Depression is regarded as a psychological disease instead of a physical one although it could be equally as damaging. It is actually a medical condition that must be treated or could propel to other health problems. The actual term is clinical depression which carries other names like major depressive disorder or MDD.
The main problem with depression is that many Malaysians have it but choose to disregard it. This is because no one wants to be known as having a ‘mental health problem’ which in street language means ‘crazy’. It has been reported that at any given time, about 5 to 10% of the people in a community is in need of medical help or attention for depression. It is most common among people between 20 and 40 years of age which is when they are at their peak of career and life. As Malaysia is thriving and growing rapidly and this has caused more people to join the rat race. Through this rigorous environment, more and more Malaysians are stressed, worried and burdened with commitments thereby causing depression.
If left untreated, depression could explode to more problems like eating and sleep disorder, high blood pressure and even strokes or heart attacks. The worst case scenario is where depression leads to suicide. This accumulates to about 850,000 deaths every year, making it one of the top fatal diseases in Malaysia.
Unlike other diseases, clinical depression can have multiple episodes of relapse even after it has been treated. Some reports suggested that 80% of people with depression will experience at least another episode later in life. A person with depression is hard to detect because many believes that it is all ‘in the mind’. It takes courage for someone to accept that they have a mental problem and seek help. A person who is suffering from depression often experiences mood swings, feeling less energetic reduced attention and most importantly losing self-esteem and confidence.
If you experience loss of sleep or appetite to eat as you are not feeling ‘too good’, then it is time to seek help. Psychological intervention is the most common way through counselling and therapy. Only if the condition worsens that you need pharmacological treatment where you will need to take medicines like SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) and SNRIs (Serotonin and Noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors) for the more severe cases. So if you are always feeling blue and miserable all the time, it could not be merely stress. Seek help immediately before suicidal thoughts start creeping in.
Vitamin deficiency that can lead to depression
Vitamin D – If your body is lacking in Vitamin D, then you are at high risk of depression. It is an important agent that helps in regulating hormones like estrogen, testosterone and progesterone which are involved in causing depression when they are lacking. Besides that, Vitamin D is crucial in regulating sleep because a person who has insomnia is in the high risk group of this condition.
Zinc – If you do not have enough zinc, you are at risk as well because it is supposed to help your body modulate its reaction to stress when it happens.
Magnesium – This mineral works with zinc in your body’s effort to overcome trauma and stress. If your body is lacking in this area, then you are more exposed and at risk.
Amino Acids – This nutrient helps to produce neurotransmitter that gives your body the energy and focus to carry out its daily tasks. Without it, or lacking of it means you can have a depression attack easily.
To treat clinical depression, you must consult a professional doctor who can either be a psychologist or a therapist in the area of expertise. If you need certain types of medication, then a non-MD therapist is sufficient who can prescribe antidepressants but if your condition is very serious, then you will need to find a specialist. You can start by speaking to a therapist, psychiatric nurse or even a counselor.
If you are experiencing any of the following signs, then you could be facing risk of clinical depression which if not treated could lead to more serious conditions.
- Cannot concentrate or remember important information
- Difficult in making decisions
- Feeling tired all the time, fatigue
- Guilt and feeling worthless
- Difficulty in sleeping or sever insomnia
- Difficult to wake up in the morning
- Feeling restless all the time
- Lack of interest in hobbies you used to love
- Reduced interest in sex
- Loss of appetite
Medication is required if you suffer from serious clinical depression but they must be prescribed by the specialist before you can take them.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors – Known as SSRI, this is usually the first medication prescribed by doctors. They are very safe with minimal side effects. Prozac (fluoxetine) and Zoloft (Sertraline) are among the common types of SSRIs.
Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors – Cymbalta’s duloxetine and Effexor XR (venlafaxine) are among the popular SNRI medications.
Norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitors – This type of antidepressant is among the few known to have no side effects in your sexual health.
Other types of antidepressants:
Tricyclic antidepressants – Prescribed only if your first SSRI did not work as it is known to have some side effects.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors – Used when initial prescriptions do not work and must be taken with certain diets because it does not go along with all types of foods.
Before you start depending on medication, you can always look for some home remedies which can help to reduce your depression attacks.
Chicken – Your body needs Vitamin B6 because it can lead to depression if you do not have enough of this. Taking chicken will supply your body with sufficient Vitamin B6 to keep your brains healthy.
Spinach – Spinach is a good source of folic acid that can decrease your risk of depression.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids – You must have enough of this fatty acid as it has been found to facilitate healthy brains.
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