Depression is a common mental disorder. More than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression worldwide, it is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease, as it can worsen the situation of the depressed person in school. Or work or in the family. Women infected more than men. Depression differs from normal mood swings and outbursts that do not last long.
Depression may become a serious health condition, especially when it is long-term. Depression can be the cause of suicide when the disease reaches its last stage. Each year, approximately 800,000 people die by suicide.
Definition of depression
Depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects feelings and thinking, is characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and despair, and can affect a person’s physical functions such as appetite and sleep. It also affects him in the areas of work, study and relationships
Types of depression
There are four most common types of depression:
- Major depression (unipolar)
It is a state in which the mood is melancholy and very consuming. In the event that five or more symptoms are felt, it means that the person is depressed, provided that the first two of the following symptoms are met:
- Feeling depressed.
- Loss of pleasure in all or most daily activities.
- Change in appetite and weight, increase or decrease.
- Too little or too much sleep.
- Fatigue or lack of energy.
- Deep feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or guilt.
- Decreased ability to focus, make decisions and remember things.
- Agitation (irritability) or backwardness, which carries a different meaning here and means physical or intellectual slowness.
- The person has persistent thoughts of death or suicide.
- The person experiences changes in body movement (for example, shaking the leg if he has not done so before.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder (formerly known as partial depression)
This depression refers to a bad mood that may last for at least two years but may not reach major depression. Some symptoms may appear in this type of depression, such as:-
- People may be able to do their jobs, but feel frustrated or unhappy most of the time.
- There may be a change in appetite or sleep.
- Low energy, low self-esteem, or despair.
- Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depressive illness)
People with this type of depression experience episodes of depression, but they sometimes experience periods of unusually high energy and activity.
Depressive episodes have the same symptoms as major depression.
Signs of the manic phase include:
- High energy, reduced need for sleep, irritability, rush of great thoughts, speech and activity in a higher manner, arrogant thinking
- Unrealistically increased self-esteem and self-confidence.
- Unusual, dangerous, and self-destructive behavior. Feeling crazy can be great but it doesn’t last long and can lead to self-destructive behavior, usually followed by a period of depression. feeling cheerful or happy, Sexual drift, overspending.
- In severe cases, symptoms of seizures can include hallucinations and delusions.
- There is depression that is unique to women, although women can suffer from one of the previous types of depression, but they can also suffer from another type of depression that affects only women. It is divided into two types:-
- Perinatal depression, which occurs during pregnancy or after childbirth, can affect one in seven women who give birth, and can have devastating effects on women, their children, and their families.
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMDD). Symptoms usually begin shortly after ovulation and end once your period begins.
causes of depression
- The root cause of depression is stress.
- When we treat any disease we must not ignore the power of thoughts, emotions and behaviors that occur and are stored in the subconscious, because they are related to our health. When people focus on their problems as complex and unsolvable, they become depressed. Their brains show higher activity in a region called the left ventromedial prefrontal cortex (VLPFC), which maintains attention to the target problem and eliminates other distractions. When these problems are not resolved, the mood worsens because the subconscious mind increases the intensity of feelings to force us to notice them. When problems continue to be ignored and left unaddressed, the subconscious mind uses depression to force attention to a problem that is out of control. Stress hormones increase the pressure in the blood vessels in the intestines, causing blood to move to the extremities. But when the stress hormone causes the body to divert blood flow from the intestines toward vital organs such as the heart, lungs, and brain and causes pressure on the blood vessels in the front of the brain, the area of consciousness, to push more blood back for a behavioral reflex, that means when we’re under stress. be less intelligent.
- There is a feedback loop between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and adrenal glands, and this connection causes certain hormones to turn on and off. If a person is always tense and stressed, cortisol (the stress hormone) is constantly stimulated, and this leads to fatigue, and thus cortisol can affect the hippocampus in the brain. This hippocampus involves memory and learning. High levels of the hormone cortisol can reduce the size of the hippocampus and thus affect memory. If the sympathetic nervous system and the fight-or-flight mechanism are over-stimulated over time, this can cause a person to become anxious and depressed. On the other hand, if there is a defect in the function of the parasympathetic system, whose function is to protect the body, and it is like a brake, this leads to depression.
- There is a possible link between the genes for eating and depression. Depression and obesity share the dysregulation of countless neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, cytokines, receptor molecules, enzyme systems, and transcription.
- Suppressed neurons, and neuronal atrophy have a role in depressive disorders.
- One of the causes of depression symptoms may be a change in hormone levels due to pregnancy, postpartum problems, thyroid problems, menopause, or other reasons.
- Premenstrual depression disorder (PMDD) may be caused by a defect in the communication of signals between the brain, ovaries and uterus, and an excess of one of the hormones called prolactin, which is the main problem.
- At the turn of the twentieth century, British physician George Porter Phillips discovered that there is a relationship between gut health and depression. Conclusively, we can say that the microbes and bacteria that live in our guts have a crucial role in our mental health. Because there are some types of bacteria that work to protect the intestinal wall and thus prevent the contents of the intestine from leaking into the blood. In the event of an imbalance with these bacteria, leakage from the intestine into the blood will occur and inflammatory cytokines will be released, which in the short term leads to lethargy and bad mood, while in the long term it leads to depression.
- A low-fat diet may increase depression and other cognitive problems.
- Researchers have not found the genes that may be responsible for depression, but it is more likely that someone can develop depression if a member of their family is affected.
- Reduced blood flow to the brain is also associated with anxiety and depression.
- Sleep disorders, often occur before depression, when insomnia continues, this leads to depression, because the mood does not improve during the day and we cannot do our work or our associations with the desired face, such as going to exercise or visiting a friend and other things that are basically It has a role in keeping depression away from us.
- Immunity and Depression. People who suffer from depression have high levels of inflammation in their bodies, as it appears as if their immune system is working hard in an effort to fight infection and recover from infection, so the presence of inflammation may also help us explain the relationship between sleep and depression.
- A number of psychological conditions are caused by a deficiency of one of the nutrients that the body and brain need. Because there is a relationship between what a person eats and his mental health.
- Inflammation and oxidative stress can actually alter a person’s entire physiology, mood and mental state.
- Inflammation and oxidative stress can actually alter a person’s entire physiology, mood and mental state.
- To relieve and eliminate depression resulting from our feelings and the problems we face in aspects of our lives, is to respond to the signals of the mind instead of ignoring them by first acknowledging our feelings and identifying the real reason that makes us feel depressed, which is stress.
- We find and implement solutions to our problems, accept what happened and move on.
- Acceptance will not happen if our mind believes that we can solve the problem. Just finding hope relieves depression, even if making a plan is the first step toward solving a problem.
- Using Neuro-Emotional Technology (NET), the technology helps identify and eliminate neurological abnormalities related to the unresolved stress physiology. These changes can be felt immediately. There are also many effective techniques to help heal the unconscious mind to reduce stress, improve health, and resolve limiting thoughts or harmful behaviors. These techniques include, for example: Psych-K, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), physical experience, meditation, and physical conversation.
- Changing our perspective on life, in the way of thinking about things and seeing the bright side.
- Watching birds reduces anxiety, stress and depression, in addition to that, it gives great happiness, because it aims to focus on nature.
Maintaining gut health and stimulating serotonin production
- The hormone serotonin is made in the intestines. This hormone is synthesized by an amino acid called tryptophan. Serotonin becomes a neurotransmitter that is stored in brain cells in the form of electrical signals delivered to all parts of the body. Therefore, we must maintain the health of the intestines, because there is a close link between the large intestine and the general mood. Without the presence of beneficial bacteria in the intestines, serotonin (the hormone of happiness) would not have been manufactured. The balance of beneficial gut bacteria is maintained by providing foods that meet their needs, such as the following:
- Fiber is found in complex carbohydrates found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Eat yoghurt, especially Bulgarian milk, because it is of high quality and rich in fat. Yogurt contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, which is also found in kimchi, a traditional Korean pickled dish that is kept in a warm place. Kimchi can be eaten as an appetizer or as a dish served with rice. Sauerkraut, also called sauerkraut or fermented cabbage, is a sliced cabbage that is fermented by lactic acid bacteria. These bacteria are also found in cheese, kefir, and cucumber pickles. This tiny microbe helps produce neurotransmitters, such as GABA and serotonin. These lactobacilli bacteria help the body break down food and absorb various nutrients, as well as their role in fighting harmful bacteria that cause many diseases and preventing intestinal infections. Other types of microbes can produce different transporters such as dopamine and acetylcholine. One study found that these bacteria act on the same neural pathways in the brain that antidepressants do.
- There are other foods that contain serotonin, such as bananas, which contain serotonin that is different from what the body makes, but this serotonin in bananas is not able to cross the blood-brain barrier and then cross to the nerve cells, meaning that it is not stored and therefore the feeling of pleasure from bananas does not last It just goes through the blood and soon it ends. As for foods that contain the amino acid tryptophan, it stimulates the hormone of happiness and thus is stored in the brain.
- The hormone serotonin increases, when remembering situations that give rise to happiness.
Get the nutrients essential for mental health
- Eat foods that contain B vitamins, especially B3, B6, B12 and B1, these vitamins are water-soluble and easy to transfer to tissues. These vitamins work to increase the hormone serotonin. It can be obtained from (nutritional yeast) meat, fish, eggs, leafy vegetables, beans and peas.
- Getting enough vitamin D because of its importance in activating the genes responsible for the release of neurotransmitters, including the hormone serotonin. You can eat milk, cheese, mushrooms, eggs and be exposed to the sun daily, because the sun is the best source of vitamin D3.
- Folic acid plays a major role in preventing depression; By stopping the body from producing excessive homocysteine. Because the body’s production of large amounts of the hormone homocysteine negatively affects the mood. This vitamin is found in asparagus, legumes, leafy green vegetables, broccoli, eggs, citrus fruits, wheat germ, beetroot, Brussels sprouts, nuts, and beef liver.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish and cod liver oil, which are rich in EBA and DHA. These acids are known to have antidepressant properties.
- A group of studies found a group of bioflavonoids that help treat depression. These compounds are found in fruits, vegetables, and other foods such as dark chocolate.
- Get choline, which is important in brain function and contains many elements that help improve mood, choline is found in eggs.
- Curcumin is an effective antioxidant, which has many properties in improving cognition, contributing to improving mood and helping to treat depression.
Fasting increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). This factor promotes the growth of new brain cells.
Fasting also enhances the hormone dopamine, which improves our feeling for the better, and is linked to the hormone of happiness, because the decline in its levels causes feelings of sadness. Fasting may also improve endorphins, the hormone that gives euphoria, the feeling of pleasure, and relieves pain. Fasting also increases cell tissue factor (CREP-TF), a compound that stimulates certain genes that raise serotonin. When examining patients with severe depression, we notice a decrease in the CREP-TF factor, while fasting increases its percentage.
Calorie restriction is important because of its effect on the neuroendocrine system and mood. Calorie restriction, i.e. reducing calories without causing malnutrition, has beneficial effects on both the organ and cellular levels. Calorie restriction increases longevity, memory, and quality of life and reduces risk factors for neurodegenerative diseases and psychiatric diseases, including depression. Restricting calories also increases blood flow to the brain. The neurovascular improvements were associated with a decrease in the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) expression, similar to the effects of the antidepressant ketamine. Short- and long-term calorie restriction activates the HPA axis, which increases glucocorticoid levels and relieves depressive symptoms in a hormonal way.
- Hibiscus tea is a natural source to combat the signs that contribute to depression, such as fatigue, despair, and loss of enthusiasm.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is treated with evening primrose oil, because it contains what is called gamma-linolenic acid, which contributes to the reduction of prolactin and thus also controls estrogen levels. In addition, it is recommended to take vitamin D3 and increase calcium intake.
- The use of Rhodiola Rosea supplement. This herb contains 140 active ingredients, the most effective of these ingredients are rosavin and salidroside, the roots of this herb help in the treatment of anxiety, fatigue, depression, anemia and headache.
- Get enough sleep.
- The leading treatment for seasonal depression is light therapy, which involves daily sessions near a source of intense light.
The dangers of chemical treatments
Psychological treatments have caveats and serious side effects, moreover, they do not treat the root cause of the problem. The effect of the drugs begins after a while, and with the passage of time from the use of these drugs, their effect decreases.
Antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). They disrupt the ability to recycle serotonin and thus temporarily enhance serotonin production at synapses.
These antidepressants — fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine (Paxil), fluvoxamine (Luvox), citalopram (Celexa), and escitalopram (Lexapro) — are among the most widely prescribed drugs in the world. Its range of uses has expanded from depression to anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and many other psychological conditions.
Side effects of SSRI antidepressants
- Patients who use the aforementioned medicines suffer from insomnia, rash, headache, joint and muscle pain, upset stomach, nausea or diarrhea. Mostly these symptoms may be temporary or mild.
- The problem of decreased blood clotting ability may appear due to the low concentration of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the platelets, and therefore patients are at a slight risk of internal bleeding, especially if they are simultaneously using aspirin or other NSAIDs such as ibuprofen or naproxen.
- There are some patients who use SSRIs who suffer from some sexual problems.
- Many drugs are metabolized in the liver by many enzymes known as the cytochrome P450 system, so when using SSRIs, they are also metabolized in the liver in the same system, and therefore there may be an increase or decrease in the blood level between the two drugs. The dose may need to be adjusted, or one of the two drugs should be stopped.
- When taking an SSRI with another drug that enhances serotonin activity, a rare condition called serotonin syndrome may occur. Therefore, serotonin inhibitors should not be mixed with some treatments, especially herbal remedies.
- aking large doses of antidepressants is dangerous and can increase the likelihood of seizures.
- There are reports that people using SSRIs, especially those under the age of 18, may experience thoughts of suicide, especially when starting the drug during the first weeks after starting it or when the dose is changed.
All antidepressants carry a black box warning.Trusted Source for this effect, as required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Candice Burt, Ph.D.
Dr. Georgia Eddy