- Depression is a common mental disorder. According to new estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the largest disability worldwide, with over 80% of the disease burden in developing countries like India. Read more here
- Globally, more than 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression
- Depression can strike anybody across ethnicity, religion, economic standing, gender and age
- Famous Hollywood star & Comedian Robin Williams
- Indian movie star Deepika Padukone suffered from Depression while being at the top of her career (she disclosed this to public in Jan 2015) – read more here
Depression is NOT sadness. Depression means a lack of the ability to control one’s own emotions, feelings and thoughts. In our brains,our desire to stay happy, fit and motivated is converted to instructions by a group of chemicals called neurotransmitters. When these do not function at an optimal level, our desires and wishes tend to be lost, and the brain begins to function almost autonomously generating unwanted thoughts, emotions and feelings.
This results in feeling unreasonably sad, unhappy, or dull; worrying too much about trivial things, events or situations unlikely to happen; or thinking excessively about the past/present or future. Often the content of thoughts is influenced pessimistically and one begins to feel less competent, less confident, focusing unduly on the negatives in life, job and/or relationships. Irritation and anger towards close/loved ones tends to push them away which further increases the feeling of being alone, lonely and without support. Untreated, the illness worsens and tends to cause restlessness, anxiety, helplessness, and hopelessness, further causing the emergence of deathwish and suicidal thoughts.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression, the illness, affects different people in different ways. Some become quiet and tend to withdraw from activity, conversation and tasks. Others may be irritable, negative, critical and unable to see anything positive around them. Some others are restless, anxious and seem to have endless worries. Their mind continues in endless thoughts and is unable to relax. Indecisive, panicky, apprehensive, seeking reassurance and having low self esteem is how such people may present to a doctor.
Surprisingly, depression is also a common cause for mild to moderate aggressiveness. Such angry episodes are usually preceded by a growing sense of unease and irritability. The outburst is usually short, mostly verbal and/or throwing things around the house/room, and is sometimes associated with trembling, palpitations and feeling dizzy. Once the anger subsides, most patients will feel weak and have a lot of self blame or guilt. Some will have severe headache and will prefer to sit/lie alone for 1/2 to 1 hour.
Treatment of Depression
Antidepressants are aimed at increasing the functional level of the chemicals/neurotransmitters in our brain, thereby allowing us to gradually regain control over our brain and thus on our emotions, thoughts and feelings. Antidepressants DO NOT stop your brain from thinking. Antidepressants ARE NOT sleeping tablets. Antidepressants are meant to be taken long term (only after consultation with a qualified psychiatrist), once started should NOT be stopped without consulting a Psychiatrist.