Depression Lets talk and understand
Depression is a mental illness that can be treated like other illnesses. No lab test can confirm presence of depression. Depression noticed by person who are living with depressed person.
We all sometimes feel sad, heavy, fed up or miserable. Generally these feelings don’t usually remain more than one week or two. These ups and down don’t interfere too much with our routine/lives. Sometimes there’s a reason behind these feelings sometimes not. We usually cope with these feelings.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mental illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities, for at least two weeks. However, in depression your feelings would be :
(l) Don’t lift after a few days – they carry on for weeks or months.
(ii) Are so bad that they interfere with your life.
These feelings are something that can happen to anybody. It’s not a sign of weakness. These can be treatable, with talking therapies or antidepressant medication or a combination of these.
What does it feel like in Depression?
People who diagonsed with depression usually will not have all the symptoms listed below, but it has been found that maximum people will have at least five or six. If you have at least 5 of the below symptoms, do report to a counsellor or talk to your family
1. Feel unhappy most of the time (but may feel a little better in the evenings)
2. Lose interest in life and can’t enjoy anything
4. Find it harder to make decisions
5. Can’t cope with things that you used to
6. Feel utterly tired
7. Feel restless and agitated
8. Lose appetite and weight (some people find they do the reverse and put on weight)
9. Take1-2 hours to get off to sleep, and then wake up earlier than usual
10. Lose interest in sex
11. Lose self-confidences
12. Feel useless, ‘inadequate and hopeless
13. Avoid other people
14. Feel irritable
15. Feel worse at a particular time each day, usually in the morning
16. Thought of suicide
You may try to struggle and may even start to blame yourself for being lazy or lacking willpower, It sometimes takes a friend or a partner to persuade that there is really a problem that can be helped.
Pain in body, constant headaches and sleeplessness gradually start to appear. Physical symptoms like this can also be the first sign of depression.
Why depression happen?
Every day some or the other time we may feel low, there will be obvious reasons for becoming depressed, sometimes not. It can be a disappointment, a frustration, or that you have lost something or someone important to you. There is often more than one reason, and these will be different for different people, They include:
Things that happen in our lives. It is normal to feel depressed after a distressing event bereavement, a divorce, medical illness supersession in the promotion, or losing a close relative.
Circumstances If you are alone and do not have friends around, if you feel stressed and have worries Or if you feel physically run down then you may likely become depressed.
Precipitating Factors of depression
Physical Illness: Physical illnesses can affect the way the brain works and so cause depression. These include Life-threatening illnesses like cancer and heart disease, Long and painful illnesses, like arthritis, and Hormonal problems like an under-active thyroid.
Personality: Some person are more vulnerable to depression than others. This may be because of our genes, because of childhood experiences, or both People who are ambitious, punctual, and perfectionist called Type A personalities get stressed fast if they fail in their endeavor.
Alcohol: Regular heavy drinking can make you depressed and you may develop suicidal tendencies.
Gender: Women seem to get depressed more often than men Women are more likely to have the double stress of having to work* look after children or to look after ailing parents/ln laws Certain periods in their life like marriage, childbirth, menopause, etc. make them more vulnerable. Men are less likely to talk about their feelings and more likely to deal with them by drinking heavily or getting aggressive.
Genes: Depression can run in families. If you have one parent who has become severely depressed you are about eighty times likely to become depressed yourself.
Is depression a form of weakness?
Other people may think that you have just ‘given in’ because you are weak. The fact is there comes a point at which depression is like an illness. It can happen to the most determined of people even powerful personalities can experience deep depression. Winston Churchill the famous British Prime Minister called his depression as his ‘black dog’ with which he was living at home,
What you need to remember
You are not alone Many other people have gone through what you are going through and are alive today
It is okay to talk about suicide. It can help you feel better
There are people who can help you
When should I seek help?
As everyone feels low some or other time,but when it starts affecting daily routine and prolonged for a long time one should seek help
When your feelings of depression are worse than usual and don’t seem to get any better.
When your feelings of depression affect your work interests and feelings towards your family and friends,
If you find yourself feeling that life is not worth living, or that other people would be better off without you.
It may be enough to talk things over with a relative or friend. If this doesn’t help, you probably need to talk it over with your doctor.
You may find that your friends and family have noticed a difference in you and have been worried about you,
What Kind of help is available?
Depending on your symptoms, personality, lifestyle the severity of the depression, and the circumstances, your may be suggested:
1. Self Help- Helping yourself
Don’t keep it to yourself. If you’ve had some bad news; or a major upset, tell someone close to you to tell them how you feel You may need to talk (and maybe cry) about it more than once This is part of the mind’s natural way of healing.
Do something : Get out of doors for some exercise/ even if only for a walk. This will help you to keep physically fit, and Will help you sleep. Even if you can’t work it’s good to keep active, If it is housework do it yourself (even as little as changing a light bulb), or any activity that is part of your normal routine
Eat well : You may not feel like eating -but try to eat regularly. Depression can make you lose weight and run short of vitamins, which will only make you feel worse. Fresh fruit and vegetables are particularly helpful.
Keep away from alcohol : Try not to drown your sorrows with a drink, Alcohol actually makes depression worse. It may make you feel better for a short while, but it doesn’t last. Drinking can stop you from dealing with important problems and from getting the right help, It can also affect your physical health.
Sleep : If you can’t sleep, try not to worry about it. Settle down with some relaxing music or television while you’re lying in bed. Your body will get a chance to rest and, with your mind occupied, You may feel less anxious and find it easier to get some sleep.
Tackle the cause : You can write down the things that are causing depression. Break down each issue into a number of small steps, Prioritise them and then finish each task in a step wise manner, Don’t set unrealistic goals.
Keep hopeful and Remind yourself that depression :
Many other people have had depression.
It may be hard to believe, but you will eventually come out of it.
Depression can sometimes be helpful you may come out of it stronger and better able to cope.
You can find and analyse situations and relationships clearly.
Desicions which would you have avoided in the past can now be taken confidently.
This is available with your nearest psychological counsellor or psychiatrist in the hospital. This can include:
Self-help leaflets or books
Self helps computer programmes or the internet.
Physical Exercise 3 sessions per week for 45 minutes to 1 hour, for between 10 and 12 weeks
2. Taking treatments
There are many different sorts of psychotherapies available, some of which are very effective for people with mild to moderate depression. They Include
Simply talking and sharing your’ feelings can be helpful Sometimes it is hard to express your real feelings even to close friends Talking things through with a trained counsellor or a therapist can be easier. It is always a relief to get things off your mind, which will help you to be clear.
This helps you to be clear about your key problems, how to break them down Into manageable bits and how to develop problem-solving skills.
If your depression seems connected with your relationship with your partner, then couple therapy (where problems of both partners in management are addressed) can be helpful in enabling you to sort out your feelings.
If you have become depressed while suffering from a disability caring for a relative, then sharing experiences with others in a self-help group may give you the support you need. For e.g. Organisations for cancer and autism etc.,
Talking in groups can be helpful in changing how you behave with other people. You get the chance in a safe and supportive environment, to hear how people see you, and the opportunity to try out different ways of behaving and talking,
Talking treatments do take time to work, Sessions usually last about an hour and you might need anywhere from five to 30 sessions, Some therapists Will see you weekly, others every two to three weeks, Individuals have reported that talk therapy can change their outlook and the way they relate to friends and family.
These treatments are usually very safe but initially they can bring up bad memories from the past which can make you feel worse for a while.
3. Medical Care : Antidepressants
If your depression is severe or goes on for a ‘long time, your doctor may suggest a course of antidepressants.
These are not tranquillisers, although they may help you to feel less anxious and agitated. They can help people with depression to feel and cope better so that they can start enjoying life and deal with their problems effectively again,
If you do start taking antidepressants, you probably wont feel any effect on your mood for two or three weeks. You may notice that you start to sleep better and feel less anxious after a few days.
How do antidepressants work?
The brain is made up of millions of cells which transmit messages from one to another using tiny amounts of chemical substances called Neurotransmitters. In depression two of these neurotransmitters are particularly affected Serotonin and Noradrenaline.
Antidepressants increase concentrations of these two chemicals at nerve endings and so seem to boost the function of those parts of the brain that use Serotonin and Noradreanaline.
How safe are antidepressants?
Like all medicines, antidepressants have few side-effects, though these are usually mild and tend to wear off after a couple Of weeks. Your doctor will advise you on side effects and will like to know if you have any one of them.
If an antidepressant makes you sleepy, you should take it at night, so it can help you to sleep. However, if you feel sleepy during the days you should not drive or work with machinery until the effect wears off.
Alcohol can make you very sleepy if you drink while taking the tablets, so it is best avoided. You can eat a normal diet while taking most of these tablets.
How long should I continue Antidepressant?
Once on medication it is advisable to Stay on them for at least 6 months after you start to feel better. If you have had more than one episode of depression, you may have to stay on them for longer than this. When it is time to stop, you should taper them off slowly with the advice of your doctor.
Are antidepressants addictive?
People often worry that antidepressants are addictive you will not find yourself craving an antidepressant nor have you to keep taking an increasing amount to get the same effect You may get withdrawal symptoms if you stop an antidepressant. suddenly This can nearly always be avoided by slowly reducing the dose before stopping.
Which is right for me antidepressants or talking treatments?
It may not be a case of one treatment or the other, but what is most helpful for you at a particular time. Both talking treatments and antidepressants are about equally effective in helping people get better and come out off moderate depression.
If your depression is mild, then you probably wont need an antidepressant. But if your depression has gone On for a long time or is affecting you badly then it may be worth trying an antidepressant,along with talking therapy,
People often find that it is useful to have some form of psychotherapy after their mood had improved with antidepressants. It can help too to work on some of the things in your life that might otherwise make you become depressed again
When you are low, it can be difficult to work out what you should do Talk it over with friends or family or people you trust. They might be able to help you decide,
Will I need to see a Psychiatrist in depression?
Most people with depression get the help they need from Counsellor. If you don’t improve and need more specialist help, you will be referred to a psychiatrist. A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who specialises in the treatment of emotional and mental disorders.
What will happen if I don’t get any treatment in depression?
The good news is that 4 out of 5 people with depression will get completely better without any help in about 4-6 months sometimes more. So why bother to treat depression?
Although 4 out of 5 people get better in time, this still leaves 1 in 5 who are still depressed two years later. As yet, we can’t accurately predict who will get better and who will not.
Even if you get better eventually the experience can be so unpleasant that you may feel that you want to shorten the time you are depressed. Moreover, if you have a first episode of depression you have a roughly 50:50 chance of having another one.
A small number of people with depression will eventually contemplate about suicide.Taking up some of the suggestions in this booklet may shorten a period of depression, If you can overcome it by yourself then that will give you a feeling of achievement and confidence to tackle such feelings again, if you feel low in the future.
However If the depression is severe or goes on for a long time, it may stop you from being able to work and enjoy life. So it is always better to start treatment.
How can I help someone who is depressed?
This can be harder than it sound. You may have to hear the same thing over and over again. It’s usually better not to Offer advice unless it’s asked for, even if the answer seems perfectly clear to you, One should try to follow steps and deal with situation maturely:
Art of listening, solves most of the problem and helps in venting off the grudges and issues
Spend time with someone who is depressed
Encourage them to talk
Reassure them that they will get better, but you may have to repeat this over and over again
Make sure that they are taking care of self, and eating properly
Help them to stay away from alcohol
Any suicidal though is serious, please consult trained psychologist/psychiatrist immediately
Encourage them to accept help
Encourage them to take medication
What is the stigma against depression/psychiatric illnesses in the society?
Stigma is defined in the dictionary as ‘a sign of disgrace discredit which sets a person apart from others. It is also a social idea that defines people in terms of a characteristic that devalues them as a person. There are many ways in which a person can be stigmatised.
In a survey in 2004, 41 out of 46 patients described feelings of stigma. 80% of people say that individuals are ’embarrassed’ by the mentally ill.
Effects of stigma on the individual
Why do we stigmatise?
Sadly, stigmatisation is actually a natural part of the human condition. When one is faced with something unknown, the natural reaction is ‘fight or flight’. In such a scenario, we make decisions rapidly, for somethings we do not have knowledge we start filling these blanks based on previous stereotypes, for instance, some people who have negative experiences of politicians may, even when faced with a ‘good’ politician, find themselves ‘tarring’ him.
This may have its roots in the Asylum Model of mental health care while the asylums were initially set up as sanctuaries for those who could not cope with everyday life because of their illness, they in many ways served to isolate these people from society.
There area number of myths about mental illness which also add to the stigma:-
Mental illness can often be seen as a Possession of bad evils or punishment of bad deeds.
There is also a false belief that mental illness lasts forever.
Most of the psychiatric people behave erratic and may turn violent on smallest provocation.
Psychiatric illnesses are not treatable or at least not 100% curable,
Who is at risk of suicide in depreesion?
People who have attempted suicide
Someone with depression or an alcohol or drug problem
Those who are suffering from severe emotional distress, for example following the loss of a loved one or a relationship break-up
People suffering from chronic pain or illness.
People who have experienced wart violence, trauma. abuse or discrimination
Those who are socially isolated
What you can do in depression?
Spend time with person at quite place and listen to them
Encourage them to seek help from counsellor or professional
lf you think the person is in immediate dangers do not leave him or her alone. Seek professional help from the emergency services, a crisis line, or a health-care professional, or turn to family members,
If the person you are worried about lives with you, ensure that he or she does not have access to means of self-harm (for example pesticides, firearms or medication) in the home.
Warning signs that someone may be seriously thinking about suicide
Threatening to kill oneself
Saying things like “No-one
means of taking one’s own life,
Saying goodbye to close family members and friends, giving away of valued possessions, or writing a will