Depression is a form of illness that can be treated just like any other disease. Our culture and religion has attributed depression to spiritual attacks. This is why most people with depression do not visit the health facility for treatment. Awareness on depression needs to be increased. People must know that depression is a disease that can be treated.
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What then is depression?
Depression is a mood disorder. The word ‘depressed’ is being used a lot of times when a person is not happy, the disease goes beyond that. They do not only feel as if they are down, they feel low, have low self-esteem and feel worthless. They feel tired easily and do not have energy as they used to. They tend to lose interest in what they once enjoyed. These symptoms do not go away but rather persist and interfere with their daily lives. Therefore, depression goes beyond sadness and it is also different from grief.
In grief, there is no feeling of being worthless or guilt and the symptoms occur in waves unlike depression where it seems to be persistent. Someone that has had depression in the past is at risk of having another. Other common risk factors in our environment include unemployment, loss of loved ones or even abuse.
Depression becomes severe when they begin to think of suicide. At this stage, it is an emergency. Recognizing people with depression early can help to save lives.
Causes of depression
A lot of factors has been seen to work together bringing about depression. Let’s have a look at some of the causes.
- If a member of your family has had depression, you can also come down with depression.
- If you have had depression in the past, you are at risk of having another.
- If you have a mental illness, you can also have depression.
- If you have a medical illness that has been on for some time, it can tilt you into depression.
- If you just lost a loved one, it can increase your risk of depression.
- If you have been abused sexually, physically or emotionally, this can increase your risk later in life.
- If you are passing through stress, you may be at risk.
- Some drugs can lead to depression so also substance abuse.
- If you just delivered a child, you are at risk of depression. The risk is more in women who just gave birth for the first time.
Symptoms of depression
- They feel sad. They have low mood.
- They have reduced energy and feel tired easily.
- They lose interest in activities they once enjoyed.
- They feel worthless and hopeless.
- They have sleep disturbances. They may not be able to sleep or can even sleep too much.
- They may not feel like eating or even eat more than usual.
- They feel guilty.
- They cannot concentrate and are unable to make decisions on their own. They usually feel worried and anxious.
- They can have thought of harming themselves or committing suicide.
- They move or speak slowly.
- Their libido is reduced and menstrual cycle also changes in females.
- They avoid contact with friends and do not want to get involved in social activities.
Can this be depression?
If you experience some of these symptoms for most of the day and it comes every day for at least 2 weeks, you are having depression.
The major complication of depression is suicide and this must be prevented. Anybody with thought of suicide must be taken seriously. Sometimes depression can become severe and the person decides to end it all but this can be prevented if they seek help early.
If you notice any of the symptoms above in yourself or anybody around you, it is very important that help is sought on time because you have depression. It is an illness that can be treated. Some drugs with therapies will help you come out of this. Let us prevent suicide.
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