Depression is one of the most frequent words we often come across on daily basis as we go about our normal activities. Writing on this very important topic although sensitive requires that we should all be conscious and be wary of falling a victim of it.
What is Depression?
According to the American Psychiatric Association is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way we think and how we act.
Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home. The World Health Organization (WHO) categories depression as the most common illness worldwide and the leading cause of disability. So everyone of us must be conscious of this silent menace especially in the workplace.
The causes of depression are not fully understood and may not be down to a single source. Depression more often than not is likely due to a complex combination of factors that include:-
- GENETICS: – Depression could run in families. For example if an identical twin has depression, the other twin has a 70% chance of having depression also later in life. So is the same with a first degree relative like mother, father.
- PERSONALITY: – People with low self esteem who are easily overwhelmed by stress or people who are generally pessimistic are more likely to experience depression. That is why it is important to have a positive outlook on life
- ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS: – Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty may make some people more vulnerable to depression. This is particularly true in our country Nigeria as the harsh living conditions and extreme stress levels that are experienced by the average Nigerian living in Nigeria exposes an average Nigerian to depression. No wonder according to the World Bank 22% of Nigerians suffer from Chronic depression
- BODY CHEMISTRY:- Changes or differences in certain chemicals in the brain may contribute to symptoms of depression
- SOME PRESCRIPTION DRUGS:- Before starting or taking any medicine please consult your doctor or Pharmacist as some drugs can make an individual susceptible to depression e.g. Beta-Blockers, Corticosteroids etc
There are other causes of depression but we will just limit ourselves to the above for now.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
- Insomnia (Difficulty in sleeping or Hypersomnia (Excessive sleeping)
- Agitation e.g. Restlessness, pacing up and down
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Unintentional weight loss or low appetite
- Reduced interest or pleasure in activities previously enjoyed e.g. Loss of sexual desire
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
- Pharmacological Treatment : This involves the use of drugs or medicines to treat depression. A class of drugs called ANTI-DEPRESSANTS might be prescribed to help modify one’s brain chemistry if the brain chemicals have been altered which lead to the depression. Please speak to your doctor before embarking on any course of treatment.
- Non Pharmacological Treatment : These treatment options involve the use of non drug therapy in countering depression and they includes:
This therapy can be used alone for treatment of mild depression and it involves speaking to a therapist and the person being helped to recognize distorted thinking and then change behaviors and thinking.
Depending on the severity of the depression, treatment can take a few weeks or much longer. Psychotherapy may involve only the individual or it can include others. E.g Family or couples therapy can help address issues with those relationships. Do not suffer alone in silence; speak to a trusted person about your situation e.g Spouse, Pastor, mentor etc
SELF HELP AND COPING
There are a number of things you can do to help alleviate the symptoms of depression. For example Regular exercise helps create a positive feeling and improves mood. Getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis, eating a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol can also help reduce the symptoms of depression.
We have gone through the topic Depression looking at the causes, signs & symptoms, treatment etc. Depression is a real illness and help is available, let us look out for one another. We can avoid depression by exercising regularly, having adequate sleep, avoiding emotional triggers, eating a balanced diet, keeping a community of friends around us.
However, I will like to conclude by quoting a scripture from the Bible in JOHN 10 VS 10 (Amplified version) “The thief comes only in order to steal, kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)”.
Anything that wants to steal our joy or health is from the thief the devil and must be resisted. Life in Jesus Christ gives us the assurance of victory no matter what comes our way. God wants us to enjoy our lives.
Till next month when I come your way again, STAY HEALTHY AND PRODUCTIVE.