World Health Organisation states that Depression can be recognized as a common mental disorder and it is affecting a large population of the world. A persisting feeling of sadness, grief, lack of interest, or lack of pleasure in doing things can be seen in persons suffering from Depression. It can also result in the irregularity of sleep or appetite, constantly feeling tired and unable to concentrate. The causes of depression can vary from one person to another. Interactions in social, psychological, and biological factors that impact in a complex or negative way might also add to the cause. According to Beck’s model of the Cognitive triad of depression, an adult person has their ways to describe the world and it revolves around the negative view of self, world, and future. In other terms, the concerned depressed person will feel a state of Helplessness, Worthlessness, and Hopelessness. A depressed individual would tend to think their existence is worthless in this pointless and difficult world with a despairing future. Beck further went ahead to identify particular patterns of behavior that led to misleading conclusions and he called them the errors of thought. They are:
- Arbitrary inference: The process of interpreting events, situations, or experiences without factual evidence to support the conclusion is called Aribitary inference. When an individual based on limited or no evidence makes an assumption and proceeds to conclude with it. For example, A person waking up and feeling that his day will be a bad one.
- Selective abstraction: When an individual focuses on one single fact out of all the available facts, ignoring the other facts to conclude it is a Selective abstraction. Example: On the individual’s birthday everyone wished them but one of their friends did not so that individual concludes that no one loves them.
- Overgeneralization: When an individual bases all their conclusion based on one negative event and assumes that it will manifest their whole life, it is over-generalization. Example: I haven’t done well in this exam and so I will fail all the following exams.
American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) records updated criteria to more accurately capture the experiences and indications. It is in no way an instruction manual or treatment for any disorder but a manual for the assessment of mental disorders.
What Causes Depression?
Depression is not easy to explain the disease, no one knows what triggers it exactly, but it can be because of a variety of reasons. The onset of depression in some is seen due to serious medical illnesses and in others, it is due to life changes such as the death of someone close, distance, and other life events that impact them majorly. Lot many factors can bring in the triggers and some of them are:
- Abuse: Any sort of abuse, such as physical, emotional, or sexual can make one more vulnerable and result in depression in later their life.
- Certain medications: Some drugs can easily add to the risk of depression. Isotretinoin, interferon-alpha, and corticosteroids are few such examples.
- Age: Elderly people are also at a high risk of witnessing or being depressed. And living alone or without social support can make it worse.
- Death or a loss: Losing someone near and dear can leave a natural and painful impression among us and it is possible that if not discussed or worked on it, they might turn into early-onset depression or even they will start staying away from the world.
- Gender: Women are said to be about twice as likely as men to become depressed.
Symptoms of Depression
Everyone around talks of depression nowadays but did we dive deep enough to think what are the symptoms? Did you ever question yourself ‘how to know if you are depressed, or, how do I know if I’m depressed? Well, it is not easy to answer this question, it is further divided into categories, let us look at it one by one.
- Extended episodes of mood swings or sadness.
- You need to continuously be feeling the low for two straight weeks to confirm the same.
- Feeling hopeless, worthless, and helpless
- Low self-esteem
- Feeling suicidal
- Tearing easily on small things
- Guilt-driven or guilt-ridden
- Irritated by others easily
- Indecisive: finding it difficult to decide very easily
- Lack of motivation and interest in new things or things in general
- Not being able to enjoy the little happiness life has to offer
- Feeling worried or having anxiety attacks
- Speaking of moving at a slow and eased speed than usual
- Changes in appetite, weight loss, or sudden weight gain.
- Loss of sexual drive or energy
- Pain and aches that cannot be explained and are sudden
- Changes in the menstrual cycle
- Irregular or disturbed sleep pattern
- Avoiding friends
- Sudden decline in the number of friends
- No longer interested in passion, sports, or hobbies
- Difficulties managing work and family life.
The lifetime risk figure of males getting depression is 8-12% while in women it is 20-26%. The loss of interest, or not finding pleasure in almost all activities is the most important feature of sadness. This sadness is qualitatively as well as quantitatively more than normal ‘sadness’. This episode is often non-responsive to the surroundings and also varies day to day. Social withdrawal, decreased interest in daily activities or irrational irritations should be kept in check and one must always ask oneself if they are feeling depressed, as the sooner the help comes the lesser the damage is. With a lifestyle that constantly teaches us to be competitive and asking for results constantly, feeling worthless, hopeless, and helpless is not a big deal. But trivializing mental health will not only make the person dig deeper into the burrow but also might make the person feel comfortable in the burrow. Let us all check our words and our actions and constantly check our near ones for any triggers or symptoms. Also, do not forget to check yourself.