Have a question on Depression? Ask Dr Batra's™

1. What is depression? »
Depression is more than being sad or feeling grief after a loss; it is a medical condition just like diabetes or heart disease and not a personal weakness. Depression affects the thoughts, feelings, physical health and behaviours of individuals; it affects regular day-to-day activities. Clinical depression is a serious, but treatable, mental illness.
2. Who is at risk of developing depression? »
The following factors can increase the risk of developing depression:

  • Having relatives with depression
  • Having traumatic experiences as a child
  • Having family members who have committed suicide
  • Experiencing stressful life events
  • Having few friends or other personal relationships
  • Recently having given birth (postpartum depression)
  • Having a serious illness
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Taking certain conventional treatment
  • 3. What are the triggers for depression? »
    There are many potential triggers for depression that are as follows:

  • Family history and genetics — inherited traits, including psychological vulnerability and relatives with depression
  • Life events - loss of a loved one, financial problems, medical illness or stress
  • Biological factors and hormonal changes due to physical conditions
  • Early childhood trauma
  • 4. What are the general symptoms of depression? »
    General symptoms of depression are stated here:

  • Sad mood
  • Preoccupation with past failures or inadequacies
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Feelings of uselessness, hopelessness and excessive guilt
  • Slowed thinking, forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating and difficulty in making decisions
  • Loss of interest in work, hobbies and people
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Changes in weight and appetite — eating too little or too much
  • Oversleeping or insomnia
  • Decreased sexual drive
  • Thoughts of death, dying or suicide
  • 5. What are the signs of depression in children and teens? »
    Common signs of depression in children are different from those in adults. They are as follows:

  • In children - sadness, irritability, clinginess, worry, aches and pains, refusing to go to school or being underweight
  • In teenagers - sadness, irritability, feeling negative and worthless, anger, poor performance or poor attendance at school, feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive, using recreational drugs or alcohol, eating or sleeping too much, self-harm, loss of interest in normal activities and avoidance of social interaction
  • 6. What are the signs of depression in the elderly? »
    Signs of depression are different or less obvious in the elderly such as:

  • Memory difficulties or personality changes
  • Physical aches or pain
  • Fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems or no interest in sex — not caused by a medical condition or medication
  • Not socializing or doing new things
  • Suicidal feelings, especially in older men
  • 7. What is the difference between grief and depression? »
    Grief is a natural reaction to the loss of an important relationship. When we lose a significant relationship in our lives, we feel depressive symptoms like loss of appetite and disturbed sleep. About 30% of people who have lost a significant other will continue to have these symptoms 2 months after the loss. These symptoms, however, usually lessen within 6 months.
    Although both conditions may include depressed mood, loss of appetite, sleep disturbances, and decreased energy, people with depression usually experience a sense of worthlessness, guilt and/or low self-esteem that is not common in normal grief reactions. For some, a grief reaction can develop into a major depression. For example, about 15% of grieving individuals will develop major depression one year after a loss.
    8. When is being depressed a normal reaction and when is it truly major depression? »
    We have days when we feel depressed; these feelings are temporary. Occasional bad days are part of life and not depression. Remember, a diagnosis of depression requires that you have these symptoms every day, or nearly every day, for a period of two weeks.
    Sometimes, these feelings may persist for several days or even a week. This is common following the break-up of a relationship or other unpleasant event. Still, while you may have some of the symptoms of depression, it is unlikely that you have major depression unless a number of the symptoms are present and impair daily functioning. Even if you do not have major depression, you may have an adjustment disorder that would benefit from professional help. A doctor can differentiate between a period of the blues and clinical depression.
    9. Why are women more likely to get depression? »
    Women develop depression twice as often as men. One reason is the changes in hormone levels that women experience. Depression is common during pregnancy and menopause, as well as after giving birth, suffering a miscarriage, or having a hysterectomy - these are all times when women experience huge fluctuations in hormones. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), an extreme form of PMS, may also cause depression.
    10. Will someone who has had depression get it again? »
    Having experienced an episode of major depression does put a person at greater risk for future episodes, but not everyone who has recovered from depression will experience it again. Sometimes depression is triggered by a major life event, illness, or a combination of factors particular to a certain place and time. Depression can also occur for no obvious 'reason’. Getting the proper treatment for the correct amount of time is crucial to recovery and in helping prevent or identify any future depression.
    11. How long does depression last? »
    If left untreated, various types of depressive disorders can last for months or sometimes years. A major depressive episode is characterized by a set of symptoms that typically lasts for a few months.
    Seasonal depression, or SAD, usually extends throughout the winter months and continues to improve during spring and summer.
    12. Do alcohol and other drugs affect depression? »
    Alcohol, street drugs and some prescription medications can provide a temporary break from some of the symptoms of depression. However, this "self-medication simply masks—and sometimes worsens—the symptoms. In some people, depression can be triggered by abuse of alcohol and other drugs.
    13. What is the effect of conventional medicine for depression? »
    In conventional treatment, anti-depressants are widely used to treat moderate to severe depression. However, anti-depressants can only ease the symptoms of depression, without actually addressing the root cause of it. Also, it has been proven through several clinical studies that besides doing just a little to manage depression, anti-depressants may cause severe side-effects like sexual dysfunction, weight gain, and sleep disturbances. They also cause withdrawal symptoms like upset stomach, extreme tiredness, vivid dreams, and electric shock like sensation in the body.
    14. Should I try homeopathy for depression? »
    Yes, you should take homeopathic treatment for depression. Homeopathy is a holistic treatment that does not merely look at the symptoms, because no two patients of depression present with the same set of symptoms. Homeopathy takes into account the root cause of depression and treatment is suggested accordingly to treat the root that caused it. If the patient has insomnia or menstrual problems along with depression, she will see all the symptoms improving with homeopathic approach. Also, unlike anti-depressants, homeopathy treats without any adverse effects. Homeopathy also regulates the balance of serotonin (happy hormones) and provides long-term relief without causing drug dependency.
    15. Aamir asks - How can I have rescue from depression? »
    Mr. Aamir, it is important to assess the level of depression - whether it is severe, moderate or mild. With an in-depth analysis, a professional can advise and treat you accordingly. Homeopathy is a safe, natural and a proven form of treatment that regulates the levels of happy hormones to reduce emotional sensitivity and elevate the mood. A few tips can also help you to overcome depression. Include foods rich in Vit B12, Vit D and Omega 3 like whole grains, flax seeds and seasonal fruits. Avoid alcohol and excess of caffeine. Exercises like brisk walking for about 30 minutes should help you deal with depression.
    16. Ashutosh asks - Does homeopathy help depression? »
    Yes Mr. Ashutosh, homeopathy surely helps in depression by regulating the levels of serotonin which is a happy hormone and reducing emotional hyper-sensitivity. Homeopathy deals with underlying emotional concerns and helps to attain emotional stability too.
    17. Satish asks - I feel depressed, hopeless, lazy and also guilty. Please help. »
    Hello Mr. Satish, your complaints are signs of depression. Please consult a professional for the right medicines or visit our nearby clinic. We will analyse your condition and prescribe homeopathic medicines which will regulate the serotonin levels (happy hormone) and reduce the emotional hyper-sensitivity. Express what you feel to your near and dear ones; you are not the only one to face this. You can take care by taking good diet rich in Vit B12 , Vit D3 and Omega like nuts, flax seeds, vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains and exercise for 30 mins everyday.
    18. Arkava asks - I'm losing all interest in my daily routine, work and friends. I do feel lazy and tired to go out and meet anyone. Am I depressed? »
    Hello Arkava, the symptoms you are experiencing need to be evaluated to know how severe they are before diagnosing it as depression. You can visit our nearby clinic for an assessment and evaluation post which you would be guided.
    19. Anju asks - I have some symptoms of depression. I want to ask if I am really in depression. My marriage propsal is recently broken too. »
    Ms. Anju, what are the symptoms you're facing? We need to know before we diagnose it as depression. Kindly share it with us so that we can help you. Alternatively, you can also visit a nearby clinic for a personal consultation with our doctor.
    20. Yogeshree asks - How to overcome depression without medicine? »
    Hello Ms. Yogeshree, you can take care of depression by taking a good diet that is rich in Vit B12, Vit D3 and Omega like nuts, flax seeds, vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains, and exercise for 30 minutes everyday. Exercises will help you in getting better. We would definitely recommend you consult a doctor in case of a need of medical treatment.
    21. Reva asks - I feel very lonely sometimes and want to finish my life. I am 50 years old. My first marriage didn't work out and I got divorced. My second marriage was in the last year. »
    Hello Ms.Reva, we understand what you feel; you must seek professional help. Please consult a doctor for professional help on this matter. Homeopathic medicines deal with the underlying emotional concerns and help to attain emotional stability by regulating the serotonin levels which is a happy hormone. It is a very good option for depression.
    22. Mona asks - Hello Sir, my Mom has depression. Anti-depressant medication is not helping. I don’t know what to do. »
    Hello Ms.Mona, if anti-depressants are not helping, take her to a doctor who ca assess and treat her. Ensure that she follows a good diet rich in Vit B12, Vit D3 and Omega. She must sleep well and exercise. She must take homeopathy which will help in treating the underlying emotional causes and aid in emotional stability. Homeopathic medicine will also help in tapering down anti-depressants with no side effects.
    23. Kushagra asks - I am in depression for last 3 years. What to do? »
    Hello Kushagra, are you on a medical treatment? There is a way out of depression with homeopathic medicines which treats the underlying emotional concerns and gives emotional stability. Homeopathy even regulates the levels of serotonin which is a happy hormone with no side effects. Visit the nearby clinic for a detail case analysis and medical treatment.