Depression: Causes, symptoms and non-drug treatment
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Depression is a common emotional disorder today. The disease mainly occurs due to psychological trauma with a higher incidence in women. Similar to other mental disorders, depression severely affects personal, family and social life.
what is depression?
Depression is a common mood disorder . In addition, depression is also a mental illness caused by a disorder in the functioning of the brain. Abnormal psychological complications have created many abnormal changes in thinking, behavior and expression.
In severe cases, the patient may have thoughts or behavior of self-destruction, suicide. In the last few decades, the rate of people suffering from depression has increased significantly with a higher rate in women (twice as many as men). According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), about 5% of the world’s population suffers from a depressive disorder.
Not only does it increase the risk of suicide, depression also affects school and work performance. The patient gradually separates from the group, causing a decrease in the quality of life. In addition, depression also increases the burden on the family and society. Therefore, early detection of the disease is essential for timely examination and treatment.
Manifestations of depression
Depression is characterized by low mood, easy body fatigue, loss of interest, low self-esteem and low self-esteem. Symptoms of the disease develop slowly over several weeks with a decline in mood and a debilitating syndrome.
After a period of development, patients may experience all 3 groups of depressive symptoms:
1. Depressed affect
Suppressed emotions are the most common symptom in patients with depression. Patients often have a sad mood, which manifests as sadness with varying degrees of sadness, disappointment, deep sadness, unexplained sadness, complete loss of interest in things around them. Increased levels of sadness can lead to self-destructive behavior and suicide.
2. Depressed thinking
In addition to suppressed emotions, patients with depression also experience symptoms due to inhibited thinking. Initially, symptoms such as difficult recollection, slow association, pessimism, constant feeling of unhappiness, shame, humiliation. Then there are many cases of crystallization into paranoia that leads to feelings of self-accusation and, ultimately, to provoke suicidal behavior.
Inhibited thinking in depressed patients manifests through the following signs:
- Answer difficult questions, speak slowly, speak softly, often in a whisper, sometimes not speaking at all, but accompanied by crying, groaning
- Suicidal thoughts easily arise, persistent thoughts leading to suicidal behavior can occur at any time. Patients can pretend to be cured to escape the control of doctors and relatives to easily commit suicide.
3. Depressed activity
When emotions and thinking are inhibited, the patient will develop inhibitory activities. Patients with major depressive disorder often act abnormally, such as:
- Standing stooped, head bowed (due to feelings of lack of confidence, guilt, unhappiness)
- Lie still or sit still for several hours continuously
- Lying in bed every day, every month
- Lethargy, hanging around the house, poor communication
4. Other mental disorders
In addition to the above symptoms, patients with depression syndrome also have symptoms such as:
- Appears hallucinations and paranoia with the content of self-incrimination
- Attention is reduced due to inhibited thinking
- Appears in the sound of a voice denouncing one’s sins or foreshadowing punishments (mourning at a funeral)
These mental disorders are often the result of suppressed thinking for a long time. The above symptoms prompt the patient to commit suicide to atone and free himself.
4. Other disorders
The brain is an important organ that governs most of the body’s activities. When the brain is inhibited, it can also cause other disorders such as:
- Frequent digestive disorders (peptic ulcer, diarrhea, constipation, white tongue, loss of appetite, nausea, etc.)
- Autonomic and cardiovascular disorders (palpitations, palpitations, decreased muscle tone, slow pulse, feeling of choking, night sweats, etc.)
- Genitourinary and endocrine disorders (fever, menstrual disorders, amenorrhea, loss of sexual interest in men, erectile dysfunction or impotence)
- Urinary disorders (diarrhea, dysuria, urinary disorders, etc.)
Causes of depression
Depression is a common emotional disorder in our country. The rate of people suffering from the disease is on the rise and becomes the fourth most worrying health problem (according to WHO). There are many causes of this disease, in which focus on the following 4 main causes:
1. Psychological trauma – The most common cause of depression
Traumatic trauma is a common cause of depression and a variety of other mental disorders. Stress can be caused by factors such as:
- Conflict with family, friends, difficulties at work
- Originating from serious and incurable diseases such as cancer, HIV-AIDS
- Postpartum depression due to intense stress
However, stress is not the sole cause of depression. Because this condition is a normal response of the body after experiencing events such as natural disasters, the death of a loved one, high-intensity work, many conflicts between husband and wife, etc. So now, Stress is considered to be a contributing factor to the outbreak of depression when there are pre-existing factors such as underlying mental disorders, chronic stress, etc.
2. Using psychoactive substances, addictive substances
Depression can also be caused by the use of alcohol, tobacco, heroin, and ecstasy (Amphetamine). These substances affect the central nervous system to create feelings of euphoria, excitement, and euphoria. However, then the nervous system is inhibited leading to a state of depression with manifestations such as lethargy, fatigue, sadness and depression.
To reduce feelings of boredom, many people continue to drink and use drugs. However, the feeling of euphoria only lasts for a short time and as a result, makes the mood more sad and depressed, gradually forming a depressive disorder.
3. Due to physical disease in the brain
Emotional disorders in general and depression in particular can occur due to physical diseases in the brain (brain tumor, encephalitis, traumatic brain injury, …). Structural damage to the brain can reduce stress tolerance. Therefore, even a small impact can cause depression and other common mental disorders.
In this case, determining the cause is essential. Because if correctly identified, the disease can be treated thoroughly, avoiding affecting the patient’s quality of life, reducing the burden on the family and society.
4. Endogenous causes
Endogenous causes are determined when the above causes have been completely ruled out. Endogenous causes refer to depression that occurs due to dysfunction of neurotransmitters in the brain such as Noradrenaline, Serotonin, etc.
Unlike other common causes, depression caused by this cause is often severe, patients are prone to delusions and suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Depression due to endogenous causes is difficult to definitively treat and has a high recurrence rate.
Is depression dangerous?
Depression and mental disorders tend to increase sharply in recent decades. In addition, the number of deaths from depressive disorders is also increasing continuously. In our country, about 31% of deaths are related to depressive syndrome and some other emotional disorders.
Not only does it increase the risk of suicide (death), depression also makes the sufferer separate from others, reducing work and school performance. Over time, patients face severe mental phobias that lead to insomnia, fatigue, weakness, and reduced quality of life. These effects increase the risk of death indirectly – especially in elderly patients with underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, thyroid disorders, etc.
Depression also increases rates of alcohol and drug abuse. In addition to the damage to the patient himself, this disease also affects the family and increases the burden on society. Because of the unpredictable harms, depressive disorders are being widely studied and interested.
Diagnosis of depression
Diagnosis of depression is based on clinical manifestations and some laboratory tests. The goal of diagnosis is to identify the disease, assess the extent, and rule out several conditions with similar symptoms.
1. Clinical diagnosis
Diagnosis of depression is based on 3 characteristic symptoms and 7 common symptoms.
3 typical symptoms of depressive syndrome:
- Low mood
- Reduced energy leads to decreased activity, fatigue
- Losing love for everything and all interest
7 common symptoms;
- Loss of self-esteem and self-esteem
- Reduced attention, concentration
- Always feeling unworthy, feeling guilty
- Sleep disorders
- Eat less, no appetite
- Always look to the future pessimistic, desperate
In addition, based on clinical manifestations, doctors can also assess the degree of depression:
- Mild depression: Defined as having at least 2 typical symptoms of depression and at least 2 common symptoms. The minimum duration of symptoms should be 14 days (2 weeks), without any severe symptoms. Patients with mild depression can continue with work and school activities, but may have difficulty.
- Moderate depression : Moderate depression with at least 2 characteristic symptoms and at least 3 other common symptoms, with a minimum duration of symptoms of 2 weeks. Symptoms are obvious, easy to recognize, patients have difficulty in contacting family, occupational and social tasks.
- Major depression: Patients with major depression have all 3 symptoms characteristic of depression and at least 4 other common symptoms. These symptoms last for at least 2 weeks, are severe, and have a rapid onset. Some cases of severe depression also have psychotic symptoms such as stupor, hallucinations, paranoia, etc.
2. Subclinical tests
Laboratory tests are performed after clinical examination. These tests allow you to measure levels of neurotransmitters, determine the cause of the disease, and rule out other possibilities.
Tests performed on patients with depression include:
- Blood count, biochemistry, kidney and liver function tests
- Psychological test
- Electrocardiogram, EEG
- MRI, CT of the brain
- In some cases, additional specialized tests may be required
3. Differential diagnosis
Depression is differentiated from physical causes and mental illnesses.
– Physical causes:
- Infections: Mononucleosis, hepatitis, pneumonia, etc. can all cause asthenic syndrome and depressed mood as in patients with depressive disorder.
- Medications: Depression can also occur due to the use of certain drugs such as Steroids, Propranolol, Reserpin, Methyldopa, alcohol, fenugreek, birth control pills or depression occurs during the withdrawal of Barbiturates, Benzodiazepines, Amphetamines.
- Central nervous system disorders: Cerebrovascular accidents, brain tumors, etc.
- Endocrine disorders: Diseases of the pituitary gland, adrenal gland, thyroid gland, diabetes, etc. can cause hormone disorders and lead to depression. In this case, depression is just a complication of the disease, so the condition can be relieved as soon as the cause is treated.
- Cancer: Patients with incurable and incurable cancers often show signs of depression – especially those with pancreatic head cancer.
- Systemic diseases: Malnutrition, anemia
– Mental illnesses:
- Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder)
- Psychological reactions to physical diseases
- Anxiety disorders
- Personality disorder
- Psychological reactions after witnessing the death of a loved one
Methods of treating depression
Depression seriously affects personal, family and social life. Therefore, the treatment of this pathology is of great interest. The course of treatment for depressive disorder must be based on principles such as:
- Accurate, early detection of depressive states (including masked depression and mild depression)
- Determine the patient’s level of depression
- Identify specific causes of depression (organic depression, endogenous depression, or depression of psychological etiology)
- The prescribed antidepressant must be appropriate to the state and health status of each patient
- May be indicated in combination with neuroleptics in cases of special depression (accompanied by psychotic symptoms).
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be considered in cases of drug resistance, major depression, thoughts, or suicidal behavior.
- When treatment gives results, it is necessary to maintain for another 6 months to stabilize the condition and prevent recurrence
The most commonly used treatments for depression are:
1. Using drugs
Using drugs is the method chosen by neurologists, psychologists and psychiatrists in hospitals to treat depression. However, this method has many potential risks and complications. To achieve good results, the doctor will evaluate the specific condition of each patient before making an appointment. When taking medication, patients and families need to be educated about side effects and proactively notify their physician as soon as a manic episode turns into a manic episode.
2. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is considered for drug-resistant depression, major depression, and suicidal thoughts or thoughts. This therapy uses a controlled flow of electricity inside the brain to induce small twitching muscles.
The goal of electric shock therapy is to restore the connection of neurons, stabilize the concentration of neurotransmitters. Thereby helping to improve symptoms and prevent suicide in patients with depressive disorders. However, patients may experience memory loss several weeks after treatment – especially in the elderly.
Psychotherapy effectively and thoroughly addresses depression. Psychologists will help patients untangle problems in their minds that they may not even realize.
Currently, psychotherapy is applied in parallel with the use of antidepressants and is evaluated to bring positive results. In patients with mild depression, psychotherapy can control symptoms without drugs or physical intervention.
4. Some other methods
Depending on the cause of the disease, the doctor may also prescribe some other methods such as:
- Thorough treatment of brain damage (intracranial hematoma, brain tumor removal, treatment of encephalitis, …) in case of depression due to brain diseases
- Conducting detoxification for patients with depression caused by alcoholism and substance use
In case the patient is anorexia, agitation and suicidal behavior, it is necessary to be hospitalized as soon as possible to avoid unfortunate situations.Prevention of depression
It can be said that depression is one of the major problems facing humanity. The rate of illness and death due to depressive disorders tends to increase in recent decades. Therefore, proactive disease prevention is essential.
To prevent recurrence, relatives and friends need to take the following measures:
- Early detection of warning signs such as loss of appetite, loss of appetite, reduced sleep quality, feeling bored, fatigued, decreased concentration at work, etc. As soon as these signs are detected, it is necessary to detect early warning signs. Notify your doctor immediately for advice on treatment.
- Families need to closely monitor the patient’s adherence to treatment. Some patients may pretend to be cured to commit suicide.
- Share and encourage the patient, encourage the patient to be active, active and participate in social activities.
- Avoid conflicts around the patient.
- Build for the patient a reasonable diet, focusing on foods rich in Omega 3, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. In case of depression due to endogenous causes, the patient should use foods that can increase blood circulation and improve mood.
- Monitor the patient for tobacco, alcohol, and drug use.
Depression is one of the most common mental disorders today. The disease not only causes damage to the individual patient, but also affects family life and increases the burden on society. Therefore, each person needs to be aware of this disease to proactively examine and treat promptly. With psychological treatment methods, patients can learn and choose the address of a reputable therapy center to achieve the best effect when curing.