Depression is basically defined as a shortage of a neurotransmitter called serotonin – a chemical secreted in our brain cells. Our biology and our behaviour are mostly run by different neurotransmitters – chemicals produced in our brain. Emotions and feeling if not dealt properly can block our network pathways so the flow of the necessary fell good chemicals is compromised.
Our brain is like a very efficient laboratory producing the necessary ‘information substance’ to keep our body and mind in perfect balance. However sometimes outside events can mess up the ‘laboratory’ activities through our emotions, feelings and memories. For example because of a bad memory in the past or the way we manage our emotions and feeling during a particular incident in our lives a disruption in the ‘laboratory’ is triggered and the peptide CRF – a type of neurotransmitter – causes an overproduction of steroids in our blood. The feel sad substance is now all over our system.
A depressive disorder can affect all aspects of your life – your sleep, your eating habits, your self-esteem and your physical appearance. Unfortunately it won’t go away as easily as you can switch a TV channel, so just solemnly ignore those people that tell you to pull yourself together. As explained above it is a chemical imbalance that sometimes requires drugs intervention to restore the chemical right levels.
At least 10% of the population will go through depression at some point in their lives and it can affect anyone – rich, poor, man or women – however researches show that women are more likely to suffer than men. Other factors contribute to put certain groups in the risky zone:
• People that have suffered mental, physical or sexual abuse;
• People who have a history of depression in their family
• People that come from extremely deprived groups.
It is normal to feel down sometimes but if you or anyone you know is feeling down a lot lately then you should be aware of some of the depression symptoms and if you are feeling 2 or more it is recommended to seek for medical help. They are:
• A total lack of interest in leisure
• Low self-esteem
• Sleeping disorders like sleeping too much or insomnia
• Health problems that has no evident cause, like upset stomach, or persistent colds and body pains.
• Lack of energy and a constant feeling of tiredness
• Mood swings like irritability and restlessness
• Difficulties to wake up in the morning
• Loss of sexual drive
• Forgetfulness, difficulties to concentrate and make decisions
• A constant feeling of sadness and anxiety
• Eating disorders like eating too much or too little
• Suicidal tendencies
The word depression has been improperly used to describe a momentary sadness moment so the word depressed is not taken seriously enough nowadays. The word lost its real meaning and people simple don’t know what depression is. A depressed person is not just having a ‘feeling down moment’. A depressed person does not have the same control over his/her feelings as most of us do. So saying cheer up won’t help! They can find very difficult to cope with very simple day to day tasks. As they can’t make decisions very easily to plan their days can be difficult.
Depression is a very serious illness that can result in more serous mental illness or even death. If you think you or anyone around you are suffering from depression seek specialist help as soon as possible.