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Everyone has days when they feel sad, but depression is a serious medical illness caused by changes in brain chemistry that leaves a person with persistent feelings of sadness over a long period of time.
 
Depression is more than just “feeling blue” for a period of time. It affects the way you think, feel, and act and can cause difficulty in functioning at work and at home. It is not something that you can “snap out of”. Although depression is a serious condition, it is also a common one. It affects roughly one in five women and one in ten men at some stage of their lives. It also doesn’t discriminate; depression is found across age groups, educational levels, and social backgrounds. Once an episode of depression has occurred, there is an increased chance that it can reoccur.
 

What are the signs & symptoms 
of Depression & Mood Disorder?

 
  • A long-term feeling of sadness or a depressed mood
  • Feelings of anxiety or emptiness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities once enjoyed
  • Irritable or restless
  • Weight loss or gain (not related to dieting or loss of appetite)
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Tiredness or loss of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
  • Feeling of worthlessness or guilt
  • Feeling of hopelessness or pessimism
  • Unexplained aches or pains, headaches or digestive problems that don’t ease with treatment
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All of Papillon’s residents follow their own Individual Treatment Plan that is used to guide their progress through the three Rehabilitation Blocks: Self-System Development; Trauma Processing; and Reintegration. The result is a personalised and holistic approach to each of our residents’ mental recovery with the goal of sustainable reintegration at the end of their 3-month stay.
 
There are a number of effective ways to treat depression, and these will be fitted to the patient’s needs and outlined in their Individual Treatment Plan. Treatments include psychotherapy, medications, and lifestyle changes, including improvements in sleeping and eating habits, exercise, and stress reduction. Depression is highly treatable and the majority of people respond well to treatment.
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What Are the General Signs & Symptoms of Depression & Mood Disorder?

Depression and mood disorders are complex conditions that manifest in a variety of symptoms, which we will discuss – why it is associated with these disorders, and how it might be recognised:

 

A Long-Term Feeling of Sadness or a Depressed Mood

Depression as a mood disorder causes a persistent feeling of sadness. This affects how you feel, think, and behave, leading to a variety of emotional and physical problems.

It can be recognised when an individual expresses feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness for most of the day, nearly every day.

 

Feelings of Anxiety or Emptiness

Anxiety disorders can occur along with depression and can severely affect your mood. Feelings of emptiness can be a symptom of depression, where a person may feel sad or low for extended periods or describe this feeling as despair or melancholy.

 

Loss of Interest in Hobbies or Activities Once Enjoyed

This is known as anhedonia, a core symptom of major depressive disorder.

It can be recognised when an individual shows a reduced interest in activities they used to enjoy.

 

Irritability or Restlessness

Irritability is a common symptom of depression, especially for men. Restlessness can be a result of a chemical imbalance or mood disorder.

 

Weight Loss or Gain (Not Related to Dieting or Loss of Appetite)

Depression can cause changes in appetite and weight. This can be due to overworking, relationship problems, or being in a temporary rut.

 

Insomnia or Sleeping Too Much

Depression and sleep problems are closely linked. People with depression may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

 

Suicidal Thoughts

Suicidal ideation is a serious symptom of depression. It requires immediate attention and professional treatment.

 

Tiredness or Loss of Energy

Depression can lead to low energy because it affects neurotransmitters in your brain, like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, which affect your energy, motivation, and sleep.

 

Difficulty Concentrating and Making Decisions

Depression can interfere with a person’s cognitive abilities. They may have trouble focusing or concentrating on personal or professional matters.

 

Feeling of Worthlessness or Guilt

Feelings of worthlessness or guilt are common symptoms of depression. Individuals may fixate on past failures or blame themselves for things beyond their control.

 

Feeling of Hopelessness or Pessimism

Persistent sad or “empty” moods, feelings of hopelessness or pessimism are common signs of depression.

 

Unexplained Aches or Pains, Headaches or Digestive Problems That Don’t Ease with Treatment

These can be physical symptoms of depression. They may occur as a result of changes in brain activity, hormone levels, or neurotransmitter levels.

These symptoms can vary from person to person and if you or someone else is experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to seek help from a healthcare professional.

 

Depression & Mood Disorder Causes and Pre-Dispositions

Depression and mood disorders are complex conditions that are influenced by a variety of factors, including the following:

Environmental Factors

Stressful life changes, such as the death of a loved one, chronic stress, traumatic events, and childhood abuse are major risk factors for the development of a mood disorder later on in life, especially depression.

Environmental factors can also include exposure to various noxious agents in a “sick building,” usually an office or other building that houses many people working in close proximity to one another.

Other non-chemical sources of environmental stress include noise pollution, electrical pollution, natural disasters, and other catastrophic environmental events.

 

Genetics

Genetics are known to play a significant role in depression. If you have a close family member, such as a parent or sibling with depression, you have a 2 to 3 times greater risk of developing depression than a person without a family history.

However, specific genes or genetic mutations linked to major depression have not been definitively identified. It’s more likely a combination of genes that lead to the disorder.

 

Risk Factors

Several factors can make depression more likely. These may include family history and genetics, chronic stress, history of trauma, gender, poor nutrition, unresolved grief or loss, personality traits, medication and substance use.

Depression often begins in the teens, 20s or 30s, but it can happen at any age. More women than men are diagnosed with depression, but this may be due in part because women are more likely to seek treatment.

The above factors can vary from person to person and anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek help from a healthcare professional so that it can be treated effectively with the right interventions.

 

Myths About Depression & Mood Disorder

Let us discuss some common myths about depression and mood disorders, along with the facts:

 

Myth: Mood disorders are simply a lack of willpower.

Fact: Mood disorders are diseases that people cannot simply “will” away. Symptoms of mood disorders may include low willpower or poor self-control, but these symptoms are not due to laziness and are not within a person’s control.

 

Myth: People who come from happy families don’t develop mood disorders.

Fact: People from any family background can develop a mood disorder. There are many reasons why people develop mood disorders.

 

Myth: Depression is not a real illness.

Fact: Depression is a real and serious illness that requires professional treatment.

 

Myth: Depression occurs because of a traumatic event or sad situation.

Fact: While traumatic events or sad situations can trigger depression in some people, depression can also occur without any obvious cause.

 

Myth: You can just “snap out of it”.

Fact: Depression is a serious illness that requires treatment. It’s not something that a person can simply “snap out of”.

 

Myth: Depression is a weakness and not an illness.

Fact: Depression is not a weakness or laziness, but a serious mental health condition that is caused due to various reasons.

 

Early Warning Signs of Depression & Mood Disorder

Early warning signs of depression and mood disorders can be subtle and may often be dismissed or overlooked. Here are some early signs to watch out for:

  • Persistent sadness or low mood is often one of the first signs of depression.
  • Losing interest in activities he or she once enjoyed, even simple things like reading or watching TV.
  • Changes in appetite or weight, which would lead to significant weight loss or weight gain (more than 5% of body weight in a month).
  • Having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep or sleep too much.
  • Feelings of hopelessness or despair – like things will never get better or there’s nothing to be done to improve a situation.
  • Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent – low tolerance levels, short temper, and everything and everyone gets on a person’s nerves.
  • Finding it hard to focus or make decisions.
  • Experiencing unexplained physical symptoms such as headaches, stomach aches, or back pain.
  • Feeling guilty or worthless for no reason.

 

Negative Symptoms of Depression & Mood Disorder

Negative symptoms of depression and mood disorders refer to the absence or reduction of normal behaviours, emotions, or drives:

  • Anhedonia, which is the reduced ability to experience pleasure and loss of interest or satisfaction in nearly all activities, is a core symptom of depression.
  • Apathy refers to the lack of motivation, initiative, and drive to engage in normal day-to-day activities. People with depression may find it hard to start tasks, even ones they usually enjoy.
  • A blunted affect, which is characterised by a reduction in the range and intensity of emotional expression. Individuals with depression may have fewer facial expressions, eye contact, and changes in body language that would normally indicate emotion.
  • Depression can cause people to withdraw from social activities and relationships due to a lack of interest, energy, or feelings of worthlessness.
  • People with depression often experience fatigue, lethargy, and decreased energy, which makes it difficult to engage in normal activities or complete tasks.
  • Depression can lead to difficulties with attention and concentration, manifesting as trouble focusing on tasks, forgetfulness, and difficulty making decisions.
  • Some people with depression may speak less than usual, take longer to respond in conversations and their speech may be slower.
  • In severe cases, depression can lead to neglect of personal hygiene which include not bathing, brushing teeth, or changing clothes.

 

How Depression & Mood Disorder is Diagnosed

Only a qualified healthcare professional can diagnose depression or a mood disorder, using a combination of methods:

The professional will conduct a detailed interview with the patient. This includes asking about the patient’s medical history, mental health history, and current symptoms.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) provides specific criteria for diagnosing depression and mood disorders. To be diagnosed with major depression, a person must have at least five symptoms of depression that have been present every day, for most of the day, for at least 2 weeks. One of the symptoms must be either a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities.

While depression and mood disorders are primarily diagnosed based on symptoms, a physical examination and lab tests can help rule out other medical conditions that might cause similar symptoms.

A psychological evaluation involves discussing thoughts, feelings, and behaviour patterns. It may also include a questionnaire to help identify depression. Self-report questionnaires are often used to assess the severity of depression and monitor treatment progress.

Mental health professionals may also observe the patient’s behaviour, mood, and interactions.

Not sure we can help you? Our elite team of psychiatrists, occupational therapists, nurses and facilitators are qualified to treat a range of mental illnesses. In fact, our programme has successfully helped people with:

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