What is clinical depression?
The word “depression”, unfortunately, has been attached to any emotional state that involves the person withdrawing from the world and feeling down. Yet, there is a vast difference between clinical depression and sadness. Among the three cases above, Varsha would be the person of interest to a medical expert who would diagnose her symptoms as clinical depression.
Here are some signs that indicate clinical depression.
Doctors usually check for the presence of at least five or more of these signs everyday on a persistent basis, for at least two weeks.
- A persistent sad, anxious or "empty" mood.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Reduced appetite and weight loss, or increased appetite and weight gain.
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed.
- Restlessness or irritability.
- Persistent physical symptoms that don't respond to treatment (such as headaches, chronic pain, or constipation and other digestive disorders).
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
- Feeling guilty, hopeless or helpless.
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.
How common is depression?
- It is estimated that 50 million people in India suffer from depressive disorders. About half of these people are likely to be suffering from moderate to severe degrees of depression.
- The highest rates of depressive disorders are found among those aged 24-44.
- Women are more than twice as likely as men to experience clinical depression. This can be attributed to hormonal changes and genetics besides stress at work and family responsibilities.
Risk factors for depression
- Prior episodes of depression
- Prior suicide attempts
- Family history of depressive disorder
- Recent childbirth
- Lack of social support
- Substance abuse (alcohol or drug abuse)
Studies show that depression underlies majority of suicides, or attempts for suicide, is the eighth leading cause of death, and is the third leading cause of death among people aged between15-24.
Learning to differentiate when sadness moves into a full blown mood disorder is crucial to the treatment. But equally important is the necessity to recognize that certain blues and low moods pass in time and do not warrant medical intervention at all.
Suicide and depression
Anxiety on the other hand, is a generalized feeling of apprehension about a possible danger. Anxiety disorder includes high levels of negative effect, worry about possible threat or danger and a sense of being unable to predict threat or control on occurs.
In the cases of history of suicide attempts, more extensive help will be needed which can best be given by professional therapists, as the people around the individuals affected are found to be incapable of providing any help.
The suicidal tendency usually has a history of long-term unsolved problems and increasing isolation. Often medication and alcohol play a part in this process. The failures to find solutions and the sense of isolation together result in a feeling of being trapped to which suicide appears to be the only answer to them. A personal or family history of suicide or suicide attempts contribute to high incidence of suicide which is sub-consciously recognized as a way out of the condition of depression.
To conclude, depression and suicide relationship can be seen by elimination of depression, which has its basic roots in anxiety and stress related conditions of human beings which have a direct and devastating relationship with suicidal tendencies in a modern society. These can be well prevented, as far as the public health is concerned, if the risk factors that contribute to the suicide occurrences are studied and analyzed by the healthcare professionals objectively.
To treat such depressions, several anti depression like seratonin and nor epinephrine medicines have been developed. Consulting the specialist and becoming socialist is best.