Major Depressive Disorder: Struggling With Depression

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Running head: Major Depressive Disorder

Struggling with depression

Not all people believe that psychological issues exist and if they do, they don’t fully understand that it is a serious issue that should be delicately dealt with.

Taking as an example depression or major depressive disorder, which is one of the most common and serious mental health illnesses that a lot of people are struggling with. It is a mood disorder that makes a person feel extremely sad and lonely all the time. A person knows they are depressed if their low mood lingers day after day for at least 2 consecutive weeks among other symptoms, that are portrayed through loss of interest in the activities that once were entertaining, loss of appetite, somnolence or oversleeping, feeling tired all the time. It also deteriorates and lowers one’s self-esteem and self-worth and at some point, it may even give rise to suicidal thoughts.

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The severity of these symptoms may vary from individual to another from mild to moderate to severe depression.

In the past, depression was simply described as some chemical imbalance in the brain cells, resulted by a lack of serotonin, which is the neurotransmitter of happiness, but it is much deeper than that. It is in fact an extremely complex disease. Scientifically explained, the dynamic system, is made of billions of chemical reactions. That is responsible for the mood, perception and the way a person experiences life. With this level of complexity, it may be viewed how two people might have similar symptoms of depression, but the problem on the inside, and hence what treatments will work best, may be entirely different. Firstly, this essay examines the main causes and the triggers of depression. Later on, it will suggest some ways to cope with this mental disorder. Last, it will show some perspective of ignorance of poor knowledge of some people concerning this illness.

Major life events such as long-term unemployment, losing a job, accumulation of work or education stress can be factors to trigger depression for some people. They might feel overwhelmed with this sudden change of environment or might break down after taking in too much stress and pressure. Some other factors like experiences dating back to childhood for instance physical, sexual and even verbal abuse leave an unforgettable wound in the person’s soul that affects their personalities and may grow up with them to resurface at an older age. Also, the loss of a loved one or a harsh break-up can bring someone to the deepest ground of sorrow and grief and finally wear them down. This bereavement is hard for some people to get through till they get depressed and lose the taste for living. As for the personal factors, genetics play a big part in this. Some people who have depression running in the family are more likely at risk. Nonetheless, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a person will have it automatically from their parents or relatives. Life circumstances and other personal factors are still likely to have an important impact. Personality is also involved if a person is more likely to stress and be anxious over simple things, or if they tend to worry more than necessary and have a low self-esteem. Also, people who don’t express themselves and tend to hide their feelings and emotions are more at risk of being depressed. Furthermore, accumulation of many negative emotions and unsaid words exhausts the person and becomes a burden on them. As a further matter, physical health issues may conceivably participate in triggering depression. Suffering from a chronic disease or life-threatening illness can degenerate the mental health and increases the risk of depression. Thus, worrying too much about physical health worsens the person’s psychological well-being and also, long-term medications for these diseases can lead to a turbulence in a person’s emotions. Another major factor that contributes in setting-off depression is drug and alcohol use. It is common that people use alcohol or drugs to overcome their problems and forget their pain but what they don’t know is that this behavior actually exacerbates their state. They may feel somehow better instantly, be that as it may, the lingering effect of alcohol disturbs the balance of the brain chemicals, therefore, they are more likely to encounter depression. Heavy drinking might even lead to suicide. Drugs also have a negative effect on depressed people. Marijuana, for instance, also known as cannabis, is famous by its euphoric effect. This plant naturally produces chemical mixtures that affect motor control, cognition, emotions and behavior. While this drug may briefly ease the symptoms of depression, once the effects subsidies, it can cause an individual to experience negative emotions and extreme sadness.

There is another type of depression that is not related on the activities of people. It is called the seasonal affective episode (SAD) and it is rather related to the human’s behavioral change once a season changed. SAD is a mood disorder subset in which, people who have a naturally stable psychological health all through majority of the year experience depressive episodes at the same time every year, most commonly in winter. People with SAD are more likely to experience some of the symptoms as a person with major depressive disorder. This type of depression happens due to the lack of sunlight in winter, that disconcerts the balance and the emotions of particular individuals.

When someone is depressed, it can feel like they’ll never get out from under a dark shadow and may feel like they are trapped in a hellhole. Depression drains one’s energy, hope and drive making it difficult to think clear and to find aspiration. Although, there is an exit from that labyrinth of misery. However, overcoming it doesn’t happen overnight by just snapping out of it. The first thing required is to be patient and have hope because getting through it, unlike what it may feel like, is not impossible. A depressed person cannot think clearly but they should try to think positively to lift themselves up; Think that it is not the end yet and that it won’t last forever. They should be willing to do some effort to control their negative thoughts, to combat the emotions of sadness and hopelessness and fight the thoughts that lead to loss of interest and feelings of worthlessness. This method is called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and it is very effectual and the first step of getting better. Furthermore, people with depression focus and dwell on the bad things in their lives and less likely to see the positive events happening and to appreciate the things they already have. They should change their vision and see more of the good than the bad in every situation and learn to have control over what happens to them. Loss of energy and feeling exhausted without being active is irritating and makes the person do less and feel worse once they realized they are doing less. So, they should change their behavioral strategies by finding things to do and increase activity. Starting with scheduling and planning tasks to do throughout the day, forcing oneself to go out and not spend all day in bed and exercise or take walks and try to stick to the to-do list as close as possible. Another major help for a person with depression is to educate themself about this disorder. Having knowledge about this illness is valuable and makes the person feel they have more control over it and reduces the feelings of helplessness. It is also important to remember that depression is an illness and not a weakness or a flaw in the character. It can happen to anyone and no matter how strong they are or pretend to be, which brings up the next thing to do: never compare oneself to another. Admiring other people’s life and forgetting to pay attention to one’s will only bring them down and make feel less confident. Questioning one’s worth and capabilities and belittling oneself only because other people were successful and don’t seem to have any problems, is wrong.

For some people, who find it hard to pull themselves together on their own they are ought to seek a psychiatrist to talk them through it and help them. It might take some trial and time to find a therapist to truly click with and from there, talk about the causes that may be causing concern. Talking to a professional about what’s going on is the first step toward getting better. To facilitate this process, it’s important that the patient opens up to the psychiatrist about their concerns in detail and not hold back about what one’s feeling. This way, the therapist will know what stresses the patient out and triggers the depression and what treatment should be used. They should also be informed about other medication taken by patients to particularly avoid side effects, in case mixed with the antidepressants prescribed by the therapist to help with depression. It is equally important to steer clear of self-medication i.e. drugs, alcohol or smoking. Escaping from the feelings of misery and guilt by reaching for self-medication such as drugs puts the person more at risk of getting depressed and escalate the feelings of lethargy. It is also important to bear in mind that not all medications and antidepressants are compatible with alcohol or drug use. In some cases, mixing the two together might emphasize the effects of the medicine taken leading to a more complicated depressive episode and in some worse cases lose control of the body. This may even worsen the abuse alongside of depression. However, specialized guidance and treatment assists patients to stop this behavior and reduce the risk of deteriorating their mental health. Most importantly, to overcome a difficult depressive episode, people should always surround themselves with positive people; close friends and family. Talking to close ones may lift the burden and hearing their advice and support may be the first steps towards healing. And in presence of extreme negative thoughts or suicidal thoughts, or in case a person started to self-harm and cutting, they should at all times talk about it to the people they confide to and seek immediate medical care.

Despite the big part of population that are struggling with depression, a minority of people still don’t believe that such disease exists. This issue takes place even in the developed countries. There still are people that seem to be stuck in a medieval mindset and believe that depression is a weakness and only for the frail. These people also believe that boys should not cry or show weakness. For them, these acts mean a flaw in the masculinity. Men with depression is not a recognized term in these countries since it is believed that men are always strong inside and out and must not show emotion. They tend to drink whenever they sink in their worries and trouble. Additionally, they find alcohol a better solution than talking about their concerns and confusion and show any sign of tenderness. Besides, these people assume that psychiatrists are for the crazy and they would rather hide their emotions and pretend to be strong or else they’d be mocked by society. What these people need to understand is that mental illness has nothing to do with mental strength. It is not a defect in the character nor a damage in the brain as many think. The truth is many people going through an episode of depression are mentally strong and that they are getting stronger every day fighting the urge to give up and break down. While depression takes a toll on the human body, leaving it untreated for too long could change the brain over time. A study showed the results of group of people who have untreated depression, where they were evaluated with positron emission tomography scans (PET scans) to locate a specific type of protein that results from the brain’s inflammatory response to injury or illness. Throughout the body and the body, the right amount of inflammation protects the human from disease and repairs them when they are injured. But excessive inflammation leads to chronic illness, including heart disease and potentially neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Which is why, people should be aware that depression is a serious illness and should take caution when its symptoms start showing and act upon it.

To sum up, depression is a very common mental health issue, that 300 million people around the world, according to the World Health Organization, are struggling with. Due to the busy and exhausting daily lifestyle people lead, some individuals get overwhelmed by life’s tough challenges and sometimes they might fail to keep up with its pace and break down. Depression triggers are widely vast and can be categorized into two factors; personal factors, which are genetics, personality, drug and alcohol use, and chronic diseases. and major life changes such as a loss of a beloved one, unemployment, loads of stress in the work or study place … and it may seem very difficult for these people to pull themselves together and encourage themselves to encounter these problems. Moreover, the seasonal affective depression, another type of depression that may have the same symptoms as the major depressive disorder, that occur in line with seasonal changes, most commonly in winter. Despite the fact that this illness may crumble and wear a person down, they should not easily give up to it and allow themselves to sink in more. It is advised to start by changing the way of thinking: think positive and positive things will happen. Starting with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is the first step to recovery. They should be willing to change their negative behavior and start being more active. Convince themselves that they are strong and will defeat the difficulties. Some people need more help, so they are ought to share their concern with their close ones or see a psychiatrist that will give them the right treatment. Untreated depression over time leads to other more serious illness. This is exactly why people should be more aware and change their mindset about the seriousness of major depressive disorder and stop referring to it as a weakness and defect in the character. No one can know what others are struggling with and going through. It takes strength to keep functioning when one’s suffering from depression, so it really is not a weakness.

References:

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