Depression, The New Plague ?

I don’t like standing near the edge of a platform when an express train is passing through. I like to stand back and, if possible, get a pillar between me and the train. I don’t like to stand by the side of a ship and look down into the water. A second’s action would end everything. A few drops of desperation. 

THE BLACK DOG: WINSTON CHURCHILL 

So, What Is It ???…

Depression is something that has become increasingly prominent in the 21st century. Winston Churchill once described his feelings of depression(above), as being a “black dog“, that constantly hounded him and “wouldn’t let go” of him. Another lady described depression as being a heavy black cloud that settles all around you.  She said it was like a lead weight on her shoulders and you can’t see through it, all you can see is blackness. 

So, the above two descriptions of depression are both the opinions of real life people, but what can we define depression as ? Well, according to the World Health Organisation  (WHO), “Depression is a common mental disorder that presents depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, decreased energy, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, and poor concentration.” (WHO, 2012). 

The article further explains that depression is often coupled with stress, anxiety and loss of sleep. Depression is also believed to be a significant contributor to the global burden of disease and affects people in all communities across the world. A study was conducted by the World Mental Health Survey in 17 countries and found that at least in 1 in 20 people are depressed. It is estimated that at least 350 million people are depressed world wide. 

Causes Of Depression

Depression is something more commonly and frequently experienced in today’s world, and seems to be accelerated by a number of factors. 

One of the most “favoured themes of depression” is “Outward Beauty”. We live in a generation that I’d like to call the “Instagram Generation” where the youth seem to largely define and judge people according to their outward appearance, rather than what’s on the inside. This leads to more “physically attractive” people kind of distancing themselves from so called lesser “attractive/appealing” people. This is not to say that they do not interact with these so called lesser attractive people, but rather limit interactions to casual associations that prevent real true friendships or relationships from developing. 

For me personally, I’ve never really worried much about the looks of others when it comes to forging friendships, relationships or bonds with others. I’m more concerned with the character of the person, and most importantly, whether I can trust that person and if they are loyal (Just ask Harvery Spector, below). Especially when it comes to relationships, even Nas kinda said it.

The startling rate at which divorce has increased to is one of the driving factors of depression in early or any stage of childhood. The helplesness of watching the two people whom you have the most amount of love for and security with, are at each others throats. This usually leads to the development of negative coping habits like smoking, drinking, drugs and can even lead to frequent habitual unsafe sex. The US had a divorce rate of 53%, Belgium having the highest of 70% and Chile having the lowest of 3% (May, 2014).

There is often believed to be a general feeling of mistrust that has been commented on by a lot of people in their 40’s and older. This sentiment is shared by the current millennial generation having experienced “fake friends” and “unfaithful partners” often led to individuals becoming more isolated and introverted. It’s also created a constant paranoia, a feeling of emptiness or numbness that individuals are slowly embracing rather than fighting against. This is usually accompanied by constant over thinking that eats away at an individual and throws them into a pit of depression. 

The workplace environment as well as educational environments are filled with stress and anxiety on regular days. These can lead individuals to develop coping habits like smoking and drinking as mentioned before, that gets progressively worse, until it becomes an addiction that will seem like a “band aid” but is really just “adding fuel to the fire”. The overdosing of such habits takes its toll on both physical and mental health, allowing depression to take over progressively and eventual sense of rationale is eventually lost.

Types Of Depression 

There are various types and classes of depression, with there being a chance of a person having more than one type of depression. 
The following types of depression below are adapted from the National Institute of Mental  Health and are as follows: 

  • Major  depression:  Severe symptoms that interfere with the ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life. An episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person has several episodes. 
  • Persistent  depressive  disorder:  A depressed mood that lasts for at least 2 years. A person diagnosed with persistent depressive disorder may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe  symptoms,  but  symptoms  must  last  for  2  years. 

Some forms of depression are slightly different, or they may develop under unique  circumstances.  They  include: 

  • Psychotic depression,  which occurs when a person has severe depression plus some form of psychosis, such as having disturbing false beliefs or a break with reality (delusions), or hearing or seeing upsetting things that others cannot hear or see (hallucinations). 
  • Postpartum  depression,  which is much more serious than the “baby blues” that many women experience after giving birth, when hormonal and physical changes and the new responsibility of caring for a newborn can be overwhelming. It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of  women  experience  postpartum  depression  after  giving  birth. 
  • Seasonal  affective  disorder  (SAD),  which is characterized by the onset of depression during the winter months, when there is less natural sunlight. The depression generally lifts during spring and summer. SAD may be effectively treated with light therapy, but nearly half of those with SAD do not get better with light therapy alone. Antidepressant  medication  and  psychotherapy  can  reduce  SAD symptoms, either alone or in combination with light therapy. 
  • Bipolar  disorder  is  different  from  depression.  The  reason  it  is  included in this list is because someone with bipolar disorder experiences episodes of extreme low moods (depression). But a person with bipolar disorder also experiences extreme high moods (called “mania”)

Who’s Affected By Depression And What Do The Stats Agree ?

The graph above contains a study that was conducted in America between 2005 and 2006, and revealed that children as young as the age of 12 suffered from depression, whilst people all the way up in the age bracket of 60’s were also affected, and this really is a sad thing to note that deprssion is experienced at such a young age. What’s also sadder is that there is no evidence to support any theory that these figures may have decreased. 

A more recent study was conducted in the US in 2012, and it was found that depression statistics were still alarmingly high. It was found that depression increased with aged groups and were more prevalent in women than in men. The possible reason for the the decline in depression in the 60 and over age group was due to a smaller population to be interviewed. 

Women had a higher depression rate due to single mums and wives harassed by being lonely, filled with insecurity and lack of trust. Financial security is also a constant window of worry while balancing this with trying to provide the best for their kids or parents or any other family who stays with them, is a further push towards depression. Single, divorced and widowed women are often reminded of the harshness of loneliness by the media and commerialized version of “romance”. 

Older people complained about the feeling of being unwanted and as though their life had no meaning. Some would even go as far as to describe themselves as feeling as a waste of space. Less frequent or non visits from loved ones such as children and grandchildren added to the feeling of unwantedeness. Some expressed frustration at having not living life to the fullest,  not exploring all their avenues and regret not having the opportunities that are available today.

Men attributed their depression towards failed careers or hardships experienced at work.  They also attributed their depression towards failed goals that were not achieved, leaving them with a sense of unfufillment. Guilt from failed relationships also seemed to haunt them like a malevolent ghost.  Men have also been described to lose interest in leisure activities, e.g. Stop playing a sport or musical instrument. 

Children and teenagers had a variety of reasons as to why they fell into depression.  Development of individualistic personalities that were not accepted or appreciated by others leads to depression, especially in teenage woman who also are dealing with the major adjustments due to adolescence. Bullying both at the home or at schools is an obvious cause of depression.  Not being able to conform to what is “cool and expected” creates major self esteem issues and leads individuals questioning their self worth.  Depression that starts from earlier ages tend to be more strongly integrated with a person’s core, and is most likely to affect them at later points of their life.

Effects Of Depression

The effects  and contributing factors of depression were adapted from mayo clinic.

  • Biological differences. People with depression appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain, but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
  • Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that likely play a role in depression. Recent research indicates that changes in the function and effect of these neurotransmitters and how they interact with neurocircuits involved in maintaining mood stability may play a significant role in depression and its treatment.
  • Hormones. Changes in the body’s balance of hormones may be involved in causing or triggering depression. Hormone changes can result with pregnancy and during the weeks or months after delivery (postpartum) and from thyroid problems, menopause or a number of other conditions.
  • Inherited traits. Depression is more common in people whose blood relatives also have this condition. Researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing depression.

Depression is a serious disorder that can take a terrible toll on you and your family. Depression often gets worse if it isn’t treated, resulting in emotional, behavioral and health problems that affect every area of your life.

Examples of complications associated with depression include:

  • Excess weight or obesity, which can lead to heart disease and diabetes
  • Pain or physical illness
  • Alcohol or drug misuse
  • Anxiety, panic disorder or social phobia
  • Family conflicts, relationship difficulties, and work or school problems
  • Social isolation
  • Suicidal feelings, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Self-mutilation, such as cutting
  • Premature death from medical conditions



Factors that affect depression include:

  • Certain personality traits, such as low self-esteem and being too dependent, self-critical or pessimistic
  • Traumatic or stressful events, such as physical or sexual abuse, the death or loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or financial problems
  • Blood relatives with a history of depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism or suicide
  • Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or having variations in the development of genital organs that aren’t clearly male or female (intersex) in an unsupportive situation
  • History of other mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorder, eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Abuse of alcohol or recreational drugs
  • Serious or chronic illness, including cancer, stroke, chronic pain or heart disease
  • Certain medications, such as some high blood pressure medications or sleeping pills (talk to your doctor before stopping any medication) (Mayo clinic, 2015)


Treatment

Many types of antidepressants are available, including those below. Be sure to discuss possible major side effects with your doctor or pharmacist.

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Doctors often start by prescribing an SSRI. These drugs are considered safer and generally cause fewer bothersome side effects than other types of antidepressants. SSRIs include citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), sertraline (Zoloft) and vilazodone (Viibryd).
  • Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). Examples of SNRIs include duloxetine (Cymbalta), venlafaxine (Effexor XR), desvenlafaxine (Pristiq, Khedezla) and levomilnacipran (Fetzima).
  • Atypical antidepressants. These medications don’t fit neatly into any of the other antidepressant categories. They include bupropion (Wellbutrin XL, Wellbutrin SR, Aplenzin, Forfivo XL), mirtazapine (Remeron), nefazodone, trazodone and vortioxetine (Trintellix).
  • Tricyclic antidepressants. These drugs — such as imipramine (Tofranil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), amitriptyline, doxepin, trimipramine (Surmontil), desipramine (Norpramin) and protriptyline (Vivactil) — can be very effective, but tend to cause more-severe side effects than newer antidepressants. So tricyclics generally aren’t prescribed unless you’ve tried an SSRI first without improvement.
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). MAOIs — such as tranylcypromine (Parnate), phenelzine (Nardil) and isocarboxazid (Marplan) — may be prescribed, typically when other drugs haven’t worked, because they can have serious side effects. Using MAOIs requires a strict diet because of dangerous (or even deadly) interactions with foods ― such as certain cheeses, pickles and wines ― and some medications and herbal supplements. Selegiline (Emsam), a newer MAOI that sticks on the skin as a patch, may cause fewer side effects than other MAOIs do. These medications can’t be combined with SSRIs.
  • Other medications. Other medications may be added to an antidepressant to enhance antidepressant effects. Your doctor may recommend combining two antidepressants or adding medications such as mood stabilizers or antipsychotics. Anti-anxiety and stimulant medications also may be added for short-term use.


Psychotherapy is a general term for treating depression by talking about your condition and related issues with a mental health professional. Psychotherapy is also known as talk therapy or psychological therapy.

Different types of psychotherapy can be effective for depression, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy. Your mental health professional may also recommend other types of therapies. Psychotherapy can help you:

  • Adjust to a crisis or other current difficulty
  • Identify negative beliefs and behaviors and replace them with healthy, positive ones
  • Explore relationships and experiences, and develop positive interactions with others
  • Find better ways to cope and solve problems
  • Identify issues that contribute to your depression and change behaviors that make it worse
  • Regain a sense of satisfaction and control in your life and help ease depression symptoms, such as hopelessness and anger
  • Learn to set realistic goals for your life
  • Develop the ability to tolerate and accept distress using healthier behaviors ( Mayo clinic)

Secondary treatments involve the mind and body must be in harmony for you to stay healthy. Examples of mind-body techniques that may be helpful for depression include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Relaxation techniques such as yoga or tai chi
  • Meditation
  • Guided imagery
  • Massage therapy
  • Music or art therapy
  • Spirituality
  • Aerobic exercise

Conclusion

So, in conclusion, I hope that you have found this blog interesting. I apologize for the change in text fonts, this was typed on my tablet and I do not know how to revert the changes😅. If you do know of anyone suffering from depression, including yourself, get treated, you can find your local or regional anti-depression helplines online. From me Aavi, Ciau.😄 ( AND BE POSITIVE😂😂😂😂)

#aaviness😉😉😉



 

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