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Are you really depressed?

On » Monday, February 21, 2011 //
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Most of us feel sad in our daily life. Its not unusual for someone to feel the 'blues' now and then. But then what exactly falls in the criteria of being 'depressed'? Let me put up a few points for you to help you identify the signs and symptoms of Depression. Do NOT stop reading further! Even if you feel you are strong enough mentally to not 'encounter depression at any point ever', I insist you to go through this once, as it might help you help your dear ones or friends in their low times. I would specifically write focusing on the younger teen-agers who I feel are the most vulnerable lot during this exam season.

(Courtesy: Internet)
Being sad is not unusual but being sad most of the time is. The phrase 'most of the time' medically suggests a period of at least 2 weeks of sustained sadness of mood. If this sadness is often giving you problems with your studies or your performance in schools/colleges, your behavior at home or with friends or getting addictions like alcohol, smoking or problems during sex, then most probably you are going through DEPRESSION. To put it in a simpler way to help you identify I am putting down a check list below with criteria for depression. Remember that the following symptoms should not be secondary to any other medical condition.
1.You feel depressed most of the day, nearly every day like feeling empty or feeling sad. In younger age and children this may rather manifest as irritable mood. 
2. a significant decrease in interest in activities which used to be pleasurable before. 
3. a marked decrease or increase in weight or appetite. (>/= 5% of baseline body weight) 
4. inability to sleep or excessive sleep pattern 
5. feeling tired/lethargic most of the day, almost everyday. 
6. often feeling 'I am worthless' or excessive or inappropriate guilt about something. 
7. psycho-motor agitation/retardation : restlessness or slowing down while performing activities or doing mental work. 
8. inability to think rationally or finding it difficult to take any decision on your own. 
9. Lastly... recurrent thoughts about death and not just fear of dying, thinking about suicide with or without  a plan ready.
So if you check at least 5 out of the above 9 criterias, you are just one of the ten people in this world who are going through Depression. But as you can see, by that statistics, Depression is really common in todays world. At least 4 percent of adolescents get teen depression each year. But the good news is that you have treatment  ready and if you take early interventions, you need not worry much about the duration of the treatment or relapses.

(Courtesy: Aasra)
If you are depressed, please TALK to someone! It is very important to talk and ventilate yourself. There are many people out there waiting to LISTEN to you. The sooner you do this, the better. You can yourself visit some mental health professional or take someone's help, someone whom you trust the most, your family member, your friends, your teacher. Remember there is always some help around you. You need not feel ashamed of what you are going through, however down your life takes you. They say, "If you are going through hell... still Keep going!"

Having depression doesn't mean you are mentally 'weak', its just another ailment which needs 'treatment'. Some may require psychotherapy, some may need medicine and some need both. Your Psychiatrist, unlike few years ago, has many choices to choose the right medicines today with minimal side-effects. Anti-depressants are no longer always 'sedatives'. Psychopharmacology is an upcoming trend today. Needless to say, if you know someone who might be going through depression, please step forward and offer help. If directly helping doesn't work, talk to an adult related to that person whom you can trust. 

Why do people get depressed? The answer is a huge one. There are many causes for depression just like any other medical disease like diabetes, heart disease or say liver disease. Mental disorders are different only in the aspect that they affect your day to day activities and their management requires a psycho-socio-behavioral approach and not just an individualistic one.

I hope this article helps those who need help and also for those who are willing to help... Remember,

"We cannot help everyone, but Everyone can certainly help someone."

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