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Coping with Depression

One in six people will experience depression at some time in their life. Depression can strike at any time, but on average, it first appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive episode in their lifetime.

Depression is more common now compared to any other time in the past. It starts with sadness that sometimes one cannot even explain after some time the person becomes depressed. This sadness can be caused by a previous event(s) that happened in a person's life or a current event like a bad relationship. 

With almost 300 million people suffering from depression globally, the health issue has become something to address.


Depression is a common and serious medical illness that involves a persistent feeling of sadness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. It causes a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed and It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems later in life. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms must be present for at least two weeks. Depression is a continuous problem and not a phase. However, if left untreated it can become a serious health condition.


Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:

1. Feeling sad or having a depressed mood 

2. Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed 

3. Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting 

4. Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much 

5. Loss of energy or increased fatigue 

6. Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., hand-wringing or pacing) or slowed movements and speech

7. Feeling worthless or guilty 

8. Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions 

9. Thoughts of death or suicide

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The causes of depression are vague even though there are some factors that point to it. Heredity is a factor, it is seen to pass from ancestors to generations in a family.

Different life events are also a factor. Loneliness, loss of things that mattered in life, pregnancy, retirement, financial issues, bad relationships and many other happenings in life can cause depression in people. 

A person's view of life also has a part to play. Some people seem to hold onto things for long, and this can prolong sadness. When a person is passing through depression, his/her views are affected. Depressed people have a negative view of life and this can kill the interest of doing so many things while leaving one sad. 

Some health conditions can also be a culprit, for example, influenza, hepatitis, thyroid, diabetes, and other health issues. People involved in substance abuse are also prone to having depression. 


1. Major depression

The patient experiences a constant state of sadness that can last up to 6 months. They basically loose interest in everyhting. Treatment usually involves medication and psychotherapy. 

2. Bipolar Depression 

Hard to distinguish from depression but meets the criteria for major depression. The patient might experience extreme irritable moods known as mania. 

3. Psychotic Depression 

This is a combination of psychosis and depression. It normally comes with hallucinations or delusions of guilt, illness or poverty. 

4. Persistent depressive order/dysthymia or recurrent mild depression 

The symptoms are not as strong as major depression however patient may experience major episodes of depression. Symptoms have to last for at least 2 years to be considered PDO. 

5. Postpartum Depression 

More like anxiety symptoms. This depression is relatively mild. and very common with pregnant or nusing mothers. 

6. Atypical Depression 

Is a type of depression associated with a specific pattern. People with this depression respond to positive or negative events accordingly. They may experience temporary mood lift especially after receiving good news. Other symptoms include weight gain, sleeping excessively and a feeling of heaviness. 


The good news is that depression can be treated by any of the listed methods below or as a combination of two or more. Moreover, the earlier it is treated the better. Here are a few ways to treat depression. 

Anti-depressants may be prescribed to depressed patients to help modify their brain chemistry. It usually takes up to a month to take effect but symptoms can improve before then. stopping antidepressants abruptly can cause withdrawal symptoms. 

Also known as talk therapy and can be used with antidepressants or Is sometimes used alone to treat mild to severe depression. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a problem-solving therapy that helps a person to change their ways of thinking and misleading behaviors after helping them to recognize it. The recovery is determined by how severe the depression is. 

Although there are other treatments for depression, CBT is mostly recommended because it is very effective. The CBT treatment will involve: 

1) Dealing with sadness. 

2) Dealing with poor concentration. 

3) Dealing with negative thought like harming one's self. 

4) Maintaining energy level. 

If however, the depression does not respond to any of the following treatments, Electroconvulsive ECT therapy may be applied. It involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia. This method has been used since 1940 and is quite effective for psychosis depression.

Natural remedies 
Has been used by some people to treat mild to moderate depression. Some of the most popular herbs include ginseng and chamomile 

Research has shown that eating more fruits, vegetables and fish can help reduce depression symptoms. 

Can just be as effective as taking antidepressants and may help in relieving mild depression. Aerobics exercise especially raises endorphin levels which are linked with mood. 

If you suspect that you are suffering from depression don't hesitate to seek help. You can visit the hospital for therapy and also get closer to loved ones. The results of untreated depression are really scary as so many people have taken their own life as a result of being depressed. 
Until then, take care of yourself.


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