Depression is a common condition that most people may experience at some point in their lives. However, depression can become severe if symptoms persist for many weeks or months.
Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by sadness, sleeping difficulties, loss of appetite or increased appetite, loss of interest in hobbies, and withdrawal from social circles and daily activities. In severe cases, thoughts of suicide, self-harm or even death by suicide may come about. Follow on for Depression: 5 Ways to Take Back Control.
Causes of Depression
The exact cause of depression is unknown, but researchers think that a combination of various factors lead to the development of depression.
The imbalance of neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, accounts for the development of depression in people. Neurotransmitters are the body’s chemical messengers that carry messages from one nerve cell to the target cell.
If an individual has a family history (biological parents or sibling) of depression, that individual has a higher risk of developing depression.
Stressful Life Events
Loss of a loved one, unemployment, divorce, abuse or loss of property are stressors, and they can trigger depression.
Chronic illness is linked to the development of depression. When a person is diagnosed with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or HIV/AIDS, feeling sad and hopeless is normal. However, if symptoms persist, treatment will likely be needed.
Depression can be a side effect of certain medications. Substance use and alcohol can also lead to the development of depression or make depression worse. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that 3.8% of the population have depression, including 5% of adults and 5.7% of older adults.
Depression is more common in women than men, possibly due to pregnancy and childbirth, and more than 700,000 people die from suicide. The development of this disorder may vary amongst individuals based on personality. People that are constantly worried, have low self-esteem, are perfectionists, and pessimists tend to be more at risk of developing depression.
Generally, when an individual is depressed, they lose interest in activities they would typically do. They isolate themselves and refuse to interact with family and friends.
A depressed person dwells on negative thoughts, which worsen the condition and increase their sadness and hopelessness. To take control of your mental health, you should be mindful of your behavior and actions and be intentional about your healing. The best way of taking control is doing the opposite of what this paralyzing state of mind ‘wants’.
1. Seek Help
It is very important for people living with depression to seek professional help, so their condition can be diagnosed and treated. Failure to seek help can lead to the worsening of existing health conditions, self-harm or death and depressive disorders can become even worse.
A depressed person might not be enthusiastic about seeking help, but the best way to get out of that condition is to do the opposite by seeking help. According to the Cleveland Clinic, depression is treatable. Anyone with symptoms of depression should talk to their healthcare provider to get the help they need.
2. Get a Social Support System
Loneliness is a tell tale sign for anyone with depression, and even for people without depression.
Having a group of people who can support you when you feel blue is advised. In addition, joining a community support group that helps people with depressive disorders feel better is advantageous. In these settings, you will meet people with similar conditions who understand what you are going through, and you can help one another to get better.
Talking about your symptoms to trusted family members and friends helps improve the symptoms of depression. Your loved ones will empathize with you, listen to your concerns, and support you onto a more positive track.
3. Be Positive
Depression comes with doubt and negative thoughts. The first step to getting rid of these negative thoughts is accepting your situation and understanding the rule of life that things are not always rosy, and no condition is permanent.
The state you are in today is definitely not the state you will be in tomorrow. Those intrusive negative thoughts are just there to increase your pain and misery, and most of the time, what you think in fear will not actually happen.
Focus on the positives and ignore the negatives. Look at the progress you have made so far, the strength and resilience you have developed and reward yourself immensely while looking forward to better days ahead. That’s a healthy attitude.
4. Physical Activity
The importance of exercise can never be overemphasized. Physical activities have been shown to help improve the symptoms of people with a negative mindset.
Physical activities help release happy hormones that make you feel better and energized. Cortisol is a stress hormone, and high cortisol levels cause anxiety, mood disorders and low energy levels. One way to reduce cortisol levels is through a surge in adrenaline, which can be achieved by exercising.
Sleep difficulty is another of the symptoms of depression. Exercising regularly helps induce a night of restful sleep and better mental health. Good sleep equals mental alertness and happiness. Maintaining a consistent sleep routine provides cues for the body to prepare to sleep.
5. A Healthy Diet
Eating well benefits the body and mind. Just as physical activities, food helps release feel-good hormones. Food energizes us and makes us happy, and some people treat themselves to a good meal as a reward.
However, a healthy diet is essential for the proper functioning of the body, improving mental well-being, and improving upon the symptoms of depression and anxiety. In conclusion, depression is a common condition that most people experience at some point in life. Depression can vary from mild to moderate to severe. Anyone going through this condition should know that they are not alone.
Life may seem complicated and impossible to bear at times, but better days are always ahead. Love yourself generously, always seek help, do not bear it alone, forge a positive, constructive plan, and look forward to better days.