Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- How do I know that I am depressed?
Depression varies from one person to another. It is normal to feel down at some points in life. However, if certain emotions such as sadness about adverse life events persist for long, you might be getting depressed. Feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, helplessness, anger, and/or irritability should raise concerns. If you feel that you are not enthusiastic about activities that you used to love and enjoy, you have trouble with focus and concentration, or you get fatigued, you might be depressed.
Depression might make you have dark and suicidal thoughts. It may also cause you to avoid your friends and family. You should get help immediately.
- What are the types of depression?
It could be classified as Major Depressive disorder, Persistent Depressive disorder, Seasonal Affective disorder, Bipolar disorder (manic depression), Psychotic depression, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, Postpartum depression, and Atypical depression.
The major depressive disorder is known as the clinical type, and it is characterized by loss of interest in favorite activities, troubles with sleep, significant weight changes, reduced appetite, low energy, thoughts of worthlessness, hopelessness, and suicide, indecisiveness, restlessness or impaired movement, etc. It occurs nearly every day.
Persistent Depressive disorder is a chronic form of depression. It is characterized by continuous feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy, which causes disinterest in daily activities leading to reduced productivity at work, school, family, etc.
Seasonal Affective disorder is the type of depression associated with changes in season. Most times, it begins and ends around the same time each year. It is more common during the fall and winter months but less common in the spring or summer.
Bipolar disorder (Manic depression) causes extreme mood changes in individuals. At a point in time, he/she is so happy and all over the place. It shows symptoms of both mania and depression.
In Psychotic depression, such a person experiences depression with delusions and hallucinations, which are psychotic symptoms.
For women with PMDD, they present with depression symptoms, severe levels of irritability, and/or anxiety before the period begins. This could occur for about one or two weeks before the period and resolves in some days after the period starts. In the same vein, perinatal depression occurs in women. It is a term used to describe the depression in women before or after the delivery of a newborn.
Atypical depression implies that this depression type may not necessarily follow the usual course of depression. In some other classification types, examples of depression include Situational depression, Biological depression, Psychological depression, and Existential depression.
- What are the triggers for depression?
Depression may not always need a trigger. Life can happen at any time to anyone, and that could cause depression. Common triggers include major life changes, overwhelming financial difficulties such as huge debts, marital or relationship problems, death of a loved one, childbirth, abuse, stress, loneliness, drugs, and so much more.
Research also supports that genetics, hormones, some medications have all contributed to depression. Some people have genes that make them predisposed to low moods. For some others, the interactions of chemicals in the body regulating the mood, thoughts, and perceptions are deranged.
- What is the meaning of maternity blues?
Maternity blues is also referred to as postpartum blues, postpartum depression or baby blues. It is common among women after childbirth. It is usually a temporary condition that involves feelings of sadness after giving birth to a baby.
Symptoms of maternity blues include crying without a reason, impatience, insomnia, restlessness, fatigue, anxiety, easy irritability, mood changes, thoughts of harming the baby, low self-esteem, and several other emotional issues.
Its cause is not known, but it is said that it may be due to hormonal changes after delivery occurring in the brain. Some studies have shown that the change in the routine and coping with the baby’s care, breastfeeding problems, inadequate family and social support could also cause depression.
- What is the number one cause of depression?
Studies show that there are many causes of depression, so there may not be the number one cause for everyone. Genes can cause depression, some medications, loss of a loved one, major traumatic life events, debilitating medical conditions, violence, failure, abuse (sexual, emotional, physical), hormonal changes, seasonal changes, substance abuse, etc.
- What are the hormones involved in depression?
Hormones are responsible for a lot of things in our bodies. They have been implicated in the good and the bad. Depression is one of the mental health disorders that have been linked to hormonal imbalance. A change in the production of the function of hormones that are meant to stabilize moods may cause depressive disorders. Usually, it is not just one hormone but a complex interaction of certain hormones in the body. These hormones also double as neurotransmitters.
Serotonin is one neurotransmitter responsible for regulating sleep, mood, appetite, and the inhibition of pain. Research has shown that certain depressed people have low serotonin levels.
Dopamine is another one that has been said to play a role in depression. Usually, dopamine is necessary for body movement. It also has roles in our motivation and how we see the real world. The production and transmission problems have been implicated in hallucination and delusion, resulting from distorted thinking seen in psychosis.
Others are glutamate, acetylcholine, norepinephrine, and Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Glutamate is a molecule shown to play a role in mood stabilization. Acetylcholine is involved in memory, learning, and recall in a normal healthy state. GABA has an inhibitory function, so it helps to suppress anxiety. These hormones can also be found in certain drugs used for depression treatment.
- Why do I cry easily and suddenly?
Crying is one of the emotions people express when they are happy, sad, grieving, and during other ranges of emotions. However, if you find yourself crying at the slightest issue or crying too much or weeping suddenly, it might be a pointer to a depressive disorder. If you were in a happy state before and you begin to cry for no apparent reason, it might be a sign of manic depression.
- Is age a risk factor for depression?
Age is a risk factor for many diseases. Although, depression can occur in anyone irrespective of age, race, or gender. Other risk factors for depression include a family history of mental disorders, stressful environmental, major changes in life patterns, female gender, sleep disorders, and certain medications.
- How do I know if I am bipolar?
Bipolar disorder is also known as manic depression. This means that such an individual will have symptoms of mania and depression. It involves extreme changes and fluctuations in mood. It is not just about being moody or feeling down. There will be moments of so much energy (highs), and a reduced need for sleep. There will also be moments of reduced energy (lows), low motivation, and loss of interest in pleasurable activities. At some other moments, you could have a mix of moments.
For mania episodes, you may feel too happy, jabber, become easily distracted, feel overconfident, have a reduced need for sleep, engage in risky behaviors, and require so much energy input.
On the other hand, depression will make you feel sad, have severe fatigue, withdraw from loved ones, lose interest in things that used to make you happy, and make life miserable.
Some tests, such as bipolar disorder screening tests, can be taken online, but they can never replace professional screening and diagnosis.
- Can I diagnose myself for depression?
The diagnosis of depression can only be made by a physician or mental health professional. Some self-test assessments are tools that can help to show you what may be happening to your mental health at a given point. It is normal for everyone to feel sad when things are not going as we have planned. It is what makes us human, after all.
However, if you discover that you begin to feel sad and empty for a prolonged period, you might already be struggling with depression. If you catch yourself feeling worthless, hopeless, helpless, and less confident, you might need to check with a mental health physician.
- What is a depression test?
As humans, we go through several seasons of emotions from being happy to sad feelings to grief and many others. Hence, it is true that we may experience some down moments during our lifetime. If you notice that you are feeling sad and dejected all the time, you might need to take a test. The test helps you to check if you are expressing any of the signs and symptoms of depression. It is known as a depression test.
The test is a self-test that asks you certain questions about your feelings in the past weeks. The test wants to help you know if you have been sad all the time or during those weeks. It could also ask you if you have been having issues with sleep, staying up without sleep, trouble falling asleep, or sleeping excessively. It may also ask you if your appetite has undergone significant changes over the weeks. Another question the test may ask is the state of your energy; if it has consistently been on the low, and you have been exhausted and less motivated. The test will look into your thought patterns to know the type of thoughts if they are dark thoughts, worthless thoughts, failure, guilt, and maybe suicidal. Questions to assess how well you have been able to concentrate and focus on your activities will also be asked.
The test does not give you a diagnosis as only Physicians can diagnose depression, but it will help you confirm the symptoms of depression you might be experiencing. This will assist you in making informed decisions by going to seek help.
- Can I have both anxiety and depression?
It is possible to have anxiety and depression simultaneously. These conditions are distinct in their character. This means that you will have both anxiety and depression symptoms. Anxiety could occur as a result of the ongoing depression, and an anxiety disorder can also trigger depression. How can you tell if you have an anxiety disorder? You may begin to worry in excess, always feeling agitated such that you are shaky all over with dry mouth and sweaty body. You may experience panic attacks, irritability, trouble with sleep, fatigue, etc. For depression, it shares some symptoms such as fatigue, trouble with sleep, and concentration, but it has some distinct symptoms. Other symptoms of depression are seen in emotions, physical appearance, cognitive function, and behavior. They include consistent and intense sadness from no apparent reason, feeling of worthlessness, hopelessness, emptiness, loss of interest in the favorite activities, suicidal thoughts, low energy, easy fatigability, slow speech, excess thinking, sleeplessness, too much sleep, weight changes, etc.
Both disorders are major mental health problems, and medical help is needed.
- Who is more prone to depression between a male and a female?
Depression is not a respecter of age, gender, or race. However, studies showed that twice as many females as males experience depression. There are certain factors responsible for this. They include hormonal changes, biological factors, genetic traits, personal life situations, and experiences contributing to the risk. Research also shows that women have higher rates of having a seasonal affective disorder.