Issues surrounding mental health has dominated the headlines in recent times, particularly considering the recent prevalence of suicide.
Many honestly do not understand how a person would take his or her own life simply because he/she is “Not Happy”.
And that is where the confusion is. Because “depression” in English language is worlds different than “depression” in medical terms.
Depression is NOT the same as feeling sad. Depression is NOT low mood or depressed mood. And depression sometimes is NOT dependent on external or social circumstances.
Depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life.
It is caused by a combination of factors, including biological, psychological and social stressor. These work in association with some chemical disturbances in the brain, leading to depression.
Depression is a medical diagnosis, hence you may need to consult your health care provider.
Symptoms that can strongly suggest you have depression, as hinted above, include:
Mood: anxiety, apathy, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, or sadness
Sleep: early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep
Metabolic: excessive hunger, fatigue, loss of appetite, or restlessness
Behavioural: agitation, excessive crying, irritability, or social isolation, low self esteem.
Cognitive: lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide
Weight: weight gain or weight loss
The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterises major depression can lead to all these behavioural and physical symptoms.
Depression is treatable. Or at least can be managed.
The treatment options include medical treatment and rehabilitation. Usually a combination of these. These treatments may normalise brain changes associated with depression.
Medical treatment consists of antidepressants. Commonly used antidepressants include Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI).
Other classes of medication include anxiolytics which help with the anxiety attacks.
Antipsychotic agents may be required if necessary.
Therapy options include cognitive behavioral therapy and psychotherapy.
It is important to emphasize that Depression is a medical condition. Not something to be stigmatized or ashamed of, and definitely not something to be overlooked.