We all go through the ups and downs of our everyday lives. There are times when we feel we can achieve a lot, do wonders, make the most of our potential, and then there are days when we consider ourselves complete failures, feel down in the dumps, and nothing seems to be going our way. Such is life, and this variety and unpredictability is its beauty. Having a low mood, feeling sad or even “depressed” is actually different from clinical depression. 

WHAT IS DEPRESSION?

According  to  the  ICD-10  Classification  of  Mental  and  Behavioural  Disorders,  clinical  depression  is marked  by  the following three cardinal symptoms lasting for a period of at least 2 weeks:-

  •  Depressed mood
  •  Loss of interest and enjoyment
  •  Reduced energy leading to easy fatigability and diminished activity. 

In addition to this, other common symptoms could be  –  reduced concentration and attention, reduced confidence and self-esteem, ideas of guilt and unworthiness, bleak and pessimistic views of the future, disturbed sleep and appetite, decreased libido, and ideas of self-harm or suicide. 

CAUSES

Just like any other psychological illness, depression also could be due to a combination of bio-psycho-social factors. It is  a  very  common  illness  and  affects  1  in  every  3  persons  in  India  once  in  their  lifetime. Many famous personalities like Deepika Padukone, Jim Carrey, Dwayne Johnson ('The Rock'), and many others have openly spoken about their struggles with depression with the aim of helping people to come out and seek help as Depression is treatable.

On the biological front, studies suggest that a decrease in Serotonin levels, a neurochemical in our body, is believed to be responsible for causing depression.  It also tends to run in families, i.e. depression can be inherited just like any other illness like Diabetes, Hypertension, etc. Psychological factors like - pessimistic style of thinking, tendency to over-think, poor self-esteem, and over-sensitivity make one vulnerable for having Depression. Social factors like - stress, trauma, any significant loss, etc. can trigger depression in already vulnerable individuals. 

STEPS TO BEAT DEPRESSION

Although  depression  can  have  a recurring course, it is definitely treatable with anti -depressant medication, Homoeopathic treatment, Psychotherapy, and certain lifestyle changes.

  • Psychotherapy, also called Talk therapy, is a treatment process to help people deal with psychological problems like depression, anxiety, OCD, etc. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) is the most efficient form of therpay for treating depression. In CBT, a trained therapist helps the patient identify their faulty thinking patterns, become aware of the cognitive errors they are making, and eventually modify or replace them with more appropriate and healthy ways of thinking. 
  • Maintain a routine. A structured day keeps the uncertainties and stress to the minimal. Moreover, it makes sure you use your time efficiently. 
  • Go for a walk or exercise. Physical activity releases endorphins, often called “happy hormones” which work as natural anti-depressants. 
  • Engage more often in your favourite activities, hobbies or things that give you happiness even if it seems futile. The general rule of thumb that works in depression is-  THE MORE YOU DO, THE MORE YOU FEEL LIKE DOING. So, don't wait for your mood to get better before you do things that you enjoy. 
  • Share your feelings and thoughts with people you are comfortable with. They might not be able to suggest a solution to your problem but you would feel much better. 
  • Feel free to consult a mental health professional like a Clinical Psychologist who understands the condition well and has acquired professional training in dealing with such problems. Psychotherapy is very effective in treating depression and can help you deal better with the situation. 

                                                          "Do not believe the things you tell yourself when you are sad and alone"

                                                                                                                                                             - Anonymous

 

* Click on the link below to watch a video by Kaartik Gupta, Clinical Psychologist at AKGsOVIHAMS Medical Centres, wherein he talks about Depression and its treatment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ObFHMfWeYU


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