Depression is becoming as common as diabetes and cold nowadays. Being sad is understandable. But being in that state every single minute and every single day of your life can cause symptoms that reflect on how you feel, think, eat, sleep or work. It is a medical condition more prevalent among the women population due to certain biological, hormonal and social factors that are unique to women.
Depression as a Medical Condition
Although common, depression is a serious condition that needs treatment to feel better. Research studies state that this condition is due to a combination of genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors that affect the daily activities of the individual.
Although friends and family members might encourage you to ‘be positive’, ‘happier’ or ‘forget the sad thoughts’, depression is not because of weakness or flaws in an individual. Truly, people with depression need treatment to get better. The best way to support your loving woman friend/family member in depression is to give emotional support, understand her feelings, offer encouragement and be patient. Never ever ignore her feelings but often keep reminding her that with time and treatment by the physician, she is going to become better.
Get Treated by a Physician
Fix an appointment with your physician or a psychologist/psychiatrist who can help you overcome depression by treating it in the right way. Before starting any treatment, the doctor will rule out any possibilities that negate it to be depression (for instance, certain medicines and medical conditions such as thyroid disorder can cause similar symptoms as depression). After that, your doctor will explain the treatment process and run you through the next step of actions that need to be taken.
Depression Can Twirl Your Entire Body Functionality
While we relate depression to sadness, it is only a small part of the big parcel of things that come along with it. A depressed person also experiences pain, aches, headaches, cramps or digestive problems. He/she also finds it difficult to fall asleep or wake up after a sleep. Symptoms that tell you to meet your doc immediately include:
Depressions that Belong to Women
Women experience pregnancy, postpartum period, perimenopause and menstrual cycle, all if which cause drastic physical and hormonal changes. Depressions that occur in certain stages of a woman’s life include:
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD)
PMS or premenstrual syndrome, known by most of us is characterized by moodiness and irritability a few weeks before menstruation and the symptoms are mild. PDD is the severe form of PMS which is characterized by disabling symptoms such as irritability, anger, depressed mood, sadness, suicidal thoughts, appetite changes, bloating, breast tenderness and joint/muscle pain.
Pregnancy involves dealing with morning sickness, weight gain and mood swings which is easier said than experienced. Even after delivery, rearing the new born brings a whole new set of changes and challenges to the new mom. While many of them experience ‘baby blues’ and the symptoms are usually mild such as worry, unhappiness, irritation and mood swings, these go away in a few weeks’ time as the new mother gets used to the baby. Read more on baby blues and how you can be a pillar of support to the new mom at www.firsteatright.com.
Perinatal depression is one that is experienced during/after pregnancy. More serious than baby blues, the symptoms of extreme sadness, anxiety and depression that accompany this depression makes it hard for the new mom and the baby to complete their daily activities. Talk to your doctor if you experience any signs of perinatal depression.
Perimenopause which involves the transition into menopause is a definite phase in every woman’s life which is quite challenging. Mood swings, hot flushes, abnormal periods and sleeping problems are typical symptoms while it is also falsely believed that it is normal to feel depressed.
Treatment for Depression
The most complicated and severe cases of depression can be treated with medication, psychotherapy or combination of both. Psychotherapy is a talk therapy session where the affected individual talks with the trained professional about his/her thoughts and feelings. There is no one remedy to treat depression in all. Every person is differently affected by depression and it may take a few trial and error sessions to find the best treatment that fits the individual.
Every woman experiences different symptoms of depression. While some might experience only a few symptoms, others might have many. Also, the frequency, severity and duration of any of the symptoms depends on the individual and her stage of illness.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.