With life, comes challenges and as humans, we all face them in one form or another every day. Life with depression means, those challenges are amplified and basic daily tasks or activities require more effort to achieve. Depression, also commonly referred to as clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is one of the most common mental disorders and is the leading cause of disability and poor health worldwide.
According to estimates by the World Health Organisation, more than 300 million people worldwide are currently living with depression.
A Combination of Factors
Depression is caused by a number of influences and combination of genetics, social, environmental, biological and emotional factors. It is important to remember, depression does not come with symptoms that can be ticked off a check list and each case should be evaluated and diagnosed on its own merits. This disorder affects people differently, but the most common symptoms experienced are:
- Prolonged periods of sadness or feelings of emptiness and isolation.
- Anger, frustration or irritability
- Feeling helpless, hopeless or worthless
- Lack of concentration
- Fatigue and changes in sleep patterns
- Changes in appetite
- Loss of interest in activities, even those previously enjoyed and withdrawal from social circles.
- Headaches and other chronic pain
- Thoughts about death or suicide
Treatable and Functional
Depression is treatable and is in no way a sign of weakness or poor character flaws. It requires professional treatment best suited for the person being diagnosed and with the right care and treatment plan, people with depression can go on to live functional and productive lives. Medications such as antidepressant can help reduce the symptoms and with therapy and support groups, the individual can find the best way to achieve good mental health.
It Affects Social Circles and Families
Depression and the symptoms associated with this diagnosis can affect friends and family as much as it can the individual with this disorder, and knowing how to deal with the disorder is the key to achieving and maintaining good mental health for everyone. There are a number of ways in which family, friends or colleagues can assist in helping the diagnosed individual to get control of their lives, manage symptoms and adjust to life with depression. Here are a few suggestions:
- Encourage the depressed individual to seek professional assistance. Let them know that you want to help and offer your support without judgment.
- Educate yourself and others on the disorder.
- Encourage group appointments that include family and friends. Not only does it show your commitment but will help everyone deal with the effects of this disorder.
- Encourage them to maintain a normal life, to get regular exercise, maintain good health, to eat well and get enough rest.
- Suggest social activities, hobbies or participation in community projects.
- Be sure to maintain your own good mental health, this disorder and the symptoms associated with it create challenges for friends and family as much as the individual with the disorder.
Things to Remember
If you have been diagnosed with depression, there are few things you need to remember:
- Your diagnosis does not render your life any less valuable. There are millions of people across the globe that share your disorder and it is treatable.
- You are not alone. Lean on family, friends and support services to help you ready a plan to achieve good mental health.
- Feeling overwhelmed or experiencing the symptoms associated with this disorder is not a sign of weakness, but rather a reminder to readjust your goals to achieving good mental health.