Depression has become a common disorder. It
is estimated that more women than men suffer this malady.
Depression is considered a dangerous disorder because 50% of
depressed people tend to commit suicide. Is not human life
valuable? Thus shouldnt we help these innocent victims?
Even a common sense idea of depression can
help you to help others.
What are the symptoms of Depression?
There are several kinds of depressions.
Thus some common symptoms are given here.
Many depressed people suffer all or some of
1. Persistent sad mood
2. Difficulty in concentration
3. Unusual forgetfulness
4. Slowness in actions
5. Slowness in thinking
6. Extreme pessimism
7. Feeling of worthlessness
8. Recurrent suicidal thoughts
9. Feeling of not being loved by anybody
10. Feeling that one cannot love anybody
11. Feeling that life has no meaning
12. Low drive or motivation
13. Unexplained feeling of fatigue
14. Rapid gain or loss of body weight
15. Inability to experience appetite
16. Sleep disturbances (especially during
early morning hours)
17. Thumping of the heart (Palpitation)
18. Disturbances in the stomach (gas
trouble, loose motion, constipation)
19. Intolerance to sound
20. Startle reaction
21. Crying spells
22. Increased sensitivity
23. Unexplained feelings of guilt
If anybody around you shows at least a few
of the symptoms, persuade the person to see a Psychiatrist or a
Clinical Psychologist. This is especially necessary if the person
directly or indirectly talks to you about suicide or gives you
the impression that life has no meaning. It has been observed
that many patients have intentionally or casually mentioned to
their friends or relatives their intention to commit suicide.
Many have taken it lightly only to pay a big price later. Thus if
you feel that somebody is depressed and talks of suicide, do not
take it lightly. However, you should not panic and become upset
in the presence of the patient. Take the message coolly and act
rationally. Do not elicit a promise. Instead persuade the patient
to consult a Psychiatrist with the assurance that things will get
better from day one onwards. The worst thing you can do to a
depressed person is to offer advice like "These days every
body is depressed and that it is all your own
What Is The Best Treatment?
There is no single method of treatment for
depression as its causes are biological, psychological and
socio-cultural in nature. The first line of treatment should be
biological. This means the patient should consult a Psychiatrist
and get appropriate drugs prescribed. These drugs will bring
immediate relief to some problems like early morning sleep
disturbances, lack of appetite, and fatigue.
These improvements will instill in the patient a feeling that he
is not totally helpless and that some thing can be done about the
problem. Paradoxically, this is also the most critical period in
the depressive phase. A deeply depressed patient is almost
incapable of committing suicide as he is mentally
paralyzed. Drugs remove this incapacity and facilitate the
act of suicide. It is during this critical phase that a Clinical
Psychologist could be of great help. At this stage a Psychologist
might be in a position to instill hope and minimize guilt.
It has been found that social support from
the family, counseling by a Clinical Psychologist and drug
treatment by a Psychiatrist together work better than any single