Depression is a common and serious medical condition that negatively affects the way we feel, think and act. It is one of the most common mental health diseases in the world.
In Greece it is estimated that 8% of the population suffers from depression and corresponds to 17.5% in women and 14.6% in men.
Depression causes feelings of sadness and / or loss of interest in activities we once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and reduce a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
What are the symptoms?
The main symptoms are feelings of sadness, sorrow, anxiety, fear, guilt, anger, boredom, fatigue, despair, intense mental pain, pessimism, lethargy (one does not derive pleasure from the activities he does).
They are accompanied by sleep disturbance, indigestion, constipation, appetite disorder, weight loss or increase, attention and concentration disorders, effects on mental processes, psychomotor stimulation, loss of energy, difficulty in making decisions, reduced productivity and erotic desire. In addition, women may experience amenorrhea. It can also lead to persistent ideas of death or suicidal ideation.
Depression is caused by a complex interaction of social, psychological and biological factors. People who have suffered unpleasant situations (unemployment, mourning, psychological trauma) are more likely to develop depression. Depression can, in turn, lead to more stress and dysfunction and worsen the condition of the affected person’s life as well as the depression itself.
There are also interactions between depression and physical health. For example, cardiovascular disease can lead to depression and vice versa.
How do we overcome it?
Of course, the first step is to visit a mental health professional and learn more about our condition. We may need to take medication and do Psychotherapy. This combination and our own effort will help us improve.
It would also be good to help ourselves in the following ways:
Regular exercise can be just as effective as medication. Exercise not only boosts serotonin, endorphins and other brain chemicals, but also helps develop new brain cells and connections, just as antidepressants do. Even a half hour daily walk can make a difference.
2. Social network.
Friends, acquaintances or social contacts reduce isolation, a key risk factor for depression. Keep in touch with others or consider joining a group. Volunteering is a great way to get social support, help others and help yourself at the same time.
3. Proper nutrition.
Proper nutrition is important for both our physical and mental health. Eating balanced meals helps us conserve energy and minimizes mood swings.
Sleep has a big effect on mood. Sleep deprivation worsens irritability, sadness and fatigue. Make sure you get enough sleep each night for about seven to nine hours.
5. Reduce stress and anxiety.
Too much stress exacerbates depression and puts us at risk for future deterioration. It may sound difficult, but we need to set the right priorities in our lives to protect the greatest good of all: our health!