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AMajor depressive disorder (MDD) is a serious medical condition that affects how you feel, think, and act. It can also be treated, thankfully. Sadness and/or a loss of interest in previously appreciated activities are symptoms of depression. It can cause a slew of mental and physical issues, as well as a reduction in your capacity to operate at work and at home.

Symptoms of depression can range from moderate to severe, and include:
Loss of interest or pleasure in previously appreciated activities.

Appetite changes – weight loss or increase that isn't connected to dieting

Sleeping problems or sleeping too much

Increased weariness or a loss of energy Increased involuntary physical activity (e.g., difficulty to sit still, pacing, or handwringing) or slower movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others).

Feeling worthless or remorseful think, concentrate, or make conclusions with difficulty

Suicide or death thoughts

For a diagnosis of depression, you must have symptoms for at least two weeks and a change in your previous level of functioning. Furthermore, medical diseases (e.g., thyroid problems, a brain tumor, or vitamin deficiency) can resemble depressive symptoms, so it's crucial to rule out any general medical causes. In any given year, depression affects about one in every fifteen persons (6.7%). And one out of every six persons (16.6%) will suffer from depression at some point in their lives.

Depression can strike at any age, but it is most common in late adolescence to early adulthood. Depressive disorders are more common in women than in men. According to some research, one-third of all women will have a significant depressive episode at some point during their lives. When first-degree relatives (parents, children, and siblings) suffer from depression, there is a high degree of heritability (about 40%).

 Depression Is Different From Sadness Or Grief/Bereavement

A person's grief might be exacerbated by the death of a loved one, the loss of a career, or the termination of a relationship. It's natural to experience melancholy or grief in response to such circumstances.

Those who have suffered a loss may describe themselves as "depressed." Sadness, on the other hand, is not the same as depression. Grief is a natural and individual process that shares many of the same characteristics as depression.

Grief and depression are both marked by deep sadness and a withdrawal from daily activity. They differ in a number of other ways as well: In sorrow, painful emotions come in waves, frequently mingled with happy recollections of the deceased.

For the first two weeks after a significant depressive episode, mood and/or interest (pleasure) are low. Self-esteem is frequently preserved during sorrow. Feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are typical in serious depression. When thinking of or fantasizing about “joining” a deceased loved one, thoughts of death may surface in sadness.

In major depression, thoughts turn to terminating one's life because one feels worthless or undeserving of living, or because one is unable to cope with the depression's anguish. Grief and depression are two emotions that can coexist. The death of a loved one, the loss of a career, or being the victim of a physical assault or a big tragedy can all lead to depression in certain people.

Grief that is accompanied by depression is more acute and lasts longer than grief that is not accompanied by sadness. It's critical to distinguish between grieving and depression so that people can obtain the aid, support, and treatment they require.

Depression Risk Factors
Depression can strike anyone, including those who appear to be in reasonably good health.

Several factors can play a role in depression:
Biochemistry: Differences in some brain chemicals may have a role in depressive symptoms.
Genetics: Depression can be passed down across generations. If one identical twin suffers depression, the other has a 70% probability of developing the disorder at some point in their lives.
Personality: People who have low self-esteem, are quickly overwhelmed by stress, or are gloomy in general appear to be more prone to depression.

Environmental factors: Some people may be more susceptible to depression if they are constantly exposed to violence, neglect, abuse, or poverty.

How Is Depression Treated?

One of the most treatable mental illnesses is depression. People with depression react favourably to treatment in 80 to 90% of cases. Almost every patient experiences some symptom improvement.

A full diagnostic evaluation, which includes an interview and a physical examination, should be conducted by a health expert prior to a diagnosis or therapy. A blood test may be performed in some circumstances to ensure that the depression is not caused by a medical disease such as a thyroid problem or a vitamin deficit (reversing the medical cause would alleviate the depression-like symptoms).

With the purpose of arriving at a diagnosis and determining a course of action, the examination will identify specific symptoms and analyse medical and family histories, as well as cultural and environmental factors.

Medication: An individual's brain chemistry may have a role in their depression and treatment. As a result, antidepressants may be administered to aid in the modification of one's brain chemistry. There are no sedatives, "uppers," or tranquillisers in these drugs. They do not form a habit. Antidepressant medicines, in general, have little stimulating impact on those who are not depressed.

Antidepressants may provide some relief within the first week or two of treatment, but the full effects may take two to three months to manifest. If a patient doesn't feel better after a few weeks, his or her psychiatrist may adjust the medication's dose or add or substitute another antidepressant. Other psychotropic medicines may be beneficial in some cases. If a drug does not work or if you encounter side effects, it is critical that you inform your doctor.

Psychiatrists frequently advise patients to keep taking their medicine for six months or longer after their symptoms have eased. For some persons at high risk, longer-term maintenance treatment may be recommended to reduce the risk of future episodes.

Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, often known as "talk therapy," is sometimes used alone to treat minor depression; however, it is frequently used in conjunction with antidepressant drugs to treat moderate to severe depression. In the treatment of depression, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) has been demonstrated to be beneficial. CBT is a type of therapy that focuses on fixing problems in the present. CBT teaches a person to notice distorted/negative thinking and to change their ideas and behaviours so that they can respond to situations in a more positive way.

Individual psychotherapy may or may not include others. Family or couples counseling, for example, can aid in the resolution of challenges that arise in these close bonds. Group therapy puts people who have similar conditions together in a friendly setting, and it can help the participant understand how others deal with similar situations.

Self-Help And Coping

People can do a variety of things to assist alleviate the symptoms of depression. Regular exercise helps many people feel better and boosts their attitude. Getting enough good sleep on a regular basis, eating a nutritious diet, and avoiding alcohol (which is a depressant) can all help to alleviate depression symptoms.

Depression is a serious illness for which treatment is accessible. The vast majority of persons with depression will be able to overcome it with proper diagnosis and therapy. If you're having depression symptoms, the first thing you should do is contact your family doctor or a psychiatrist. Discuss your worries and ask for a thorough examination. This is a good place to start when it comes to dealing with your mental health issues.

 Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder

In 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) included premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). About a week before menstruation, a woman with PMDD has extreme depression, irritability, and stress.

Mood swings, impatience or hostility, depression, and worry or tension are some of the most common symptoms. Other signs and symptoms include a lack of interest in regular activities, difficulties concentrating, a lack of energy or easy exhaustion, changes in appetite with specific food cravings, problems sleeping or sleeping too much, and a feeling of being overwhelmed or out of control. Breast discomfort or swelling, joint or muscle pain, a feeling of "bloating," or weight gain are all possible physical signs.

These symptoms appear a week to ten days before menstruation begins and fade or disappear around the time menstruation begins. The symptoms cause a lot of distress and make it difficult to function normally or socially.

Symptoms of PMDD must have occurred in the majority of menstrual cycles over the previous year and have had a negative impact on work or social functioning to be diagnosed. Every year, between 1.8 percent and 5.8 percent of menstruation women are thought to suffer from premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Antidepressants, birth control pills, and nutritional supplements can all be used to treat PMDD. Reducing coffee and alcohol consumption, getting enough sleep and exercise, and practicing relaxation techniques can all help. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is comparable to premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) in that symptoms appear seven to ten days before a woman's period starts.   

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Clinical depression, also known as major depression, is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. Clinical depression affects the way you eat and sleep. It affects the way you feel about yourself and those around you. It even affects your thoughts.