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What is Depression?

What is Depression?

Depression, being the most common psychiatric disorder worldwide, is still widely unrecognised and untreated. This may be due to the stigma of having a mental health problem.

Many times, people feel that having depression means that they are labelling themselves to be mentally weak and that they should come out of it on their own. They don’t seek timely help and keep suffering with poor quality of life and being dysfunctional. They commonly end up in the hospital with physical health issues, extreme tiredness, body aches, hypertension, insomnia etc.

Fortunately, it is treatable

How will I know if I am suffering from depression?

You might be suffering from depression if you are having the following symptoms. You need to see a Psychiatrist for the confirmation of diagnosis and for treatment.

  • You are feeling low or irritable most of the time for the last 2 weeks or more.
  • You are not able to enjoy things like you used to before. By trying to do most of the things that you enjoyed before like going on a holiday, going for a movie, hanging out with friends, your mood does not improve and is still low.
  • You feel tired and exhausted most of the time even when at rest.
  • You are not able to feel any emotions or react to others in an appropriate way.
  • You find your mood to be fluctuating, sometimes very low especially in the mornings and as the day goes by you feel a little better.
  • You don’t feel like talking to anyone at home, you prefer being alone and not going out to meet friends or family.
  • You are finding it difficult to concentrate at work to the extent that you find it hard to do even day to day work.
  • You are being noticed by family and friends that you have become slow in performing usual activities, or you have become very restless and fidgety.
  • You are not able to fall asleep or wake up almost 2 hours before your usual time. Some of them sleep a lot, sometimes even during the day.
  • You do not feel like eating anything or you are eating a lot.
  • You have lost significant weight in the past 1 month.
  • You are experiencing decreased sexual drive or dont find sexual activities pleasurable anymore.
  • You are having death wishes or suicidal thoughts. Some of them feel hopeless about their future, feel helpless, feel that their existence is useless and feel that life isn’t worth living.

What is the treatment available?

Depression is categorised into mild, moderate and severe depending upon the number and severity of symptoms. Following evaluation by a Psychiatrist, this diagnosis is arrived at. Proper investigations need to be done. Following this, mild depression can be treated by counselling and behavioural modifications. However, moderate to severe depression requires medications. After evaluation you may be advised to start antidepressants.

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