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‘Extreme sadness; a heavy heart; complete hopelessness; feeling of self-guilt; angry outbursts; irritation’. Should you or anyone around you is going through one or more of these symptoms for a prolonged duration, it is time to seek immediate help for these symptoms indicate that the person is going through a state of depression.

Depression is not a ‘mood swing’ or just a ‘down and low’ feeling. Depression is an illness, a real illness and worse, a common one. While everybody suffers from occasional ‘feeling down’ it usually lasts for a couple of days and disappears, however, if someone has the above-mentioned symptoms for 2 weeks or more, it is a case of depression.

As mentioned by, doctors use a manual DSM-5 which states that a person is undergoing a state of depression if he/she has any 5 of more of these symptoms for at least 2 weeks:

  • A depressed mood during most of the day, especially in the morning
  • You feel tired or have a lack of energy almost every day.
  • You feel worthless or guilty almost every day.
  • You have a hard time focusing, remembering details, and making decisions.
  • You can’t sleep or you sleep too much almost every day.
  • You have almost no interest or pleasure in many activities nearly every day.
  • You think often about death or suicide (not just a fear of death).
  • You feel restless or slowed down.
  • You’ve lost or gained weight
  • Feel irritable and restless
  • Lose pleasure in life
  • Overeat or stop feeling hungry
  • Have aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that don’t go away or get better with treatment
  • Have sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
  • Joint pains
  • Indigestion
  • Slow speech and lethargic movements

While these symptoms are quite common, everybody suffering from depression will have these in different combinations, degrees of severity, frequency and duration.

What Causes Depression?

No single cause can be pointedly blamed for the occurrence of depression. There could be many factors which could singly or severally lead any one to a state of depression. These factors could be psychological, physiological, environmental, genetic, biochemical, etc. Loss of a loved one, a chronic illness, societal isolation or rejection, hormonal changes, a stressful life event or a persistent problem any of these could trigger a depressive state of mind.

Types of Depression

Depression does not discriminate between sexes or age. Following are the various types of medically recognized depressions that people may suffer from time to time:

  • Unipolar Major Depression: This is the most common type of depression that most people suffer from when they are suffering from the illness. This occurs when your symptoms start interfering with your general way of living and daily functions for 2 weeks or longer;
  • Dysthymia: When persistent depressive disorder with usually milder mood symptoms last for over 2 years, a person is said to be affected by Dysthymia;
  • Postpartum depression: This occurs in women after giving birth to a child. The baby birth triggers mood swings in the following days or weeks, called baby blues. When the reaction is stronger and lasts for a longer duration, it is considered postpartum depression;
  • Seasonal Affective disorder (SAD): In this case, depression occurs seasonally, primarily in the winter months when sunlight is in short supply. It is often improved by exposure to specific types of artificial light;
  • Psychotic depression: In cases of psychotic depression, severe depression is paired with some form of psychosis, such as delusions and hallucinations;
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder: Here, a woman has severe mood problems before the start of her periods, which are more intense than typical premenstrual syndrome (PMS);
  • Substance-induced mood disorder (SIMD): This takes place when symptoms occur when the person is taking a drug or after it has been stopped

Treatments for Depression

While Depression is a serious and dangerous mental illness, the good news is that even a severe degree of depression is highly treatable. The treatment can be classified into 4 categories:

Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy: This is designed for people to identify and deal with psychological, interpersonal, behavioral and situational factors of depression. A couple of methods of Psychotherapy are 1) Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) where unhealthy and negative thoughts of a person are identified and replaced with positive ones; and 2) Interpersonal Therapy where the focus is on identifying problems in interpersonal relationships and problems affecting those by strategies of better interaction and eliminating the problems.

Medication: Cases of mild depression can be easily sorted with the help of Psychotherapy alone, more severe cases need to complement psychotherapy with dosage of antidepressants. These antidepressants are a class of drugs which moderate certain chemicals to the parts o brain which affect mood and behavior.

Brain Stimulation Therapy: Should Medication not work either in stubborn cases of depression, the next resort is to external resources to stimulate the brain to get out of the disorderly state and start functioning normally. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS) may be the options.

Treat it Naturally: While the above methods will work singly or in a combination, there are several natural remedies, which help ease the state of depression. These can be practices along with the above-mentioned methods:

Physical Exercise – Plan a schedule for running, walking, swimming, gym and stick to it come what may

Do not skip meals – Have your meals, timely. Even if you are not interested in eating, skipping meals is definitely not the way to handle the situation.

Meditate – Meditation and/or yoga help bring calmness to your mind and clear your thoughts

Engage in a hobby – Read, write, listen to music, dance. Divert your mind from morose thoughts

Do not stay alone – Depression and loneliness can prove to be a fatal combination. Try to be in the company of family & friends. Even a pet dog or cat can keep you occupied and away from depression

Talk it out – Do not keep your thoughts feelings within yourself. Share your thoughts with a close confidant.

Challenge – Do not let the negative thoughts overpower you. Challenge your negative thoughts and fight them. Push them and shove them out of your mind.

Remember one thing. Life is a cycle of ups and downs and nothing lasts forever. Today you may be having a blast of a time, this will not last forever and you are bound to face a low. This low shall also pass. Think of a wave which hits a crest followed by a trough and this goes on as the wave progresses. Should there be no ups and downs, life will stagnate and not progress.


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10 thoughts on “Banish That Depression, At All Cost”

  1. You have provided good information about this disease which affects and kills many in our society. I have a couple of family members that suffer from this, and it isn’t just a case of telling them to cheer up, as some people think.
    The idea that nutrition is important is one I was not familiar with until I accompanied a family member to the psychiatrist. She asked if the patient was eating plenty of protein because without proper nutrition her medications would not work properly.

    1. Thank you for your visit to my site, Mike. Yes, Nutrition does affect the brain cells’ activities and to a certain extent, plays a role in governing our thoughts and emotions. stay tuned, shall be adding a lot more content.

  2. This is an excellent article. I’m a strong believer in the benefits of meditation and fitness for depression. I don’t like medications. I won’t even take a tylenol for a headache unless its really bad and nothing else natural worked. Medication is a last resort.

    1. Thank you Toni. You definitely are on the right path by avoiding medication. Mother nature has given a lot of natural remedies and by meditation one can control a lot of these little nagging issues, maybe even more.

  3. Ashish, this was a great read! I really enjoyed your article! Keep up the great work and I’ll make sure I visit your site regularly.

    1. Now that for sure is an incentive!! 🙂
      Thank you Meena, for visiting my post and leaving your encouraging words.

  4. Ashish, this is an excellent article. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety in 1999. I have been on medication and through many mental health programs since. It is true that we lose interest in daily things. Even things we previously really enjoyed. I find once this happens, it is hard to regain interest. I need to come back to more articles detailing how our diets can help with this.

    1. Michelle, I am sad to know that you went through this horrible phase and sincerely hope you have recovered completely. To be honest, I am not sure if there are any specific diets for treating depression but definitely, you must eat all your meals and not skip any even if you do not feel like eating (which is very common to happen). Maybe foods which keep your brain cool and calm could be considered. Here is an article for you to read:

      All the best!

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