Home » Understanding Depression and Ways to Prevent It

The term depression is used in everyday conversation, but many people are not familiar with the specific traits and symptoms of the health condition. Also, are there any preventive tips that can help to control the onset and duration of depression?

Depression as a Mental Health Condition:

Temporary feelings of sadness are not the same as more serious mental health conditions like severe depression. Severe or major depression, known as major depressive disorder, is not just a feeling of sadness. Across the nation between 6 to 7 percent of the population is treated for clinical depression.

Individuals who have a major depression disorder, or MDD, will have a depressed mood. They will display a loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed. People with untreated MDD will find it difficult to function and carry-out daily activities. Beyond feelings of sadness and a general loss of interest in regular activities, MDD can over a longer period of time; create emotional and physical health problems.

People can fall into a dark mood that generates negative thoughts such as death and suicide. Usually these symptoms need to persist for a minimum of two weeks before a mental health professional can make a depression-related diagnosis. Individuals can experience episodes of major depression for many weeks. However, there are types of depression that have a longer duration.

In some cases, depression can linger with a person for even longer. One type of depression is persistent depressive disorder or PDD. This mental health condition will have individuals who display symptoms of depression for many months or years. The mental health condition known as dysthymia is a persistent depressive disorder. This type of depression is more challenging to detect. It is estimated that about 1.5% of the U.S. adult population experiences dysthymia, which is sometimes known as high-functioning depression.

As a chronic or long-term condition, people may not realize that they have this low-grade type of depression. Because people are able to function in their everyday capacities and carry on with daily activities. Due to this fact, conditions like dysthymia are sometime undiagnosed and not treated.

Symptoms of Depression & Talking About the Condition:

There are some known signs of depression in individuals. However, these symptoms should consistently persist and be evident every day for a period of two weeks or more. A few of these symptoms are:

  • Persistent feelings of being tired or rundown.
  • Intense and consistent feelings of sadness and isolation.
  • Little interest in former hobbies.
  • Not wanting to socialize or see friends.
  • Re-occurring thoughts of suicide or death.
  • Disrupted eating patterns (eating too much/little).
  • Difficulty with getting a good night’s sleep.

There are additional symptoms that are not mentioned in the above list. But these behaviors display the complexity of depression. Every symptom does not have to be present for an individual to potentially have a depression diagnosis. People who are concerned as to whether they have an undiagnosed depression condition should seek the advice for a trained healthcare professional.

Tips for Preventing & Treating Depression:

Having trusted friends and strong support are always beneficial mentally and physically for people’s wellbeing. In regard to an individual’s actions and behavior, physical exercise can help to prevent or control depression. Yoga, strength training and aerobic activity are all excellent methods for decreasing and controlling depression-related feelings.

Research as indicated that engaging in physical activity for at least two and half hours per week provides benefits to a person’s mental health. In this instance, physical activity that took place outside appeared to provide the most benefit.

Overall, exercising that involved teams or groups seemed to provide the most benefit for reducing feelings of depression and anxiety. However, people should pick a type of exercise that they enjoy. Physical activity helps the human body release endorphins and promote new cell growth while also creating structure and some social interaction.

Yet, people need to find the type of exercise that is right for them. If they do not enjoy the activity, forcing themselves to engage in it could create more stress and negative feelings. Here are three elements to keep in mind for an exercise program:

  1. Gradually Work into It: People should be patient when starting a new exercise routine. It should not be so difficult and grueling that a person quits after the first week. If one hour of activity is too much, start with 30 minutes.
  2. Create a Schedule: People should not wait until they feel motivated to workout. If they plan the activity ahead of time, it is usually easier to follow the schedule.
  3. Enjoy the Activity: People should pick an activity that they enjoy engaging in on a regular basis. This will make it easier to follow the exercise schedule. When individuals stay with the plan, they will have a better chance of experiencing positive results.

There is sometimes a concern that if people talk about depression, they will only make it worse. But, these concerns are not true. People should realize that conditions such as depression are health-related issues. Much like a broken bone or diabetes, depressive thoughts that persist over a longer time period should not be ignored.

People experiencing depression should seek professional help from a trained mental health clinician. Through a careful use of specific treatments and therapies, good mental health is possible. Either through the use of one or a combination of psychotherapy, antidepressant medications as well as transcranial magnetic stimulation; people can alleviate feelings of depression and get their life back on track.

About Emerald Psychiatry:

The successful treatment of depression and other mental health conditions is one of the specialties at Emerald Psychiatry & TMS Center, located near Columbus, Ohio. Their experienced and caring behavioral health professionals understand how to treat depression as well as other conditions like PTSD and anxiety disorders.

For more information about their mental health services and treatment options, email or call them. Their main number is (614) 580-6917.

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Contributor: ABCS RCM