Let’s talk about depression

Picture by Ryan Melaugh (CC BY 2.0)


“It makes everyday a struggle from getting out of bed from socializing to motivating yourself to do any work by finding a reason too,” said Gary Hughes, 24 from Bangor, north Wales who has been diagnosed two years ago. I interviewed him to get some insight into this particular mental issue and these are the results of my research.


What is actually depression?


According to DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), depression can be diagnosed with the occurrence of symptoms including sense of restlessness, insomnia, poor concentration, severe fatigue, suicidal thoughts with an emphasis on loss of interest in activities one once enjoyed.


When Gary Hughes was asked about how it feels like to be depressed, he said: “It’s strange, people assume it is some sort of sadness and in a way, it is but it is more to do with feeling no motivation and a lot of nothingness.”


According to NHS, about 4% of children aged five to 16 in the UK are whether anxious or depressed. In addition, in the USA about 14.8 million adults suffer from depression, as reported by the National Institute of Mental Health. Moreover, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that 350 million people are globally affected by this illness. Unfortunately, many people with this particular clinically diagnosed disorder do not seek help. Such practice can worsen the issue and possibly lead to suicide when not dealt with properly.


What can cause it?


There is no specific cause of a depression but aspects like bereavement, numerous failures and childhood problems of neglect or abuse. In addition, people with a history of depression in family are more likely to go through it themselves.


Furthermore, smoking has been linked with this particular mental disorder as nicotine affects brain’s chemical balance, which results in higher levels of dopamine as well as serotonin. According to the Journal of Neuroscience, they play a significant role in the loss of cognitive reasoning, determination of human behaviour and learning process.  Dopamine also helps with decision-making as well as motivation. Therefore, staying away from cigarettes could help with preventing depression.


Moreover, post traumatic stress disorder could potentially contribute to the development of the mental issue due to arousing thoughts it creates. However, there is a link between traumatic events occurring in our lives and depression but it does not determine whether one is going to suffer from it. It clearly depends on how we respond as well as react to particular problems and how we face these issues.


Treating depression


There are different types of depression which affect peoples’ lives in different ways but seeking for a professional help in occurring circumstances is essential.


Mr Hughes was treated with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy method, which involved seeing a councillor as well as psychiatrist few times a week to find the root of the problem and trying to help with overcoming the issue.


 “Having people there for you and seeking help are main ways that helped with me with depression. However, engaging in hobbies and work can also help you as media can be a pretty powerful thing such as films and games as it helped me forget about problems and live in a world that would allow me to be someone else,” said Hughes.


In addition, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, exercise is a probable pathway of dealing with depression. Moreover, healthy balanced diet as well as minimal or no use of alcohol can help with battling the disorder.


“I think anything is possible in a sense and I think depression can be battled and overcome but it doesn’t mean it will be easy, and sometimes it never completely goes away but if you are willing to put up a fight then it can be achieved.


I would advise to get help as soon as possible as the longer you leave it the worse it could get, and remember some people are there for you that be friends of family and don’t keep everything inside as it can be damaging,” he added.


Aleksandra Kozlowska

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