What is Depression?
It is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.
It causes feelings of sadness and loss of interest in activities once enjoyed.
What are the risk factors?
- Genetic Predisposition.
- Brain chemistry.
- Environmental Factors: Continuous exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty make some people more vulnerable
What are the symptoms?
Feeling sad or having a low mood.
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed (anhedonia).
Changes in appetite- weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting.
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
Loss of energy or increased fatigue.
Increase in restless activity ( pacing or hand wringing) or slowed movements and speech.
Feeling worthless or guilty.
Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions.
Thoughts of death or suicide.
The symptoms must last at least two weeks for a diagnosis of depression.
Women are more likely than men to experience depression.
How can it be treated?
Psychotherapy or ‘Talk Therapy’.
Self help mechanisms include:
Eating a healthy diet.
Depression is a state of low mood that can affect a person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviour and sense of well being.
Major risk factors are genetic predisposition and environmental factors.
It can lead to emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
It is a treatable illness.
If you are experiencing symptoms of depression, the first step is to see a family physician or psychiatrist to get help.
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By Omonijo MO, MBBS