Who can really help with depression
Scientific research has shown that at least 15 percent of the population suffers from depression in the course of their lives, which must be treated, or better said, because too often mental illness is not recognized. Experts explain how to recognize symptoms and how affected people can be helped.
More and more people suffer from mental illness
According to a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of people with depression worldwide has significantly increased. In Germany and the European Union too, more and more people suffer from mental illness. According to the Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry (MPI), research has shown that at least 15 percent of the population suffers from depression during their lifetime. This refers to diseases that affect so much that you have to treat them, or rather you have to, because only too often depression is not recognized. On their website, experts at MPI explain how to recognize symptoms and how to help sufferers.
According to the MPI, depression can take many different forms. The disease can start slowly or even suddenly, like lightning from the blue sky.
Typical symptoms include moodiness, sleep disorders, poor concentration, fatigue, irritability, slowness of movement, loss of appetite and weight loss, and despair, as well as the inability to participate emotionally in events in the immediate environment.
Often there are daily fluctuations, usually depression is more pronounced in the morning than in the afternoon.
Interest in activities that are normally positively fast has died, almost always gone from sexual desire to the inability to engage in sexual activity.
In severe cases, despair is felt that the desire to live disappears and suicidal thoughts occur, in planning and carrying out suicide attempts.
A rare form of the disease
Rarely, mostly in women, the form is a very short acute depression which often only lasts one day or one to two weeks and then subside again by itself.
Another rare form is chronic depression, where, despite all therapeutic efforts, only a few improvements can be achieved.
Another special form of depression that occurs in about one percent of the population is manic-depressive disease. Besides episodes of depression also called manic episodes can be observed.
This manic episode, in a sense, is the opposite of a depressive episode. Here, the mood is consistently lifted, joyfully happy to be easily offended.
Who is sick?
According to MPI experts, although depression can occur for the first time at any age, a complete picture of midlife depression is the most common.
Research has shown that signs of depression can be recognized at an early age, but not as depression, but as an anxiety disorder.
Today, it is known that young people with anxiety disorders, such as panic attacks, are at an increased risk of developing depression later in life.
Only in old age is the risk of developing depression for the first time reduced. However, it is not known whether depression in old age is actually not hidden behind some forms of advanced dementia.
Although it is seen that women are more often diagnosed with depression, this fact can be explained above by lighter forms of expression.
It should also be remembered that men are more reluctant to express symptoms of depression and go to the doctor to be treated for depression.
Correlation of genetic factors and depression
According to health experts, depression is more than one cause in many cases.
Mental disorders can be promoted by stress, stressful life events or diseases such as thyroid disease or Parkinson's.
In addition, it has long been known that genes play an important role in the onset of mental illness.
Only a few months ago, an international research team managed to identify 44 gene sites associated with major depression.
According to the MPI, it is believed that the genetic proportion for typical depression is 50 percent, while the genetic ratio for manic-depressive disorder is more than 80 percent.
The surest indication of whether you are inclined or not for this condition is the presence of depression in your biological family.
However, people do not need to worry about this excessively, because depression is not continued after a simple inheritance process.
It is important to know that there are genetic risks from family stress and then look for early signs of the disease, such as sleep disturbances, autonomic changes, anxiety attacks and to fight them early.
Treatment with drugs
According to the National Care Guidelines, depression is treated with antidepressants and / or psychotherapy.
That treatment with such drugs is effective, has also been proven in research.
However, it is also known that mild depression often occurs without special treatment. In severe depression, there is no alternative to antidepressants according to MPI.
These drugs are not sedatives, according to experts also do not lead to habituation or dependence and do not have serious side effects.
However, especially at the beginning of the treatment of inner anxiety, sweating, weight gain and sometimes sexual dysfunction can occur.
In addition to antidepressants, sometimes benzodiazepines and neuroleptics are used in the treatment of depression.
In most cases patient psychotherapy support is needed.
According to the MPI, the basis of each treatment for depression is sympathetic medical consultation and support with the preparation of the overall care plan. In an atmosphere of mild depression, this might be enough as the only method of therapy.
The most important form of psychotherapy is what is called cognitive behavioral therapy. These include negative reality correction and self-assessment, development of activities in stages based on reinforcement principles, promotion of self-assurance and social competence and overcoming everyday problems.
The goal of any depression therapy is always a complete recovery from a mental condition.
Important to know: People with depression also have an increased risk of heart disease and metabolic diseases, especially diabetes mellitus. Therefore, prevention of such diseases must also be remembered.
What friends and family must consider
The Max Planck Institute for Psychiatry shows that even friends and relatives can help those affected. You must know how to handle depressive correctly.
You must be aware that depression is not something that can be overcome with determination or following advice.
Also, symptoms such as negative and irritability or even inactivity and patient selfishness should not cause relatives to lose understanding and patience and to turn away from "ungrateful" patients.
Relatives and friends must learn to understand the inability of patients to achieve something on their own and not misinterpret emotional distance as emotionally turned away.
It is also important that patients are not overwhelmed by "good advice" and, conversely, that relatives are not forced into a kind of co-therapist status in which they are overwhelmed.
MPI also uses herbal products for the treatment of depression on its website.
According to experts, according to the current state of knowledge, for mild depression, no one opposed the therapeutic efforts with St John's Wort.
However, there are some side effects that can be serious: St. John's wort causes diarrhea and an increased tendency for severe sunburn.
In addition, the intake of St. John's wort can limit other drugs in their effects. And according to experts, some preparations in any case are not appropriate.
From the use of Bach flower extract, preparation of gingko and other plant products for the treatment of depression, recommend MPI experts. (Ad)