The world is plagued with several problems. And some of these issues have a lot of misconceptions & ignorance tied to them. One such malady affects around 350,000,000 (350 million) people across the globe, according to WHO. What is this ailment? Well, it is none other than…
Yep, you read that right. Depression is said to affect hundreds of millions of people around the world.
In America alone, 15 million adults are affected by major depressive disorder, according to the ADAA.
In India, it is estimated to be around 57 million, WHO India reports.
Everyone from children to the elderly, men & women, those in rural as well as urban areas can become victims of depression.
Knowing this, it’s clear that we need to be well-informed about the issue. So with that in mind, I conducted an interview with Archa Joshi, Bachelor in Psychology & blogger at The Overthinker’s Diaries, to help us learn more about depression.
Here’s the interview:
So Archa, what according to you is depression?
Depression (i.e. major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.
Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a
loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and
physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at
home. For a diagnosis of depression, the symptoms must last at least 2 weeks.
Really dents the quality of your life! But you see depression being interchanged with sadness. Are they the same? If not, what’s the difference?
Well, sadness is a human emotion that everyone feels some time in their lives. Feeling sad is a natural reaction to situations that cause emotional upset or pain. It’s a temporary reaction to a stimulus. Depression, on the other hand, is a long term mental illness that affects a considerable number of people around the world.
When you’re sad, it may feel all-encompassing at times. But you do get moments
of happiness between those moments of sadness. Depression differs from sadness.
The feelings you have will affect all aspects of your life. It may be hard or even
impossible to find enjoyment in anything, including activities and people you used
to enjoy. Depression is a mental illness, not an emotion. And that is the main distinction between the two.
Okay, that makes things clear. But if I wanted to know if I had depression, what would be the signs I’d have to look out for?
I think the best way to answer this question would be to provide the criteria/
symptoms of depression
The symptoms, as listed in DSM-5, are as follows:
– Feeling depressed throughout the day on most or all days
– Lack of interest and enjoyment in activities you used to find pleasurable
– Trouble sleeping, or sleeping too much
– Trouble eating, or eating too much, coupled with weight gain or weight loss
– Irritability, restlessness, or agitation
– Extreme fatigue
– Unwarranted or exaggerated feelings of guilt or worthlessness
– Inability to concentrate or make decisions
– Suicidal thoughts or actions, or thinking a lot about death and dying
Quite a lot to deal with. What advice would you give to sufferers to help them manage their difficulties?
If you’re going through depression, seek the right help once you identify or feel you have the same. Opening up to a friend or family member is a good first step.
The next and immediate step should be consulting a psychologist/psychiatrist. And during the process, make sure to maintain contact with them. There is a high possibility of people suffering through depression not turning up or disappearing after a few consultations. You have to remember that the doctor is the right person to decide when/if to stop.