Depression

HOME Depression

It is important to distinguish between being sad, grieving and suffering from a depressive disease. Everyone has felt sad at some point. Your existence then seems sad and insurmountable and the future looks hopeless. It's natural to feel sad and melancholy when you experience adversity and loss like for instance in the case of an unhappy love affair, unemployment or bereavement.

But when you are "naturally" sad, you don't come to a complete stop. You are able to take part in activities even though "your heart isn't in it". And when something good happens, you can still feel happy about it. To be naturally sad is therefore not a disease. Sadness and bad moods will pass. Even if you are experiencing serious grief, it will affect you less with time. But perhaps your grief will never completely go away. You can do something yourself to help, and support from your family and friends will also help you. For you need to be with others and speak with other about your problems, in order to get better.

We are having regular meetings of care givers group. Also we are having regular self help reprt group.

SELF-HELP-GROUP

These groups can be a source of information and support and can provide an opportunity for people to talk about their feelings. Health professionals, doctors and nurses, counselors or psychotherapists in a hospital run some groups. More commonly, people with cancer run groups. They often offer different techniques to teach coping strategies together with relaxation or visualization, as well as practical information and emotional support.
But when you are "naturally" sad, you don't come to a complete stop. You are able to take part in activities even though "your heart isn't in it". And when something good happens, you can still feel happy about it. To be naturally sad is therefore not a disease. Sadness and bad moods will pass. Even if you are experiencing serious grief, it will affect you less with time. But perhaps your grief will never completely go away. You can do something yourself to help, and support from your family and friends will also help you. For you need to be with others and speak with other about your problems, in order to get better.

The disease depression

The disease depression - also called clinical depression - is a serious disease, where the depressive feeling becomes chronic and actually gets its own life. If you are suffering from depression, you are no longer in control over your mood or feelings. When you are depressed about almost everything, almost all the time, almost every day for several weeks or maybe months, you are suffering from depression. The depressed condition of your mind continues day after day and affects all areas:

Feelings

Thoughts

Behaviour

The body's functioning

In the most severe cases, a depression can be life threatening, because you run the risk of coming to a complete stop, losing your appetite and not feeling thirst. You can also be feeling so low that you will contemplate suicide. It is therefore important that people who suffer from depression receive treatment. By providing help with this, you can save another person's life. And if you think that you yourself are suffering from depression, you can actually save your own life by going to see your doctor and receiving treatment.

Different Courses

Different courses of depression are distinguished in the following way:

A single depressive episode

Periodical depressions

Chronic depression

Bipolar suffering (manic-depressive disease)

A single depressive episode is a depression which will pass and in most cases doesn't recur.

Periodic depressions are reoccurring depressions, where a depression will recur after a period of time feeling well. In some cases, one depression can be followed directly by another without having any clear periods of being well. In very few cases will a depression become so prolonged that it becomes chronic. In bipolar suffering, depression and mania interchange. You are up and down between to extremes, hence the name bipolar ("between two poles"). A common depression can similarly be called unipolar, i.e. when it only concerns one "pole".

There are no signs of an increase in depressions during pregnancy. But quite a lot of women experience insecurity and emotional instability in connection with their pregnancy. In a few cases, fathers can feel the same just before or after the birth.

Between 20% and 40% of all women feel emotionally unbalanced after giving birth. When you have just given birth, both your body and psyche need to get used to a completely new situation. You can become touchy and very tearful. You might feel very sad or unhappy, and perhaps you are missing the support and help from those closest to you.

These feelings often last a few days. But in approximately one in every ten women these feelings can develop into actual depressions, which have to be treated. If you are depressed, you find it difficult to look after your newborn baby and develop a good mother/child relationship from the beginning. This might then cause you to get a bad conscience, which in turn can contribute to prolonging the depression. It is therefore important to get the treatment for postnatal depression started quickly.

Some forms of depression have special symptoms or are only seen in special situations and groups. These forms don't always lead you to think of depression, and they are often reminiscent of other diseases. In the worst case, it could mean that the depression doesn't get treated. In these cases it is therefore important for psychiatrists to be able to make the diagnosis and begin the appropriate treatment. Listed below are a number of these special forms of depression.

Melancholy

Melancholy is a depression in which the physical symptoms are particularly prominent. With melancholy you suffer from a pronounced sleep disturbance and typically wake up early in the morning. Your energy and feelings are clearly affected and you are feeling awful. Your sexual drive is reduced as well as your appetite. This often results in a significant weight loss

Atypical depression

In some cases the symptoms of a depression can be different from the usual symptoms. We call it an atypical depression if, for example instead of losing your appetite you become a compulsive eater and start gaining weight instead of having difficulties sleeping you sleep a lot more than you normally do you have a reversed daily rhythm, where you mood is best early in the day and then deteriorates towards the evening you become more irritable and perhaps even aggressive instead of sad and stagnant (applies particularly to men)

Agitated depression

With an agitated depression you are depressed but not passive or without energy, which you commonly are when depressed. The following are some of the symptoms: You are anxious, restless and cannot keep yourself calm. You complain about your intolerable condition but you find it hard to articulate your problems. You find it hard to articulate what it is you need. In severe cases, you walk restlessly about. You are wringing your hands, sighing and repeating the same complaints again and again.

Masked depression

A depression doesn't always manifest itself by a depressed mood. The depression can be hidden or masked behind other symptoms such as headache tiredness muscle pain stomach pain and indigestion You can even suffer from depression when you don't feel depressed. This is called "depressio mentis sine depressione". This means "depression without feeling depressed". In this case, it is the tiredness and the lack of energy that are affecting you the most.

Double depression

If you are suffering from a protracted mild to moderate depression, your condition might worsen during the course of the disease. A worsening of the depression can feel as though you are getting a new depression on top of the one you are already suffering from. We call these cases double depression.

Male depression

Many believe that there is a specific male depression, which in particular hits middle aged men. Here the symptoms can particularly be a feeling of emptiness and being burned out, stress, irritability, frustration, aggression (possibly even violent behaviour), restlessness and alcohol abuse.

Dystemia

This condition is not an actual depression but a general prolonged (often life long) condition of being sad. With dystemia your "basic mood" is at a lower level compared with most other people's mood and everything can seem hard and often joyless.
If you are suffering from a disease and get yet another disease, it is called a secondary or comorbid disease. We are therefore not talking about a worsening of the original disease but a new disease on top of the one you are already suffering from. Every serious or lengthy physical disease unfortunately increases the risk of developing depression. There can be several reasons for this.

Psychological reasons

It is understandable that you can become unhappy and even develop depression if you are in severe pain or you find it difficult to function the way you would like to. The same is of course true if you are suffering from a disease which disables you or is fatal.

Physical reasons

Some diseases affect the brain function and can therefore trigger depression. This applies among other conditions to cerebral thrombosis, Parkinson's disease, dementia and multiple sclerosis. If the disease has changed your chemical balance or your hormonal balance, it can also trigger depression or other psychological diseases.

Medicine

The medical treatment, which is necessary to improve or cure your physical disease, can in some cases trigger or maintain depression, anxiety or other psychological diseases. This can for instance apply to certain forms of heart medicine, so-called beta blockers.
It has long been known that light plays an important role in the regulating of a person's mood - especially in the northern hemisphere. It has also been known for many years that the amount of obtainable light is the determining factor for the emergence of a variety of the typical depression. In the 1980s this rather different form of depression was given a name, "winter depression", which in English is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Winter depression hits mainly women (80%) and starts early in life. The more towards the north you live the greater the risk is for developing winter depressions.

Symptoms

If you are susceptible to developing winter depressions, you will begin to feel some of the symptoms around the autumn months: You will feel down and be in a bad mood. You will get tired more quickly and have less energy than during the summer months. Your sleep requirement will increase. Your appetite increases and you also have an urge to eat a large amount of carbohydrates (bread, pasta, rice, fruit etc. ) - and especially sweet foods. If you are not treated for your winter depression (for example if you don't realize what is wrong with you), these symptoms will continue until the spring months, when more light is gradually returning. This means that mentally and socially you will function below your optimal level for several months. It is therefore important that you go to see your doctor if you have had some of these symptoms for a couple of weeks. The doctor will rule out any other reasons for your tiredness and other symptoms, and he will then start the appropriate treatment. The treatment will differ depending on whether you are suffering from winter depression or "normal" depression. It is therefore important to distinguish between these two forms of depression.

Light treatment

Medicinal treatment of winter depression has been attempted but contrary to the ordinary depression, the results have not been convincing. There is however another very effective treatment especially for winter depression: light treatment. Light treatment is done with a special lamp, which shines with a powerful white, full-spectered light. The luminous intensity in such a lamp must be at least 2500 lux. The more powerful the light is, the less time you need to spend in front of the lamp. If you for example buy a lamp with 2500 lux, you need to sit in front of it for two hours to get the optimal effect. If the lamp has a luminous intensity of 5000 lux, you only need to sit in front of the lamp for one hour.

Treatment at home

The treatment therefore takes place in your own home: You need to sit comfortably with the lamp positioned approximately half a meter from the chair. You typically need between half and hour and two hours at a time depending of the intensity of the lamp. The treatment should preferably be given before 10 am or after 6 pm. You must not wear sunglasses while you are sitting in front of it. You can read, write, talk on the phone, knit or do other things while you are sitting in front of the lamp. But you need to look into the lamp for a brief moment approximately once a minute. You typically need to use the lamp for 2 weeks. If you start to feel bad again during the course of the autumn/winter, you can start using the lamp again in this way. There are no risks associated with using artificial light for the treatment of winter depression.

You are at risk of developing depression for the first time at any point in your life. But the older you are the greater the risk is for developing depression. The course of the depression is often more serious in the elderly. Depression in the elderly is furthermore often triggered by and combined with physical disease (for instance the flu or another disease) or social events such as small changes in their everyday life or greater strains such as bereavement, hospitalization, change of accommodation or placement in a nursing home.

In the elderly, it isn't necessarily sadness and a depressed mood that are the most prominent symptoms of their depression. Instead it might be tiredness, anxiety, irritability and a lack of zest for life. You may if anything feel more tormented than actually depressed.

Elderly people with depression often complain about the same problems again and again. It may be about their health problems or about things that others regard as trivial matters. This can mean that the depression may not be discovered, because the people around then regard the elderly as neurotic and hysterical.

Similarly to when younger people develop depression, the elderly get memory and concentration impairments. This means that depression in the elderly can be mistaken for dementia, which of course also causes an impaired memory.

People who suffer from a manic-depressive disease get both depression and mania. Depression and mania often interchange, and you will have been manic or hypomaniac during at least one period of your life. Mania is almost the opposite of depression. During manic episodes you might find that you: are in an exaggerated good mood are full of energy are hyperactive can't concentrate lack a sense of occasion talk incessantly are unrealistic and overestimate yourself get ideas and numerous new whims are incapable of putting your plans into practice are uninhibited and irresponsible with an increased self-esteem have an increased sexual drive and a reduced sleep requirement do things by accident, which you regret when the mania has passed

Hypomania

Hypomania is a condition which is marked by milder manic symptoms but without being an actual mania. If you are hypermaniac, your mood is high and you also have an increased activity or feel restless have an increased need to speak or buy things have an increased interest in sex have a decreased requirement for sleep You can appear communicative but also be confused and unable to concentrate.