Depression Is A Disease
Most people I’ve met in my life believe that depression is an emotional disorder. That people with depression can just “control it” or “make it go away.” But coming from someone who has personally experienced depression I believe it is a disease.
Depression is characterized as a prolonged period of sadness, hopelessness, and a loss of interest in things you once enjoyed, according the American Psychiatric Administration. There are around 350 million people worldwide diagnosed with this disease, caused by a chemical imbalance in parts of the brain. One out of four people will experience this before age 24. Depression is most commonly found in woman, and the median age to develop depression is around 32, although teenage depression is becoming more and more common as well.
The most common symptoms of depression are the emotional symptoms, sadness, feeling hopeless/empty, unlovable, are annoyed easily, have a loss of interest in things they use to like to do, being insecure, thoughts of death, suicide, or self harm. But most people with emotional symptoms of depression begin to feel physical symptoms such as vague aches and pains, chronic joint pain, limb pain, back pain, gastrointestinal (stomach or intestinal) problems, and headaches. The worse the emotional symptoms the worse the physical symptoms, and vice-versa.
The Center for Disease Control oversees the the Adverse Childhood Experiences Study, which links mental health and physical health. The studies show that having bad things happen as a young person moves one into being unhealthy as he or she grows older, which leads to poor health. Depression is linked to poor health because when someone is depressed he or she does not really want to exercise, or do anything to take care of their body. The study shows that adverse childhood experiences leads to social, emotional, and cognitive impairment, which can result in disease, disability and social problems, which in the end, may lead to an early death.
There are many causes of depression. The most common are abuse, some sort of loss, or medication. I have experienced depression in my personal life and I know that through my experiences it has felt more like a disease than a disorder. I did have the emotional symptoms that I listed, but I also had frequent unexplained pains. According to the Mayo Clinic, unexplained pains are common in people with depression.
Some people I’ve met argue that depression is just an emotion and we can control it and make it go away. It may be categorized as a mental illness professionally, but people’s brains look different when they have depression just as a person’s body may look different if they have a disease. We blame cancer when cancer takes a life, but depression is a disease, so we shouldn’t blame the victim for losing the fight.
There are many effective ways to help treat depression. One is medication, such as antidepressants, or medications that help with sleep or anxiety. Another is treatments such as therapy. Another one is hospitalization for more extreme cases.
An effective treatment I have used and many others have used is mindfulness. It is beginning to get used more and is becoming popular worldwide. Mindfulness shifts the brain to a different state and helps you be more calm and helps you think differently, which helps people with depression change their mindset.
Also another obscure yet good remedy is homeopathics. I like homeopathics because they help with all different kinds of things. They can help with anxiety disorders and all other types of brain issues too. A specific type of homeopathic that I use and think is very helpful is Bach Flower Remedies. It is a mix of different kind of plant essences and is taken orally.
In addition there are coping strategies to deal with depression. There are many simple ones such as singing, writing, reading, playing with a pet, going for a walk, playing a game, using a stress ball, taking a bath, taking a shower, running, volunteering, etc. Other ways to get your mind off depression is going out with friends or talking to a family member, therapist, or another trusted person.
Depression is a disease that people need help with. Approximately one million people worldwide commit suicide per year – one person every 40 seconds. People need to start treating depression like a serious disease, so people don’t have to keep losing the fight.
There is overwhelming evidence coming from so many places showing that mental health and physical health are directly linked in the body. Most treatments of depression in some way also affect the body. We have a culture that too often blames people for losing the fight against depression, but we need to move towards passion. We need to support people with depression and stop blaming the victim. In 2016, there were 15 suicides right here in La Plata County – the highest per capita in the state. Depression is a disease. Don’t blame the victim for losing the fight.
One mindfulness technique is called the butterfly hug. It is where you cross your arms in front of your chest across your body and tap slowly just beneath your shoulder. Another is where you breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, breath out for 4 seconds, and then hold for 4, then repeat. This is called square breathing. The most common mindfulness techniques are breathing and awareness.
I interviewed a psychotherapist on her thoughts on depression and she said that she thought it mostly came from early life situations/trauma, genetics, and current situation or life stressors. She said it was like a cup, when adding more of these variables it got to the top and overflowed, which becomes depression.
“Depression (Major Depressive Disorder)” July 7, 2016. Web.
Maduhkar H. Triveda, “The Link Between Depression and Physical Symptoms.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 2004. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC486942