According to a report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 45,000 people in the United States committed suicide in 2014 alone, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death.
Social media has conditioned us to display only happy and shiny parts of our lives.
In our bid to keep up with Joneses we have learned to put up a brave and happy face despite how we are feeling inside.
It has resulted in a steep increase in the number of individuals who are high functioning and successful but suffer from crippling anxiety or severe depression in silence.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, more than 18.6 per cent of Americans suffer from anxiety disorders and 6.7 per cent live with depression.
Depression is a serious illness and it is time we start to understand the nature of the illness and remove the stigma around mental health that causes many individuals to suffer in silence.
Depression is not just about feeling sad or lonely.
What separates depression from sadness is that the latter is about melancholy while depression persists.
A person suffering from depression struggles with overwhelming feelings of grief, hopelessness, worthlessness, and emptiness on daily basis.
The severity of these feelings can actually rob the person of the simple inertia to even perform day to day functions.
Depression can manifest in a myriad number of forms and can be triggered by several causes.
Identifying the types and symptoms of depression is the first step toward
1. Situational depression
Situational depression is caused when you have trouble dealing with a sudden or stressful event in your life like divorce, loss of a job or loved one or while changing careers or moving to a new country.
The psychologists may refer to this as “Stress Response syndrome” and they can help you in this transition phase through counselling and psychotherapy.
2. Major Depressive Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder is the most common form of depression.
If you feel any five or more of the below-mentioned symptoms over a persistent period of time lasting at least two weeks, you are likely suffering from Major Depressive Disorder:
- Insomnia or oversleeping
- The feeling of hopelessness or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, shame or worthlessness
- Feelings of irritability or restlessness
- Overeating or loss of appetite
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyed
- Persistent feelings of emptiness and sadness
The severity of these symptoms will vary from person to person and in extreme cases, it can cripple your ability to work, sleep, study, eat or experience life in general.
This type of depression can be treated by a combination of psychotherapy or medications like Antidepressants.
People suffering from chronic illness or debilitating diseases often face depression or anxiety caused due to the emotional and physical distress of going through these diseases.
Talk therapy and medication can go a long way in treating illness-related depression.
4. Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression
Women who have major depression in the weeks and months after childbirth may have Peripartum (postpartum) depression.
This is different from normal baby blues.
Massive hormonal and physical changes and changes in lifestyle and responsibility can cause stress and depression for some mothers. Almost 10-15% of women experience postpartum depression.
This can be treated with counselling support and psychotherapy.
5. Seasonal Affective Disorder
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that happens in particular seasons like winters or monsoons.
It is believed that less sunlight can lead to a change in mood and irritability and therefore many people feel blue at the onset of winters or monsoons.
SAD can be treated with antidepressants or light therapy which requires you to sit in front of a special bright lightbox for about 15-30 minutes each day.
6. Trauma-based or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a mental disorder that can develop when a person experiences or witnesses traumatic events such as sexual assault, warfare, accident or other life-threatening situations.
Symptoms may include nightmares, anxiety or panic triggered by events that trigger the traumatic memory.
It can be cured by talk therapy, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medications.
7. Substance-Induced Mood Disorder (SIMD)
SIMD is caused due to substance abuse. Certain drugs have the potential to gravely affect your mental health.
The adverse effects of these drugs can result in manic or chronic depression.
Rehab, medications and talk therapy can help all cure SIMD.
8. Psychotic Disorder
People with psychotic depression suffer from severe depression along with “psychotic” symptoms, such as:
- Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
- Delusions (false beliefs)
- Paranoia (wrongly believing that others are trying to harm you)
It can be treated by a combination of talk therapy, antidepressants, and antipsychotic drugs.
If you notice any of these symptoms being experienced by many of your friends, family members or close ones, please reach out to them.
They may not even know they are suffering from depression or may not reach out due to feelings of guilt or shame or hopelessness.