An act of a suicide is not an easy task. It takes a lot of courage to do so. There is just one mental condition that leads to such an extreme step. It is depression. Does it occur in the brain? Does it occur in the heart? How do we escape from the clutches of depression? Let us find out.


Depression is the world’s leading cause of disability and is the major contributor of disease. According to WHO, more than 300 million people suffer from depression. Close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year, which is the second leading cause of death in 15-29 year olds. It is estimated that 5% of the people in India suffer from depression. In some countries, fewer than 10% of affected people get treatment

It is not uncommon that, on an average, every person undergoes through sad state of mind a few times a year. Just like people have injuries and recover, every person tries and recovers from the sad state of mind. However, in a few cases, the suffering person would be unable to come out of the sad state and her mind goes into a depressive state of mind, referred to as depression. This person wouldn’t even know that she is in depression and that she can take external help to get out of it. In a few cases, even if such a person gets help, she may not take the complete treatment and end up in suicide under the deadly assumption that it is the only possible conclusion.

Reasons for increasing rate of depression

There are several reasons why reports of depression have increased over the past few years. Fast paced life, stressful professional lives, lack of extended/joint families, absence of strong human relationships, illegal affairs, ultra-competitive attitudes, etc., often lead the current society into dissatisfaction and loneliness. With increased use of cell phones and computers and lack of people to share personal problems with, people tend to keep those problems to themselves. Individuality empowered ego is also a reason why not many people share their problems with others. Because of these reasons, when a person encounters problems, she often keeps them to herself and preempts easy discovery of solutions. Consequently, she gets into depression and when she ignores any possible treatment, she ends up in committing suicide.

Personality type linked depression

No two people are alike. Likewise, no two people suffering from sad states of mind can react equally to come out of them. Few people can overcome any kind of problems by solving them. Some people can even come out of depression all by themselves. But, some people may fail to do so and choose to commit suicide as their only solution. This weak state of mind is generally because of the upbringing during childhood, qualities transferred to genes, situations encountered during their past. People who grew under these circumstances end up having a personality which is quite different from others. People with qualities such as anxiety, dependency, borderline personality traits like causing self harm and intimidating others are more likely to get depression than others. A small setback can also trigger depression in such people.

Men vs Women

It is generally assumed that women suffer more from depression than men. But, men too suffer from depression just as much as women do. It is just that men don’t easily reveal that they are suffering from depression. They have less frequent outbursts with tears than women. They assume that revealing their depression will be deemed as a sign of weakness and shame. Slowly, depression builds up in such men and leads to acts of suicide. While women attempting suicide are high, men commiting suicide are high. Women in depression are prone to spontaneous reactions to attempt suicide but men go to the extents of coming up with complete planning to commit suicide.

Self realization

The biggest symptom of depression is disinterest in future and a feeling of void in life. Thoughts like “there is no problem if there is no life” is usual. This is what leads to the ultimate act of suicide. It is essential to discover such thoughts very early on and realize for herself or himself that she or he is in depression.

It is all in the mind

Brain contains neurochemicals that are necessary for its regular functioning. An imbalance in such neurochemicals can lead to mood instability that leads to depression. This is one of the reasons that many celebrities too suffer from depression. In people who are prone to depression because of the genetic pattern, an imbalance of neurochemicals can happen. These kinds of people suffer from depressive disorder.

How to identify depression

Common symptoms to identify depression are low mood, loss of interest in pleasurable activities, fatigue, loss of concentration, sleep and appetite disturbances, irritability, ideas of hopelessness, guilt, etc. Symptoms, if present for more than 2 weeks would require professional help.

Awareness and identification of people around us who might be suffering from depression can avert a lot of suffering and also can prevent suicides.

Article in Telugu


Dr Jyothirmayi is a Psychiatrist

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