What is Depression?
While conversations surrounding mental illness have improved dramatically in recent years, many misconceptions still remain. To many people, the word “depression” means any kind of sadness, but those educated about mental illness know that this is an oversimplification. Major Depressive Disorder, or Clinical Depression, affects more than 16 million American adults over the age of 18. This accounts for around seven percent of the US population within this age bracket. Because the causes, effects and symptoms of depression are so widespread, it is important to understand depression and how to cope with it, including the use of mood-boosting substances such as CBD.
At a clinical level, depression is a mood disorder that affects everyday emotions. It creates persistent feelings of sadness, numbness, and a sense of loss. Unlike a general feeling of sadness caused by an event like the death of a family member or loss of a job, depression is characterized by its inability to disappear with time. There are times when feelings of sadness will pass, but more often than not, it will return with little warning. Those that suffer from depression may experience a wide range of symptoms. Some of these include: feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness, bursts of anger or frustration over irrational subjects, a loss of interest in activities that previously brought pleasure, disturbances in sleep, anxiety, slowed thoughts and physical reactions, intense physical pain manifested through mental malcontent, and more. These are just some of the manifestations of depression, an illness that takes many more forms than the traditional sadness depicted in film and other media.
The causes of depression vary as greatly as its symptoms, but there are factors that make certain individuals more susceptible. The most common factor in determining if one is more likely to have depression is a genetic predisposition. Depression is often found among members of the same family, as well as in children and descendants of those who suffer from mental illness. Another common factor that can lead to depression is a hormonal chemical imbalance within the brain. Other factors include circumstances outside of one’s control, including traumatic experiences and difficult life events that induce latent mental illness.
How, then, does one begin to treat an illness as complex and vague as depression? For some, speaking with a trained professional in therapy to work through the root cause of their depression is helpful. However, for those suffering with long term, clinical depression, this solution is usually not enough. For those dealing with major depressive disorder, a combination of medication and therapy is often necessary to successfully become healthy. An unfortunate truth of depression, however, is that for many, it never truly goes away. One can learn to manage the symptoms, but often times it remains a part of life. Finding coping strategies can be a process, but the search is well worth the time, as they can greatly improve one’s quality of life.
Alongside medication and therapy, there are a number of other ways to improve the symptoms of depression. Diet, exercise, and overall health can be a great contributor to a healthy mind. Those who don’t take care of their physical body often find difficulties improving the state of their mind. There are also studies showing that some home remedies can help those dealing with less severe forms of depression. These include substances and activities such as herbal teas, yoga, and even cannabis. For those who don’t have access to cannabis for legal reasons, specific cannabinoids that are legal, like CBD, can be extremely beneficial. One of CBD’s primary effects on the body is its ability to regulate neurotransmitters. By leveling out the brain’s chemical communicators, it can be easier to find a balance in other ways.
Depression is a disorder that affects every aspect of the lives of people who suffer from it. It can hurt productivity, destroy ambitions, and damage the relationships of those who go untreated. The growing conversation about mental illness is helping those who would have never sought out help ask for the assistance they need. This progress is encouraging, and with luck, more and more solutions can be uncovered to treating the disorder.