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Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being. People with depressed mood can feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, ashamed or restless. They may lose interest in activities that were once pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details or making decisions, and may contemplate, attempt or commit suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, aches, pains, digestive problems or reduced energy symptoms also be present. (Source: Wikipedia )

Let us check out the following situation of a person suffering with symptoms pointing towards Depression

Ajay is a 24 year old guy living with his parents and siblings. Since a few months, he has been interacting very little with family, preferring to stay alone, not wanting to attend social functions, keeps sad most of the times and also getting irritated. He has lost interest in many activities and feels that he is all alone and his future is hopeless. Though his family tries to cheer him up, tries to talk to him, there seems to be no improvement in his symptoms.

What are Ajay’s symptoms pointing towards? Why is that he feels lonely and hopeless despite the family help?

A FEW TIPS TO IDENTIFY HIS CONDITION AND TO FURTHER HELP HIM

  • Symptoms of Ajay’s suffering point towards ‘Depression’
    1. Feeling sad, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, feeling tired and hopeless, preferring to stay alone etc., are the cardinal symptoms of depression.
  • Depression is a medical illness
    1. Even though the family cheers him up and sees no external stress to cause him problem, he is unable to come out of it.
    2. Biological changes also happen in a person suffering from depression.
    3. Depressed mood is a feature of some psychiatric syndromes such as major depressive disorder, but it may also be a normal reaction to life events such as grief, a symptom of some bodily ailments or a side effect of some drugs and medical treatments.

Depression_Disorder

  • Never say to a depressed individual, statements like the following
    1. “You have no problem, why are you feeling sad”
    2. There is nothing that you have to worry. You are unnecessarily creating problems for yourself and others too.
    3. Come go out, take a walk and everything is going to be alright“.
    4. You are a man. You should be bold and brave.
    5. These statements will only make things worse for a depressed individual.

Depression Dont say

  • Acknowledge the fact that Ajay is suffering and it is not his fault.
    1. Try to talk to him to find out any specific reason or try to know if he also has any suicidal ideas.
  • Ajay should not hesitate to phone a friend or talk to someone about his problem.
    1. Keeping silent would never solve the issue.
  • For mild symptoms, family members can offer him good support by
    1. Constantly trying to motivate him by taking him out to lunch, etc.
    2. Not criticizing him for his behavior
  • Ajay also should realize that these feelings are not permanent and would go away
    1. Start exercising which helps in reducing the sad feelings
    2. Diets rich in fruits and vegetables and lots of fluids would help.
    3. Do not hesitate to get professional help. Just as one would go to a doctor for fever or cold, getting professional help for depression is very important if the symptoms occur continuously.
    4. Based on severity of depression, either Psychotherapy (cognitive behavior therapy) or antidepressants are prescribed which are very beneficial to the individual.Person talking to Therapist

DO NOT SUFFER IN SILENCE. WE ARE SOCIAL HUMAN BEINGS AND WE SHOULD TALK ABOUT OUR DISTRESS AND SURELY WE WILL GET HELP.

Dr Jyothirmayi is a Psychiatrist

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