Check on your friends, they could be depressed

Low energy, feelings of hopelessness, guilt, and worthlessness, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, irritability, loss of interest in things that previously brought you pleasure, loss of appetite and insomnia are some of the symptoms of depression.  
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What you need to know:

More than ever before, parents and families are depressed; the hard economic times, financial pressure, the uncertainty of life, the fear of the unknown, bad news everywhere are all taking a huge toll on parents.

Mary is a charming, socially active woman and a church enthusiast. Everyone in the community considers her to be the “Proverbs 31 woman.

All is fine on the outside but things are falling apart from the inside. She is irritable, suffers from insomnia, and withdraws from relationships and this condition has gone on for a long time.     

More than ever before, parents and families are depressed; the hard economic times, financial pressure, the uncertainty of life, the fear of the unknown, bad news everywhere are all taking a huge toll on parents.

People are stressed. People are depressed. Depression is a common mental disorder and women are more likely to be depressed than men, according to World Health Organisation (WHO).  While everyone will suffer from depression at one point in their lifetime, experts say some persistent symptoms occurring for two or more weeks may require professional medical help.

Depression is a mental health disorder characterised by persistent sadness or loss of interest in activities, causing a significant impairment in daily life. According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.

Symptoms of depression range from mild to severe and they include fatigue and low energy, feelings of hopelessness, guilt, and worthlessness, suicidal thoughts, anxiety, irritability, loss of interest in sex and things that previously brought you pleasure, weight loss and loss of appetite, overeating, insomnia and difficulty in mental concentration, among others.

Some types of depression include unipolar or major depressive disorder (MDD) - the most common type, characterised by moods swings and failure to express pleasure and feelings of worthlessness. It lasts about two weeks

The other category is bipolar or manic depression: This presents in form of mania, or dysthymia, excessive fatigue, oversleeping and overeating. It also comes in form of severe hallucinations and delusions. It can be hormonal, may cause premenstrual dysoptic disorder (PMDD), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), Post traumatic stress disorder (PMSD). Also called manic depression, it is long term and chronic.

Atypical depression on the other hand improves one’s mood in response to a positive or pleasurable event. seasonal affective depression (SAD) appears during a certain time of the year. For instance, you find yourself depressed when it becomes colder or warmer or darker. Its cause is quite unclear.  

What triggers depression? 

Societal factors such as death of a loved one, divorce, economic deficiency, a dangerous home environment and abusive relationships make one susceptible to depression.

Depression is also genetic- meaning individuals can inherit genes that may lead them into depression. 

Some prescription drugs such as pain killers, allergy medications, antibiotics, corticosteroids and Parkinson’s drugs can cause or worsen depression. Some personalities such as introverts are also prone to depression. An imbalance in neurotransmitters may contribute to symptoms of depression.

Dealing with depression

With proper diagnosis, depression is treatable and nearly all cases recover depending on the severity. Therapies such as aromatherapy, herbal remedies, massage, meditation and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) for severe cases are available to deal with depression victims.

Identify depression triggers in your life and manage them. Reduce relationship conflict issues

Antidepressant medications along with  psychological counselling can also work but they should be prescribed by your doctor.

Have some rest and time for personal recovery. Stop and smell the roses. Have a daily quiet time

Get regular exercise to improve your mood and feelings, and sleep if you are suffering from insomnia. Cycle, walk, swim, garden, gym and housework. Of course this will depend on your age and health.    

Eight to nine hours of sleep per night are recommended for a healthy adult. Eliminate substances that are stress and anxiety triggers such as caffeine, chocolate, alcohol, refined sugar and processed foods.

Nutrition

Take nutritional supplements. “Given the stress of our modern life, the poor quality of our food supply, our poor food choices and the high load of toxins in our bodies, most people need additional support to maintain the essential supply of raw materials for all body processes to perform optimally” writes Dr Paul Kasenene, in his book, Eat Your Way to Wellness. 

David must have been depressed when he prayed thus: “Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid for you are close beside me, your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.” (Psalms 23:4). Times are tough. Fears are real. We need to keep a handle on our mental health if we are to make it through these crazy times.


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