What is depression?
We all feel down and out at times. Now that’s perfectly normal. However, if the blues stretch for days together making you feel worthless, helpless, and hopeless on most days, then it is definitely a cause for concern, and could be the starting point of depression.
Depression impairs the ability of people to function properly and carry out daily tasks. It becomes difficult for them to cope with everyday tasks and hampers their performance at work or school. The immediately visible symptoms include loss of interest in routine and daily activities, and a visible interest in doing activities that you once enjoyed doing.
In more severe cases, depression could also lead to self-inflicted harm or suicide. Moderate and severe cases of depression require immediate medical attention to tide over the rough patch.
According to the latest WHO released data the number of people living with depression has increased by 18 percent in between 2005 to 2015. Depression is also considered to be the most common cause of disability globally.
How do you know you are clinically depressed?
According to manual for mental disorders called DSM-5, if you have more than 5 of the following symptoms for at least two weeks, you are diagnosed as clinically depressed.
The symptoms are:
• Depressed mood through most of the day and more profound in the morning
• Loss of energy or feeling fatigued throughout the day
• Feelings of worthless or constant guilt for no apparent reason
• Inability to make decisions or impaired concentration
• Inability to sleep (insomnia) or excessive sleeping (hypersomnia) on most days
• Diminished sense of pleasure or interest in most activities around
• Repeated thoughts of suicide or death (with no fear of the same)
• Significant weight gain or loss of weight
• Restlessness or feeling tremendously slow
How common is depression?
Depression is slowly becoming an epidemic and can affect anybody and everybody. Depression has become fairly common and according to statistics, by the year 2020, the condition will only be second to ischemic heart disease as a leading cause of disability in the world. People often do not realise that there exists a biological reason and explanation to depression and it indeed is a physiological disorder.
QUICK FACTS ON DEPRESSION
• Depression can be treated.
• It can pose as a major disability as it affects the mood of a person, their feelings, and behavior.
• According to statistics, it affects 1 out of 4 people at some point or the other.
• It is more common in women. They are 3 to 4 times more likely to suffer from it.
• It is often described as a feeling that can get out of control, and can dull the ability to think and a person may lose interest in activities, sex, work or academics.
• If depression is not treated, it can result in fatality. Severe depression can lead to suicide.
• Depression can have a genetic predisposition, i.e., people who have a history of depression in their family are more likely to get it as compared to people who do not have a history of depression in their family.
What to do when you are depressed?
Oftentimes, a person suffering from the condition will themselves understand the gravity of the situation. Hence when you feel you are not at your best and this mood has been stretched far too long, you should do the following:
• Speak out. Talk about how you’ve been feeling off late. People usually start to feel better after talking to someone who is close to them or love them.
• Do not shy away from getting professional help. Start with your local general physician or your family doctor.
• With the right help, you are bound to get better. There is no stigma around this problem.
• Do not fall back on your schedule and activities. Keep up with the activities you used to enjoy earlier as well.
• Don’t lose contact with your friends and families. Keep in touch with them. They are the people whose support and love you need the most.
• Try to adhere to your normal routines like eating on time and sleeping on time.
• Exercise religiously. Even if you take short walks around your neighbourhood, it can benefit you.
• Fully understand and accept the fact that you are depressed. Do not expect to get your work done at the pace you used to earlier. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
• Restrict or avoid the consumption of alcohol. Refrain from the use of illicit drugs. They can potentially worsen your condition.
• If you develop feelings of causing harm to yourself or if you feel suicidal, immediately contact a loved one or a doctor
YOU MUST REMEMBER: Depression is a curable disease and all it takes is to reach out. Anybody and everybody can be affected by the condition: Depression doesn’t see if you are rich or poor, wise or foolish, man or woman, it just strikes!
Depression is dangerous. If you suffer from this disease or you know someone who does, you must motivate them and provide necessary help and support to overcome this. You must educate yourself and the people around you about the disease. Why wait? This World Health Day, spread the word!
If your near or dear one is suffering from depression, do not overlook the condition. You can address your concerns to http://portea.typeathought.com/ or you can download our app and chat with our doctor for free.