Are you sad? Is there any lack of interest in pleasure in daily activities? Do u feel low? The things which used to make you happy are no more the center of attraction. We all are familiar with these kinds of feelings. The thing which needs attention is its duration. Is it momentary? Does it sustain longer?
According to World Health Organization, Depression is a common mental disorder, characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities for at least 2 weeks.
- Depression is a common mental disorder.
- 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression worldwide.
- Women are affected more than men.
- Leading cause of disability across the globe.
- Contribute to the overall burden of disease globally.
- It may lead to suicidal tendencies when gets worse.
Depression is different from mood swings and fluctuations of emotional responses.
Depression & Its Types:
Depression can be long-lasting, and its intensity may vary from moderate to severe. People with depression can also encounter some episodes of mania.
It consists of anxiety but doesn’t involve any episode of mania.
Characterized by depressive episodes along with manic and in between, there are periods of normal mood.
Soon after the delivery, women often experience “Baby Blues”, comprising of sadness and hopelessness.
Depressive Disorder with Psychotic Features
Psychotic episodes which comprise of hallucinations, delusive state, incoherent manner of talking and agitation.
Depressive Disorder with Seasonal Pattern
Earlier it was known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) as it is related to changes during seasons that starts and ends at about the same period of time every year.
Is this Depression?
The first step towards fighting depression comes from knowing about it. The recognition and acceptance of these features let u move forward to combat the alienation caused by this illness.
People with depression normally have several of the following:
- loss of energy
- change in appetite
- lack of concentration
- poor decision making
- sleeping- less or more
- finding oneself worthless
- guilt and hopelessness
- losing interest in activities once enjoyed
- sluggish feeling
- thinking of self-harm and suicide
Consulting a doctor or mental health specialist is the first step towards the diagnosis of depression.
A physical examination along with detailed history taking so as to establish the symptoms, duration, and course of events that occurred is of prime importance.
The severity of the condition is often assessed by the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale comprising of the questionnaire and the score at the end determines the severity of the condition.
What Cannot Be Called as Depression?
Being sad is different from being depressed. Human emotions are behavioral traits that evolved with time which are often reflected during hardships and grievances.
When one’s loved one dies, loss of a job, ending a relationship, trust getting broken- these conditions are difficult to endure. Grievances bring mixed feelings in tides of positive memories along with the pain of loss.
Grief is different from depression. For some people, it can bring major depressive episodes. Sometimes grief and depression co-exist. Despite these differences still, exist.
Short-lived emotional responses and fluctuations in one’s mood are not classed as depression. Distinguishing between them can lead to successful treatment.
Anyone and everyone can suffer from depression.
- Genetics: Depression can run in families. For example, a 70 percent chance of having the illness sometime in life can be seen among identical twins.
- Biochemistry: alteration in neurotransmitter levels can lead to depression.
- Environmental factors: getting neglected, abused, facing poverty and violence.
- Personality: pessimistic attitude and low self-esteem, who can easily be stressed can experience depression.
- Life events: bereavement, divorce, work issues, relationships with friends and family, financial problems, medical concerns.
- Trauma during childhood.
- Substance abuse is also linked to depression.
Can It Be Treated?
Yes! Depression is among the most treatable mental illness. 80 to 90% of patients respond well to the treatment, with 100% getting symptomatic relief.
It can be managed by three major components:
- Psychotherapy: behavioral activation, cognitive-behavioral therapy [CBT], and interpersonal psychotherapy [IPT]). “Talk Therapy” alone can be used for treating mild depression.
- Pharmacological Treatment: antidepressants change the brain’s chemistry and hence are very helpful in treating depression.
- Support: Educating family members and being open to discussion for the solution is of great help to patients suffering from depression.
Exercises and other therapies like Electroconvulsive therapy have additional benefits.
Being Quiet or Need to Speak?
Mental health does not differ from physical health. They are as important as other ailments of the human body and considered one aspect in yogic system. All people suffering from mental illness should be treated with dignity.
Depression, when left undiagnosed and untreated, develops severe suicidal tendencies. Approximately 800,000 people die every year committing suicide, which makes it the second leading cause of death among 15-29 years old.
Though there are effective treatments for depression, people seeking those modalities are half globally and in a few countries, only 10% receive them.
The social stigma associated with mental disorders paralyzes the system and becomes a barrier to ineffective care. People prefer to be quiet rather than speaking. They often can’t discuss it with their family members and often their dear ones behave in an offensive manner to it.
“Depression-Let’s talk” campaign started by WHO in 2017 on World Health Day was a revolutionary step taken and active participation of celebrities like Deepika Padukone encouraged many to accept this beyond the fear of being stigmatized and changed the view of people towards mental health.
Therefore, a comprehensive, coordinated response to mental disorders at the national and international level is very much needed.
When people from this start speaking about it as they do for other illnesses, society’s perception and attitude will change. They can instill positivity among other patients, and the treatment seeking approach will decrease the burden of treatable disease globally.