Shedding Light on Depression: What You Need to Know


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), depression is the leading disability worldwide. It can affect adults, adolescents, and children. This article examines what depression is and what causes it, as well as treatment, and more.

Do you know? 

  • Depression is a common but serious mood disorder.
  • Approximately 280 million people in the world have depression (including both male and female).
  • WHO mentioned that depression is about 50% more common among women than among men. 
  • Although there are known and effective treatments for mental disorders, more than 80% of the global population does not receive the appropriate treatment. 

Depression is a persistent and unexplained feeling of emptiness, sadness, or an enduring inability to experience pleasure characterize depression as a chronic mental health condition.

Depression can affect all aspects of life, including relationships with family, friends, and community. It can result from or lead to problems at school and work. Research has proven that depression can happen to anyone. 

Symptoms and patterns

According to DSM-5 following criteria make a diagnosis of depression. To be diagnosed with depression, the individual must be experiencing five or more symptoms at least for 2 weeks. 

  1. Depressed mood for most of the day, nearly every day.
  2. Diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities, nearly every day.
  3. Weight loss or gain, or experiencing fluctuations in appetite nearly every day.
  4. Slowing down of thought processes and a reduction in physical movement.
  5. Experiencing fatigue or a consistent loss of energy nearly every day.
  6. Feelings of worthlessness, excessive guilt, or inappropriate guilt on a daily basis.
  7. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, along with recurrent indecisiveness nearly every day.
  8. Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or even engaging in a suicide attempt or having a specific plan for committing suicide.

A depressive episode can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the number and severity of symptoms, as well as the impact on the individual’s functioning. To determine this, a proper assessment conducted by a mental health professional or a clinical psychologist is necessary.

Discovering the Right Help for Your Depression

It becomes difficult when you are experiencing depression, and sometimes you feel like not waking up in the morning, not even feeling like going out. A few things that we should keep in mind are:

  • Reach out to a psychologist/psychiatrist/mental health professional for support and guidance.
  • Psychoeducation is like your personal handbook – it helps you recognize the signs, triggers, and coping strategies. Learning about depression doesn’t make you an expert, but it empowers you to navigate your feelings and work towards feeling better. 
  • Continue doing activities that once brought you joy.
  • Maintain connections with friends and family to nurture a supportive environment.
  • Incorporate regular physical activity into your routine, even if it’s a short walk.
  • Stick to regular eating and sleeping habits as consistently as possible.
  • Reduce or eliminate alcohol consumption, and steer clear of illicit drugs, as they can exacerbate depression.
  • Share your feelings with someone you trust. 
  • If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, remember: you are not alone; many have faced similar challenges and found help. Talk to someone you trust about your feelings.
  • Consider joining a support group. If you’re unsure where to start, there are resources available – community groups, helplines, or even online forums. 

Knowing about depression is very important. Share this information with your family and friends. It’s crucial to create awareness, understand the condition, and know about the treatment options. Learn how to reach out to the right people for support. Let’s normalize the idea that mental health is as important as our physical well-being in our daily lives. We just have to come forward and connect with others. 

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