Feeling sad or blue is a natural phenomenon. All of us go through such feelings every now and then and eventually like any other feeling, this one also goes away within a few days. However, how will you feel if this feeling of grief refuses to leave you and gets stronger with time?! This question can only be answered by those who have suffered from depression.
Yes, depression in a layman’s language is to feel gloomy and hopeless continuously, which may further lead the person who is suffering from it to harmful consequences. It may last for a certain period of time or it may last forever; depending on how strong a fight is put up against this medical condition.
Like any serious medical condition, depression also has some emotional, physical, behavioral and cognitive symptoms. The understanding and treatment of depression are necessary for a person to recover from depression. While, fortunately treatment can bring most of the people out of this, there are risks of development of deadly complications if depression is left untreated and neglected. For this we need to realize that depression is an equally dangerous illness which needs to be cured as soon as possible because it weakens the person suffering from it immensely; putting his/her life at risk.
Symptoms you need to look out for!
As mentioned above, depression has certain symptoms; awareness of which can help detect the illness at an earlier stage. You must seek help, if you or any of your loved ones are experiencing the following.
1. Emotional Symptoms
Constant sadness (almost every day), feeling of worthlessness and excessive or inappropriate guilt, dark or suicidal thoughts and loss of interest or pleasure in favorite activities.
2. Physical Symptoms
Low energy, psychomotor impairment, aches and pains, insomnia or hypersomnia and change in weight.
3. Behavioural Symptoms
Change in appetite and impression of restlessness.
4. Cognitive Symptoms
Difficulty in making decisions or focusing.
Symptoms like clinginess and refusal to go to school may be seen in children if they are going through depression while teens may become excessively negative and begin avoiding friends and activities. However, spotting depression in elderly is most difficult. They may experience unexplained memory loss, sleep problems or withdrawal.
Treatment of Depression
Clinical depression can be treated with most common methods of antidepressant medication or psychological counseling. A combination of both, however, is the most recommended method of treatment as medications alone may take several months to work. But one thing which is to be understood clearly is that depression cannot be cured like cold or flu. It takes time and most importantly, the support of your loved ones to get rid of this disorder.
Why don’t most people take depression seriously?
Despite the fact that almost 350 million people are suffering from depression worldwide (as reported by World Health Organization), it is still taken as a taboo discussion as any other mental illness in our society. This is the reason why people who are going through depression do not share it with their family and friends. They feel scared of being completely misunderstood, misinterpreted and associated wrongly with being a little bit down. This makes it difficult for those that do suffer with depression to speak out about their illness, and even to understand it themselves.
Things are changing though. With the availability of so many platforms for free speech; social media, the internet in general, support groups and support systems, there is much more acceptability of open discussions surrounding mental health. This has helped many people in not only fighting the stigma that surrounds depression but also in educating people about depression. This might eventually help the sufferers in accepting their mental illness so that they may seek help before it’s too late.
If you, or someone you know has symptoms of depression, take it seriously. Make an appointment with a doctor if symptoms last more than a few weeks. More importantly, try to understand the blackness, lethargy, hopelessness and loneliness they’re going through. Be there for them when they come through the other side. It’s hard to be a friend with someone who’s depressed, but it is one of the kindest, noblest and the best things you will ever do.