fatigue syndrome, post-traumatic stress disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and social phobia. Stress itself can change brain chemistry leading to the development of other mental health conditions.
There may be more than one cause of depression. Each type of depression will have different characteristics and will likely exhibit different physical symptoms.
How is depression diagnosed?
A doctor makes the diagnosis by ruling out other disorders present in conjunction with depression. There are various types of depression including, atypical, dysthymia, bipolar, and major depression. Atypical depression or depressive disorder does not involve alcohol or drug abuse. A person suffering from atypical depression can have the symptoms even without engaging in any form of stressful activity. You should talk to your doctor and tell your doctor about the symptoms. The sooner you seek treatment, the sooner the depression will go.
The reason you must visit a doctor and not simply assume that you have a disorder is that there are quite a few different kinds of disorders that can lead to depression.
Some of the most common depression diagnoses that doctors make and the reason that they are so common is that symptoms of depression are the same as those of several other psychological disorders.
Lifestyle Changes to Minimize Depression
No matter what the cause of depression is, one always needs to learn how to live with it. Depression may take time to cure, but subtle lifestyle changes can bring many changes to your life. In fact, simple changes can make it very easy to deal with depression and quicken the healing process.
I believe depression can be cured to a large extent by simple changes in routine activities. If you want to live a more mindful life, then you should adopt these simple changes.
- Follow a Creative Activity: One thing that is very important for people with depression to do is to follow a creative passion. It can be as simple as painting and as complex as programming. Every person has this one gist that they’re really passionate about. However, a person feeling depressed might find it hard to involve themselves in the activities they were once passionate about. Taking out some time each for an activity that you truly love can make a lot of difference. You should get involved in activities like craft, dance, aerobics, or even joining clubs or some voluntary work.
- Avoid Drugs and Alcohol: I know it is a simple change, and you would have probably heard about it already, but trust me, the intake of these substances will only worsen your situation. It has been proven that alcohol and other substance abuse make depression even worse. I have seen so many people take highly risky steps under influence during the depression. There’s simple logic that when you’re feeling depressed, you already feel sad about life. Alcohol and drugs further increase this feeling and can even take a person to commit suicide. Moreover, when you’re on anti-depressant medicines, it is very risky to take drugs.
- Maintain the Pace of Life: I know it is easier said than done, but it is the call of the moment. When a person feels depressed, they are prone to feel hopeless and useless. There are times when you don’t feel like doing anything or you doubt your purpose of living. First, it is a very natural effect of depression. Second, how you react to the situation and such thoughts is what makes all the difference. One thing that I always suggest to my clients is to not let these emotions take-over them. Depression can only be controlled if you have a strong will-power. So, the first thing that you should do is do not let these thoughts stop you from living a normal life. You have to decide a pace for yourself.
- Include Exercise in Your Routine: Now, no matter what physical, mental, or emotional problems we suffer from one thing that should be continued throughout our lives is exercise. Exercise is the base stone for good health. Nothing makes your body feel better than exercising. In fact, exercise has a direct impact on depression. When you exercise, a chemical reaction is caused in the body that boosts mood. WE all know how severe mood swings happen in depression. If you’re suffering from depression, one thing you must do is exercise. You should daily spare at least 15-20 minutes to exercise.
- Eat Healthily: We all have heard, “What you eat is what you become” for the longest time. Even when we know it, we still don’t maintain healthy eating habits. Healthy foods and balanced meals not only improve our health but also our lifestyle. When a person eats healthy, he or she thinks healthy and stays happy. Junk food and processed food often bring sad emotions and unhealthy thoughts to our heads. One should eat fresh and healthy food to keep their body and mind healthy. A healthy body will itself repel diseases.
- Proper Sleep: Lack of sleep is both a cause of depression and a side-effect of depression. Today, people have a very unhealthy lifestyle. People stay awake late at night to work, party, watch movies, or even study. However, our bodies are designed to sleep at night and work during the day. When we do not let our body rest during later hours, we weaken our immunity to a large extent. A healthy person is the one who sleeps on time and wakes-up on time. Now, you must be wondering that you have a deadline or an exam the next day and you need to put in the late hours. However, you can sleep early and wake-up around four in the morning. Many people don’t know this but waking up early is a much healthier option than keeping your body up late at night.
- Set Small Goals: Being a counselor, I have counseled many people with depression or other mental health problems. One common thing that I have seen in all such people is their lack of motivation. People lose hope and often start getting very negative about life. It is very normal to feel this way when you’re going through depression. However, as I always say, you should not let these emotions run your mind. During my counseling sessions, I ensure my clients don’t go through this trauma. Initially, I give them homework to make sure they revise and pursue some goals. Once they start following the process, I ask them to set a goal for themselves. It is a small step and an easy one, but it brings a lot of improvement. People who used to come to counseling with no hope in life now have something to look up to. They come all excited to tell me how they accomplished their goals. If you are not seeing a counselor, you can still set daily goals for yourself and accomplish them.
- Do not blame yourself: Many people with depression form a habit of constantly blaming themselves. They blame themselves for even the slightest thing that goes wrong. But have you thought about how much negativity it brings to your head? I know it isn’t in your hands to let these thoughts come to your mind, but you can stop them as soon as you see them forming. Instead of saying, “ I knew I would do it wrong,” say, ‘It’s ok, I’ll give it another shot.’ See, things go wrong every day. Many things are in our hands, and many aren’t, but if we start blaming ourselves for everything, we’ll lose self-confidence. What’s meant to happen will happen, and you should not blame yourself for it.
- Socialize with Friends and Family: I know socializing is the one thing depressed people run from. However, isolation is worse. You should never isolate yourself, no matter how much you want. If you do not want to go out with friends or meet new people, you always have your family by your side. I’m not asking you to go out and party with strangers, but you can always have a hearty dinner with your family. Share your thoughts with the people you love, and they’ll understand. You may even get a counselor if you feel no one understands you. Depression is something that grows with isolation, do not put yourself in such situations.
- Yoga and Meditation for Mindfulness: In today’s time, we live in a very fast-paced world. We all are running after goals, happiness, money, love, and whatnot. This hustle has hollowed us from the inside. We might feel good initially, but with time, this lifestyle becomes demotivating and depressing. It is one of the primary reasons why more people feel depressed today than they were in the past. We stuff and clutter our minds with thoughts and emotions that ultimately lead us to depression. So, where is the need to declutter this? It is in our head. We first need to clear our minds, and only then the depression treatment works. Yoga and meditation are two such mindful activities that awaken our soul and refreshes our mind. It allows us to clear negative thoughts and replace them with more happy and positive thoughts. A 10-minute meditation daily is enough to keep you relaxed for the whole day. Yoga and meditation not only help in curing depression but also prevents it from happening in an individual. Make sure you invest some time each day for mindfulness for a healthy mind and body.
How can Counselling for Depression Help?
Counselling for depression can be an essential component of treatment. Depression is a mental health disorder that can have a dramatic effect on the quality of an individual’s life. It is very important to seek help when you feel like you are depressed or are having problems coping with depression. There are many different forms of therapy, and it can be arduous to know which form is best for you. There are many forms of counseling available as well.
Counselling for depression usually focuses on current thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors about life and your personal relationships. That is why CBT was an effective model to utilize in counseling sessions for treating depression. Because CBT is typically regarded as a short-term therapy, it is often a good choice for clinicians when dealing with mild to medium cases of depression that might not require long-term, comprehensive psychotherapy. There are some instances, however, when other forms of counseling may be more appropriate.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one form of short-term counseling for depression that is widely regarded as the most effective. CBT involves identifying negative self-talk and replacing it with realistic positive statements and actions. It helps the patient to realize his or her own capabilities and increases the patient’s self-esteem and confidence. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also effective in treating mild cases of mild depression. CBT teaches the patient new skills and assists the patient in modifying behaviors that are causing difficulties in life.
Many people underestimate the benefits of counseling in depression. Some people believe taking medications is enough to cure depression. Well, it isn’t! Medication goes hand-in-hand with counseling for the proper treatment of depression.
I have counseled so many people and brought them out of depression. I have seen depression in my own family, and it helps me understand my clients better. An ear to listen is enough to cure more than 50% of your depression. In fact, you make new friends in the form of counselors. Friends who not only listen without judgment but also help you throughout your journey.
Other forms of counselling for depression deal with anxiety. Anxiety can be treated through relaxation techniques and counseling. It can help clients understand how they can change their thought processes so that they are not consumed with worry or fear.
Counselling also teaches people ways to cope with stress by replacing irrational thoughts with rational ones. It can also teach clients how they can increase their productivity and make other people happy by helping them recognize their strengths. These conditions need professional help and medical supervision in order to be effectively treated.