Recently attending the psychiatric ward, it was astounding to come across a large chunk of population suffering from depression and being unaware of it as mental disorder. Contrary to the west, depression in our part of the hemisphere is not recognized as a mental disorder, rather portrayed as means of seeking attention and care.
To get a diagnosis, one needs to visit a Psychiatrist but then again visiting a psychiatrist in our society is considered stigmatic and people end up looking down to you with judgmental eyes. A person who is undergoing sessions with a psychiatrist is quickly labeled as insane and the fear of being labeled insane is one of the most significant factors that hinder seeking psychiatric assistance.
We need to understand that depression is a serious illness that not only affects the mental abilities of a person but also has significant physical manifestations. People suffering from clinical depression cannot simply will themselves to feel better or snap out of it.
The rising economic crisis, unemployment, skyrocketing prices of edibles, persistent load shedding of electricity and gas, political instability, rising acts of terrorism, broken marriages and etc are all contributive factors to the endemic of depression rampant in our society.
So the question is what to look for in a person who is suffering from depression? A person suffering from depression may experience the following;
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Low mood lasting over days, weeks or even months
- Feeling of guilt, hopelessness, pessimism, worthlessness.
- Loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed
- Fatigue & loss of energy
- Insomnia and restlessness
- Irritability and loss of interest in sex
- Suicidal ideation
- Social withdrawal
While the above mentioned are the more mental signs and symptoms of depression, the physical manifestation of depression may include;
- Unexplained aches and pains
- Digestive problems along with changes in appetite
- Erectile dysfunction among males( Depression is a documented and one of the most leading causes of ED)
- Abnormal menstrual cycle of females.
Keeping in view the above mentioned signs and symptoms, you may be visiting your physician for one of the above problems for over months now without any marked improvement in your symptoms, this is because he is treating your symptoms not the underlying cause which maybe depression.
How to manage depression?
You need to realize that depression like other physical diseases cannot be left unattended as it may lead to serious consequences. People suffering from chronic depression are at a higher risk of developing; Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, obesity, Coronary heart disease, poor immunity, early onset of dementia, erectile dysfunction and etc.
If you are suffering from the mentioned symptoms for over period of months and years, it’s high time you need to visit a psychiatrist for a confirm diagnosis.
The psychiatrist will probably start you on a suitable Anti-depression medication for a period of time depending on the severity of your depression, positive effects of which you will observe within two weeks of onset. Other management techniques include counseling sessions and recommendation of exercise. It has been documented that exercise encourages the release of a chemical in your body “ENDORPHINS”, which interacts with receptors in your brain and decrease the sensation of pain and also trigger positive feeling in the body, similar seen after consuming morphine.
Depression is not a stigma and anyone can suffer from it. Instead of living under constant stress and carrying the burden of emotions you do not deserve to carry, it time to you stand up and deal with it.