Mental Health: Understanding and dealing with depression

It’s treatable and you should get help

We all occasionally feel sad but when you experience sadness more often than not for longer than 2 weeks depression may be occurring. Depression is a mood disorder characterized by persistent symptoms that may include hopelessness, sadness, suicidal thoughts, sleep problems, and tiredness.

It is lethal because it contributes to completed suicides. Depression affects the performance of normal daily activities. Apart from the pain and suffering the person may undergo due to depression, there are others who may be affected; family members, friends and even work colleagues. There is also the economic cost in terms of cost of care and medicines plus loss of work hours.

Interestingly, people do not seek help due to stigmatization and public misconception about depression. Especially in our part of the world where we see depression as “white man’s disease” or people not being able to deal with their weaknesses or failings; DEPRESSION IS NOT A CHARACTER FLAW OR WEAKNESS.

Types of depression
  • Atypical depression,
  • Clinical depression (which includes major depression, persistent depressive disorder, seasonal affective disorder, psychotic depression, and bipolar disorder),
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder,
  • Postpartum depression, (depression after delivery)
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder,
  • Situational depression.
Who is at risk of developing depression?

What causes depression or what puts people at risk of being depressed?

  • Family history of depression (as is a family history of suicides)
  • Alcohol or substance abuse
  • A history of mental problem
  • A history of family violence
  • Even exposure to the suicidal behavior of family members, peers or celebrities
What should you look out for?

Symptoms of depression may include the following:

  • Persistently sad, anxious, or empty moods
  • Loss of pleasure in usual activities (anhedonia)
  • Feelings of helplessness, guilt, or worthlessness
  • Crying, hopelessness, or persistent pessimism
  • Fatigue or decreased energy
  • Loss of memory, concentration, or decision-making capability
  • Poor abstract reasoning
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Sleep disturbances (inability to sleep or excessive sleep)
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Thoughts of suicide, death, or suicide attempts
  • Poor self-image or self-esteem – Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt

In very severe cases, people with depression may be unable to eat, take care of basic hygiene, or even to get out of bed.

What should you do?
  • Kindly refer to a medical doctor for proper diagnosis.
  • Be kind, supportive and reassure the person
  • Love and listen

People should understand that depression is a highly treatable illness.

  • Psychotherapy or talk therapy
  • Pharmacotherapy or Medicines

Listen to the Personal Branding Podcast by Bernard Kelvin Clive.


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