What is depression?
Depression is a condition that causes such negative feelings and emotions as helplessness, sadness and low self-esteem.
Symptoms of depression can be as varied and different from one person to the next. Not all symptoms will manifest themselves in all people. Depression can also look like other conditions, which make it difficult to diagnose.
– Easily agitated.
– Dramatic change in appetite, often with weight gain or loss.
– Difficulty concentrating.
– Flat affect – no facial expressions.
– Extreme fatigue.
– Feeling hopeless and helpless.
– Low self-esteem, unwarranted guilt and self-loathing.
– Lack of involvement in social activities.
– Consideration of suicide as an option.
– Sleeping too much
Depression can also cause anger, delusions and hallucinations. Suicide becomes an alternative that is seriously considered as the best way to end the suffering.
It is important to be able to recognize signs and symptoms of this aspect of depression. Usually there are warning signs that can be pleas for help. When a person is deeply depressed, suicide is always a consideration and the signals must be acted upon when first noticed before it is too late.
Antidepressant and antipsychotic medications are the usual treatment. Additionally, psychotherapeutic sessions with a licensed professional are also advised, to help the person cope with their feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
It is in the best interests of the patient to combine both of these treatments.
Different medications will work better for some and not so well for others. Caution must be taken when prescribing antidepressants to patients between 18 and 24 as they have a high risk of suicidal behaviour.
Tricyclic antidepressants, Monoamine oxidase inhibitors, selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
Antidepressants may need to be supplemented with thyroid or lithium medications to help boost the effects of the antidepressants. Hallucinations and delusional behavior are treated with the use of antipsychotics like quetiapine.
Electroconvulsive therapy, or ECT, administers electrical current to uplift the mood of those suffering from severe depression. ECT is used when the patient does not respond well to other treatments.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), acts to modify brain function. It resembles ECT, but without the side effects. Light therapy administered during winter month when there is less sunlight can help to alleviate symptoms of depression.
It is important that you contact a medical professional if your symptoms of depression are severe or prolonged, or if medication is not having the desired effect.