I believe, the term "Depression" has come to be used very casually and generically. The emotional states that earlier simply used to be "mood swings", "boredom", "loneliness" and "grief" have now been blown up to become "depression."
The effect? While the normal people have started believing themselves to be suffering from a "Psychological ailment", many people with serious pathological "depression" are being taken very lightly and not being provided adequate social support and treatment facilities. Either ways, the effect is one of concern.
WHO says, "Depression can be long-repeating or recurrent, fundamentally impairing an individual's ability to function at work or school or cope with daily life.
Understanding DEPRESSION in its real sense puts a moral responsibility on us — NOT TO USE THE WORD CASUALLY FOR EVERY FEELING OF SADNESS, GUILT, LOSS, FRAUSTRATION, IRRITABILITY ETC. in us or in our near and dear ones.
Here is what American Psychiatric Association says to us— The death of a loved one, loss of a job, or the ending of a relationship are difficult experiences for a person to endure. It is normal for feelings of sadness or grief to develop in response to such stressful situations. BUT SADNESS and DEPRESSION are NOT THE SAME. While feelings of sadness will less with time, the disorder of depression can continue for months, even years.
It further states —
Depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression has a variety of symptoms, but the most common are a deep feeling of sadness or a marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities. Other symptoms include:
* Changes in appetite that result in weight losses or gains unrelated to dieting.
* Insomnia or over- sleeping.
* Loss of energy or increased fatigue.
* Restlessness or irritability.
* Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt.
* Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions.
* Thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at suicide.
Let us then understand that
EVERY SADNESS IS NOT DEPRESSION. None is spared of challenges and problems in his / her life- time. These problems and challenges are the opportunities presented to us for the fulfillment of our life purpose. Often these trying times demonstrate the amount of human resilience and make us do things that surprise us and the others. Certainly the times are difficult, but every time when we come out of it or when the time changes, we can feel ourselves a little stronger. Most issues in life can be solved with proper intentions, guidance and motivation.
Thus, It is of utmost importance to identify the individuals threatened with clinical depression from among the lot that keeps throwing the 'D' word around casually on facing the everyday challenges of life. There are many who are in immediate need of support and treatment.
In next article, we would discuss the causes leading to depression …
Dr Sapna S.