The word depression is used to describe a range of moods, from the low spirits we all experience occasionally to a severe problem with interferes with our daily lives. Making a distinction between the two can be difficult, which means depression can go unrecognized in some people. The good news is that depression can be effectively treated in most people if caught in time.
The longer treatment is delayed the worse the depression is likely to get and the longer it can take for the treatment to take full effect. A natural remedy may take longer to work than medication from your GP so it is helpful to have other forms of support to use alongside e.g. using essential oils, relaxation techniques, talking to close friends etc
Recognize the signs
• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, self blame, feeling out of control and unable to cope
• Feeling tired and lethargic
• Poor concentration, indecisiveness, forgetfulness
• Loss of appetite and weight loss or an increase in appetite and weight gain
• Changes to your normal sleeping pattern – either insomnia or wanting to sleep all the time
• Restlessness or agitation
• An urge to cry all the time
• Lack of interest in sex
Different types of depression
Depression comes in many forms, with no two cases being the same. It is possible however to divide it into broad categories, although in real life there is often an overlap
Triggered by trauma. This may be physical, such as a serious injury or accident or psychological such as bereavement or divorce. Counselling, loving family and friends and other practical or emotional support are often all that is needed. However, a reactive depression could continue to interfere with someone’s life if any other, older problems are brought to the surface.
This tends to be more severe than reactive depression. It is more to do with a person’s personality rather than an external event, and can happen at any time. The person’s mood tends to be worse at the beginning of the day and can be marked with periods of guilt and self doubt.
Manic depression/Bio polar disorder
This type of depression is marked by mood swings, from highs of excessive energy and elation to lows of utter despair and lethargy. These moods may occur directly after each other or may alternate with varying periods of stability.
This usually strikes between the 3rd and 10th day after the birth and is thought be caused by the sudden drop in the female hormones oestrogen and progesterone. It is believed that approx 50% of new mothers suffer from “baby blues” to some degree; they don’t usually last for long but some women suffer a much deeper, longer-lasting depression and a few women can end up needing hospital care. Swift treatment for post-natal depression is essential but counselling can often sort things out satisfactorily.
Usually reactive, occurring in people who have suffered trauma but don’t react in the “normal” way. On the surface the person appears to be quite happy but there can be physical problems such as a loss of energy or appetite or disturbed sleeping patterns.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD Syndrome)
This is a form of winter depression that affects approx a million people in the UK especially during December through to February. In addition, there are many people who are thought to be affected by the winter blues, a mild form of SAD. Symptoms include sleep problems, lethargy, a craving for carbohydrates, anxiety, loss of sex drive, mood swings and general irritability.
It is believed that SAD syndrome may be linked with a faulty production of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps control mood swings or it could be caused by increased levels of melatonin, the hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain as darkness falls, which induces sleep.
The most effective treatment for SAD syndrome is light, so spend as much time as possible outside in natural daylight or if you are in the house sit next to a window.
TOP TIP: Counselling Spain says; You can also buy light boxes which contain fluorescent tubes – you sit in front of these for a period of time and they pump out the same level of light you would expect on a bright, spring morning.