Written BY: AYLA ABID (FROM RAWALPINDI)
Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and hoe you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.
Symptoms of depression can vary from mild to severe and can include:
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once they enjoyed
- Changes in body appetite i.e; weight gain or loss
- Sleeping problems
- Increase in fatigue or loss of energy
- Feeling guilty or worthless
- Thoughts of death and suicide
Systems may last at least two weeks and also represent a change in your previous mental condition for the diagnosis of depression.
Mental disorders often pose a significant social and financial burden on individuals, families and society. As a whole, depression is a dominant illness featured by the loss of activeness, which promotes more sadness and mood swings to an individual.
Depression is a prevalent mental healthcare problem and a common cause of disability worldwide. The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence and risk factors of depression in individuals living in Pakistan or worldwide. After evaluating and screening many articles, this article is conducted.
The prevalence of depression varied widely across worldwide. The most common factors were financial difficulties, lack of social support, sex issues, serious or chronic illness like; diabetes, insomnia, sleeping problems, blood pressure issues, etc. Vitamin D deficiency was also highlighted ad a contributing factor for depression.
Depression affects an estimated one in 15 adults (6.7%) in any given year. And on in six people (16.6%) will experience depression sometime in their life. Depression can occur anytime, at any stage, but on average. First appears during the late teens to mid-20s. Women are more likely than men to experience depression. Some studies show that one-third of women will experience a major depressive phase in their lifetime. There is a high degree of heritability (approximately 40%) when first degree relatives (parents/children/husband/siblings) have depression.
Depression can affect anyone – even a person who appears to live in relatively ideal circumstances.
Some of the risk factors for depression are:
- Differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression.
- Depression can run in families. For-example: if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70% chance of having the depression sometime in life. In-short, depression also runs genetically.
- People with low self-esteem, who are easily overwhelmed by stress or those who are very negative thinkers or are gloomy appear to be more likely to experience depression.
- Continuous exposure to violence, neglection, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression.
Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80% and 90% of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.
Before a diagnosis or treatment, a health professional should conduct a thorough diagnostic evaluation, including an interview and a physical examination. In some cases’ a blood test might be done to make sure the depression is not due to medical condition like a thyroid problem or deficiency of vitamins. The evaluation will identify specific symptoms and explore medical and family histories as well as cultural and environmental factors with the goals of arriving at a diagnosis and planning a course of action.
Some of the treatments involves the following:
- MEDICATION: Brain chemistry may contribute to an individual’s depression and may factor into their treatment. For this reason, antidepressant might be prescribed to help modify one’s brain health. These medications are not sedatives; that they have no effect on people experiencing no depression.
- PSYCHOTHERAPY: It is also known as a “talk therapy”. It is sometimes used alone for treatment of mild depression, for moderate to severe depression.
- CBT: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a form of therapy which focused on problems solving in the present. Cbt helps a person to distort negative thinking with the goal of changing thoughts towards positive thinking.
- SELF HELP AND COPING: There are number of things people can do to help reduce the symptoms of depression. For many people, regular exercise helps create positive feelings and improve mood. Getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis, eating a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol can also help to reduce symptoms of depression.
Depression is a real illness and help is available. with proper diagnosis and treatment, the vast majority of people will overcome. Depression tends to adversely impact individual’s quality of life. Males are less likely to suffer with depression then females.
Hence, in today s life, depression is a leading cause of death. It is a major source of distress and can have a profound impact on the quality of life. The purpose of this study is not to make people scared of their mental health or not to label them as psychopaths, but it will be a step towards awareness of depression in society. Patients, who live with depression, and their family and friends, have enormous challenges to overcome in their society. There is a great need of more psychologists or psychiatrists to deal with patients having mental illness. Most patients suffering from depression do not complain of feeling depressed; which make them more sad. So, if you are expressing some symptoms of depression then first step is to see your family physician or psychologist. Talk about your concerns and request a thorough evaluation. This is a start to addressing your mental health needs.
American Psychiatric Associations. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition).
National Institute of Mental Health.