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Depression

Depression is defined as a prolonged period of feeling sad, lonely, hopeless, lost, worthless, devoid of energy, apathetic and even suicidal. There are many forms of depression. Almost everyone goes through at least a few periods of depression during their life. However, for some individuals, the problem is much more severe and protracted. While the causes of depression are not clearly understood, they include a number of genetic, environmental, and personal factors. Depression can severely impact a person’s personal and professional life, and potentially even lead to suicide.

There are several types of depression. The major ones that can afflict anyone include:

  • Major Depressive Disorder – Sufferers experience very severe depression symptoms that interfere with their ability to function. Some individuals have only one episode, but most have several throughout their lives.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder – A depressed mood that lasts for two or more years. In some cases, this can be a lifelong condition.
  • Psychotic Depression – Sufferers experience both severe depression and some form of psychosis, including audio and visual hallucinations or having false beliefs or delusions.

The other ones include types of depression that affect a particular gender e.g.

  • Postpartum Depression – This form of depression is caused by the hormonal and physical changes associated with pregnancy and giving birth as well as the new responsibilities of caring for a newborn. Between 10 and 15 percent of new mother’s experience postpartum depression.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder – Depression symptoms begin during the late fall and winter months, as the amount of daily sunlight decreases. In many cases, light therapy is helpful for treating this condition. It is pertinent to point out at this juncture that some forms of depression that were earlier recognised as such are now not recognised as depression. The most prominent among them being Bipolar depression. Now it classified as bipolar disorder. To understand it a brief perusal of it is required.
  • Bipolar Disorder– No longer generally considered a form of depression, sufferers of this group of closely related mental conditions alternate between periods of depression and mania, a state of heightened and exaggerated moods. Also known as manic depression and bipolar depression.

Symptoms of depression:

These include:
1) Loss of interest in previously enjoyed or important activities.
2) Sadness or feeling down.
3) Hopelessness.
4) Lack of energy and tiredness.
5) Low self-esteem.
6) Trouble with concentration.
7) Difficulty making decisions.
8) Anger and irritability.
9) Decreased activity and productivity.
10) Change in appetite leading to weight loss or gain. 11) Sleeping too much or too little.

All these symptoms sap a person’s interest in work or studies or other normal activity but the most dangerous form of depression is the occurrence of suicidal thoughts. This if not counselled or treated by an expert can only get worse & lead a person to end one’s life by killing oneself. While suicide can take place for other factors also it is no coincidence that most suicides are done by people suffering from depression. More than 90% of people who fall victim to suicide suffer from depression, have a substance abuse disorder, or both. Suicidal depression is considered by some medical experts to be health epidemic especially in the U.S. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S particularly of young people in the 15 to 34 year range where it’s the 2nd biggest killer. It is also the 3rd biggest killer of Americans in the 10- 14 year range. There also a very strong co-relation between substance abuse & depression which will be dealt with later in detail.

There are various ways to fight, control or combat depression. Generally extrovert people who lead a social life are quite immune to depression while quiet & lonely people are far more prone to depression. This malaise also seems to affect women more than men though it is a polemical topic. We at our centres offer counselling & cure for depression before you get mired in it or God forbid develop suicidal tendencies.