The probability in one’s lifetime to develop depression is 5% to 12% in males and 10% to 25% in females. Leaving us all susceptible to this lethal disease. Genetic predisposition and environmental stressors amplify the tendency to develop depression in a person’s life. The striking feature of the onset of this disease is “disturbed feelings”, however in significant number of patients no mood abnormality is detected, making it all the more difficult to identify a patient suffering from depression.
The warning signs of depression are as follows:
- Crying spells, sudden bouts of an engulfing feeling of emptiness inside
- Not wanting to wake up in the morning and take on the day ahead
- Feeling of fatigue
- Losing motivating in creative work
- Recurring feeling of hopelessness as if nothing good is ever possible
- Experiencing a free-fall into a bottomless pit
- A persistent feeling of dissatisfaction
- Socially withdrawn
- More disagreements and unpleasant relationships
- Lost appetite or indulge in over eating
- Feeling misunderstood
- Low self esteem
- Feeling of worthlessness
- Feeling deeply sad without any obvious reason
- Contemplating suicide.
The life saving first-aid that can be offered by friends, relatives and caregivers is as follows:
- Look out for symptoms like crying spells.
- Avoid being judgmental of the person
- Encourage the person to speak and unburden
- Do not force him into physical activity like going for work or doing exercises
- Hear him/her out
- Do not isolate the person
- Seek expert advice or psychiatric help if signs of depression persist.
The common medicines offered to treat depression are often non-addictive. With counseling and medication, the person can be totally cured. No body needs to die of a “broken-heart”. Only awareness can save millions of lives.