From Darkness to Light: Let’s talk about Depression
Major Depressive Disorder or Depression (general term) is one of the most prevalent mood disorders in the world. It is also referred as a hidden silent killer if not diagnosed and treated beforehand. Depression can have a major impact on your feelings, behaviour, thinking and activities, such as, eating, sleeping, working, studying, etc. Based on the WHO statistics in 2015, about 322 million people were suffering from depression around the globe and there were approximately 802,321 reported cases of depression in Sri Lanka. Over the past few years, the rates had been rising steadily.
- Personal or family history of depression
- Major life changes, trauma, or stress
- Abuse - drug abuse, childhood abuse, physical, sexual or psychological abuse
- Certain psychiatric illnesses, such as, anxiety
Signs and symptoms:
Five (or more) of the following symptoms should be experienced by an individual on a daily basis for a minimum of two weeks (Sources: DSM-5 and NIMH - USA).
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- Decreased energy or fatigue
- Moving or talking more slowly
- Feeling restless or having trouble sitting still
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
- Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
- Appetite and/or weight changes
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or attempted suicide
- Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause and/or that do not ease even with treatment
Usually depression can be treated with medication, psychotherapy or using both methods. Treatments differ from person to person. Therefore, professionals are able to identify the best treatment that would work for a particular client. But, keep in mind that the effectiveness of treatment increases if an individual is treated earlier.
Tips that might be useful in dealing with Depression
- Engage in regular workouts/exercise to boost your energy level and mood.
- Set for yourself realistic goals (follow SMART approach in setting goals).
- Spend time with others and confide in parents, a close friend or relative.
- Avoid being isolated and let others support you.
- Expect your mood to improve gradually, not immediately.
- Postpone important life decisions, such as, getting married or moving to a new house or changing jobs until you feel better (In terms of making decisions, discuss with others who know you and understand you well and have a more objective view of your situation).
- Continue to educate yourself about depression (Do your own background research about depression and share your experience with someone who is in the similar situation like you).
If you are in need of help or know of someone who does, please contact Badra at the Alokaya' Counselling Centre on Tel: +94 2 584 157 ext. 162 or E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by- Thanu Wijayasinghe - Assistant – Alokaya Counselling Centre