Depression: learn more about the evil of the 21st century

We are going to discuss depression today. Known as the illness of the century, it affects around 350 million individuals globally and has a variety of effects on the everyday activities of the afflicted person.

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists depression as the illness that causes the most functional impairment globally, with an estimated 19% of people experiencing depression at some time in their lives.

But after all, what is depression and what are the symptoms?

One of the principal qualities of discouragement is the lack of synapse substances, like serotonin. The sickness is sorted as a condition set apart by at least five of the accompanying side effects:

  • Presence of a sad mood throughout most of the day, most days,
  • Loss of interest and pleasure in your routine activities,
  • Weight gain or loss without dieting,
  • Reduced or increased appetite almost every day,
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep almost every day,
  • Psychomotor agitation or slowness observable by other people,
  • Sensations of excessive or inappropriate guilt, worthlessness, or
  • Reduced capacity for thought, focus, and decision-making
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicidal ideation.

How is depression diagnosed?

To obtain an official diagnosis of depression, among the five symptoms that must exist, one of them must necessarily be a sad mood and loss of interest and pleasure. The symptoms must bring impairment to the patient’s functioning and significant suffering, and cannot be explained by the use of drugs, medication or the presence of another disease.

The symptoms that characterize depression make it clear that they are normal behaviors of human beings in certain situations and circumstances. For these behaviors to be considered as symptoms, and consequently, fruits of a disease, they must occur in excess, randomly, persistently and impact the individual’s functionality and quality of life. 

It is important to make these reservations, as for this reason, many people take time to differentiate between normal and pathological behavior, thus postponing the search for medical help.

Consequences and impacts of depression

We can clearly say that the damage associated with the disease is directly linked to the presence of depressive symptoms, and can directly affect the way the individual relates to others, weakening their social bonds, compromising engagement in essential tasks of their day, and causing them to not carry out their care properly, adopting less healthy lifestyle habits (a sedentary lifestyle, use of alcohol, tobacco, etc.), leaving them more vulnerable to other diseases.

This vulnerability is also directly associated with changes in weight/appetite and sleep that occur in depression, which can cause the patient to be absent from work.

People with depression increase the number of absenteeism (absences at work) and presenters (when the person is present, but does not fully perform their duties), which generates billion-dollar consequences annually. In addition to these impacts, when left untreated, depression increases the number of other illnesses in the patient’s body and mortality.

Risk factors for depression

There are two factors that are directly related to the development of depression: individual factors and environmental factors.

Individual factors are those directly related to the person, their biology and their choices. Below are some examples of individual factors:

  • Genetic factors.
  • Biological factors, such as other diseases and aging.
  • Life habits, such as addictions, frequent cell phone use and poor sleep quality.

In the case of environmental factors, we can mention the following as the main risk factors for the development of depression:

  • Highly stressful life events.
  • Traumatizing events.
  • Adverse events at early ages.

Multidisciplinary treatment for depression

Treatment for wretchedness should be possible with stimulant meds, yet it is multidisciplinary. As the illness influences various regions of the patient’s life, the help of different experts is critical for progress, like psychotherapists, nutritionists and actual training experts. Every one of these experts is liable for giving a superior personal satisfaction to the patient and assisting with dispatching side effects.

Despite everything that has been said, we still suffer from a problem of treatment resistance. We also observed that only 1/3 of patients with depression respond to the first proposed treatment. The other third of patients will respond to subsequent treatments and the remaining 1/3 will unfortunately not respond adequately to treatment. Therefore, it is important and fundamental that there is adherence to treatment, as stopping it can make the disease chronic.

Is it possible to prevent depression?

As per Ministry of Health, the best way to prevent depression is through a healthy lifestyle:

  • Balanced diet
  • Combat stress by doing pleasurable activities
  • Quality and regular sleep
  • Practice physical activities regularly
  • Do not interrupt treatment without medical advice.