What is depression and how should it be treated?
Depression is actually a very interesting word. The thing is that it’s often confused with some other unpleasant things like sadness, and you may have probably heard something like “I’m really depressed” from your girlfriend who had broken her nail. It’s a sad thing of course, but here is the problem — it’s usually not a real depression when people say something like this. The real depression is a very deep problem. Let’s have a look.
Following the opinion of the majority of people — there are two kinds of depression. The first one is what we’ve just talked about. It’s when people say something like “I’m sad” or “I’m depressed” in everyday conversation and don’t have any serious problems in mind. You know what we are talking about — that’s like when you miss a new episode of your favorite TV show, break your nail, when you have a hole in your new jeans or when you just feel tired. It’s often called “depression”, and it’s a very unpleasant state. But the thing you have to know is that such depressions are not as bad as the clinical depression. It feels like the last term should be explained in details.
So, that’s what depression actually is — a major disorder. That’s how it’s called, “major depressive disorder”, and it’s usually a real problem, much more severe than what people usually call depression. This psychological disorder influences the levels of your concentration, energy and motivation, the ability to remember things and to study, as well as your sleep and the ability to perform well. Moreover, such kind of depression can be really dangerous and painful. Why?
The first reason is that it is neurotoxic. By saying this word, we mean a low level of a hormone (BDNF), and this state usually leads to the eventual death of the neurons in your brain. The neurons from the reasoning and critical memory zones are very vulnerable when you have a real depression. So, depression can lead to the death of neurons. Death of neurons is actually brain damage, so depression can be the reason of serious problems.
The second reason why clinical depression is dangerous is that this state influences pain modulation mechanisms. To be more specific, depression can light up the pain circuitry in your brain, which will most likely lead to physical pain in your head. That’s a very common thing when depression isn’t just unpleasant but also painful, and now you know why.
What should you do if you are depressed?
So, as we’ve just said, there are actually two types of depression. Talking about the first one, “mild” or “everyday” depression, one should mention that it can be treated by such things as support and love! But the problem is that depression can make you extraordinary irritable and agitated, so it can be a little bit difficult for your family to help you. In this case, we highly recommend you to contact your doctor — don’t try to hide your depression because if not treated, it can be very dangerous. Well, at least it’s unpleasant and unhealthy.
If love and support can’t help, it’s time for doctors and medications. There are different kinds of depression:
- It’s a seasonal disorder, which usually occurs in the winter or in the autumn.
- Prenatal depression. It can occur when you are pregnant.
- This one usually lasts for a very long time (more than two years). It’s also often called chronic depression. And it should be treated carefully, because it can be very dangerous!
- Postnatal depression (this one occurs after you’ve become a parent, and women experience it more often than men).
Your doctor will tell you what kind of depression you have and what the problem is. If it’s not just your reaction to life events, he (or she) may prescribe you drugs that are called antidepressants. Together with other treatment, medications will most likely help you in a short period of time, so you have nothing to worry about.