A study by the National Institute of Mental Health in 2014 found that 15.7 million adults in the U.S., between the age of 18 and above, experienced at least one depressive episode in the last one year. It has also been determined that people in certain professionals have a higher risk of suffering from depression. For example, lawyers and doctors have a high potential for experiencing depression. Despite the glaring facts on depression, a few people know much about its nature and impact.
Depression is Different For Different People
There is no one size fits all sign of depression. However, depression is easy to recognize when it is characterized by sadness. Some of the other signs and symptoms of depression include:
Depression is Different From An Episode of Sadness
Sadness is one facet of depression but it does not necessarily define depression. You may be sad but not depressed. Sadness is a reaction to hard times in life and is likely to pass with time. On the other hand, depression interferes with normal functioning and daily life. It causes pain for you and the ones you care about. It is a real illness that is often referred to as clinical depression or depressive disorder. You cannot simply get over depression; most of the people suffering from this condition require treatment.
Depression Could Be Genetic
New studies have revealed that depression may be genetic. According to a new study, certain regions in the human DNA are associated with the disorder. Scientists discovered that there are around 15 genes in the human chemical makeup that are involved with depression. These same genes are linked to the development of neurons, the chemical messengers in the brain.
Diet Contributes To Depression
Whatever you consume can either boost or dampen your mood. Studies have found that foods containing vitamin B12, omega 3 fatty acids, and tryptophan amino acids change the fats in your brain membrane and promote the production of brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. On the other hand, processed foods and refined sugars increase blood glucose levels and aggravate depression.
Regular Exercise Can Alleviate Depressive Feelings
Exercise is one measure you can take to avoid depressive feelings. Exercise boosts endorphins, serotonin, and other brain chemicals. Exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells the same way anti-depressants do.
Depression Affects Women More Than It Affects Men
Studies show that women have a high likelihood of suffering from depression than men. The reason for this can be partly attributed to a woman's hormones. Women are likely to experience depression when they are pregnant or after a pregnancy because of hormonal changes. Another difference is that women are more likely to reveal their condition while men will go through self-denial and feelings of shame before taking their condition seriously. There is also the factor that women tend to outlive men and; therefore, encounter loneliness and other difficult times in life when compared to men.
Depression Does Not Have To Be Triggered By Anything
While a difficult period or a discouraging or heart breaking episode may trigger depression, sometimes there is no explanation for depression. Since it is an illness, depression can pounce on you at any time. If you suddenly lose interest in things you normally enjoy, lose your appetite, or start gaining weight, these may be signs that your depression is caused by some biological process. In such cases, it would be advisable to consult a doctor.
Depression May Be Normal For Some People
While some people may experience temporary episodes of depression, others have depressive personalities that are constant throughout their lives. The best way to deal with such a condition would be acceptance and adaptation. Many people are able to survive with these depressive personalities. In fact, successful depressives have been observed to be sensitive, empathetic, and deep thinkers.
There Are Different Types of Depression
Depression can take on many forms. Some people may experience mild depression which is usually common after some life-changing event. Post partum depression affects new mothers whereas psychotic depression affects people who are suffering from psychosis. Persistent depressive disorder lasts for at least 2 years whereas seasonal affective disorder develops during specific seasons.
The Take Away
Depression is a clinical condition that many tend to take lightly. This illness does not discriminate on whether you are a child or adult, and affects people differently. There are many forms of depression with varying signs and symptoms. If you suspect that you or a loved one is depressed, you need to consult a physician before the condition gets worse.
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