10th October is recognized as World Mental Health Day to promote mental health awareness and education globally as well as to advocate against the social disgrace. Several people worldwide suffer from mood disorders, anxiety, and depression that hamper their quality of life and overall well-being. You may find people being described as moody. But, what being moody is exactly? People may feel low or sad and may seek isolation from society, which they once used to love. Activities of some people may reduce while that of others may increase. These variations of moods are noticeable with keen observations. Observing the early signs of such a mood disorder will help you to understand if that person needs medical guidance and assistance from psychologists. Let’s learn more about it.
What is Mood Disorder?
The term Mood Disorder refers to a sustained emotional state not merely to the external expression (affective) of present emotional state. Mood disorders are considered as syndrome consisting cluster of signs and symptoms sustained over a duration ranging from weeks to months. These signs and symptoms indicate a marked deviation from normal functioning often periodically.
Mood disorders are a group of clinical conditions characterized by a loss of that sense of control and subjective experience of great distress. The patient may suffer from episodes of elevated mood called Mania, while some may suffer from low mood called Depressive episodes. A person suffering from both the episodes of low and high mood periodically is called bipolar disorder. The intensity and duration of the expression of such illness has a wide variation and is diagnosed according to diagnostic manuals like DSM or ICD 10.
What is Depression?
The person with a depressed mood experiences a loss of energy and interest, feels guilt, and experienced difficulty in concentration, a loss of appetite, and thoughts of death or suicide. It is, sometimes, also called a unipolar disorder.
Other signs and symptoms are a change in the activity level, cognitive abilities, vegetative functions, and speech. These signs and symptoms result in impairment in interpersonal, social, and occupational functioning
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Types of Depressive Disorders According to DSM 5:
- Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder: It is manifested by recurrent temper outbursts.
- Major Depressive Disorder: Major depressive disorder Indicates high severity of episode and low mood.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia): Persistent clarifies the duration is much longer than other types. Here the duration of the episode is more than 2 years.
- Premenstrual Dysphoria Disorder: In this type, there is marked affective lability before the onset of menses and improves after the onset of menses.
- Substance/Medication-Induced Depressive Disorder: Persistent disturbance in the mood with evidence of either substance intoxication/withdrawal or exposure to a medication result in this type of disorder.
- Depressive Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition: The persistent depressed mood due to other medical condition, such as cancer, immune-compromised illnesses, and similar others, cause this disorder.
- Other Specified Depressive Disorder: It is considered when the clinician chooses a specific reason for not selecting any criteria.
- Unspecified Depressive Disorder: Here the disorder signifies mood disorder but does not meet the full criteria of any disorder in depressive disorders.
Statistics: The global prevalence of the disease, which is a comprehensive assessment of mortality and disability, highlights the importance of mood disorder for the world. Unipolar major depression is found to be the fourth leading cause of the ailment burden on the globe. Depression is the top cause of illness in the world while suicide ranks 2nd cause of death in the world.
Causes of Depression:
It is believed that Depression does not result due to a single factor, but it results due to the contribution of multiple factors.
- Genetics: About 1/3rd of cases of depression are linked to genetic factors and rest to non-genetic and environmental factors.
- Psychological factors: Rumination, negative thought pattern, poor self-esteem, personality traits, and melancholic temperaments are a few psychological factors responsible for the pre-morbid condition causing depression and other mood disorders.
- Social factors: Economic difficulties, cultural variability, domestic violence, and childhood trauma/abuse are the factors observed from decades to lead to depression. But, recently social media-induced depression (SMID) is been witnessed by many Mental Health Professionals (MHP).
Before diagnosing, observing signs, symptoms, and actions of s particular person is the most essential step. Hence, the following are the actions one can express when suffering from Depression.
- Extreme behavior changes
- Weeping/emotional outburst
- Alcohol/Other substance abuse
- Social isolation
- Ignoring meals
- Giving away possessions
- Poor involvement in social functioning.
What Are the Early Signs and Symptoms of Depression?
Signs are objective evidence of an illness that can be observed by others. Early signs are those signs which are expressed in an initial stage before forming a full-blown illness to diagnose it.
Symptoms are the feelings of the patient and are subjective and difficult to be observed. For instance, lethargy and a loss of appetite are the symptoms which cannot be observed but felt by the person himself.
So, henceforth, we would focus on the signs and symptoms which can be easily detected in it’s the early stages.
Physical Signs and Symptoms of Depression:
Physical signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Disinterest in Grooming
- A loss of weight
- Dark circles around the eyes
- Lack of energy
- Disturbed sleep/Insomnia
- Recurrent physical complaints
- A change in appetite
- Disturbed sexual functioning.
- Lethargy/Sluggishness in simple activities
- Self-mutilation (In severe cases)
Mental Signs and Symptoms of Depression:
Psychological signs and symptoms of depression include:
- Anger outbursts
- Being grieved
- Self-blame attitude
- Poor reasoning abilities
- Poor concentration
- Self Gloomy
- Future seems unpromising
- Suicidal thoughts
Social Observations of a Depressed Individual:
- Social Isolation.
- Less involvement in social celebrations
- Difficulty in cherishing bonds
- Fear that others will criticize her/him
Signs and Symptoms of Depression Observed at the Work Place:
- The feeling of being incapable
- Difficulty in submitting work on time.
- Irregular attendance
- Poor communication with colleagues
What is Severe/Major Depression?
In severe depression, along with the above symptoms, there is a marked distressing typical loss of self-esteem and worthlessness. Suicidal thoughts and actions are common with various somatic (physical) symptoms. Sometimes, depression may also be associated with ‘Psychotic Symptoms.’ In this condition, the person may develop delusion and hallucinations.
So ‘Depression’ is not an illness to be neglected, but, with the help of its various signs and symptoms, we all might be able to detect it at the earliest. Preventing the person to fall into severe stages of depression by providing them immediate care should be our primary motive.
Homeopathy has a great role in treating Psychiatry disorders. Many are unaware of Homeopathic psychiatrist, where these mental health professionals diagnose the disease condition and help them with homeopathic treatment without developing drug dependency and side-effects.
Hence, help the society to overcome depression by identifying the warning signs of the condition and with homeopathic treatment for depression.