Depression: Causes and Treatment Options

Depression: Causes and Treatment Options

Tue, 30 Jan 2024

Living in the 21st century, probably all of us are aware of the term “depression”. A state that can wreck your mental condition, depression has been exponentially increasing among individuals across the globe. The expert at Emoneeds believes that this is a matter of rising concern as it can wreak havoc and even lead to death. Each year, thousands of people suffer from undiagnosed and untreated depression. Hence, it is better to become aware of the condition and know the different types and causes, as well as the treatments available. One should always remember that it is nothing to be ashamed of and can happen to anyone. However, the goal is to take the right actions and seek treatment if the need arises.

What is Depression?

Depression is a state far beyond sadness. It is a mental health challenge marked by ongoing feelings of hopelessness, losing interest in things once enjoyed, changes in sleep and appetite, and constant fatigue. There is no specific criteria as to who will be affected by depression. Rather it impacts people from all backgrounds and ages differently. Some face a constant low mood, while others struggle with severe episodes disrupting their daily lives. 

Understanding depression means seeing how biology, thoughts, and surroundings all play a role. Disturbances in neurotransmitters, genes, and life events shape its development. Over time, society’s view of depression has changed. The medical industry has now recognized it as a real medical issue. Dealing with depression needs different strategies for each person. Recognizing its complexity is key to supporting those who are facing it. It also involves finding ways to help them cope better.

Types of Depression

There are several types of depression. Some of them are-

  • Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder marks an enduring period of deep sadness. This can last at least two weeks. It brings about a loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities. One can experience shifts in eating and sleeping habits. There can be extreme tiredness, self-blame, and contemplation of death. It can greatly disrupt everyday life. This may often require therapy and, in some cases, medication to manage.

  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)

Dysthymia entails a prolonged, less severe type of depression. While it doesn’t disrupt life as intensely as MDD, it can linger for years. It involves feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, and fatigue. There are also difficulties in decision-making and changes in eating or sleeping routines.

  • Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder leads to drastic mood swings. For instance, the person’s mood swings between depressive lows and manic highs. During the low phase, symptoms resemble MDD. Meanwhile, the high brings heightened energy, rapid thoughts, and impulsive behavior. Medication and therapy are used alone or in combination to help treat bipolar disorder in people.

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder

SAD triggers depressive symptoms tied to seasonal changes. This happens particularly in darker months like winter when there is a low amount of light present. Symptoms may include low energy, excessive sleep, increased appetite, and weight gain. There is also an overarching feeling of lethargy. Treatments like light therapy or counseling prove beneficial.

  • Postpartum Depression

Postpartum Depression is more common than you think. It happens in new mothers shortly after childbirth. It involves overwhelming feelings of sadness. This also includes anxiety and exhaustion in mothers. This makes it challenging to care for the newborn. Treatments typically include therapy, group support, and occasionally medication.

  • Psychotic Depression

Psychotic Depression blends severe depression with psychosis, featuring delusions or hallucinations. It results in a disconnection from reality alongside deep emotional distress. Treatment involves a mix of antipsychotic medications and specialized therapy addressing both facets of the condition. Understanding these variations aids in tailoring treatments to suit individual needs, ensuring appropriate support for specific symptoms.

Causes Related to Depression

There can be several causes of depression in people. These causes may be responsible alone or often in conjunction with one another to cause depression in an individual. Moreover, these causes can be divided into three separate categories. Firstly, there are biological factors. Secondly, there are environmental or psychological factors, and thirdly, there can be reasons like substance abuse, etc.

1. Biological Factors

  • Genetic 

Oftentimes, genetic predisposition can lead to depression among individuals. There may be a family history of depression, due to which the person is at a risk of developing it. However, genetics alone don’t guarantee that the person will suffer from depression.

  • Hormonal Imbalance

Sometimes, hormonal imbalance can trigger depression in people. For instance, during menopause or just after childbirth, women experience changes in hormonal levels. This can cause mood disorders, anxiety, and eventually depression.

  • Imbalance in Neurotransmitters

Dopamine and serotonin, essential neurotransmitters, impact mood regulation. They’re linked to feelings of happiness. Imbalances in these chemicals can profoundly affect mental health, leading to conditions like depression and anxiety. Hence, it is essential to maintain a balance in neurotransmitter levels to prevent depression.

2. Psychological factors

  • Stress

Stress is another word that all of us have become habituated with. Similarly, the consequences of excessive stress can be harmful as it may cause depression in some. Be it stress from work or personal relationships, one should understand that stress can affect our brain activity. It can also disrupt our lifestyle and hormonal levels. This can well take someone to depression.

  • Adverse Experiences

Early life trauma, abuse, or negligence can affect mental health in adulthood. These experiences often lead to emotional distress, impacting self-esteem and relationships. They increase the likelihood of developing mental health issues like depression.

  • Life Events

Sometimes, life events like the death of a near one or a debilitating accident can also plunge the person into depression. Instances of failed relationships or unemployment are often the primary cause of depression in today’s population.

3. Other Factors

  • Substance Abuse

Using alcohol or drugs in a harmful way can create a tough cycle of depression. Both can feed into each other, making things worse. Substance abuse might make someone feel more depressed, and feeling depressed might lead to more substance use. It’s like a tangled knot where one problem makes the other harder to handle. Breaking this cycle often needs support for both issues together.

  • Chronic Medical Conditions

Handling long-term health problems or persistent pain takes a toll on mental well-being. It brings emotional stress, sparking feelings of hopelessness or sadness. Coping with these conditions often intersects with depression, making it hard to balance physical and mental health. Getting comprehensive care that looks after both aspects is vital for overall wellness.

Who Can Get Depression?

Depression can affect anyone, be it children, teenagers, or adults. It doesn’t handpick anyone and stems from a combination of different factors. People who face the risk of different causes are more prone to suffering depression than others. For instance, an adult in a failed relationship is more likely to have depression than someone in a fulfilling relationship. Or else a person suffering from a chronic medical illness can develop depression. Moreover, those with a family history of depression or those exposed to high levels of stress due to various environmental factors are more susceptible. 

Treatment Options For Depression

Today, with the advancement in medical knowledge, depression can be effectively treated by doctors. There are a lot of options to treat depression among people.

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

CBT is one of the primary ways by which doctors all over the world are treating depression. It focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors. Through planned sessions, doctors help you challenge these negative thoughts and transform them into positive ones. CBT also helps develop problem-solving skills in individuals. It equips patients with practical strategies to manage stress, cope with challenges, and prevent relapse. 

  • Interpersonal Therapy

Another way to treat depression is through interpersonal therapy. This concentrates on how relationships and communication patterns impact mood and mental health. Short-term sessions help individuals recognize and address these problems in their interactions. Thus, it focuses on improving relationships and enhancing social support.

  • Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic Therapy delves into one’s unconscious patterns that influence their behavior and thoughts. Exploring one’s past experiences and emotions aims to uncover unresolved conflicts. This way, it helps reduce current distress.

  • Brain Stimulation Therapy

Brain Stimulation Therapy includes methods like Electroconvulsive Therapy and Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation. It targets severe or treatment-resistant depression. For instance, ECT utilizes controlled electrical pulses to induce brief seizures. On the other hand, TMS uses magnetic fields to stimulate brain regions. They try modulating neural activity and help control symptoms.

  • Medications

Antidepressants are generally prescribed to help treat depression. The two main types are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. These regulate neurotransmitter levels in the brain and try to balance them out. Once the chemical levels are balanced, the person achieves a better state of mind.

  • Lifestyle Changes

Since lifestyle habits themselves can cause depression, hence making good habits can also help prevent and treat depression. So, be it habits like waking up early, sharing community time, exercising, and journaling, these little changes can quicken the path to recovery.

How Can Emoneeds Help With Your Depression?

At Emoneeds, we believe in helping you at every step to overcome your depression. We have a dedicated team of doctors and experts from whom you can be assured of top-notch treatment. With all-time assistance and emotional support, we make sure you are never alone in your fight against depression. Our treatments are also customized according to individual needs, and this helps us identify and treat your condition better.

Why Emoneeds?

Because we support you in your journey to reduce your relapse and help you with lasting recovery by following provisions:

Treatment can usually manage the most serious symptoms and minimizing the associated discomfort. Emoneeds provides you a platform to seek professional individual and family support to help you prevent Relapse.

Depression FAQ's

Q.  Can A Lack Of Sleep Cause Depression?

The answer is No! Though lack of sleep plays a role in causing distress, but alone it cannot cause depression. Studies suggest that lack of sleep, that results from other medical comorbidities can intensify the illness. Chronic presence of insomnia can also act as an important sign of depression. Common triggers of depression might include:

  • Any kind of psychosocial distress.
  • Family history of depressive illness.
  • Major life events such as moving out of the old place of stay, graduating or retiring, etc.
  • Chronic and major illnesses, such as Cancer, Parkinson’s disease, HIV, etc.
  • An abnormal reaction over the loss of a loved one because of death, divorce, or separation.
  • Interpersonal disputes or social exclusion from family and friends.
  • Substance abuse.

Q. Will Someone Who Has Depression Get It Again?

The answer is YES! Having experienced one or more episodes of major depressive illness, surely puts a person at an increased risk of having future episodes of similar type. But NOT everyone, who  has recovered from depressive illness will suffer from it again. In some cases, psychosocial stressors cause depressive illness, and sometimes it is triggered by major life events, chronic illnesses, or a combination of both the factors.

Depressive illness, in some patients can also trigger for no particular reasons as such. Getting proper treatment is crucial for the complete recovery and also, in helping prevent relapse for future episodes.

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