Depression is a mental condition characterized by severe feelings of hopelessness and inadequacy, typically accompanied by a lack of energy and interest in life. We used to think depression is a rare case for Africans especially Nigerians. Nigerians are very strong willed and have the capacity to withstand challenges. We’ve been known to go head strong with difficulties surrounding us, hence, the thought that depression which leads to suicidal attempts is the last resort for us (even then the thought never crossed).
But sadly, the reverse is case as we’ve heard several cases of the depressed attempting suicide. Depression is never to be treated lightly. If you’re reading this post, I urge you to pay close attention to your loved ones, friends and family even as far as your next door neighbors.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the most common illness worldwide and the leading cause of disability. They estimate that 350 million people are affected by depression, globally.
Depression doesn’t just come at one suddenly. It’s a gradual thing. Temporary emotional responses to challenges are otherwise known as mood swings. It is a very normal thing for one to have mood swings but we all know mood swings don’t last for long usually 1-3 days at most. The gap between depression and mood swing is thin. Depression is like the heightened form of mood swing. It could last for weeks, months and the very severe ones last for years.
The causes of depression can be traced down to several sources. It is likely due to a combination of several factors:
1. Genetics- First relatives of depressed are at a higher risk.
2. Psychological and Socio/Psycho-social: Loss of a loved one, post-part um depression
3. Biological: Some drug prescription e.g beta-blockers and reserpine, drug abuse
The Symptoms of depression includes:
1. Depressed mood
2. Lack of interest in anything especially hobbies
3. Loss of appetite
4. Weight loss usually un-intentional and not a diet
5. Lack of sexual urge
6. Lack of sleep or too much sleep
7. Restlessness which usually goes along fatigue
8. Thoughts of death or even suicidal attempts
9. Inability to concentrate
10. Guilt tripped
These are the basic symptoms to identify a depressed person. Sometimes when we notice these telling symptoms in someone, we usually ignore them and treat them like the usual mood swings. The ignorance has in more than one instance led to the death of the depressed.
The diagnosis of depression starts with a visit to your doctor and several tests conducted. This is very important and should be seen to immediately you notice these symptoms in order for proper treatments to begin.
Doctors use some questionnaire to assess the condition of depression. The Hamilton depression rating scale is mostly used to assess.
Depression is a treatable disease- support, psycho therapy also known as talking therapies and drug treatments (anti-depressants), aerobics exercises also helps against mild depression.
Electro convulsive therapy-Severe cases of depression that have not responded to drug treatment may benefit from electro-convulsive therapy (ECT); this is particularly effective for psychotic depression.
If you require the help of a professional, you may contact:
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