Depression is a state of low mood as well as an aversion to activity that usually affects a person's thoughts, feelings, behavior, as well as the sense of wellness. Depression is a natural, temporary reaction to life events like the loss of a loved one. Also, it's a symptom of some physical illness and a side effect of some medical treatments and drugs. Depression is also a side effect of mood disorders like dysthymia and major depressive disorder.
How Many People Have Depression?
Depression is a serious and common condition; the World Health Organization (WHO) characterizes it as one of the world's most disabling disorders, affecting approximately one in ten men and one in five women at some point in their life. It's estimated that 12 percent of men and 21 percent of women in the United States will experience depression at a point in their lifetime. Globally, over 300 million people of all ages are suffering from depression.
Some of the Symptoms of Depression
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating and making decisions
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Increased fatigue or loss of energy
- Sleeping too much or trouble sleeping
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
- Slowed movements and speech
- Changes in appetite – Weight gain or loss unrelated to dieting
- Having trouble sitting still or feeling restless
- Feeling sad, anxious, or empty
Not everyone suffering from depression experience all these symptoms; some experience fewer symptoms than others.
Side Effects of Depression
If left untreated, depression can increase the chance of risky behaviors like alcohol or drug addiction. Also, it can cause problems at work or school, ruin relationships, and make it hard to overcome serious illnesses.
Diagnosis and Treatment of Depression
There are effective treatments for severe and moderate depression.
Healthcare providers can provide psychological therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), and behavioral activation (BA). Alternatively, they can provide antidepressant medication which includes tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).
Healthcare providers should always keep in mind about the adverse effects that are associated with the antidepressant medication: the ability to deliver individual preferences and intervention regarding expertise and treatment.
Different psychological treatment formats include group and individual face-to-face psychological treatments that are delivered by professionals as well as supervised lay therapists.
Also, psychosocial treatments are effective for mild depression therapy. Antidepressants can be used as a treatment for moderate to severe depression, but should not be used as a treatment for mild depression.
Depression in Animals and Pets
Many scientists believe animals also experience depression, but since they cannot talk, it is often hard to diagnose depression in them. Instead, they rely on observations of apparent mood and behavior. One of the common symptoms of depression in dogs, for instance, is anhedonia; the inability to experience pleasure from activities often found enjoyable.
Usually, scientists look for anhedonia symptoms in animals to spot the patterns of depression in the food they like or their sex drive. Also, how frequently animals are interacting with their social circle, changes in sleep as well as wake patterns, or whether the animals easily give up when they are faced with a stressful situation are other examples of how depression is diagnosed in animals.
Veterinarians often give antidepressants to dogs as a treatment for their behavioral disorders. For instance, if a person leaves his dog at home, the dog can experience stress related to the separation and develop abnormal behaviors like eating the door or scratching themselves until they bleed. These are regarded as canine versions of psychiatric disorders.
Dealing with depression can be overwhelming for humans and their pets. If you, a loved one, or a pet has been experiencing signs and symptoms of depression, you shouldn’t ignore it. Getting treatment from a therapist or veterinarian can prevent the side effects of depression from ruining your life or the life of someone you care about. BetterHelp provides you with the opportunity to consult a certified, licensed, online therapist from the comfort of your home.