The issue of Depression in the United States is such that it calls for much attention so that it could be understood and dealt with in such a way that it does not portend any danger to the patient. The National Network of Depression Centres has stated that out of every five Americans, one of them is likely to get depressed in their lifetimes, furthermore, the Center for Disease Control has also disclosed that depression is the foremost cause of disabilities occurring in patients between the ages of 15 and 44.
Depression can be described as a condition affecting the mental health of an individual which affects the individual leaving them in low moods and in a consistent hopeless state. This condition may occur as a reaction to grief or a trauma, however where the symptoms persist after two weeks, it may become a case of depression that calls for serious attention.
Thankfully, this problem is not without a solution as statistics have shown that at least half of the patients suffering from depression usually get better within four to six weeks after beginning treatment for it.
The sad reality about depression is the fact that it’s presence drives away hope, leaves the patient without any drive or energy or desire to make any forward decision as these things can become exhausting and difficult to implement due to the effect of the depression, but the truth is that with all the weight that comes with depression, the patient still retains more control than they imagine, which makes it important to pull up on all the reserve energy left and take certain steps to deal with the depression and snap out of it.
For persons who reside with individuals suffering from depression, it may be difficult to know how to handle such situations, leaving them with a feeling of helplessness. However, the first step in handling such situations is to be aware of the symptoms of depression.
Symptoms of Depression
There are certain psychological, and emotional symptoms of depression which may unknowingly affect a person’s behavior. However, the physical symptoms of depression includes:
- Sleeping disorders (sleeping more or sleeping less)
- Eating disorders, (eating more or eating less)
- Lack of desire for sexual activities
- Constipation and problems with digestion
- Constant and unexplained headaches
- Frequent anger outburst and feelings of frustration over inconsequential issues.
- Inability to execute minute tasks
- Slow thinking, speaking and movement
- Constant suicidal thoughts
- Heart disease
- Changes in physical looks (unintentional weight loss or weight gain)
- Feelings of low self-worth etc.
The symptoms are diverse and can affect the productivity of the patient affecting their academics, their profession and even their day to day activities. This feeling of weakness can result in the patient being passive about their condition, however to get better, the truth is that you need to take charge of the situation and push yourself to accomplish little tasks, it is in these accomplishments and a subsequent growing feeling of self worth that a person begins to rise above depression.
Treatment for depression is a two way thing, it flows between the doctor and the patient, a successful patient is one who is willing to work with the doctor as a team to effect recovery. In trying to be a team, here are some tips that may help the patient handle depression.
- No matter how long it takes for the treatment to take effect, and no matter how many times a person may have to change drugs, the patient must ensure that they stick with the program, this is because treatments for depression are successful for at least 70% of the time.
- It is important to remember to take the prescribed drugs as and when prescribed and the patient should continue on the medication until the Doctor says to stop.
- Persons suffering from depression may begin to engage in physical activities that may get them busy, they may choose to make lifestyle changes like sleeping better, exercising, staying away from illicit drugs and Alcohol etc.
- Patients may choose to reduce their participation in stressful activities both at work and at home
- When having a therapy session, it is important for patients to be honest with their therapist concerning issues that they would rather keep secret as this will only help in providing better approaches to tackle the depression.
- Patients with depression should be open to diverse or strange ideas emanating from their therapist, these ideas may prove more useful than they sound.
- It is also important to set priorities and focus on the most important things, because with the lack of energy the ability to do a lot of things is greatly impacted and thus the way back up is to focus and concentrate energy on the more important things.
- The importance of getting support cannot be overemphasized, because from a depressed perspective, it is difficult to “see the light”, and yet at the same time it may be difficult to reach out, but yet reaching out is the fastest way to snap out of depression; patients may reach out to someone who they’re safe around and who loves them, and they may also intentionally get involved in social activities
- Patients may engage in activities that may give them a sense of self worth, that may make them feel good about themselves such as the things they used to enjoy doing before the depression kicked in.
- Patients are required to eat healthy, take supplements, avoid skipping meals
- Patients are also required to present tough engagements with the negative thoughts that cloud their minds when they are depressed, because the fact is that these kinds of thoughts are only coming as a result of the situation the patients find themselves in. To help this process, the patient may take a different view on the things they probably failed at and see what they had learned from the experience.
- An experience with volunteering can be of great help to someone suffering from depression as they get to achieve little tasks and in being useful to the world, they essentially find their self worth.