Depression has become the plight of ‘future-generation’. In the United states alone, more than 10% of the adults suffer from depression. However, given the taboo surrounding mental illness, it can be a lot harder to understand mental illness than say, “She is suffering from high cholesterol or he has diabetes”. According to the WHO, more than 300 million people of all ages suffer from depression and this number is likely to increase in the coming years.
However, the major confusion the majority of the populace faces with depression is the difference between ‘suffering from depression’ and ‘feeling depressed’. As a living-breathing, feeling individual everyone feels down from time to time. It can be because of getting bad grades, breakup, losing a job, sleeplessness, not eating right etc or a rainy day which can awaken feelings of sadness. This feeling of being low has no trigger, it can just pop-up out of the blue. With ‘feeling depressed’ you eventually get over with time while with ‘having depression’ it lingers on to the individual like a dark cloud, following.
Clinical depression or having depression is a medical disorder which doesn’t go away. It lingers on with you for two, three consecutive weeks and significantly interferes with one’s ability to do daily chores.
Also Read | Chia seeds: Can this wonder seed help you lose weight?
Clinical depression can have a lot of symptoms such as; a low mood, loss of interests in things you once cherish or enjoy, feeling worthless and even change in appetite. The symptoms can go on, sleeping too little or too much, feeling restlessness or in many cases, recurrent thoughts of suicide. According to a WHO report, close to 8 lacs people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds.
According to psychiatrics, exhibiting atleast five of these symptoms puts you in the dangers of being clinically depressed. Depression is more than just behavioural symptoms, it also has physical manifestations inside the working of the brain. We can notice these changes with both the naked eye and the x-ray vision. These changes may include a smaller frontal lobe and hippocampus volume. On a more micro scale, depression is associated with abnormal transmission of certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and norepinephrine causing abnormal hormones.
Also Read | Six reasons why you shouldn’t be guilty of eating chocolates
The harsh reality with depression however is even neuroscientists still do not know what causes depression. Depression has been deduced to a complex interaction between genes and the environment.
Without the tools for diagnosis, it remains unknown as to when and to whom it might show up. A study conducted by the Institute of Mental Health concluded that it takes a person for about 10 years to seek help.
Treatments such as transcranial magnetic stimulation are being investigated for people suffering from depression. Seeking mental help for people suffering might seem insurmountable. Let the person near you suffering from depression know that it is a medical condition like any other illness; diabetes, asthma.
Also Read | Smartphones might be affecting your child’s development
Let them be assured that it has nothing to do with their personality trait or a weakness. The best you can do it is to make them open up without making any comparison to the times you’ve felt low to their current situation. A study showed that ‘the power of ‘talk’ can help prevent people even with suicidal thoughts.
Help erode the stigma surrounding the condition, the more help they seek, the taboo around this condition will fade away.