Depression…. A silent destructorBy Dr. Mentalist • Jul 6th, 2012 • Category: Features • 26 Comments
Depression is more than just a low mood - it’s a serious illness. While we all feel sad, moody or low from time to time, some people experience these feelings intensely, for long periods of time and often without reason. People with depression find it hard to function every day and may be reluctant to participate in activities they once enjoyed.
Depression is one of the most common of all mental health problems. One in five people experience depression at some stage of their lives.
Mental health knowledge is still very rudimentry in Pakistan. There are many myths about mental health issues and it is not easy to provide quality mental health care to people holding strong baseless beliefs.
If you notice any behavioural changes that last for more than two weeks in family members or friends, then it is worth asking if the person may be depressed.
Common behaviour associated with depression includes:
- moodiness that is out of character
- increased irritability and frustration
- finding it hard to take minor personal criticisms
- spending less time with friends and family
- loss of interest in food, sex, exercise or other pleasurable activities
- being awake throughout the night
- increased alcohol and drug use
- staying home from work or school
- increased physical health complaints like fatigue or pain
- being reckless or taking unnecessary risks (e.g. driving fast or dangerously)
- slowing down of thoughts and actions.
Common medical causes of depression include:
- Low thyroid function
- Brain injuries and diseases (eg. stroke, heart disease, head injury, epilepsy, Parkinson’s Disease)
- Some forms of cancer
- Infectious diseases
- Blood vessel disease in the brain due to diabetes and/or hypertension
- Some steroid and hormonal treatments
- Chronic pain
- Quitting smoking.
High-risk personality being:
- A lifelong worrier
- A perfectionist
- Sensitive to personal criticism
- Self-critical and negative
- Shy, socially anxious and having low self-esteem.
Common tests done by a doctor include:
- Full blood count and biochemistry
- Thyroid function tests
- Urine test for sugar and protein
- Occasionally, a brain scan.
It’s important to note that you can’t always identify the cause of depression nor change troubling circumstances. The most important thing is to recognise the depression and to seek help.
Remember, the sooner you get treatment, the greater the chance of a faster recovery.
Depression is an illness that is likely to get worse if left untreated.
The treatment can be sought from any trained psychiatrist.
Most of the government hospitals have a psychiatry outdoor department so access is so easy.
Just convince your loved one to atleast see the doctor.
What will the doctor do:
The psychiatrist (doctor) will prescribe an anti-depressants medication. (Once daily medication)
(Usually these medications are non-sedating, non-addictive and very safe)
The psychiatrist can also refer the client to the clinical psychologist (a non-doctor) who does talking therapy.
Regular exercise,family support, financial and occupational support by social workers and attaining healthy life style also helps.