Intricacies of depression---what it is? A microscopic to macroscopic study – Part 2

The intricacies of depressions among all section of human being right form childhood to childbirth

 

The depression disorder is not limited to a particular age or sex. The article will give you enough idea about the different sex and different age groups that include the babies & children.

 

Although the causes are different in different cases, but depression makes a human’s life different in many ways. Since babies and children also do come in the categories of victims at their very early life, they need to be taken care of at that very stage; else the damages are uncountable in their grownup life.

 

Depression in men

 

Symptoms and signs

Men, when compared with women, are most likely to experience anger, irritability, low energy and also sometimes bend on inflicting pain to others. Loss of interest in hobbies or in work, sleep problems and substance abuse are the indications found in men when under depression. Men are found to engage themselves excessively in the risky jobs when they are under depression. They tend to commit suicide four times more than the female sex in the similar condition. In spite of these difficulties, men are less intended to receive treatments in this condition

 

Depression in women

 

Symptoms and signs

While comparing with men, women are found to develop this depressive condition at an earlier stage with more depressive episodes. These episodes in women last longer and these conditions tend to recur more frequently than the men. Women are more found to have seasonal pattern to the depressive situations and also indicate about atypical depressions sleeping, eating, weight gaining, carbohydrate craving, mood worsening during evening time, heavy feelings in the lower and upper limbs and feeling difficulties in getting to sleep. Women, if compared with men, have more anxiety, dependant personality and eating disorder. Menopause, which is the normal time of life, can last up to 10 years if the woman has ‘Perimenopause’ conditions with depression. Both menopause and perimenopause are the normal course of life, but the risk of depression increases with perimenopause during this period. Further to it, those women who have the history of depression are likely to have major depression during this period of perimenopause.

Depression in teenagers

 

Symptoms and signs

Teenagers are found to be more irritable, in addition to losing interest in their normal activities. They tend to start abusing substances while gaining extra weight. Teenagers are found to remain less concerned about their safety, so they tend to accept more risks. This vulnerable group of depressed are more likely to commit suicides, if compared with their younger ones with depressions. Acne problem in the adolescent period creates higher risks of depressions.

 

Depression in children

 

Symptoms and signs

The sadness in the behaviour of toddlers, babies and pre-school children are expressed when they are depressed, but cannot fully express to the elders in the family. The example: They seem to be withdrawn; in sometimes they resume old behaviour. A few of these little ones either fail to thrive or show regress or rather younger behaviour. There is every possibility that school going children regress in their schooling, in addition to showing irritability or anxiety along with developing physical complaints. Some of these children may behave to please others as a gesture of compensating the feelings of low self-esteem. This way they try to lessen or hide their depression to be noticed.

Both adolescents and children may also pass through classic depressive symptoms like adults, and they may club their feelings with the following symptoms:-

Ø Persistent boredom

Ø Poor school performance

Ø Unending complaints of physical problems like stomach pain and headache

Ø Some of the children with depressions may show some of the symptoms of depressed adults, instead of a child’s age-matching emotions of sadness, sleeping and eating patterns.

Ø A few of these children may put on weight

Ø A few also show unusual tiredness

Risk factors and causes of depressions

In many cases depression run through families, indicating depression is attached with biological vulnerability for its inheritance. This type of patient is diagnosed in the category of Bipolar disorder. After investigating different families with the cases of bipolar disorder, it has been found that these affected persons with the depressive disorders have different genetic makeup than other normal peer group. The important point here is, reverse is not possible. To make it clear, all with the particular genetic make-up, which is the cause of bipolar disorder, will be the candidate for the illness. The vital points are (1) the factors which are responsible for stressful environment are prone to the illness and (2) the underlying protective factors are the helpful ones for the prevention of the problem.

Some of the families have some “depressive elements” in their successive generations, but with slight differences when compared with the cases of bipolar I and bipolar II. However, the problem of major depression may also occur in those families who have no such history of genetic problem.

Sometimes some external event may be the sole cause of episode of depression. Incidences like any chronic illness, a serious loss, difficult relationship, any unwelcome change in life patterns or any financial problem can be the reason of the onset of depression. Often it is found that a combination of psychological, genetic, and environmental factors become responsible for depressive disorder.

Stressors can affect some particular groups more severely than others. The examples: - Those socioeconomically disadvantaged group and minority groups who become affected by discriminations, number more as the cases of depressions when compared with their advantaged counterparts. In the USA, depressed immigrants are found to be more in number because of their isolation for language difference.

Irrespective of ethnicity, every immigrant in the USA remains sensitive to the effects of depressions, such as low socioeconomic status, unemployment, divorce and the unbearable stressful conditions. Depression disorders are found mostly among those women, who were emotionally, physically and sexually exploited in their childhood. These women grow with these depressions and so are most likely to be the patient of depressive disorders. Some men, who engage themselves in homosexuality because of absence of partner at home or might have been victim of antigay violence in multiple occasions, are the patients of depressive disorders.  The homosexuality and depression’s link can equally affect the women for the same reason.

Human brain & its intricacies

Human brain is the most complex and fascinating item in this unique universe. Human brain has 100-plus chemicals, which are called ‘neurotransmitters or neurochemicals ’. Researches of different types have focused on only four of these neurochemical systems. They are dopamine, acetylcholine, norepinephrine and serotonin. The new century may term these neurochemicals as phlegm, blood, black bile and yellow bile respectively.

Medicinal effects in the brain, causing depressions

It is viewed that various neuropsychiatric illnesses are most probably associated with either insufficiency or overabundance of some of these neurochemicals in some areas of our brain. The example: - Insufficiency of dopamine may lead to Parkinson’s disease. If our brain has lower acetylcholine levels, the result will be dementia. Neurochemical dopamine leads to addictive disorder. The example: Any alcohol or drug abuse releases dopamine in the brain. This gives a pleasurable sensation, but if it is taken continuously, it will desensitize the dopamine system, because of the fact that the body system has become used to the alcohols or drugs. This compels the person to take more drugs or alcohol to come up to the level of high feeling. Here starts the depression of the person because he goes on increasing the doses but gets reduced amount of satisfaction, so he keeps increasing the doses but remains dissatisfied.

Side effects of some medicines, including those used for treating depression

Many medicines are used for treating different medical conditions but they cause side effects. The example:- Some medicines used for treating high blood pressure, extreme pain, contraceptive pills cancer and seizures can lead to depressions. Even some medicines used for treating alcoholism and sleeping aids for treating psychiatric patients, leave the patients with some side effects.

Some of the developmental disabilities and mental health conditions are also connected with depression. Some patients with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder), anxiety, developmental disabilities and substance abuse are more vulnerable to cause depressions.

Eternal confusion --- “whether chicken came first or egg came first”?

Different types of schizophrenia have connection with the serotonin (sluggishly regulated) and imbalance of dopamine (excessive) in certain areas of the brain. This means depressive disorders are found to be connected with norepinephrine systems and altered brain serotonin. These two neurochemicals are meant for reducing depressions. The important point here to note that depression is not “caused by” abnormalities but is “associated with” these neurochemicals. The reason behind the problem is still not explored – that is whether depression is the reason for low levels of neurochemicals in human brain or neurochemicals in the human brain is the reason for depression.

However it is clear that certain medications are responsible for altering the serotonin or norepinephrine level and so responsible for heightening the depressions’ symptoms. Some medicines are very effective and faster in treating depression but affect both of the neurochemical systems. Other medications for treating depression also hamper the neurochemical systems. Electroconvulsive is considered to be most powerful in treating depression is not specific or restricted to any particular treatment; instead ECT is seizure-causing and generates generalized brain activity, to cause the release of massive amount of neurochemicals.

Unlike men, women are doubly affected by depression. The reason is not yet known to the scientists in this field of study. A person’s vulnerability to depression depends upon the psychological factors.

The factors responsible for depression

The factors responsible for depression are persistent deprivation during the period of infancy, different types of personality traits, sexual or physical abuse, and maladaptive coping mechanisms (inadequate mechanisms of coping). These factors contribute to the severity of depression and cause increments in the frequencies. These factors may or may not be coupled with inherited vulnerability.

Maternal-foetal stress, an important issue for research in this matter

The repercussion of maternal-foetal stress, subjecting depression, is becoming the matters of interest for the researchers. If an expectant woman passes through some stresses, the child in the womb may develop depression after attaining adulthood, and that becomes obvious if the genetic vulnerability is also a factor with the carrying mother. The fact being discussed here is the stress hormones that the mother’s body system is circulating, may influence the development of the brain of the foetus in this period. If so, the altered developments of the foetus’s brain turn to be predisposed to depression in the adult age. But researches are going on to confirm the factors of causes. On the other side, scientists are seeing the possibility of conflicts and complexities of interactions between environmental stress and genetic vulnerability.

Postpartum depression (PPD)

Postpartum depression is a peculiar depressive condition of those mothers who have recently delivered babies. In this condition, the new mother experience about different types of emotional and physical changes, which are quite often after giving birth to a baby. PPD is treated with counselling and medication. If anyone experiences this, she must talk to the concerned doctor.

Types of PPD

PPDs are 3 types. They are:-

1) Baby Blue: -

 

It is a condition that happens just after giving birth to a baby. This is a sudden mood swing for new mother after her child’s birth. A few new mothers feel very happy but suddenly change mood and become sad and even become angry. These types of mothers start crying unreasonably and exhibit various types of feelings like impatient, anxious, lonely, irritable, restless and sad.

 

Treatment

This condition may continue for some time, maximum up to 2 weeks after delivery. That is why ‘baby blues’ do not need medical intervention. The other new moms or some support group can be the best help.

2) Postpartum depression (that is known as PPD)

This condition can be noticed among the new moms even after a few days or a few months after delivering the child. This condition is not restricted to the first child; it may also be seen in the consecutive times. Some new mothers may show the symptoms of “baby blues”, such as anxiety, irritability, sadness, despair etc. But the intensity of the feelings is seen much more than the actual baby blues. Mostly these patients withdraw themselves from their daily chores.

Treatment

In this abnormal situation of functional withdrawal or inability, intervention of a doctor becomes urgently necessary. If medical intervention is delayed, the condition can worsen and the symptoms may be seen even up to one year. Although it is a serious condition, it is treatable through counselling and medications.

3) Postpartum psychosis

This is the most serious among these three mental illness conditions, affecting the new mothers. The occurrences of this illness can be very quick, like within 90 days after the delivery. The patients in this category experience psychotic depression. In this state of condition the patients remain away from reality and face with auditory hallucinations, which mean they listen something which is actually not. Example:  Talking of a person. They may also have delusions which means they see something which is actually not. Among these two types of hallucinations, the latter one that is delusions are less common, but cases are there. The most common among the problems are insomnia, a condition of sleeplessness. The other problems are restlessness or remaining unsettled, strange feelings, angers accompanied with homicidal or suicidal behaviours / thoughts.

 

Treatment

 

These types of patients should be medically treated by a competent doctor. A few of these cases need hospitalizations because of the severity of the cases. Such new mother may hurt self, others or even her own new born baby.

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