Depression

Everyone feels sad once in a while. However, it usually goes away after a few minutes, hours, days or weeks. Depression is a deeper sadness that lasts longer- months or even years, which affects a person’s daily life. Depression can happen to anyone but the elderly have a higher risk of experiencing it.   

Causes
There is never one reason for people to become depressed. It could depend on many things such as their outlook on life, genes or even for no reason at all. Some people are more prone to depression than others. But whatever it is, depression is never the person’s fault. Below are some of the more common reasons why people become depressed

Loss of Loved Ones
As adults begin to age, people around them begin to age too and some people they care about might die. Most people are sad for some time but eventually they begin to feel happy again. However, this could affect other people past grief and it could lead to depression.

Genetics
There has also been research that shows that depression runs through the family. This means children with a family history of depression have a higher chance of getting it too. Genes can also affect how the brain chemicals are balanced. People with genes that lean towards depression have a higher chance of unbalancing the chemical messengers in the brain called neurotransmitters, which could lead to depression.

However, there are many people without a family history of depression who still get depression. So though genes may increase the chances of depression, it’s not the only factor.

Health Conditions
Illnesses such as cancer can affect a person more than physically. Their body image or the way they look at themselves may suffer because of the surgery or disease.  People with illnesses may also be too tired to handle sadness like they normally would. Or they may become depressed worrying about how the illness is going to affect their lives.

Medications for the illness may also change hormone balance and therefore affect the person’s mood. This means that sometimes the medication makes people depressed. However, this can be easily fixed by a doctor who may give the patient less of that medicine or give them another medicine instead.

Though illnesses may lead to depression, it can go the other way around as well. If people are depressed, their immune systems weaken due to symptoms such as a lack of sleep. They have a higher chance of getting an illness or making it worse and this can lead to even greater depression. This can repeat itself into a circle which can be hard to stop except for with treatment.

Isolation
A depressed person may live alone and begin to feel lonely with no one to talk to. The person may feel neglected or feel as though other people don’t care about him/ her.

 

Many times, depression is mistaken as a reaction to other illnesses or is believed to be just grief. Depressed people may not even know they’re depressed or they might try to hide it. That means you have to be careful to watch out for the symptoms.

symptoms

1. Constant emptiness/sadness: The person doesn’t seem to be happy no matter what.

2. Inability to function at work, home, etc.: If a person is depressed, he/she may neglect personal care. This means they might not want to shower or even eat.

3. Feeling worthless/hopeless: Loss of interest in socializing and activities they usually like to do: They may suddenly refuse to hang out with their friends or participate in their favorite activity.

4. Lack of motivation: The person may not be willing to get up in the morning or just want to sit around and not do anything.

5. Suicidal thoughts: The person may talk about wanting to kill himself/herself or how pointless it is to be alive. This is extremely serious and you should get help right away.  

6. Insomnia or excessive sleeping: Usually adults are supposed to sleep 5 to 8 hours a day. However, some adults have trouble falling or staying asleep and this is called insomnia. Other depressed adults may sleep excessively, meaning they sleep too much.

How Depression is Treated

1. Antidepressants: These are medicines which change how the brain thinks and works, making the person feel happier.

2. Psychotherapy: Depressed people can go talk to other nonjudgmental people, such as therapists, who are there to help the depressed person find a solution to cure his/her depression.

3. Social support group: This could include counselling or small groups which allows the person to share his/her feelings with other people in the group who are in the exact same situation.  

what you can do to help
1. Most importantly, make sure the person sees a doctor or a health care person. If they aren’t willing to get help, try and explain how this treatment might help the person feel better.

2. Support the person and try to be patient and understanding. It takes time for people to recover. Try encouraging the person to participate in activities he or she once enjoyed but make sure you’re not forcing the person to.

3. Make sure their medication is taken correctly. Read the instructions and make sure the person follows it.

4. Invite them to social activities. This could include family gatherings or even to the local community center.