Decoding Depression- Managing Your Condition
“I don’t know why you say you’re depressed! You’ve nothing to feel sad about. Everything is going extremely well for you!”
We have all heard these words. Some of us might have uttered them too. To others or to ourselves because, when it comes to depression, we need justification. A tangible reason that lends legitimacy to our condition. “I’m depressed because—” followed by an explanation allows us to be worthy of our condition. Depression without a ‘real’ reason is seen as a weakness, something that we ought to pull ourselves out of.
Dr Girish Banwari, Specialist Psychiatrist with LifeWorks, Dubai, says that this is a fallacy that most people live with. “Depression need not be in response to an external stimulus,” he explains, quoting the instance of Ms Deepika Padukone, the Bollywood celebrity who spoke publicly about her condition. “It can happen for no reason, ‘out of the blue’ as they say, because some of us are biologically vulnerable to depression. It could be genetic, or it could be due to a physical condition like hypothyroidism.” An unhappy event, a failing relationship, or continued financial problems only serve to unmask that existing vulnerability.
Depression, Dr Banwari asserts, is a result of bio-psycho-social factors. “No two people will respond to the same situation in the same way. Person A might be able to accept their loss of job, put it behind them and move on, but Person B might be devastated by it. This could be due to their biological propensity towards depression, the inherent differences in their internal coping mechanisms, or external factors such as support from family and friends.”
Dr Banwari also underlines the fact that clinical depression is not something that can disappear as quietly as it appeared. “Seeking professional help is seen as self-indulgence by most people, and they try to ‘pick themselves up and move on with life’. Sometimes it might even seem as if they have managed to come out of depression on your own. But remember that in such instances, there is always the possibility of a relapse,” he cautions.
The treatment for depression depends on the severity of the condition. For mild to moderate depression, psychotherapy – combined with good social support – can work wonders. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), Rational Emotive Therapy (RET) and Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) are some forms of therapy used to treat depression. Though there is a strong resistance among people towards medication, moderate to severe depression should be treated with a combination of medicines and psychotherapy.
Depression is the most prevalent mental disorder in today’s world, especially among the urban population. It is also among the most neglected of all health issues, and if left untreated can lead to self harm or even death. Even mild to moderate depression can significantly reduce the quality of life. “Recognising symptoms and seeking professional help at the earliest can help heal faster, and perhaps prevent tragedies from happening,” says Dr Banwari.
To understand the causes of depression and how to manage it, click here.