In our country, mental disorders are often regarded with an orthodox mindset. One such disease that is still fighting the social stereotypes and is emerging out of the closet is Depression. Lately, many public personalities are talking about having battled the disease. The stigma that has been attached to being ‘depressed’ is gradually shedding away and more and more people are seeking professional help for Depression.So, what is Depression? The first thing that anybody needs to understand about this disease is that it is not merely being in sad state temporarily. Though the term ‘Depression’ is used very commonly these days but when it is used in medical diction, it means a very specific disorder, which one might also refer to as clinical depression or major depressive disorder. Clinical depression is when one feels sad, anxious, hopeless or pessimistic for at least a period of two weeks. The person may feel guilt-ridden, worthless and have morbid thoughts.The common belief that Depression is only a mental disease is wrong. There are physical repercussions of Depression too which drain the person mentally as well. There are multiple risk factors than can contribute to Depression:
– Mental trauma/Abuse: Any kind of physical, emotional and sexual abuse in the past can lead to clinical Depression. Abuse makes a person more vulnerable to psychological trauma.
– Genetic factors: A history of Depression that runs in the family can lead to Depression in the future generations. It is a little difficult to exactly point out the genes that are involved as there are multiple and different genes that increase the risk factor.
– Substance abuse: Many people who indulge in substance abuse are clinically diagnosed as depressed. The statistics show that as many as 30 per cent of the total people who indulge in substance abuse are diagnosed as clinically depressed.
– Loss of a loved one: Loss of a loved one can severely impact one’s mental health. The person can have a severe bout of sadness that persists for too long. It can contribute to the development of Depression.
– Certain diseases/medications: As pointed out above, medications for certain diseases can cause the person to develop the disease. It could be due to the mental trauma that one goes through at that time or due to impact of the medication that he/she is on.
– Life changing events: Certain life changing events such as a job termination, financial losses, change of country, relationship problems, etc. can trigger Depression.
Symptoms of Depression will vary from person to person but the early signs of the disease may include the following:
– Fatigue and low energy
– Body aches, headaches and cramps that do not have a clear physical cause
– Insomnia or excessive sleep
– Feeling of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
– Losing interest in activities once loved
– Difficulty in concentration or decision-making
– Appetite changes
– Weight gain or loss
– Morbid and suicidal thoughts
– Loss of confidence and social withdrawal
Staying busy may help in preventing Depression but over burdening yourself with work can also create stress, which is also a risk factor for Depression.
– One of the best ways to prevent Depression is exercising regularly. Exercise is considered as an antidepressant and may act like an antidote to stress.
– Indulge yourself in fun activities as it may help in diverting your attention.
– Working on a positive attitude may do wonders in preventing Depression.
– Not only on your mental health, focusing on physical health also helps in preventing Depression. The mind-body connec
tion plays a great role in fighting Depression.
– If you’re prone to Depression, you may mentally blame yourself for every mishappening. Stop berating yourself as it could lead to serious complications.
– Proper eating and exercising helps in maintaining mental as well as physical health. A diet rich in essential vitamins and minerals can be helpful to elevate your mood. Avoid alcohol and tobacco and eat healthy.
– Don’t stop treatment. Even if you feel energetic and happy, continue with your medication. Consult your doctor and stop medication only after an expert recommendation.
– Health experts suggest that for many, gratitude is a way to happiness.
– People who performed daily gratitude practices, like making a list of three good things in their life, had lower levels of Depression.