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Tiredness and body aches are often early signs of depression; see other symptoms – News



Changes in sleep, excessive fatigue (including mental fatigue), body aches, difficulty concentrating, weight change without a specific diet and loss of interest in activities that used to be pleasurable. These are symptoms that usually appear at the beginning of depression, but can go unnoticed until the disease causes more significant damage.

Recently, research has shown that the number of diagnoses of depression increased by 40% in Brazil in the first three months of 2022, compared to the pre-pandemic period.

Neuropsychiatrist Marco Antonio Abud, founder of the Saúde da Mente channel, on YouTube, explains that sadness, lack of appetite and the fact that the person does not get out of bed, for example, are the symptoms most associated with depression, but states that “when this situation is reached, it does not mean that there is a way, but it would be possible to identify before”.



disinterest


The expert points out that the “root symptom” of depression is “the loss of the ability to feel positive emotions”.

“The person starts to get less involved in social activities and activities that they liked to do. They may even be able to work, but stop doing everything they liked later, going out with friends, going to happy hour, playing football. .. She drags herself to work, comes home and lies down.”

When the individual with depression does some social activity, it can also be noticed that he is “airy” or forgets what the interlocutor says.

He draws attention to the fact that many people wait for the motivation to do something, when it should be the other way around.

“Once we get in touch with quality connections, with things that are valuable, pleasurable, with goals, that’s what will release dopamine in some specific circuits. [do cérebro] and will generate motivations. When we move away from positive things, we have less and less energy. It becomes a vicious circle.”






sleep and tiredness








Sleeping a few hours or too much is also a sign that something may be wrong. Normally, people with depression can always be exhausted physically and mentally, even after long hours of sleep.

Abud recommends doing tests to detect or rule out other diseases or nutrient deficiencies that can also cause similar symptoms – lack of vitamin D, anemia and hypothyroidism, for example.

Maintaining a good sleep pattern is also essential to prevent depression, according to the neuropsychiatrist.



Severe weight changes


Another symptom that should be observed, especially by those who are part of the person’s close circle, are variations in weight in an interval of three to four months.

“[Alterações] way up or down, unless you’re on a specific diet,” says Abud.

Elderly people with depression, for example, may have a lack of appetite and consequent weight loss.



Body pain


Several conditions can cause pain, so it is necessary to look for specialists to rule out other diseases, especially rheumatological and musculoskeletal ones.

Marco Antonio Abud clarifies that it is not about psychosomatic pain and that this is a wrong and outdated concept.

“Depression increases sensitivity to pain. We feel pain with less stimulus. This is not psychological, it is clinically tested. The pain center is more activated, the person feels pain in the joints, headache… persist for more than a month, two months, it’s important to think about it [suspeita de depressão].”






Difficulty concentrating








According to the doctor, “it is basically impossible to have a depressive condition without there being some change, greater or lesser, in concentration and mental performance”.

The person with depression begins to have difficulties or to make mistakes that they did not make before at work, for example.

In addition to problems with concentration, it is common for there to be forgetfulness, a feeling of “being stupid”, difficulty making decisions and speaking slower than usual, adds the neuropsychiatrist.



depressive ruminations


Mental fatigue and difficulty concentrating are explained by a pattern of thinking characteristic of those who suffer from depression called depressive ruminations.

“[São] negative thoughts that focus on yourself and fail to focus on the other, the world, the future. The person gets stuck in a pattern of rumination, looking for why the thing is happening and looking in the past”, exemplifies the doctor.

Repeatedly, the individual tries to understand the reason for some frustrations and personal problems, for example, without using a formula that would be more effective: looking for how to solve it and what to do.

“The ‘why’ keeps you depressed,” says Abud.

From there, if this ruminating thought is not blocked, the tendency will be for the individual with depression to reach three conclusions: feelings of guilt, worthlessness (“I have no value as a person”) and hopelessness (“There is no way out”). .

“This kind of thinking consumes a lot of energy. Even those who don’t have depression, if they get stuck in that kind of thinking, they won’t be able to focus on anything else. This is highly tiring, consumes a lot of mental energy. do things that activate the motivation center.”

And then a vicious circle is created based on guilt → rumination → loss of energy → not doing important/pleasurable things.









How to break this pattern?





We all have negative thoughts, but the person with depression starts to believe them a lot, warns the doctor.

“Our mind produces thoughts all the time, and some don’t make any sense, it’s like bugs in the system”, he exemplifies, emphasizing that it is essential “to realize and begin to doubt these thoughts, because they are not true.”

It is through psychotherapy that the patient with depression will learn to replace ruminant thoughts.









diagnosis and treatment





The individual can take a test – you can find it on the internet – which will suggest whether he might be depressed. It’s called the PHQ-9. However, it does not replace the diagnosis made by a doctor or psychologist.

Abud’s recommendation is for the person to get tested and seek expert help. He points out that in many cases the treatment can be done without the use of antidepressant drugs.

“In cases where [a depressão] is mild, moderate or moderately intense, you can choose – always under the guidance of a professional – to do a non-drug treatment, in which the person does not need to take an antidepressant. The antidepressant becomes necessary in situations where the damage is very intense and the person is very paralyzed.”

The drugs work to restore neuroplasticity, which is the ability to create new connections between neurons (synapses) in the areas of the brain responsible for pleasure, concentration and socialization, more quickly, so that the patient can take the next steps in treatment. .

Depression-specific cognitive-behavioral therapy works as a kind of “bodybuilding” of the brain. It is a widely used and successful method in treatments.

Other allies in the treatment are regular exercise and nutrition.

“Physical activity acts on three main mechanisms: it produces endorphin, which is like the body’s own morphine, a substance that takes away the pain and is pleasant. It starts with very little suffering. It increases the release of serotonin in some areas, but it takes a few weeks for that to happen. The important thing is to get some exercise that the person can maintain. This decreases the levels of inflammatory hormones, decreases the levels of cortisol and allows these synapses, these neuronal pathways, to grow”, says the doctor.

In food, it is necessary to avoid foods that stimulate inflammatory processes in the body and increase the consumption of those that have proven antidepressant effects.

“The biggest enemy of depression in terms of food is refined sugar. […] The brain needs glucose all the time. If you are on a seesaw during the day, the person will have peak stress and peak sleepiness. The protein holds this. White flour makes this worse. […] This seesaw of humor generates an inflammatory state in the body.”

Foods rich in omega-3 (fatty fish, oats and chia seeds, for example) and probiotics, such as yogurt, are recommended by the doctor.




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