In the vast landscape of mental health, depression stands as a pervasive and challenging condition that affects individuals across the globe. It transcends mere feelings of sadness, often becoming a persistent and overwhelming force that impacts every aspect of a person’s life. Depression is a widespread issue in Australia, with a substantial number of individuals grappling with its effects.

According to recent statistics, 1 in 7 Australians are affected by depression, 1 in 4 young adults or teenagers grapple with it. This is more common in women where 1 in 5 Australian women are affected by depression at least once in their lifetime compared to 1 in 8 Australian men. Data from the latest Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (AATSIHS) states that indigenous Australians are more prone to depression due to lack of access to healthcare and knowledge about mental health.

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What are the types of depression?

Depression has become such a common term that people do not understand or differentiate between the various symptoms indicating the many different types of depression.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): Major Depressive Disorder is the most common form of depression. It is characterized by significant feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities normally done. MDD can significantly impact daily life, affecting one’s ability to work, sleep, and maintain relationships.

Persistent Depressive Disorder (PDD): Formerly known as dysthymia, PDD is a chronic form of depression lasting for at least two years. Individuals with PDD may experience periods of major depression interspersed with milder symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder involves episodes of depression and mania or hypomania. During depressive episodes, individuals may feel the same symptoms as those with major depressive disorder.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): SAD is a type of depression that occurs at specific times of the year, usually during fall and winter when there is less sunlight. Lack of sunlight exposure may disrupt the body’s internal clock and lead to depressive symptoms. This is less in common with Australians.

Perinatal and postnatal Depression: Perinatal and Postnatal depression affects new mothers and fathers. It can occur within the first year after giving birth or during the pregnancy. It is more severe than the “baby blues” and may require professional intervention. The stress due to change in schedule, handling a new baby could affect both male and female parents.

What causes depression?

What are the symptoms of depression?

Depression can manifest in many ways impacting a person’s thoughts, emotions, behaviour and sometimes as a physical illness. It is important to note that individuals may experience depression differently, and not everyone with depression will have the same symptoms. However, some common symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent sadness or low mood
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities that were once enjoyed by the person depressed.
  • Changes in sleep patterns such as insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Fatigue or lack of energy even when nothing was done to induce the fatigue.
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite or weight such as weight loss or excessive eating
  • Irritability or restlessness
  • Physical symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, headaches, stomach aches.
  • Withdrawal from social activities and isolating from friends and family.
  • Thoughts of death or suicide in extreme cases.

When should I see a doctor for depression?

Depression is a formidable adversary, but with the right resources and support, it can be managed. It is essential to recognize the signs, reach out for help, and embrace a comprehensive approach to well-being. Remember that seeking assistance is a sign of strength, and there are numerous effective strategies and treatments available to help individuals navigate the complexities of depression.
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Disclaimer

This content is created for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. For emergencies please immediately contact 000.