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World Health Day: Let’s talk depression

Are you feeling low, lethargic, don’t feel like working? Feeling depressed? Come out and speak about it, as it is curable. To spread awareness about depression, this year’s theme of World Health Day has been chosen as “Depression: Let’s talk.” 

lifestyle Updated: Apr 07, 2017 18:07 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
depression

Depression is a mental illness, which is characterised by different symptoms that are present for more than two weeks.(Reuters Representative Photo)

Are you feeling low, lethargic, don’t feel like working? Feeling depressed? Come out and speak about it, as it is curable. To spread awareness about depression, this year’s theme of World Health Day has been chosen as “Depression: Let’s talk.” 

Dr Sandeep Grover, psychiatry department, PGIMER, talks about the disease. 

What is depression? 

Depression is a mental illness, which is characterised by different symptoms that are present for more than two weeks. 

Symptoms like sadness accompanied by lack of interest in day-to-day activities. A person feels lethargic, fails to concentrate on work, his appetite and sleep reduces. Other symptoms are low self esteem, negative ideas about himself, future and people around him. Ideas of guilt, worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide start overpowering. 

How is depression different from sadness? 

Sadness is a disappointment for a brief period and it does not impact routine functioning and a person automatically comes out of sadness after a while. But in depression, a person cannot overcome it without help and it is persistent for more than two weeks. 

What triggers depression? 

There are multiple causes and the most important is stress or any negative life event. Depression depends on combination of things- personality, social support, social situation, and genetic vulnerability. 

 Why few people are more vulnerable than others? 

People with poor coping ability are vulnerable to stress. When they are put under stress they break down and get into depression. This vulnerability depends upon genetics, coping abilities, personalities and life experience. 

Any particular age, which is more vulnerable? 

One can go into depression at any age group. But incidence is high among people in late 20s and mid 30s. As probably they are exposed to more stress. 

Is it that youth glued to gadgets are more vulnerable to depression? 

Definitely, in virtual world they don’t learn lesson of failure. When they come across failure in real world, it leads to stress and makes them vulnerable to depression.

What is the scenario in PGIMER? 

Depression constitutes a major chuck of our patients. Nearly 1/3 of our patients at the psychiatry department are suffering from depression and every year there has been an addition of 10% to 15% new cases. Last year, around 13,000 new cases were seen at the psychiatry department. 

Do you believe that people are hesitant visiting psychiatrist? 

There is lack of awareness and stigma attached to it. People are not happy visiting psychiatrist; they still think that it is the department which treats insane people. They do not consider depression as a lifestyle disease. 

Can depression be cured? 

Depression can definitely be treated. There are lots of strategies like medication, psychotherapies, change in lifestyle, relaxation and combination of all this. In severe cases, patient may require electroconvulsive therapy or brain stimulation. 

Any message for depressed people reading this article? 

You are not alone. Depression is common and can be easily treated. More than 98% patients can be treated with only anti-depressants or psychotherapies. 

People should continue taking their treatment and never stop it in between, else the symptoms will reoccur. 

They should come out and seek help. Make your aspirations to the level of your ability and stop expecting too much from yourself.