Why should I be aware of this?
- It is hard to separate normal and therapeutic feelings of grief and sadness from clinical depression. In some cases, symptoms of straight forward anxiety may mask a state of depression. Depression is more common among women and affects people of all ages- from young children to old people. It is also the cause of 50 – 75% of all suicides every year.
- Occasionally people may be prone to depression from birth due to irregularities in the bio-chemical make up of the brain. With some patients, depression is associated with anemia, hormonal changes, low thyroid activity, Vitamin deficiency or addiction to drugs. For example some women suffer from depression after child birth which is related to sudden hormonal changes.
 All about depression
According to psychiatrists, there are two kinds of depression:
- Exogenous – becoming depressed as a result of external factors such as a divorce, job loss, money troubles , death of a loved one etc.
- Endogenous – resulting from internal biochemical sources- a medical form of depression.
Symptoms of depression include feelings of worthlessness, sadness, inadequacy, isolation and despair and the belief that no one understands or sympathizes. This may be accompanied by a loss of interest in work or home life, inability to concentrate on anything and in severe cases, sluggish though process and delusions.
Physical symptoms may include loss of energy, a sense of ‘heaviness’, difficulty or slowness in movement, dryness in the mouth, indigestion, sluggish bowel movement and constipation also. In some cases, sufferers may lose weight and women may have period problems.
 Depression and family
A depressed family member can have a profound and crushing effect on the rest of the family members also. Irritability, Mood swings, sporadic violent behaviour, withdrawal from family life and rejection of all contacts, can all take its toll on the family. But it is the family that also operates as the perfect support system and is critical in both the recognition and treatment of the disease.
A large part of the patients examination is dependent on the family background and relations as well. Families can also help identify if the patient has depression to begin with. They can monitor if the above mentioned symptoms go on for beyond 2 months and can intervene if it seems to get out of control. For more information on this,one can check [www.familyaware.org Treating Depression at Home]
 Conventional treatment
Depression, as a disease needs conventional medical or psychological treatment. It should include a complete clinical evaluation which looks into every aspect of the patient and patient's family history. There can be a neurological examination as well.
The treatment of depression has to be tailored to the individual patients needs. In case of mild depression, tranquilizers or sleeping pills can be prescribed and in more serious cases, a course of anti depressants is advised. Sometimes a course of Psychotherapy will be advised, either individually or in a group.Treatment is usually examined six weeks after starting an antidepressant medication. It is then re-evaluated after 12 weeks.
 Alternate therapies
There are many kinds of alternate therapies that can also help.
- Homeopathy-- A therapist should be consulted if bouts of depression are frequent or intense. For short- lived bouts, in which the patient is anxious, restless or exhausted, Arsenicum album is recommended. To help overcome emotional upset or a death, they recommend Ignatia immediately after the event. All these remedies should be taken in the 6th potency, three times a day for two weeks. If the sufferer feels suicidal, professional help must be sought without delay.
- Bach remedies -- If depression follows an illness or long standing exhaustion, eating olives and using olive oil is said to be helpful.
For cases of sudden depression, accompanied by repressed anger, mustard soothes the nerves. People in extreme despair, especially spiritual, are advised to take sweet chestnuts.
- Naturopathy--Naturopathy practitioners prescribe large doses of vitamin B to counteract depression. In particular, Vitamin B6 is recommended for mood swings, associated with period problems in women. If depression is caused by menopause, some therapists recommend hormone replacement therapy ( HRT), the treatment that conventional doctors prescribe
- Hydrotherapy--Hydrotherapy therapists say that sauna baths and vigorous rubs have proved effective for some sufferers.
- Acupuncture--Acupuncture experts feel that depression is a problem of the liver and so they concentrate on points on meridians associated with the liver, gall bladder, the pericardium( the fibrous sheath around the heart), spleen and stomach
- Aromatherapy-- Aromatherapy body massage is said to be the very effective in relieving depression. Several essential oils like basil, Clary sage, Neroli, Roman Camomile, Rose and Thyme are also helpful. The oils should be inhaled deeply from a tissue at regular intervals or a few drops can also be put into the bath.
- Herbal medicine--Herbal Medicine experts state that having one or two cups of borage or vervain tea is believed to raise one's spirits. Even a cup of rosemary tea each day with a pinch of Valerian helps. A recommended nerve tonic is an infusion of four to five flowering lavender tops with honey to taste.
 What can I do?
Everybody feels depressed from time to time, especially if things start to overwhelm or if one is under stress. There are things one can do to life the spirits and beat the blues-
- Express one’s feelings and do not keep emotions and feelings pent up.
- Make physical contact with other people for sometimes depression is caused by feelings of isolation and loneliness.
- Don't keep things within yourself .Talk things over with friends and family
- Do not despair. Thinking positively always helps.
- Breath deeply
- Visualize peaceful images
- Distract yourself. Give expression to creative urges be it painting, dancing, singing etc. A UK doctor prescribed Belly Dance classes for one of his depressed patients.
- Do eat regularly and do not drink too much alcohol.
- Statistics show that only 20% of people who suffer from depression receive adequate medical treatment.
- 16% of all adults worldwide will experience depression sometime in their lives.
- Each year about one person in every thousand is treated in hospitals for depression.
- Depression will affect one in 10 men and one in four women.
- Over 60 percent of people who die by suicide are estimated to suffer from major depression, with no other psychiatric or physical illness
- There are more who consult their doctors about feeling depressed while far more do not seek medical advice and try to cope with the illness alone.
 See Also
- The Health Center
- About Depression