Depression is more than being sad or feeling grief after a loss. Depression is a medical condition, just like diabetes or heart disease. Day after day, depression affects your thoughts, feelings, physical health and behaviours. It affects normal day-to-day activities. For diagnostic purposes, a depressive episode must be experienced at a certain level of severity for a minimum duration of two weeks.
In India, the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 reveals that nearly 15% Indian adults need active intervention for one or more mental health issues and one in 20 Indians suffers from depression. It is estimated that in 2012, India had over 258,000 suicides, with the age-group of 15-49 years being most affected.
These factors can increase the risk of developing or triggering depression:
It’s unknown exactly what causes depression. There are a variety of potential factors:
Discuss all of your symptoms with your doctor and describe how they are affecting your life (e.g. inability to get out of bed and get to work/school). Your doctor can suggest or provide appropriate therapy. Make sure to discuss all of the available treatments and medications and their benefits and side effects before making any decisions.
The most common forms of treatment for depression are antidepressant medication and psychotherapy. The most effective treatment is generally a combination of both. Some individuals suffering from depression may need a hospital stay or an outpatient treatment program until symptoms improve.
There are several types of antidepressant medication available, and they are categorized by how they work on the naturally occurring chemicals in your brain that affect your mood. Finding the right medication or medications will likely take trial and error. Patience is required, as some medications need eight weeks or more to take full effect, but don’t give up if you don’t find the right medication right away.
Complementary treatment, such as peer support groups or other support programs, may be helpful.
Finally, additional treatments such as massage, mindfulness meditation, shiatsu, therapeutic touch, aromatherapy, tai chi, Pilates and yoga can also help to improve wellness.