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Depression in India: Signs, Causes, and How to get help

Updated: Apr 29

Depression is a common yet complex mood disorder affecting millions of people worldwide. It's much more than just feeling down for a few days. It's a persistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest that significantly impacts daily life in this blog we know the understanding of depression in India its signs, causes and how to get help.

Depression in India: Signs, Causes, and How to get help

Types of depression

Major depressive disorder (MDD): 

This is the most well-known type, characterized by feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, and changes in sleep or appetite for at least two weeks. It can be mild, moderate, or severe.

Persistent depressive disorder (PDD): 

Also known as dysthymia, this involves long-term (at least two years) symptoms of depression that are less severe than MDD. People with PDD may experience low mood, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD):

 This type is linked to seasonal changes, with symptoms worsening in fall and winter and improving in spring and summer. People with SAD may experience fatigue, social withdrawal, and cravings for carbohydrates.

Peripartum depression: 

This encompasses both prenatal depression (during pregnancy) and postpartum depression (after childbirth). Symptoms can include anxiety, sadness, and difficulty bonding with the baby.

Bipolar disorder:

 This is a mood disorder with episodes of depression that alternate with periods of mania (excessive energy and euphoria).

Atypical depression: 

This type is characterized by unusual symptoms like increased appetite, weight gain, and excessive sleep alongside feelings of sadness and worthlessness.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): 

This severe form of PMS causes emotional and physical symptoms like irritability, depression, and bloating in the week or two before menstruation.

Situational depression: 

This arises due to a specific life event like a job loss, divorce, or serious illness. Symptoms typically improve once the situation is addressed.

Symptoms of depression

While occasional emotional lows are normal, depression manifests through a cluster of symptoms lasting for at least two weeks. Here are some key signs to be aware of:

  1. Persistent sadness: This goes beyond occasional sadness and can feel overwhelming and all-consuming.

  2. Loss of interest: Activities once enjoyed become a chore, and motivation wanes significantly.

  3. Changes in sleep or appetite: Sleep disturbances like insomnia or excessive sleepiness can occur, along with changes in appetite leading to weight fluctuations.

  4. Psychomotor agitation: This can manifest as restlessness, being on edge, or the opposite - feeling slowed down in movement and speech.

  5. Fatigue or loss of energy: Even simple tasks can feel exhausting, and a lack of energy persists throughout the day.

  6. Feelings of worthlessness or guilt: Excessive self-criticism and a sense of inadequacy are prominent features.

  7. Difficulty concentrating or making decisions: Focus and clear thinking become impaired, making daily activities challenging.

  8. Suicidal thoughts: These thoughts, though distressing, shouldn't be ignored.

Causes of depression

The exact cause of depression is unknown, but several factors are likely to contribute (not limited to the list below):

  1. Brain chemistry: Think of your brain as a giant communication network. Messages zip around carried by chemicals called neurotransmitters. Serotonin and norepinephrine are two important ones for mood. When their levels are low or not functioning properly, it can disrupt your brain's happy signals, leading to feelings of emptiness or sadness.

  2. Genetics: Just like some people inherit blue eyes, there can be a family history of depression. This doesn't guarantee it, but it can make you more vulnerable. Imagine it like having thinner skin that might sunburn more easily. You still need sun exposure (life events) to trigger a burn (depression), but you have to be extra careful.

  3. Life events: Difficult experiences are a big trigger for depression. Imagine a major loss like a death or breakup is a big blow. It can leave you feeling empty, and hopeless, and make it hard to cope with daily life. Chronic stress, like financial problems or work overload, can be like a constant weight dragging you down.

  4. Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions can go hand-in-hand with depression. For instance, chronic pain from arthritis can make you feel miserable and drained of energy. Some medications can even have depression as a side effect.

Depression treatment & support

Depression is very treatable, and with professional help, you can feel better. Here are some resources:

Building a support system:

  • Don't isolate yourself: Social connection is vital for emotional well-being. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or a therapist. Talking about your feelings can be incredibly helpful. Even a pet's companionship can provide comfort and reduce loneliness.

  • Join a support group: Connecting with others who understand what you're going through can be validating and provide a sense of belonging. Support groups can be found online or in your community.

Building healthy habits:

  • Get moving: Exercise is a natural mood booster. It releases endorphins, which have mood-elevating effects. Even a brisk walk for 20-30 minutes most days of the week can make a significant difference.

  • Nature's therapy: Sunlight exposure helps regulate your sleep-wake cycle and improves mood. Make time to spend outdoors each day, even if it's just for a short walk in nature.

  • Fuel your body and mind: Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein provides essential nutrients that support your brain function and overall well-being. Limit sugary drinks and excessive alcohol, as they can worsen mood swings.

  • Prioritize sleep: Aim for 7 hours of quality sleep each night. When you're well-rested, you're better equipped to manage stress and cope with depression symptoms.

Challenge negative thinking patterns:

  • Identify cognitive distortions: Depression can distort your thinking, making you focus on the negative. Common distortions include catastrophizing (assuming the worst), filtering out the positive, and personalizing events (blaming yourself for everything).

  • Challenge negative thoughts: When you hear your inner critic, don't just accept its pronouncements. Ask yourself if the thought is realistic and helpful. Try to reframe the situation in a more balanced and positive light.

Develop coping mechanisms:

  • Create a "Feel-Good" toolbox: Having a list of activities you enjoy readily available can be a lifesaver on low days. This could include listening to music, taking a relaxing bath, reading, spending time in nature, spending time with loved ones, or any activity that brings you joy.

  • Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques like meditation and deep breathing can help you manage stress, stay present in the moment, and cultivate a sense of calm.

  • Do something nice for yourself: Self-care is essential during depression. Take a warm bath, read a good book, watch a funny movie, or treat yourself to a small indulgence. Taking care of yourself shows you deserve kindness and can improve your mood.

Seek professional help:

  • Therapy: A therapist can be a valuable resource in managing depression. They can provide tools and strategies to cope with negative thoughts, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and help you navigate your emotions. Some forms of therapy that can be helpful include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), and Interpersonal Therapy.

  • Consider medication: In some cases, medication can be a helpful tool in managing depression. Talk to your doctor about whether medication might be right for you. Remember, depression doesn't define you. By seeking professional help and implementing self-care strategies, you can manage your symptoms and reclaim hope for a fulfilling life.

By seeking professional help and implementing self-care strategies, you can manage your symptoms and reclaim hope for a fulfilling life.

Depression in India: Signs, Causes, and How to Get Help


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