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What is depression?

Depression is a medical condition affecting more than 10% of the world’s population, 350 million people. It is the most important cause of disability in the world. Depression can affect everyone: children, adults, men or women. It is much more complex than a simple emotional reaction or mood swings. It is considered as a serious illness and in extreme cases it may lead to suicide. It’s the second leading cause of mortality among young people after road accidents.

Depression often starts with feeling unloved, unwanted, unheard, desperate and so much more. Life is not appreciated anymore as before. It becomes a burden for the person who suffers. This feeling of depression is not always controllable.

What are the symptoms of depression?

The symptoms and signs vary from one person to another. Depression is not always felt in the same way by those who suffer. The symptoms are part of their daily lives and can become unbearable when they are more frequent and keep getting stronger.

The symptoms of depression are varied and may root from a person’s professional or personal background. These transform into a decline in morale, loss of interest for the significant things, a change in appetite, the feeling of being useless or even guilty to excess, sleeping a lot or not enough, problems of concentration, agitation or slowness, loss of energy or in extreme cases, recurrent suicidal thoughts.

Is there a link between depression and suicide risk?

Yes, depression is one of the most important factors leading to suicide. When it becomes unbearable, people who suffer tend to think that the only way out is suicide. It is essential to listen to them. Alarming signs abound and are to be considered with caution. The person becomes fixated with death, she/he expressed her/his feelings of being unwanted, she/he wants to see his relatives in order to say goodbye, has suddenly behavior changes and becomes calm and joyful... These facts may determine that the person wishes to put an end to his/her life.

Types of depression

  • • Major depression: it translates into intense symptoms and signs and lasts for 6 months (more or less).
  • • Atypical depression: it is characterised by symptoms more rare and less visible.
  • • Dysthymia: It is distinguished by recurrent mood disorders. They are not always noticeable, but may be repeated for several years.
  • • Seasonal depression: it affects more or less 2% of the population and is due to the change of temperatures and days that become increasingly short in winter.

Seek professional help

Some people who suffer from symptoms of depression are afraid to seek help due to the fear of knowing that they might have a problem. Others are concerned about what family and friends may say about them and see depression as a weakness. There is also a part of them that doesn’t want to devote their time and money to therapy. Often, they do not want a doctor to prescribe them medicine in any sort of way. Whatever the reason may be, it is more of a risk to not get help in order to get better, because they will only sink deeper. If you don’t receive the support you need from family or friends, you should try to find a professional who can help and treat you.

  • • Therapy: it can help you understand what you are dealing with and how you can motivate yourself to take the necessary action make you feel better and prevent it from coming back.
  • • Medication: is of vital importance if you have violent or suicidal feelings. Medication can either relieve the symptoms of depression but can have side effects and other drawbacks, so it is important to learn about the pro’s and contras before making a decision.


Factors for depression
Medical risk factors

Most illnesses have a specific medical cause, which makes the treatment straightforward. In the case of depression, it is much more complicated. The cause can be single or a combination of.

  • Biochemical factors: depression is triggered when neurotransmitters are out of balance in the brain. Neurotransmitters help the brain communicate with parts of the body.
  • Genetic factors: your risk of suffering from depression increases if you have immediate family members with a mood disorders or depression.
  • Sleep disorders: sometimes lack of sleep causes depression due to low mood.
  • Serious illness: certain conditions come with a lot of pain and stress, which take a toll on a person’s mental state.
Social risk factors
  • Abuse: people who have been neglected or abused in the past have a high risk of suffering from major depression. Negativity can cause other mental disorders as well.
  • Gender: studies say that women are twice as likely to experience depression at least once in their lifetime than a man, but they also seek treatment more often than men do. During pregnancy and after childbirth, women are more vulnerable to depression.
  • Lack of social support: the most common cause of depression is being socially isolated and having few friends or supportive relationships. The feeling of loneliness or being excluded can cause an episode of depression to people who are prone to mood disorders.
  • Major life events: multiple things in life, even the good ones can increase a person’s risk for depression, like buying a house, expecting a baby, getting a divorce, new job,...
Substance-related factors
  • Substance abuse: drugs and alcohol raise the risk for depression as they may lead to chemical changes in the brain.
  • Medications: some medications have been linked to depression (sedatives, sleeping pills, steroids, prescription painkillers,...). Talk about it with your doctor if you have some concerns. Don’t stop your treatment without their consent.
What to do to feel better

Starting with a few realistic goals and slowly building from there is the key. It takes time to feel better, but you have to make positive choices for yourself.

  • 1Reach out to other people: It can be enormous help to simply talk to someone face to face about how you may feel.
  • 2Get moving: If you exercise regularly the feeling you get is as effective as antidepressant medication. Start with small activities.
  • 3Eat a mood-boosting diet: Stop eating foods that can affect your mood negatively, like sugar, alcohol, refined carbs and caffeine. You need to increase nutrients that enhances your mood like Omega-3.
  • 4Connect with the world again: Adopt a pet and care for it, enjoy the beauty of nature, choose a hobby or even volunteer somewhere. Connecting with the world again will start to make you feel way better.