Effects of depression
Depression is a common condition that impacts the brain. It may be caused by trauma, genetics, challenging life experience, brain structure, drug and alcohol abuse, grief, stress, certain medical conditions or a change in hormone levels. Any of these conditions or a combination changes brain chemistry that leads to depression. It is one of the most disabling disorder in the world. Depression affects emotions, thoughts, behavior and overall physical health. There are different symptoms of depression although they are different to different people. Symptoms include loss of interest and pleasure in daily activities, changes in appetite and weight, sleep disturbances, feeling of agitation and lack of energy, fatigue, low self-esteem and guilt, difficulty in concentrating and making decisions as well as suicidal thoughts or intentions (National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)).
Depression affects individuals of all races, socioeconomic, age and ethnicity groups. However other factors may increase the probability of suffering from depression. Children and teens may get depressed due to anxiety disorder, oppositional defiance disorder, and hyperactivity disorder. The elderly may get depressed due to memory loss, medication for some treatment, and macular degeneration. Additionally, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people may suffer from depression because of regular discrimination from the society creating stigma which increases their vulnerability to mental health (National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)). Depression can be treated through various treatment options. Medication using antidepressants, antipsychotic medication and mood stabilizer may be utilized. Psychotherapy, brain stimulation therapies, light therapy, exercise, self-management education and strategies, alternative therapies or mind/spirit/body approaches may be used. Depression is not cured but can be treated.
According to Andrew Solomon, the opposite of depression is not happiness but vitality as it is what people lack when they are depressed. They lack energy and cannot meet their daily expectations. The assertions mean that what depressed person perceive to be the best thing in their lives is a disaster that would make them more miserable (Solomon, 2013). It is what human need which is more important than what they have and understanding this may be critical to their wellbeing.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Depression Overview. Retrieved from http://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-conditions/depression
Solomon, A. Depression, The Secret We Share. In TED Talks. (2013, October). Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/andrew_solomon_deoression_the_secret_we_share
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