Depression is a serious medical condition that negatively affects mood, thinking, behavior, and physical health. It is characterized by persistent sadness, loss of interest in normal activities, and other symptoms.
Depression can be triggered by chronic health issues like pain, as well as isolation and loneliness.
Some of the symptoms
The main symptom of depression is feeling sad, empty, or hopeless most of the day, for at least 2 weeks. Additional possible symptoms include:
- Loss of interest and pleasure in hobbies or social activities
- Changes in appetite and weight
- Sleep problems like insomnia or sleeping too much
- Feeling restless or slowed down
- Fatigue and low energy
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or shame
- Trouble concentrating and making decisions
- Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
People with chronic illnesses like Crohn's, fibromyalgia, Endometriosis, Arthritis, or back pain have a higher risk of developing depression. This can stem from persistent pain limiting activity, reduced quality of life, and feeling isolated if unable to participate in social events.
There is no single cause of depression. It often results from a mix of factors like genetics, brain chemistry changes, stress, trauma, loneliness, certain illnesses, and medication side effects. Chronic inflammation and pain appears to be linked to depression risk. Isolation and loneliness can also contribute, especially if health issues reduce social interaction.
If you have been experiencing five or more depressive symptoms most of the day for over two weeks, see your doctor. They can check for underlying causes and make sure you get an accurate diagnosis.
Be open about all your symptoms, pain levels, and any stress factors like isolation. Ongoing medical and mental health support, lifestyle changes, pain management, and socializing can help overcome depression.
The future of treatment
Over the last few years there has been promising advances around research into the use of psychedelics for untreatable depression. While we are still some way away from making these treatments available to the general public, there seems to be a growing movement amongst both medical and academic spheres to continue the advancement of such treatments.
Australia has grasped the opportunity to lead by example and both the UK and EU are progressing with more research, and in the US, the FSA have issued first draft guidance on clinical trails.
So, let's wait and see 🥽☀️🏝️