Depression affects more than 300 million people in the world. That’s 4.3% of the world population. And currently, it’s the leading cause of disability and ill-health in the world.
Depression is a feeling of despair and inability to be active and interested in carrying out duties of life. It’s also defined as excess past. This mental health disorder affects how you think, act, and feel1.
Many are suffering in silence. They’re stranded on how they can overcome depression. Consequently, depression was predicted to be the second leading cause of illness by 2020.
What are the top 20 causes of depression?
In the year 2019, many youths developed depressive conditions due to watching Avatar. It was called “post-avatar depression.” Through watching the movie, many develop various fantasies and felt like they should live in Pandora.
A young man confessed that he even felt suicidal, thinking he may be reborn in a better world as he saw in the film.
The dream worlds broadcasted on TV have led many young and even older people to depression. People are uneasy and can’t wait for the next program without which they are mentally disturbed.
The romance in the soap opera has led to depression because they can’t get what they see in movies. The same results are also experienced in what is called a funny movie.
Another behavioral cause of depression in most youths is casual sex. In a study carried out at the State University at Ohio to determine the relationship between depression and immoral behavior, 30% of the 10000 individuals in the survey confessed they engage in premarital sex. The research concluded that the depression was because of regret.
Estrogen influences the production of dopamine, serotonin, and GABA. Too much or too little of this hormone in the body alters the levels of neurotransmitters. This alteration leads to depression. Low serotonin in the body is associated with depression.
Stress and depression are closely linked. Failure to manage stress earlier enough may lead to depression. It’s proven that 45% of individuals who have mental disorders suffer from other two or more.
Therefore, stress, depression, and anxiety are commonly sister conditions. The research also found that half of the people with depression are suffering from stress too.
Pressure from your environment
Recurrent experiences of violence, poverty, abuse, and neglect may cause depression. The loss of a loved one and changes in social status may also cause this disorder. If you were previously in a high state of life, then by disaster or reasons best known to an individual all crumpled down, you might be depressed.
Studies have it that the serotonin transporter gene increases the susceptibility to depression. A study involving twins found that if one has depression, there is a 70% possibility the other will develop the same condition. The lower the serotonin levels, the higher the risk of becoming depressed.
Those who smoke and drink have a 30% risk of developing depression. Although, for a moment, one may feel good after taking drugs, the aftermath is regret, sorrow, and depression.
Serious medical condition
When one is seriously sick, there are high chances of developing depression. Some chronic diseases like Cancer, AIDS, and heart problems often make individuals depressed.
Cosmetics and medications
Drugs used for acne treatment, such as isotretinoin and antiviral drugs for HIV, can increase the risk of depression.
Depression comes as a result of a reaction to the changes in your environment. Major events like illnesses or brutal assaults may cause depression.
Childbirth is now rampant among civilized and developing countries. Early pregnancies make many young ladies have depression due to the cracks in the family ties and the separation from peers. The care for a child born at a tender age will stress you and cause lots of regrets that cause depression.
Rejection from a relationship may cause depression. Separation from loved ones by death or incarceration may lead to several symptoms of depression.
A 2016 study shows a bi-directional relationship between global mental health and financial difficulties. It further declares that financial constraints worsen mental health and vice versa.
Continual family battles often lead to depression. Severe domestic violence towards your spouse or children subjects them to depression.
Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse often makes individuals susceptible to depression. Most of the people diagnosed with depression later in life were at some point in their lives abused or assaulted.
Reconciled loss or grief
When you have an issue with a friend or relative who seriously affects your life, you will do well to resolve the issues for your good later in life. Individuals who have not reconciled with their past become depressed based on the conflicts of earlier encounters.
A meta-analysis study in 2019 suggests that the food we eat will affect our health and mood and subject individual to depressive symptoms.
Another 2020 research shows that good diets of largely plant-based foods are suitable for individuals having depression symptoms.
Poor physical health
There is a close connection between the physical body and the mind. Whatever affects one affects the other. Physical illnesses often cause depression, more so when severe health conditions. Mental health depends mainly on proper physical health.
A 2021 research shows that unemployment can lead to a high prevalence of major depressive disorder and depressive symptoms. It further concluded that 21% of all depression cases are due to unemployment.
Mental health problems often have their roots in problems that you cannot solve. Unemployment is becoming rapid, and it’s one of the causes of depression and mental illnesses in many graduates worldwide.
Impaired social functioning
A 2016 study shows a close link between depression and social risk factors, poor social functioning, and social impairments. The impairments include sensitivity to social rejection, impaired social communication, and competition avoidance.
A peer-reviewed publication of 2009 poses major depressive symptoms in individuals with impaired social functions and attachments.
A 2012 medically reviewed study poses a moderate-to-large correlation between depression and the most prominent personality traits. Extraversion, positive and negative emotions, are closely linked to depression symptoms.
Temperaments and individual character are personality components that affect how you will handle any situation that may cause chronic stress and lead you to depression
Symptoms of depression
A slight feeling of sadness isn’t depression. The feeling after a long work week or some disappointments at the workplace of the family cycle should not be mistaken for depression.
Find depression symptoms that will guide you to know the state of your mental health.
Hopelessness or hopeless outlook is the most common depression symptom. This affects your view of life in general; you feel worthless, inappropriate guilt, or hate yourself. Negative emotions often emerge as a result of losing hope in life.
Loss of interest or pleasure in most activities
Several people with depression often show a lack of interest in their previous hobbies and duties. When you always feel tired without doing anything or feel like you don’t want to do anything, you may have this mental disorder.
Depression often comes with unreasonable tiredness. You feel tired without any strenuous activity. This is why most people with depression are unable to enjoy the activities they used to love.
Although there are no shreds of evidence that depression can cause anxiety, several symptoms of depression are closely connected to anxiety. Often there is nervousness, panic, dread of the unknown, and restlessness.
Depression causes variations in sexual activity. In some individuals, more so in males, there is aggressiveness in sexuality, while in most women, a lack of sexual interest occurs.
Other peer reviewed studies show that there are cases where men develop sexual dysfunction and even become impotent due to depression.
Impaired neurocognitive functions
Depression affects how you process information, and you become unable to concentrate and remember things. If you find it hard to be alert and understand, you may be depressed.
A 2011 study shows that men suffering from depression in the early stages are more hostile, irritable, and have abusive behavior. In some males, they become overly sexually aggressive.
Increased appetite in females
In a 2007 Canadian community health survey of individuals with major depressive disorder, it was found that depressed women reported increased appetite than men. This might be the reason for the increase in body weight of some individuals who are depressed.
Appetite and weight changes
Appetite and weight often change in people with depression. This symptom occurs differently in each individual. Some people will lose appetite and shade weight, while others will develop a depraved appetite and gain weight.
Rapid mood swings
This is characterized by a sudden outburst of anger and an uncontrollable cry. In most cases, the sudden changes of moods are not caused by any external stimuli or changes in the environment. Your emotions are up and down every moment.
Suicidal thoughts and outlooks
Negative thoughts of death are signs that you are undergoing major depression. People who commit suicide show signs first. Some individuals will talk about it in an apparent light note.
Suppose you hear friend, associate or family member always making referrals to death as the solution for life problems. In that case, you should make haste to counsel or seek professional counselors for such an individual.
Does depression damage your brain?
Yes, depression can damage your brain. This can be a result of the ability of depression to affect the balance of brain chemicals and cause the neurons in the hippocampus to shrink, leading to the inability to concentrate and memory loss.
What are the risks of having depression?
These are individuals with low self-esteem and negative thoughts who feel unappreciated. They always see themselves as worthless and not recognized. Moreover, they are often pessimistic these individuals are often depressed.
There are high chances of females getting depression earlier due to early puberty stages. Changes in the body’s hormonal balance during puberty and monthly periods may make females develop depression.
There are higher chances of women getting depression also after menopause.
Long term health problems
Prolonged sickness due to chronic illnesses may cause depression. Diseases like cancer, heart disease, chronic stress, and other mental illnesses are like depression symptoms. When an individual suffers from an incurable disease, there are high chances of developing depression.
Family mental illnesses
In alienage of mental health problems, one is at risk of developing a similar problem. Several individuals diagnosed with depression are like previous family members with the same mental health problem.
Many unhappy marriages are full of endless conflicts that may be physical in most cases. Therefore, sexual, physical, and mental assaults are frequent and may increase the risk of developing depression.
Financial constraints often increase the risk of developing serious mental illnesses like depression. Unemployment cases cause the inability to get basic needs, leading to depression in middle and low-income countries.
Major life changes
Traumatizing life changes like losing a spouse or job or when one is bereaved, there are higher chances of becoming depressed. These changes emerge negative thoughts that will affect your mental health and lead to depression.
What will happen if you don’t treat depression?
Drug and substance abuse
A lot of drug abuse is linked to long-term depression. Individuals who suffer from depression and are unable to resolve this mental condition often use harmful drugs to get a solution for their problem.
A 2018 study poise that suicide incidences are higher in individuals with physical and mental illnesses than in any other group. Mostly suicide is linked to hopelessness which is a crucial symptom of depression.
Depression kills the morale to work and engage in essential activities. Most individuals with depression lose their jobs due to commitment and low performance at the workplace.
Poor quality of life
It’s easier to be careful with your medications when you have depression. You can lose interest in hobbies and lifestyle factors that will improve your health.
Depression will lead to substance abuse, resulting in criminal offenses like over speeding, robbery, and petty theft.
Depression may cause permanent mental disorders if not controlled.
What type of therapy is used for depression?
This method uses medical prescriptions, health-improving lifestyle changes, and other complementary therapies to treat depression and other mental health complications.
Cognitive behavior therapy
CBT involves psychological interventions that work almost more than other antidepressants that are often used for depression. It’s a promising therapy for individuals with mild depression signs, according to a 2020 peer-reviewed study.
Behavioral therapy for depression involves a healthy perspective on daily routines and the environment. It’s ideal when external factors in your locality cause depression. To overcome depression, you need to change your environment and daily routine.
Change of environment or daily activities it’s easier for one to forget the past and adopt positive lifestyle changes to heal from depression.
This is the approach of using free will, self-discovery, and individual potential to overcome depression. It works as best as cognitive behavior therapy and is highly recommended for depression treatment facilities.
This is also called talk therapy, where a specialist will explore feelings, thought patterns, and reactions to help control emotions and behavior. The mental health professional will then use medical advice and diagnosis to help them overcome depression.
How long does it take for therapy to work for depression?
The time frame depends on the type of therapy that you choose. However, most psychiatrists pose that within 2-3 months of any therapy treatment, and there are signs of positive results.
The duration of recovery also depends on the severity of the condition, willingness of the patient to overcome depression, other external factors, and family support.
Preventive measures for depression
Consider your past with caution
Your past can be a source of well-being or depression. Don’t dwell much on your past failures. If you look at your past, do a systematic review of all your previous encounters. Focus on the beautiful moments you had in the past. If you have some scars from the past, make peace by sharing or seeing a professional.
Change your environment
When you feel depressed by the ever reminders in your stay, you may opt for relocation. In many cases, upheavals and abuse are remembered when a similar scene is observed. This will often cause you trauma and keep your dark past. If you can’t overcome the trauma, seeking another place will be a good idea.
Get enough social support
Social support is best for overcoming depression
Where there are strong relationships, depression is less frequent. It’s essential to be part of a social union. The relation may be marriage, friendship, church group, or others.
Make sure you have a good working and living environment. Have a happy family, good friends, and good relationships at the workplace, and you will never get depressed.
Change your mindset
This is a crucial self-care program to avoid becoming depressed. Make sure you think correctly. Positive thinking is a habit with ease of cultivation to avoid negativity.
Dwell much on optimism and concentrate on the thoughts that can build you up. Your chances of developing depression are linked with thoughts that often crowd your mind.
Don’t compare yourself with others. There are high chances of depression if they’ve made it in life. Also, avoid over-ambitious thoughts.
Live an active life
Nothing changes the mind like activity. To avoid depression, get up and engage yourself in some meaningful activities. Engage yourself in evangelism or visit children’s homes and do meaningful charity work.
Visit good friends and start some uplifting engagements. Just make sure you are not idle. When alone, you can make phone calls to friends in distant places.
The best way to spend your leisure should not be in front of a screen. Go for hikes weather in nature or nearby local park. Find some elevating Christian stories and read. Get some new tips on how you can have a quality life from online websites.
The best of all is to be a solution to others’ problems. Put a smile on peoples’ faces, and it will reflect on yours.
Seek regular medical advice diagnosis
When you experience some symptoms of mental instability or pressure due to your environment, you should see a mental health professional for reliable medical advice and diagnosis to avoid extreme mental illness conditions.
This important step will help you maintain your mental health from chronic stress, anxiety, and possible depression.
How to overcome depression
The best way to treat depression is through psychotherapy. Pharmacology way will do more harm than good. Find here some sets of strategies used by psychologists:-
Set daily schedules
A set self-care routine will help you acquire new behavioral patterns and overcome depression. Get daily physical activities that will not drain you and neither allow you to be idle.
The exercises will help you occupy your daily time. Therefore, you won’t be idle and focus on your horrible situation. This can be done every day for weeks or months.
While making the schedule, consider the following principles
- It should be detailed for ease of implementation. Make sure every duty is linked to a particular time.
- Make sure manual work is included. Activities like gardening, cleaning, and hiking.
- TV or the internet should be minimized and stop spending time on the screen.
- Let the activities not interrupt regular work. Incorporate them in your leisure time if you are studying or employed.
- Let the activities have a social component. Involve others. Hiking with friends is better than watching TV programs alone.
- Choose exciting activities. Make a list of all duties that you enjoy and choose your favorite.
- If your health can allow, add physical exercises and other meaningful engagements that make sense.
Seek family support
Social ties have a healing power that people often neglect. Having people who share your burden is a balm. They will make you laugh away from your pain. A merry heart worketh good like a medicine. Sharing with your family members, kids, spouse, or parents will ease your burden.
But wait. What if your friend or near kin is the victim?
How do you handle a person with depression?
The well being of our loved ones that suffer from depression depends on how we will handle them.
Monitor their behavior
Make sure the loved one eat adequately. Keep the patient away from drugs and alcohol.
Be sympathetic and listen carefully to them
Your good temperaments to them have a therapeutic effect.
Support their treatment procedures
When natural remedies are used, help them in the processes. Remind them also of treatment times.
Help your family member to be occupied with elevating social activities
Do not offer them a daunting task but easy to moderate physical activity. Ensure they are involved in duties that make sense to them and not to you.
Treat them calmly and naturally
Don’t be harsh with your suffering family member. Don’t forget the individual who is depressed is a completely different person.
Expect difficult times with them
It won’t be an all-time exciting duty. You will have to bear a lot to ensure their well-being.
It’s a law of nature that what you do to others bounces back to you. Help the aged in your community. Visit the sick in the hospital, and bear their burdens. By so doing, you will offload all your burdens.
You’ll forget all your problems and, in the process, begin your way to recovery. Getting acquitted of others’ problems makes you understand it’s a common lot. So your life isn’t strange. This will be your first step on the path to recovery.
Facing your future with hope will help you overcome depression
Flee feelings of unworthiness and desperation. You must know that the present situation doesn’t fix your future. Understand that you are a part of a brilliant tomorrow. Don’t ever think you won’t be able to cope with tomorrow’s circumstances.
Have a realistic view of situations
You must identify your strengths and weaknesses. Beware of your ability and extremities as well. Handle situations with a balanced mind.
For instance, if you fail to pass an interview, don’t see yourself as worthless. Instead, consider your weak points that need improvements and be optimistic for the next one.
Get Divine therapy
Nothing will keep you healthy than trusting in God. All of the future is explained in the prophecies. By trusting in God, you have all the future unfolded before you, and therefore you will understand that suffering is a portion of humanity.
With prayer, bible study, and witnessing, you can never suffer from depression. With Jesus, a friend who sticks closer than a brother, you can never be lonely.
Join the family of believers. Share your burdens with other faithful individuals. In communion with God and one another, you will overcome depression easily.
How can joining a group of believers help you fight depression?
- You will find people with bigger problems than yours in the church. It’s one thing you can miss.
- Hear testimonies of people who had similar problems as yours.
- You’ll get encouragement from other saints.
- The opportunity to join prayer with others will strengthen you.
- There is a divine peace that pervades the mind when you are in the presence of God.
Overcoming depression starts when you take control of your future events
You are the master of your fate. Don’t think you can’t re-shape abnormal situations of the present. You can do something to change the outcome of events in your life. Make sure you have a way to correct failures and strategize for tomorrow.
What about Antidepressants for overcoming depression?
When they realize the symptoms of depression, most individuals’ next stop is OTC drugs. Natural remedies and lifestyle changes seem tedious for some.
After all, we don’t care; so long as I can feel ok, I will accept anything. This is the attitude that many have when they are ill. You don’t need to be ignorant that the best way to treat a disease is to take away the cause first.
The best option for dealing with depression is natural remedies and lifestyle changes, not quick-fix measures.
Here are some disadvantages of antidepressant drugs that maybe you didn’t know:-
- They bring temporary relief and remove the symptoms but can’t cure the disease.
- When you’re using them, it takes longer to see the effects.
- They are expensive and have the following side effects:- Sexual performance problems; Insomnia; blurred vision; weight loss or gain; constipation; nervousness; and cardiovascular alterations.
Depression often requires advice, diagnosis, or treatment, but there are simple self-help strategies that can do wonders to reverse your situation.
Here are some tips to overcome depression
Keep yourself busy
Get out into the open air and do something. Observe nature, appreciate it, and thank the God of nature. Your mind will be occupied with elevating thoughts by keeping a busy schedule. Activities won’t allow you to bring to remembrance the thoughts that hold up depression.
Eliminate drinking habits
Many often use alcohol to relieve sadness and stress. However, after the influence of liquor, you become more depressed than before. Moreover, your problems will multiply as you become addicted.
Shield yourself from insomnia
Quality sleep will help you in the recovery process. Do exercise, eat early supper, and retire to bed early. For quality sleep, click here for more information on insomnia and its remedies.
Find someone you can trust
Get a friend who understands your story. Let the friend be someone you can share with freely and naturally. Being alone is a trap for you. Therefore, make sure that friend is ever near to keep you company.
Maintain a healthy diet
Foods have healing power. The phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables will help strengthen your dwindling immunity due to depression. Natural foods comprising of plant-based materials are a magic diet.
Research shows that people who eat 470 grams of fruits and vegetables daily have 10% lower stress levels. Furthermore, most green leafy vegetables have a high component of folic acid, which is low in individuals having depression
Develop a hopeful attitude
Face your future with confidence. Believe that freedom is coming tomorrow. Those who have hope beyond this world can’t develop anxiety, stress, and depression. Cheer up, submit fully to God, and let him take care of the future.
Home remedies for depression
Here lies the best option for curing depression. And will aid in your general well being.
Give it some time
Time is a healer. Whatever is painful now, reduce its force upon you with time. Take the case where you lose a loved one. For a time, all the crushing pain is all over you. However, after some time, the pain slowly wanes away.
Believe in God, heaven, and resurrection spiritual aspect to overcome depression
Great peace have they that love thy law and nothing shall offend them (psalm 119:165). All who believe in God know that there is a place prepared for the redeemed of the earth. Your cannot have troubles in the heart if you keep this gope. Soon all the problems you face will be no more.
If you lost a loved one, there is hope that we shall meet again. There will be a resurrection, and all shall meet again in the great consummation. Finally, God will wipe away all tears from our eyes. This is the first step in overcoming depression.
Understand that suffering is temporary
It’s difficult to believe this when suffering from depression. Although, it’s genuine and dependable. There is no permanent situation in human life. You may be suffering today, but tomorrow change will come.
The Bible makes it clear based on times and seasons. A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance (Eccl 3:4).
Improve the quality of your life
Make sure you live a life that doesn’t support your suffering situation. Your environment, diet, and daily practices should not fortify depression. Looking at things from a healthy perspective, the quality of life has several benefits for relieving depression symptoms.
Get sufficient sleep of seven to eight hours every night, and engage in a favorite physical activity. Finally, work on your general wellbeing.
Make wrong things right
It’s hard to buy back your past through a quick fix. However, there are adjustments that you can make to rectify your history. If there is anything that you did previously, you can stop it. If you wronged someone special to you, it’s time to make peace.
Do away with old habits of drugs, mischief, and folly. Purpose of making reconciliation with your past.
Overcome depression by listening to uplifting music
Music has power, and maybe you didn’t know. It originated from heaven. Although, if misused, it’s the power to destroy, music is a remedy when rightly used.
When demons possessed King Saul in the book of Samuel, David played some excellent music, and he recovered. Avoid booming music and rock and roll.
They ruin and do more harm. They cause shifts in mood and will affect the state of your mental health.
Seek professional assistance
At times you should seek counsel from an experienced psychologist. Visit the nearest mental health professional for advice, diagnosis, or treatments.
Do not despise the power of sharing with experts. A problem shared is half solved. Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety (Proverbs 11:14).
Here are outlined all you need to know about depression and the simple ways you can avoid and manage depression effects. Your way to recovery is within your reach. Make good use of the information in this article, and you will be alright.
All the findings here are obtained from peer reviewed studies, medical research institutes, and pieces of advice from a mental health professional.
Follow step by step till the end to overcome depression. If you have a concern, feel free to inquire through the comment section.