By Neha Garg
DEPRESSION, WHAT EXACTLY IS IT?
Depression is a medical disorder in which a person is sad. However, this sadness is very much different from the usual sadness that most of us experience on a regular basis. If someone is depressed, they may lose interest in work, play, study, and most of the day to day activities.
HOW TO KNOW IF IT IS DEPRESSION?
If someone is feeling sad and down for a long period of time, this could be depression. Medically, if someone feels sad most of the time for at least two weeks and has any or both of these symptoms, most likely they are dealing with depression. These symptoms are:
- No longer enjoying doing things one used to like before.
- Feeling sad, hopeless, irritated most of the time, and almost daily.
Apart from the above-mentioned symptoms, people with depression may also experience the following mental and physical symptoms.
- Problem with sleep – too much or too little sleep
- Loss of interest in activities one used to like before
- A feeling of guilt and worthlessness
- Feeling tired most of the times as if no energy to do anything
- Difficulty in concentration
- Change in appetite – too much or too little eating leading to weight gain or weight loss
- Move or speak slowly than usual
- Restless, inability to sit still, or pulling on clothing or skin
- Suicidal thoughts – thinking about death and suicide
If you think you have these symptoms, it could be depression and you should seek medical advice as soon as possible.
If you want to hurt or kill yourself, see someone right away!! You may:
- Call a doctor
- Call an ambulance
- Go to the nearest emergency
- Call a family or friend
- Call your national suicide helplines
WHAT ARE THE TREATMENT OPTIONS?
Depression is a very treatable mental disorder. Once it is diagnosed then there are different treatment options based on the severity of symptoms. Treatment could be one or a combination of the options below:
1. COUNSELING (WITH A PSYCHIATRIST OR PSYCHOLOGIST)
Psychotherapy involves talking about your feelings with a specialist. It could be a very good option for someone who wants to vent their feelings without being judged. This treatment may take time to show its effect but has no side effects. It’s always worth a trial.
2. MEDICINES TO RELIEVE DEPRESSION
Various medicines which work as antidepressants are available these days. Your doctor may try one and if that does not work may switch to another class of medicine. Good thing about medicines is that they might work a little faster than counseling but there could be side effects of medicine.
SO NOW THE QUESTION ARRIVES – WHEN WILL I START FEELING BETTER?
Both treatment options may take some time to show results.
- Counseling may benefit a few from the very first session specially in mild depression, but it generally takes 6 to 10 weeks to have a significant effect.
- Medicines may sometimes take up to 6-8 weeks to start working but some people may feel better sooner.
The key is persistence. Don’t expect to see the effects in a few days. You should always wait for a few weeks before you think that the treatment is not working. Make sure to discuss with your doctor as you may need an alternative treatment or a combination of both.
Apart from the above medical treatments, one could also do a number of things which may assist in reducing the symptoms of depression. Eating a healthy diet, regular exercise, speaking with friends and family more often could be helpful.
Fighting with depression can be hard but the good thing is – it is treatable. Don’t hesitate to offer a helping hand and give social support in case you feel someone close to you is dealing with depression.
Disclaimer: Please consult your physician before starting any treatment.
Physician, traveler and a blogger.