Depression is one of the most common psychological disorders. Depression is a state of prolonged low or sad mood interfering with one’s day to day activities of life and work.
Depression symptoms vary in degree and intensity from person to person. Feeling sad or stressed is a normal reaction to life stressors but if prolonged it may classify as depression. Some common depression symptoms are sad mood for most of the day, loss of interest, change in appetite, sleep-related problems, fatigue, restlessness, feelings of guilt, difficulty in concentrating and decision making. In severe cases, the person may report frequent thoughts of death or suicide. At times depression may be a result of certain bodily conditions or metabolic changes like hypothyroidism. So a part of your assessment during your first visit to your doctor may involve the prescription of certain tests like thyroid function, vitamin B levels, etc.
Treatment of Depression
Life experiences lead people to form assumptions about themselves, others and the world, which continue to act out in our day to day behaviours. To predict and make sense of one’s experiences is a necessary aspect of living. However, due to some early or significant life experiences, some of these assumptions and ways of thinking become extreme, rigid and therefore resistant to change, causing disturbances in some areas of life. However, this alone does not suffice to explain depression. Certain critical or stressful events activate these rigid assumptions, which leads to a spiralling of further negative spontaneous thoughts about one's current life, relationships, future, self-worth, etc. This leads to further symptoms of depression like lowered activity, withdrawal, loss of interest, guilt, anxiety, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, etc. In order to deal with these depression symptoms commonly recommended treatments are developing daily activities in stage-wise and manageable measures, lifestyle changes, recognising and dealing with depressive and self-defeating thought patterns. To avoid relapses and deal with residual symptoms, there is a need to resolve underlying distress due to personal conflicts and/or rigid assumptions. These conflicts continue to interact with stressors in the environment, hence leaving one vulnerable to depressive or similar symptoms.