We all feel different emotions across the day and varied sets across the weeks and months depending upon the circumstances of life. It is an entirely everyday phenomenon, and we are bound to be affected by our internal and external events in the environment.
But if a particular set of feelings persist for long for most hours of the day, then probably it’s not a normal phenomenon. It may be a disease condition, and it may be a time to raise the alarm. Something is not correct.
Depression changes how we think, feel, understand and perceive ourselves, our surroundings, our life and our future, and it changes incorrectly. And it is challenging for the person going through this phase to understand and appreciate the changes, so they fail to come forward to ask for help. Family members, friends, colleagues and neighbours can better appreciate these changes and can help.
Depression is an illness characterised by low mood, reduced energy and activity, and the inability to experience pleasure in previously pleasurable activities.
Things or activities which used to bring enjoyment and happiness fail to do so anymore. Progressive thoughts of day and life come to a standstill. The future looks dark, and nothing happening in the surrounding brings excitement.
Other associated features of depressive disorders include:
- Poor self-care
- Bleak, pessimistic view of future
- Reduced attention and concentration
- Inability to focus on job and work and studies
- The feeling of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness
- Disturbed biological functions like disturbed sleep, appetite, disturbed sexual activity, especially loss of desire
In moderate to severe cases of depression, there may be self-harmful or suicidal thoughts or acts.
It can be a disorder if the symptoms persist for more than two weeks for most hours of the day.
Magnitude of problems
Depression is a common disorder affecting around 5% of the population in the world. No age is immune to depression, from childhood to older people, and females suffer from depression more than males.
Depression is a significant and common illness worldwide, affecting around 300 million people. The Global Burden of Disease report estimates the point prevalence of unipolar depressive episodes to be 1.9% for men and 3.2% for women. The 1-year prevalence of the depressive disorder is 5.8% for men and 9.5% for women.
A population-based study from India report on depression shows that the prevalence of depression was 15.1%. In India, about 57 million people are affected by depression which is 18% of the global burden.
The depressive disorder occurs in different patterns in different individuals:
- Single episode depressive disorder – First and only episode
- Recurrent depressive disorder – at least two episodes of depressive disorder.
- Bipolar disorder – depressive episodes alternate with periods of manic symptoms
Depressive disorders have a myriad of features which help in diagnosing the disease
- Mood swings
- Social isolation
- Excessive crying
- General discontent
- Suicidal thoughts or acts
- Low mood, the sadness of mood
- Lack of attention and concentration
- Repetitive thoughts are mainly negative
- Extreme hunger, fatigue, or loss of appetite
- Poor appetite – Weight gain or Weight loss
- Reduced activity and energy level, slowness in activity
- Early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep
- Inability to experience pleasure – loss of interest or pleasure in activities
It is not possible to pinpoint any reason for the occurrence of depression. Many factors lead to the causation of depression, including biological, psychological and social aspects. Some people prone to or vulnerable to depressive disorder may develop the disease in adverse social and psychological circumstances.
Risk factors include
- Social isolation
- Conflicts in family
- Financial instability
- Genetic vulnerability
- Loss of parents at early age
- Childhood trauma and abuse
- Addiction problems in parents
- Substance abuse and addiction
- Single and unmarried individuals
- Exposure to violence at early age
- Chronic physical or medical illness
- Low-income family and poor social support
- Persons going through divorce, separation or death of a spouse
Depression is a treatable disorder. Whenever there are signs and symptoms of a disease, please don’t take them lightly. An expert opinion and timely intervention can be life-saving measures.
Treatment for moderate to severe cases is usually done by medication. Various drugs help treat depression, and expert psychiatrists choose the medicine depending on the severity of the illness and profile of the patient.
Other adjunctive treatment modalities are
- Psychoeducation regarding the nature, course, progress and prognosis of the illness
- Psychotherapy – CBT( Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is a proven treatment method for depressive disorders.
- Supportive Therapy
If case you are feeling depressed, make an appointment to see your mental health professional at the earliest. If you’re hesitant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or dear one, or someone else you trust.
Call Divyansh Neuropsychiatry Centre at +91 7543976796 / +91 7759945555 and speak to any of our office staff to schedule an appointment. Or visit our website to book an appointment – https://divyanshneuro.com/.