Health,  Life

Understanding Depression: More Common Than You Think

A reader left a message saying that she has suffered from depression since high school. Although she recovered, she relapsed from time to time. After each relapse, she would lose interest in anything and have no desire. Mourning”.

This may sound scary, but the truth is, depression is not uncommon.

Lincoln, Hemingway, Princess Diana, Leslie Cheung, Cui Yongyuan, Li Ruotong, etc. all suffer from or have suffered from depression.

Even the famous psychologist Wu Zhihong suffered from depression for several years while studying.

In fact, 15% of people have had a depressive experience in their lives, and most of these experiences stem from major life events.

Although these depression feelings will subside after 6 to 9 months, 20% of them will still suffer from depression and last for at least two years.

This means that any person has the possibility of suffering from depression in his life. This person, maybe ourselves, maybe our relatives or friends.

But at the same time, everyone’s understanding of depression is very lacking, and some people even equate depression with “neuropathy”.

So, I decided to write about this very important topic.
According to the latest figures from the World Health Organization, there are about 350 million people with depression worldwide. They predict that by 2020, the total burden of disease caused by depression will be the second largest burden of all diseases, second only to coronary heart disease.

According to incomplete statistics, the current incidence of depression in my country is as high as 5% to 6%, and the incidence has been increasing year by year in recent years.

The truth is, what we’re seeing is definitely lower than the true incidence.

Why? There are two reasons:

Some people actually suffer from depression, but because he lacks understanding of this disease, he does not go to the hospital for treatment.

There are also people who know that they have serious depression tendencies, but because of various reasons, such as worrying that others will laugh at them, or being unable to face themselves with depression, they avoid medical treatment.

For these reasons, the incidence of depression we see is lower than the real rate.

More importantly, because of these reasons, these people who did not seek medical treatment delayed the opportunity to seek medical treatment, and thus plunged themselves into more severe depression.

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Depressed VS Depression

We often use depression (or “depression”) to express that unpleasant mood or other temporary unpleasant feelings.

But it’s not the same as what the medical term “depressive disorder” or “depression” is.

“Depressive disorder” in medicine, that is, depression, refers to: the main clinical feature is a significant and persistent depression of mood, mainly manifested in low emotions, interests, cognition, thinking and volitional activities, and physiological function. disorder.

By comparing these, it is possible for us to judge whether our poor mood at this time is a temporary depression or a long-lasting depression.

If it is the latter, you have to find a formal depression test scale and test it.

But in fact, the scale test alone is not accurate enough. The most accurate way of judging must be combined with a doctor’s consultation and a series of examinations.

It should be noted here that depression is often difficult to self-diagnose, so it is very important to use a test scale and a doctor’s diagnosis.

After all, our emotions can cloud our judgments about ourselves, making it difficult to tell if we really have a depressive disorder.

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There’s no shame in being depressed

Many people have depression and feel it themselves, but they refuse to go to the doctor or tell their relatives and friends, but resist it alone.

In fact, it is unnecessary.

Depression is a very common disease. Some people say that it is a psychological “cold and fever”.

Is it normal to go to the hospital for a blood test and see a doctor if you have a cold and a fever?

No one will laugh at you, and you won’t feel ashamed yourself.

So, the same should be true for depression.

Having depression is not a sign of weakness, nor should it make you feel ashamed.

Think about it: Many able, intelligent, and highly accomplished people have suffered from depression, such as President Lincoln of the United States, such as the great writer Hemingway.

So, having depression doesn’t mean a weak character or some sort of character flaw, it’s normal, normal like a cold.

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causes of depression

The pathogenesis of depression is very complex and still inconclusive so far.

There are various hypotheses about its cause.

Including: neurobiochemical changes in the brain (such as the lack of serotonin in the brain may lead to depression); neuroendocrine disorders; genetic factors; psychosocial factors, etc.

Here, I would like to talk about two influencing factors that are closely related to each of us, one is the life experience, and the other is the way of thinking.

These two factors are not the focus of psychiatrists, but they are things we can pay attention to, and even change and adjust.

1. Life encounters

Depression is often triggered by misfortunes in life.

These mishaps can cause a lot of stress and even a lot of damage.

In particular, if one has tried unsuccessfully to improve or accept the situation, there is likely to be a sense of extreme hopelessness.

for example:

1) Divorce, layoffs, family illness and death, major economic crisis, unemployment, etc.

2) Lack of proper social interaction and isolated life.

3) Disharmony in relationships, whether related to marriage or family.

4) Work-related stress, such as job instability, conflicts with superiors and colleagues, overwork, etc.

5) Chronic diseases, diseases with significant pain or some kind of disability, diseases that do not respond well to treatment, and the stress caused by these diseases may lead to depressive disorders.

In addition, endocrine disorders or some treatments that affect normal endocrine can lead to depression.

Of course, this does not mean that people who have the above-mentioned experiences will definitely suffer from depression.

Here, we are saying that the occurrence of these things is likely to become a potential “fuse” for depression.

Therefore, if you or the people around you have suffered huge changes in life for a certain period of time, especially one after another, then you need to pay more attention and give more care.

2. Way of thinking

What the way of thinking says is: Even when faced with the same event, each of us reacts differently.

And behind every different reaction is our way of thinking.

Different ways of thinking will bring about completely different reactions, as well as corresponding feelings and emotions.

For example: My boyfriend said that he can’t accompany me when he works overtime on Wednesday.

Some people wonder “does he not love me anymore?”

There are also people who think, “He is very busy recently, and I just happen to be able to do something of my own.”

These are two completely different ways of thinking about the same thing.

The former thought will cause pain and even despair. The latter kind of thinking will make people feel relaxed, and it will also make the other person in the intimate relationship feel relaxed and free.

A lot of clinical practice and research evidence show that most people with depression understand the world in some way of thinking that can trigger or deepen depression.

These ways of thinking include:

1. Looking at the current life with a pessimistic and divorced from reality, paying too much attention to those negative or threatening aspects, but ignoring the more positive or promising aspects.

2. Take a very critical view of yourself and criticize yourself harshly and unfairly.

3. Make negative and pessimistic judgments about the future, exaggerating the probability of negative impacts.

When these three ways of thinking are combined, it becomes the “Negative Habits of Thought Triad”—that is, looking at the current situation, self and one’s future in an irrational and detached negative way of thinking.

When you have such a thinking habit, be vigilant, it may be a seed of depression.

At this time, you need to destroy this seed by changing your way of thinking, and you cannot give it a chance to take root.

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signs of depression

A person with depression might use the following words to describe themselves:

Bad mood, pessimistic, depressed, negative, not happy, lazy, powerless, hopeless, depressed, frustrated, crying, empty, meaningless, helpless, low self-esteem, sad, less productive, not interested in anything Not interested in……

But if you go straight to the essence, depression has three core symptoms, namely: depressed mood, lack of interest, and loss of pleasure.

Depression: Expressed as sadness, pain, depression, just not being happy. Severe cases can lead to feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. However, this low mood may have no reason, or it may be far-fetched.

Lack of interest: manifested as a loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities and things, or a reduction in the scope and intensity of hobbies. It can involve work life, recreation, exploration and intellectual pursuits, or it can be indifference to clothing, food and appearance.

Anhedonia: Manifested by a loss of the ability to enjoy pleasure, patients experience a sense of loss of pleasure or a strong emptiness. Even if you encounter happy things or receive praise, you will not experience happiness.

In addition to these three core symptoms, depression attacks may be accompanied by the following common symptoms, including: anxiety, slow thinking, decreased concentration and memory, and self-blame.

In fact, when one or two of the above symptoms appear, it may not mean that you are suffering from depression. Because different levels of depression have different clinical diagnostic criteria, this requires the judgment of a professional doctor.

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How to treat it?

Experts have done a lot of research on how to effectively treat depressive disorders.

Based on these studies, we now know at least two ways to effectively treat depression.

First, antidepressants: These are effective for most people with depressive disorders.

Now, there are many types of antidepressant drugs, which are suitable for different types of depression patients.

However, some people cannot tolerate the side effects of medications (which are not serious), and some people simply don’t want to use medications to treat their disease.

The result of doing so is to miss the best time for treatment.

Second, psychotherapy: mainly behavioral cognitive therapy, which can achieve similar effects to drug treatment for patients with mild to moderate depression.

For patients with severe depression, drug therapy or combined with psychotherapy is required.

But no matter which method is used, it is necessary to carry out active full-course treatment, and at the same time relax, trust the doctor, slowly adjust your way of thinking, and try to look at the world and yourself from a more objective and positive perspective.

final words

Princess Diana, who had four episodes of depression, once said: “You don’t wear my shoes, you never know how my feet feel.”

Therefore, I hope that while caring about our own mental health, we can also care about our family and friends, and more people, and give them more understanding, tolerance and love.

At that time, I believed that the world would be a better place.

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