Depression is more than just a low mood – it's a serious condition that affects your physical and mental health.

 

~ Beyond Blue ~

depression. anxiety.

DEPRESSION IS REAL

"Depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 300 million people affected. Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. Especially when long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds.

 

Although there are known, effective treatments for depression, fewer than half of those affected in the world (in many countries, fewer than 10%) receive such treatments. Barriers to effective care include a lack of resources, lack of trained health-care providers, and social stigma associated with mental disorders. Another barrier to effective care is inaccurate assessment. In countries of all income levels, people who are depressed are often not correctly diagnosed, and others who do not have the disorder are too often misdiagnosed and prescribed antidepressants." (WHO, 2017)

 

But what exactly is depression, many still don't understand this disease that's threatening the society globally. Here's the information RAQUE has gathered for you.

WHAT IS DEPRESSION?

Everyone feels depressed sometimes. "The death of a loved one, loss of a job or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences for a person to endure. It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to such situations. Those experiencing loss often might describe themselves as being “depressed.” However, being sad is not the same as having depression." In fact, it's common and serious medical illness "that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act." (American Psychiatric Association, 2017) "It is a mood disorder that causes distressing symptoms that affect how you feel, think, and handle daily activities." (NIMH, 2016) If not treated, it can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. For many, it may even lead to suicide.

Depression affects different people in different ways. Although it's more common in women than in men, the disease does not tie to ages or genders. This simply means anyone can have depression.

TYPES OF DEPRESSION
 

There are many types of depression. Most common are the followings:

  1. Major depression — "having symptoms of depression most of the day, nearly every day for at least 2 weeks that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy life. An episode can occur only once in a person’s lifetime, but more often, a person has several episodes". (NIMH, 2016)
     

  2. Dysthymia or chronic depression — "having symptoms of depression that last for at least 2 years. A person diagnosed with this form of depression may have episodes of major depression along with periods of less severe symptoms." (NIMH, 2016)
     

  3. Bipolar or Manic-depressive illness - having symptoms of depression that "typically consists of both manic and depressive episodes separated by periods of normal mood. Manic episodes involve elevated or irritable mood, over-activity, pressure of speech, inflated self-esteem and a decreased need for sleep. (WHO, 2017)

 

WHO HAS DEPRESSION?

Anybody can have depression. There might be more people than you realize around you who suffer from depression. Even many famous figures that you know suffer from depression. For example, Edvard Munc used art to express his depression, including the infamous Scream. The legendary Robin Williams, and legendary singer, Dolores O'Riordan, suffered severe depression for years before committed suicide. The founder of RAQUE, Kalyakorn, too has been suffering from depression since her high school years and is now treated with medication alongside psychotherapy.

What we are saying is depression is real and is around us.

CAUSES OF DEPRESSION

 

"Depression results from a complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors. People who have gone through adverse life events (unemployment, bereavement, psychological trauma) are more likely to develop depression. Depression can, in turn, lead to more stress and dysfunction and worsen the affected person’s life situation and depression itself." (WHO, 2017)

Although we can't pin point at a particular factor that causes depression, studies show one of or combination of following factors are likely to contribute to depression.

  1. Biochemistry: Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
     

  2. Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life.
     

  3. Personality: People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress, or who are generally pessimistic appear to be more likely to experience depression.
     

  4. Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression.

      (American Psychiatric Association, 2017)

CAN IT BE ME?

 

Yes, it can be anybody. If you want to know if you are at risk, check out the symptoms below.

  1. Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood

  2. Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities

  3. Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions

  4. Decreased energy, fatigue, or being “slowed down”

  5. Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism

  6. Appetite and/or weight changes

  7. ​Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping

  8. Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

  9. Thoughts of death or suicide or suicide attempts

 

If you're familiar with at least 5 symptoms above continously for more than 2 weeks, you probably have depression. Our advice to you is to please get a professional diagnosis and seek professional help. (NIMH, 2016 and Bangkok Hospital, 2017)

TREATMENTS  (American Psychiatric Association, 2017)

"Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.

Before a diagnosis or treatment, a health professional should conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation, including an interview and possibly a physical examination. In some cases, a blood test might be done to make sure the depression is not due to a medical condition like a thyroid problem. The evaluation is to identify specific symptoms, medical and family history, cultural factors and environmental factors to arrive at a diagnosis and plan a course of action.

Medication: Brain chemistry may contribute to an individual’s depression and may factor into their treatment. For this reason, antidepressants might be prescribed to help modify one’s brain chemistry. These medications are not sedatives, “uppers” or tranquilizers. They are not habit-forming. Generally antidepressant medications have no stimulating effect on people not experiencing depression.

Antidepressants may produce some improvement within the first week or two of use. Full benefits may not be seen for two to three months. If a patient feels little or no improvement after several weeks, his or her psychiatrist can alter the dose of the medication or add or substitute another antidepressant. In some situations other psychotropic medications may be helpful. It is important to let your doctor know if a medication does not work or if you experience side effects.

Psychiatrists usually recommend that patients continue to take medication for six or more months after symptoms have improved. Longer-term maintenance treatment may be suggested to decrease the risk of future episodes for certain people at high risk.

Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” is sometimes used alone for treatment of mild depression; for moderate to severe depression, psychotherapy is often used in along with antidepressant medications. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be effective in treating depression. CBT is a form of therapy focused on the present and problem solving. CBT helps a person to recognize distorted thinking and then change behaviors and thinking.

Psychotherapy may involve only the individual, but it can include others. For example, family or couples therapy can help address issues within these close relationships. Group therapy involves people with similar illnesses.

Depending on the severity of the depression, treatment can take a few weeks or much longer. In many cases, significant improvement can be made in 10 to 15 sessions.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a medical treatment most commonly used for patients with severe major depression or bipolar disorder who have not responded to other treatments. It involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia. A patient typically receives ECT two to three times a week for a total of six to 12 treatments. ECT has been used since the 1940s, and many years of research have led to major improvements. It is usually managed by a team of trained medical professionals including a psychiatrist, an anesthesiologist and a nurse or physician assistant."

People still understand that having depression is being weak, when in truth, anybody can have depression.

 

~  Ajchara Boonnak ~

Therapist at Manarom Hospital, Bangkok

BIBLIOGRAPHY

 American Psychiatric Association. January 2017. What Is Depression? Searched on 14 February 2018. American Psychiatric Association : https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression

Bangkok Hospital. July 24 2017. 9 Symptoms Warning for Depression. Searched on 12 February 2018. Bangkok Hospital : https://www.bangkokhospital.com/index.php/th/diseases-treatment/major-depressive-disorder

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). 2016. Depression Basics. Searched on 14 February 2018. NIMH : https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml

World Health Organization (WHO). February 2017. Depression. Search on 14 February 2018. WHO : http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs369/en/ 

Scream by Edvard Munch

Scream by Edvard Munch

Robin Williams

Robin Williams

Dolores O'Riordan

Dolores O'Riordan

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