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How to identify depression and prevent suicide

Table of Contents

Curious fact: Every 11 seconds, somebody in the United States loses their life due to suicide.

Real story

Jennifer’s depression lasted 5 years, from 15 to 20. Jennifer’s whole life was affected by depression, her world turned upside down, her life changed forever, and she noticed a big change in the way she interacted with people. She sought psychological help, took refuge with her family, started playing sports and reading. These activities helped her interact more with people as she began to meet new friends, because, as Jennifer says, isolation from the world makes the abyss bigger.

What is depression?

Depression is a mental disorder characterized primarily by low mood and feelings of sadness, also associated with changes in behaviour. Likewise, it is one of the most common pathologies in primary care and is the first cause of psychiatric care and disability caused by mental problems. Depression is quite common in women and people under the age of 45.

Childhood depression

Childhood depression is a very frequent disease, since one in 20 children will have a depressive episode before the age of 19 and less than half of these children will receive adequate treatment. On many occasions parents often underestimate the severity of depression in their children, which can be extremely dangerous for the development of children. It is recommended to seek professional help if you detect any of the following symptoms in your child:

  • Persistent boredom
  • Extreme sensitivity to rejection
  • Conversations about the intention to run away from home
  • Low self-esteem
  • Crying episodes

You should also consider the symptoms that will be discussed later on in the blog.

3 types of depression

Depression can be easily classified into three main types:

  • Major depression has a biological or endogenous origin, with a greater genetic component and less influence of external factors. It is often linked to certain seasons of the year.
  • Reactive depression is usually caused by poor adaptation to highly stressful environmental conditions.
  • Dysthymia, also known as depressive neurosis, is characterized by a low intensity depression. Likewise, it has a chronic evolution, without asymptomatic periods and with feelings of incapacity and somatizations. This type of stress is related to personality and prolonged stress.

There is another type of depression called masked depression that instead of manifesting itself in the normal symptoms of depression, it appears as an organic discomfort such as somatization or behavioral changes.

Causes

Depression is generally caused by the interaction of certain biological factors such as hormonal changes, alterations in brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, noradrenaline and dopamine, and even genetic components. There are also psychosocial and personality factors that can produce depression such as stressful circumstances of daily life and psychological defense mechanisms. Depression may also be produced by organic diseases

Symptoms

The main symptoms of depression are pathological sadness, loss of interest and enjoyment, and a decrease in the vitality that limits the level of activity and produces an exaggerated exhaustion even after easy activities. Other symptoms may also appear, such as feelings of guilt or incapacity, irritability, pessimism about the future, ideas of death or suicide, loss of confidence in oneself or in others, decreased concentration and memory, restlessness, sleep disorders and loss of appetite and libido.

How to trat depression?

The treatment used will depend on the specific characteristics of the subtype of depression, so the treatment will be personalized, a previous assessment with a medical specialist is necessary to determine the best way to combat this problem.

  • Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy offers confidence, security, understanding, and emotional support. This therapy corrects distorted thoughts, explains the temporary nature and de-dramatizes the situations that affect the patient. During this therapy, the aim is to involve the patient in their healing process and to teach them how to prevent relapses.

 

  • Pharmacological treatment

Antidepressants, anxiolytics, and other adjuvant drugs such as thyroid hormones, lithium carbonate or psychostimulants are used in this type of treatment. These treatments are usually used in addition to psychotherapy.

 

  • Electroconvulsive therapy

Electroconvulsive therapy is commonly used in cases of severe depression in adults or resistant depressions. This type of treatment is done under anesthetic and muscle-relaxing control. This is a safe technique and its side effects on memory are usually mild and transient.

 

There are also complementary therapies that can help improve the patient’s situation, if they are used in conjunction with one of the previously mentioned therapies. For more information on this type of therapies we recommend our Music Therapy and laugh therapy blog.

Consecuences

If left untreated, depression can have devastating consequences on the patient’s quality of life and well-being. Some of the consequences are:

  • Difficulties in interacting with other people
  • Pain
  • Sleeping disorders
  • Lack of concentration
  • Cognitive problems
  • Difficulties while coping with daily life
  • Lack of hope

However, the worst consequence that can result from depression is suicide. This is a very important problem among the population of the United States, with 126 people taking their own lives every day. In 2020, there were 45,940 suicides, of which 36,524 were men suicides and 9,416 were women suicides, with rates of 22. 2 and 5. 6 respectively. Over the years, the number of cases has increased dramatically. We need to give greater importance to mental health and to inform ourselves about the actions we can take to prevent these types of situations.

How to prevent suicide?

It is extremely important to be aware of your relative’s behavior, in some cases they may be signs of a mental disorder. Here are 12 tips to avoid a case of suicide in your family:

  • If you notice signs that your child or family member’s mental health is deteriorating, spend more time together
  • Listen to your relative, even when he’s not speaking. You should be aware of their behavior and corporal expression; this can often be an indicator of their state of mind.
  • Consider that your family member may face suicide risks that you have overlooked. Be aware that there are situations and events that can affect the mental health of your family members.
  • Never dismiss suicide threats as a melodrama
  • Respond to family members with empathy
  • Seek professional help right away
  • Remove and secure any weapons or lethal substances you have in your home
  • If a family member is on treatment for depression, focus on generating hope
  • Encourage your relative to see friends or other family members
  • Promote exercise
  • Promotes balance and moderation
  • It’s important to be aware that getting out of depressive situations takes time

Health insurance

It is well known that taking care of our mental health is as important as taking care of the body. Therefore, in BYBS we want to help you have a healthy mind and live your life to the fullest. Take care of your mind and body while we look after your integrity, finding and building coverages that best suit you. For more information visit our website, where you will find the different coverages we offer. We have guaranteed approval coverage, which allows you to enroll regardless of your health status, or for those who do not qualify for public health insurance. (healthcare.gov) #CallBlanca (202) 316-4503

Conclusion 

Depression is the main cause of mental health deterioration in people of all ages and many times we don’t take it seriously or mistake it for prolonged sadness. It is important to understand the symptoms of depression in order to recognize them if necessary, and also be aware of the actions we can take to prevent depression from causing its worst consequences, including suicide.

Here are the suicide hotlines in case you need help from a specialist:

Suicide hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (273-8255).

Spanish hotline: 1-888-628-9454

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