To mark the anniversary of the founding of the World Health Organisation (WHO), April 7 is celebrated as the ‘World Health Day’. Every year the organisation comes up with a unique theme around a specific health topic that affects people around the globe. This year, in 2017, the theme of World health Day campaign is ‘Depression – Let’s Talk’.
So let’s talk what ‘depression’ is all about.
Depression is a real illness. It is often misunderstood as being sad and used to express negative feelings like sad, lonely, unhappy or demoralised. It is not that simple. But when the term is used by health experts, it clearly means ‘clinical depression’ which is actually a depression and not a negative feeling.
Depression is much more than feeling ‘low’. Though people don’t consider it as an illness its parasitic character can have a great impact on your energy, appetite, sleep and behaviour. Identifying depression can be difficult at times. Priyanka Varma, Clinical Psychologist and Counselor sums ‘depression’ in three words. She says, “The basic symptoms to identify ‘depression’ are hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness.”
Depression can affect anyone, be it men or women, young or old and single or in a relationship. It can have a severe impact when the person suffering from depression also suffers medical illness like blood pressure, diabetes, stroke or anxiety.
Types of depression & how to identify it
There are three major types of depression such as Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), Dysthymic Disorder, and Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
This can be identified with two symptoms i.e. a passionate and constant low mood or lack of interest in the things you usually like, for instance hobbies, pastimes or your favourite things for at least 2 weeks. Other symptoms are instant weight gain/loss, unusual sleep, restlessness, lack of energy, feeling worthless, feeling hopeless or frequent suicide thoughts.
The symptoms are similar as that of MDD. The only difference is the feeling is observed for at least 2 years.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
This type of depression usually occurs during certain season of the year, usually in winter when there is less sunlight. Sometime it may occur during summer.
Depression can be treated using several strategies depending upon characteristics and symptoms. “Depression is treatable, using psychological therapies and medication. Nowadays, people often go for Ayurveda remedies for depression. In addition, the individual can also be treated by activities such as exercise, being social, relaxing or engaging in activities,” adds Priyanka.
The causes of depression may differ from person to person. There are common signs and symptoms that contribute to the inception are genetic nature, hormone levels, medical illness, stress or certain sorrow.
How to deal
Depression directly affects your lifestyle and overall physical health. Here are seven simple ways to deal with it.
Be social: Isolation fuels depression. Staying alone can make the individual think much on things that make him/her feel sad. Even if the person is not in a mood ask him/her to move out and socialize.
Exercise: Though depression is a mental illness it affects the person’s health. It is advisable to exercise vigorously daily for at least 30 minutes.
Talk: Talk to people you trust, may be your family, friends, colleague or teacher. Sharing your feeling may help to reduce burden. If that doesn’t work seek a professional guidance or speak to a counselor.
Have fun: Go out with your friends, visit your favourite coffee shop, and watch comedy movies or videos. Be with people that spread positive vibes and talk to someone that makes you happy.
Avoid drugs and drugs: Avoid in-take of depressant drugs and alcohol. Consuming drugs and alcohol may only worsen the situation.
No blame: Stop blaming yourself because it is not your fault you are going through depression. Be strong and deal with it.
Educate: Understand what depression exactly is and how it affects your mental and physical health.