The WHO estimates that more than 300 million people across the globe struggle with depression in their daily lives, which is equal to 4.4 percent of the world’s population. In fact, between 2005 and 2015, a surge of more than 18 percent has been reported in the number of people living with depression.
Considering these alarming figures as a wake-up call for all nations, WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan stressed the need for eliminating the stigma, prejudice and discrimination associated with mental health problems.
Living in a culture where feeling vulnerable is considered a sign of weakness often exacerbates the stigma surrounding depression. In the United States, speaking openly about the stigmas of depression and addiction is still a big “no” for many Americans. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), in 2015, more than 16 million people aged 18 years or older had at least one major depressive episode in the previous year.
However, only a few of those with depression seek professional treatment for the mental disorder. In fact, even close friends and family members don’t give the same amount of importance to depression as they would give in the case of other physical ailments. Additionally, another major reason which makes people overlook the serious nature of depressive disorders is the lack of insurance coverage.
Learning to recognize warning signs of depression
Depression is best described as “surviving in a black hole” or a constant feeling of “imminent doom.” It is certainly more than normal sadness, which drastically affects the quality of life of an individual. Mental illnesses such as depression cannot be detected by any pathological test because it is a diagnosis of observation. Creating awareness of the warning signs can go a long way in combating the malaise. Some of the important signs are:
- Feelings of despair and dejection: Depression leaves people with a strong conviction that things will never improve and nothing can be done to better the situation.
- Loss of interest in daily activities: Hobbies, pastimes, activities and other interests which at one point of time gave joy and pleasure mean nothing in the present time.
- Fluctuating appetite or weight: Depression may trigger considerable weight loss or weight gain in some individuals.
- Changes in sleep patterns: Depressive disorders could result in prolonged periods of insomnia, particularly waking up in the wee hours of the morning, or oversleeping during the day.
- Frequent bouts of ire or irritation: People going through depression generally exhibit low tolerance levels. Therefore, depressive episodes could lead to feelings of agitation, restlessness or even tendencies to indulge in violence.
- Loss of self-worth: Overwhelming feelings of worthlessness or guilt experienced by those suffering from depression may lead to self-victimization.
- Careless behavior: Depressed people often engage in escapist tendencies such as drug abuse, alcoholism, compulsive gambling or other reckless behaviors, which may also lead to concentration problems.
Triumphing over depression with time-tested strategies
There’s no one single proven way to treat people suffering from depression because treatments depend on the length and nature of the depressive episode. However, there are plenty of treatment options to get back on the road to recovery:
1. Talking therapies or psychological treatments
- Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT): CBT is a structured psychological methodology to address depression where the focus is on how an individual thinks and subsequently acts.
- Interpersonal therapy (IPT): IPT is a systematically structured psychological therapy that pays attention to interpersonal relationships and resulting problems, and identifying newer ways and skills to deal with such problems.
- Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT): MBCT aims to focus on the present moment, irrespective of the fact whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, thus encouraging individuals to acknowledge negative feelings and thought patterns before they acquire a permanent nature.
Any individual suffering from depression should be administered antidepressants only after proper consultation with a professional medical practitioner and a thorough assessment of their mental health condition. Some of the most common medications for depression include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin and noradrenalin reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
3. Support groups and online forums
People with depression or anxiety can become part of several support groups, communities and online forums where they can share their experience and gain insights into finding newer ways to deal with challenges from others in a similar situation.
As a consequence of the growing numbers of depression cases across the world, mental health experts are pressing for innovative and alternative ways to tackle this menace. Research suggests that depression is a widely prevalent mental disorder among American adolescents. In this context, a recent study by researchers at the University of Leuven, Belgium indicates that use of Instagram could result in increased closeness with friends, which in turn has the potential to lower depression. Also, another recent study, conducted by the University of Sydney and published in the British Medical Journal Open, suggests that a fruit and vegetable diet for people 45 years and above could help reduce anxiety and depression. Whereas, scientists at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s (NTNU) Department of Psychology recommend metacognitive therapy (MCT) to treat depression, which involves changing thought patterns.
Road to recovery
Knowing how to deal with mental illness on the same lines as in the case of other chronic diseases — which demands a thorough mental health diagnosis, regular check-ups and monitoring of treatment adherence — increases chances of recovery. Additionally, sufficient sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise further strengthens the desire to overcome mental depression.
Depression must be nipped in the bud or else it can be immensely devastating. Despite the availability of several effective treatments, the stigma of being branded as a weak person prevents many from overcoming mental illness through professional help.
Sovereign Health understands the plight of individuals grappling with depression or any other mental illness. We provide treatments for all kinds of mental health disorders as well as any underlying health condition. Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California offers a variety of customized mental health treatment programs suited to treat the person holistically. Patients can opt for individual and group psychotherapy, or alternative therapeutic activities to regain control of their lives.
Sadly, many people fail to recognize the symptoms of depression. Whether you wish to know how to overcome mental illness or are looking for mental illness treatment centers in California or at a place closer home, we have facilities in all major places in the country. Our residential mental health facilities in California are among the best in the nation. Call at our 24/7 helpline number (866) 819-0427 or chat online to know about the causes of depression and most effective recovery programs to treat them at the earliest.