Depression is not momentary sadness

Mental health issues are trivialised and often ignored. Being sensitive is the first step

It is better to open up and talk to someone rather than isolating oneself, psychiatrists say.

A WHO report recently stated that India is the most depressed country in the world. Anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are most common among the population.

Metrolife spoke to psychiatrists in the city regarding the common yet misunderstood issue and how one can tackle it.

Dr Mahesh Gowda, director, Spandana Healthcare, says, “I think the WHO report says so because of the volume and the kind of lifestyle we lead. India is a competitive country. There is a lot of stress on people; it is like a pressure cooker. There is a lot of awareness about depression. But, momentary sadness is not depression.”

Dr Lokesh Babu, director, Sneha Manovikasa Kendra, adds, “There is a lot of misunderstanding about medical data, and also a false egotistic presumption of overcoming depression. The use of the word ‘depression’ should be limited to the specialist.”

It is good to express emotions; say ‘I am angry’ rather than ‘I am mad’, he advises.

“Using the right word conveys your message better to the listener, and they will be able to reciprocate properly. Words like 'depressed’ to express sadness often might also make your brain habituated to the condition; it is a form
of reinforcement,” he further adds.

So next time be sure to lend an ear to a friend.

 

What is depression?

Depression is a disorder of the brain related to emotions. It is usually associated with loss, but is not confined to that; one with zero problems can also go through depression. Momentary sadness or disappointment is not depression.

- Dr Lokesh Babu.

 

Symptoms

- Lack of concentration

- Low mood

- Decreased or increased sleep

- Decreased or increased appetite

- Lack of pleasure in the routine activities

- Feeling hopeless and worthless

- Pervasive sadness

 

Be sensitive

Dr Mahesh advises, “Create an occasion for them to talk since they might want a shoulder to weep on or just talk; it is the best thing you can do. Also, one shouldn’t be critical or challenge people. Being hostile towards them and bullying must be avoided.” “The listener shouldn’t shut them off by saying ‘don’t think like that’. The ‘negative’ thoughts are coming to them; they are not thinking about it. Don’t criticise or undervalue their situation,” adds Dr Lokesh.
To emphasise on the importance of mental health, the Medical Council of India (MIC) has also brought changes in the MBBS syllabus after 21 years by adding focus on mental health, public health, and communication skills.

 

Causes

There are various reasons that can cause depression, which also includes environmental changes. “The main factors are the genetic predisposition and the coping mechanism. We call it nature vs nurture,” adds Dr Lokesh.</p>
Stages of depression range from mild, moderate, severe to depression with psychotic rages. It qualifies as depression only if a person experiences the symptoms for at least two weeks.

 

Solution

“Psychiatric issues are not seen as scientific problems. It has nothing to do with emotional strength or weakness. It can be treated only with therapy, education or medication,” says Dr Lokesh opining that medical problems can only be treated.

“One of the major reasons is the lack of interpersonal relationships. No empathetic communications occur as we are more dependant on mobiles, video games and TV. Sharing your feelings rather than isolating yourself can be more helpful,” he furthers adds.

 

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Depression is not momentary sadness

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