Depression is more than a fleeting sadness that comes about when bad things happen; instead, it’s a mood disorder that manifests as a feeling of hopelessness and doom – there’s no light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. It’s not something that goes away easily either; in order to be diagnosed, the symptoms of depression must linger for two weeks or longer.
The Different Forms of Depression
Depression isn’t really one disease but a term used to describe a variety of diseases, all with similar characteristics. According to the Nation Institute of Mental Health, some of the different forms of depression include:
Dysthymia (or Persistent Depressive Disorder): This is a depressed mood that lasts for at least two years. The severity of the symptoms come and go – the sufferer may experience major depression with episodes of ease.
This type of depression is marked by severe depression plus some type of psychosis (such as hallucinations or delusions). There’s often a theme to this psychosis, things like guilt or illness.
Women suffering from this type of depression see their illness flair up during pregnancy or after delivery (postpartum depression). The symptoms are severe and marked by extreme feelings of exhaustion, sadness, and anxiousness. It usually interferes with a mother’s ability to care for her newborn.
Seasonal affective disorder
This type of depression is dictated by the change of the seasons and arises when the days grow shorter (and natural sunlight decreases). It tends to get better in the spring and summer but winter is difficult. People who suffer from SAD gain weight, increase sleep, and withdraw socially during the colder months.
The Signs of Depression
Depression is much more than having the “blues.” While everyone experiences sadness from time to time, depression is an overt hopelessness that doesn’t go away and often occurs without reason (the person is sad, but can’t always explain why).
Some of the most common symptoms include: an empty mood that persists for a period of time; feelings of pessimism; irritability; feelings of guilt or worthlessness; decreased energy; talking slowly with a lack of animation; trouble sitting still; difficulty concentrating or sleeping; changes in appetite and weight; and thoughts of suicide or actual attempts.
Depression can have physical symptoms as well.
It might cause changes in blood pressure, heart palpitations, unexplained pain, headaches, cramps, and digestive issues
No one knows why one person gets depression and another doesn’t, but risk factors make people prone. It’s much more common in adulthood but the foundation is often built in childhood: anxious children become anxious grownups. It’s also more common in people with co-existing physical illness.
Of course, genetics play a role – a family history makes it more likely. So do major life changes, like moving or going through a divorce.
Treatment of Depression
The good news about depression is that it’s treatable, even in its most severe forms. This often involves medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. In some cases, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) (a form of treatment that stimulates the brain) may be used as an alternative.
Cannabis is also an option; its reputation is growing as an effective way of sedating the sadness.
Per the Huffington Post, recent research found that endocannabinoids may treat depression that results from chronic stress
Chronic stress reduces the production of endocannabinoids, but marijuana helps restore the levels of the brain. This ultimately stabilizes mood.
Still, some strains are better for the depressed than others. Strains that leave the user panicked aren’t ideal: you’re depressed and now you’re paranoid about it. While popular strains like Sour Diesel might treat mild depression, here are some less known ones:
Sugar Klingon was specifically bred to weed out the undesirable genetics of Klingonberry (the mother strain). It carries a cerebral high that’s great for elevating moods without making the user feel tired of sluggish.
The high is very potent and extremely euphoric, making it a good choice for socializing. It leaves the user motivated and active with a “laugh at everything” attitude. It’s effective in those who’ve built up tolerance to other strains too.
Comic book nerds will appreciate the name; everyone else will appreciate the high – it’s very cerebral and excellent at elevating the mood. It’s usually recommended not only for depression, but also for people suffering from anxiety and those who need stress relief.
It’s well-liked for its high yields as well as its length: the buzz lasts for several hours, making Wonder Woman a lady many want to take home.
This Sativa-dominant strains is named after the train conductor who famously saved the lives of his passengers. While not a super uplifting story, as Jones perished, the strain itself doesn’t disappoint: it’s filled with a euphoria that comes on quickly.
It tends to stimulate creativity and make users introspective of themselves and other things (seriously, why didn’t Donald Duck ever wear pants?). It’s energizing with a lot of get up and go. This makes it good for depression, but not ideal for night use.
This strains feels like a hybrid with its ability to activate the mind but sedate the body. It evokes a lot of energy but an underlying body buzz to boot. Some people respond to the Indica and find themselves falling into sleep. Others find it helps them get things done.
First time users should beware of these differences: take it at night, at least initially, in case it has a more sedating effect on you. Either way, it’s a great strain for anxiety, stress, and chronic pain. Even if it does leave you sitting on the couch, you’ll be happy about it.
You know a strain called Bubblegum just has to be effective for depression. It’s often used by those who suffer from mood disorders (as well as those experiencing stress and anxiety) and provides them with the ability to relax.
It does induce some laziness: if depression also causes insomnia, this is the strain for you. But, because of this, it’s not recommended for use during daytime or before any activities that require concentration: driving, testing taking, or that competitive “Memory” tournament you signed up for months ago.