Depression is now a major concern for mental health. And the increase in depression cases were found to be the result of the pandemic that is still lurking around us, threatening us physically and mentally. Since the onset of coronavirus, there were many changes that affected us physically, financially, and mentally as well.
According to the online article published by the American Psychiatric Association, “Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.” (https://www.psychiatry.org/). In addition the same article indicated that “Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.”
Depression is the result of emotional challenges that we had that for some people are unbearable and difficult to resolve within their capacity and capability. For example, for some the loss of a loved one is difficult to accept and also as difficult for a breadwinner to lose his job in the midst of a pandemic where most of the companies are closing their businesses due to lack of consumers and low revenue. However, mental health experts affirm that being sad because of the aforementioned causes is a normal behavior and not necessarily a state of depression.
In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) in an article published online indicated that “more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression worldwide. That is why it is also one of the main concerns of public health.
To be able to deal with it, we have to know the signs of symptoms of depression such as the following: (https://www.psychiatry.org/)
- Sadness or depressive mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (e.g., inability to sit still, pacing, handwringing) or slowed movements or speech (these actions must be severe enough to be observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- When these symptoms become more apparent and last for at least two weeks, it is possible that you are depressed or leading in that direction.
Mental health experts also differentiated grief or sadness from depression in severals ways such as:(retrieved from similar source)
- “In grief, painful feelings come in waves, often intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. In major depression, mood and/or interest (pleasure) are decreased for most of two weeks”
- During a grieving situation, self-esteem is usually maintained. In major depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common.
- “In grief, thoughts of death may surface when thinking of or fantasizing about “joining” the deceased loved one. In major depression, thoughts are focused on ending one’s life due to feeling worthless or undeserving of living or being unable to cope with the pain of depression.”
"Grief and depression can co-exist. For some people, the death of a loved one, losing a job or being a victim of a physical assault or a major disaster can lead to depression. When grief and depression co-occur, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression."
Aside from learning about the symptoms of depression, it is also important to know the risk factors so that we can be at peace with ourselves knowing that we are not at risk with this mental condition. Several risk factors were listed in the same article such as:
- Biochemistry: different chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
- 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.
- 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.
- Environmental factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression.
On a lighter note, depression as reported is one of the most treatable mental disorders. In fact, "between 80% to 90% of those suffering from depression eventually respond positively to treatment. There are also devices that could help treat depression without resorting to several kinds of drugs. Some of the devices are: (https://healthguides.cnn.com/).
- Light therapy - “The light box stimulates the production of happy chemicals in the brain, such as endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin the way sunlight would,” says Susan Heitler, PhD, author of Depression: A Disorder of Power.
- Stimulation therapies - “These therapies"activate or touch the brain directly with electricity, magnets, or implants and would be administered by your doctor."
- Electro Stimulator Devices - “ Electro stimulator devices might be a good treatment option for you if you have Good for mild depression symptoms. These devices "stimulate the parts of the brain that tell the body to produce more of those happy chemicals that the body is supposed to naturally produce, says Heitler."
- Helmet Therapy - “this is a treatment that’s still in clinical trials and being tested on patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression. This helmet delivered electro-magnetic pulses to the brains of 65 depression patients in Denmark and New Zealand who were able to administer the treatment in their own home.”
While depression is treatable medically or with therapies and other devices, it is also much better when we engage in physical activities to be able to focus more on the positive side of life.
Highly recommendable is a fitness machine from Flexispot that could be used at home or at the office such as the Sit2Go 2-in-1 Fitness Chair that you can use to exercise by cycling that has an adjustable seat height adjustment with a one-touch lever. Adjustment can be done without leaving the seat.
It has a breathable mesh backrest that guarantees cool and comfortable sitting pleasure. In addition the cushion padded seat makes for wonderful sedentary moments.
Working and exercising simultaneously shoo depression away.