Fighting Depression: “How Big of an Issue is It?”

Depression is a mood disorder and should not be confused with the ups and downs that are part of normal life

Fighting Depression: “How Big of an Issue is It?”

I asked my friend the other day if she’s okay, she just faked a smile and said, “I’m fine, but deep inside I am slowly drowning”.

Life is a beautiful gift which has been provided to mankind by God. In life, every person passes through many phases. It maybe age factor, loss of loved ones, loss of job or bankruptcy of a business, financial crises and so on. There are many people who can easily come out of this phases of life but there are some people who due to not having strong mental power and highly emotionality goes into what we call depression. But why we tend to avoid this kind of obvious major social issue for how many years now?

Depression is so prevalent that it has been referred to as the “common cold” of mental illness. However, unlike the common cold, depression can be fatal, and has been referred to as the world’s number one public health problem. Social awareness and concern regarding depression can be evidenced by the proliferation of self-help books written on the subject over the past decade. Since depression is so prevalent, all social workers, regardless of their practice setting and specialization, must be familiar with various aspects of this kind of syndrome.

Life is a beautiful gift which has been provided to mankind by God. In life, every person passes through many phases. It maybe age factor, loss of loved ones, loss of job or bankruptcy of a business, financial crises and so on. There are many people who can easily come out of this phases of life but there are some people who due to not having strong mental power and highly emotionality goes into what we call depression. But why we tend to avoid this kind of obvious major social issue for how many years now?

Defining the Problem of Depression

Depression is a mood disorder and should not be confused with the ups and downs that are part of normal life. Clinical depression is characterized by extended periods of feeling sad or empty, where nothing is enjoyable and physical activity declines. Symptoms include mood swings, feeling numb, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, a lack of energy, and a sense of worthlessness or inadequacy. In the case of chronic mild depression, a person can function but not to full capacity which often allows the problem to go unrecognized. Emotions clearly play a part in the problem, yet they are a normal part of life as mind and body react to situations. These feelings are mostly transient in nature because they come and go throughout the day. However, when emotions become intense and unremitting and are not tied to a particular stimulus, they are called moods, and extreme and persistent moods can lead to depression. Another factor in depressive illness is stress, a key feature of modern life.

Who Gets Depressed?

Certain sections of society are more at risk for depression. By some estimates, women are twice as likely to become depressed as men: boys and girls have the same level of risk until age 12 after which the risk for girls doubles through adolescence and remains consistently higher until after menopause. Depression also tends to run in families, with the genetic risk again being more pronounced in women than in men. Another factor is negative early childhood experiences, including the loss of a parent before age 10, physical or sexual abuse, or some other traumatic experience that acts as a trigger later on.  Predispositions notwithstanding, there is no certain way to predict who will become depressed. Difficulties in childhood or a major disaster in later life can lead to low self-esteem, a sense of rejection, and an inability to feel good about oneself or one’s life. Yet some people who have no such histories, who appear stable and well integrated, can nevertheless fall into a life of depression.

Treatment and Diagnosis

The good news is that most depression is treatable. As with other health issues, of course, the sooner treatment is sought, the better the chances of success. If left untreated, the risk of successive episodes increases dramatically. And as risk increases, so does the probability of related problems such as drug addiction, alcohol abuse and suicide. So what should you do if you suspect that you or someone close to you is displaying symptoms of depression? The first course of action is to establish whether the symptoms have developed from a mood disorder or from a physical cause. Many symptoms can be the result of factors such as thyroid malfunction, vitamin deficiency, sleep apnea, medications or hormonal changes. Fatigue and tiredness from stress can produce depression-like symptoms as well. As noted earlier, much of the current research indicates that depression is increasing from one generation to another and is being diagnosed at a younger age on average. Although genetics play a role, this trend also suggests a link between depression and lifestyle.

In order to deal with depression, some lifestyle changes are critical. Depressed thinking develops a set of habits and behaviors ways of thinking and feeling that need to be replaced. We enable the interacting body and mind to reinforce positive ways of thinking and feeling by making deliberate choices in how we live. That’s not to say it is easy, but it can be done. In particular, a depressed person would do well to evaluate four aspects of his or her lifestyle, exercise, diet, structure and sleep before taking medications, because these four behaviors have a direct bearing on brain function. The best solution is to go meditation, look back in life and realize that God has provided us so many good things in life. So now, if you know someone who suffers from depression, it is time to discuss by offering a hand, remind them how important life is, encourage them to go further, and listen more.

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Jelou Laporbida

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Kim Santiago
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Depression is a serious matter. Make a stand. Help a friend. Always remember that God is always there for us, brighten your mind and avoid negativities.

Pam Añasco
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Pam Añasco

Depression is something that is serious and should have proper guidance. I have friends who have depression too, and even them, they didn’t even expected it to happen. They are not even aware that they are depressed. People should look out and care for each other.
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