What is Depression

What is Depression

Definition

Depression is a mood disorder involving a number of symptoms. These include, a feeling of deep sadness, sleep issues, appetite issues, difficulty concentrating, lack of motivation, feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness, irritability, body aches, suicidal ideation & attempts, amongst others.

Causes

Depression is caused by one or a combination of the following: genes, life experiences (especially trauma), and some medications.  

Types

  • Major Depressive Disorder with specifiers such as:
    • Catatonia
    • Anxious distress
    • Peri/postpartum onset
    • Mixed features
    • Melancholic features
    • Seasonal pattern
    • Atypical features
    • Psychotic features 
  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder 
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia)  
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder  
  • Substance/Medication-Induced Depressive Disorder  
  • Manic Depressive Disorder (Bipolar Disorder)
  • Cyclothymic Disorder

Treatment

Treatment is done with one or a combination of the following – therapy/counseling, medication, brain stimulation techniques and lifestyle changes. 

Way Forward

Because symptoms of depression can manifest as bodily symptoms, as well as the impact of stigma, unfortunately, many people in Africa and beyond, seek medical attention for these symptoms. It is important to engage in therapy that provides you with healthy coping tools and addressing unhealthy ways of thinking  and behaving, that are causing or worsening this disorder. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, reach out to a professional for help. You do not have to suffer in silence with this disease. It is possible to overcome it, and lead a healthy and stable lifestyle. You can read more about depression here.

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