02—JUN—2021 16:05 GMT
Why Your Thoughts And Emotions Are More Important Than You Think.
t seems as though this topic always has people shy away from talking about it immediately. It’s not difficult to understand why. It can be really tough to talk about your thoughts, and your emotions; when the stigma of mental illness is still not widely accepted in society. This article is written specifically about depression, but it also applies to other forms of mental illness. Let’s dive right in.
What Is Depression?
People often write off depression as just feeling sad most of the time, but there is much more to the illness than just that.
'It is diagnosed when an individual has a:
1. Persistently low or depressed mood
2. Decreased interest in pleasurable activities
3. Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
4. Lack of energy
5. Poor concentration
6. Appetite changes
7. Psychomotor retardation (this means slowed movements, yes it’s a thing!)
8. Sleep disturbances
9. Or suicidal thoughts'(1)
5 of the above symptoms lead to a diagnosis of major depressive disorder.
What Causes Depression?
We have to think of depression as being similar to any kind of illness, there is always a cause.
Ranging from genetics to other diseases to traumatic life events, each seems to play a different role in causing depression. For example, those with immediate family members who have depression can have it early on in life.
‘Some evidence suggests that genetic factors play a lesser role in late-onset depression than in early-onset depression. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson disease, stroke, seizure disorders, cancer and chronic pain have been associated with higher rates of depression (2). Yes, it’s true that regular diseases can cause depression too.
The trigger can often be traumatic life events or even less severe but longer-lasting hassles, such as a lack of social support, financial problems or personal conflicts.
"We have to think of depression as being similar to any kind of illness, there is always a cause."
The Physical Effects And Things to Look Out For
We’ll now have seen this come full circle; disease causing depression, and depression affecting health.
Depression has its psychological (mental and emotional) symptoms, physical symptoms and social symptoms.
‘The physical symptoms of depression include:
1. Moving or speaking slower than usual
2. Changes in appetite or weight
4. Unexplained aches and pains
5. Lack of energy
6. Low sex drive
7. Changes to menstrual cycle
8. Difficulty sleeping’ (3)
As it stands, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression is the leading cause of disability in the world. We all have a part to play in stopping this prejudice that exists in our society.
If any of these apply to you, I would suggest speaking to a loved one or seeking professional help. If you know someone struggling with a mental illness, lend an ear.
Know your body, know your mind.
1. Bains, N. (2020, October 27). Major Depressive Disorder. PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32644504/#affiliation-1
2. Chand, S. P. (2020, November 18). Depression - StatPearls - PubMed. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430847/
3. NHS website. (2019, December 23). Symptoms. Nhs.Uk. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/clinical-depression/symptoms/