Depression as we all know can happen to anyone, irrespective of your age, gender and social status. With the help of social media, stories of depression and mental health has been circulating and even more sadly, suicide as a result of depression. So here is an interview I did of a medical practitioner for a more clinical view. I hope this helps you have more insight on depression from a medical standpoint.
Tell me about yourself:
My name is Rebecca Ulo, I’m a final year Medical student, and a creature of habits. I have great interests in books, politics and interpersonal relationships. I am totally an outdoor person with a love for board games. And I am a committed food lover. 😌
What is your general take on depression?
Depression is fast becoming a topic of concern in recent times. And while others may have a depth of what it entails, others assume it’s just a bad mood.
So you are saying that a bad mood can be a depressive sign?
Technically no. I know its pretty normal for people to have bad days sometimes, fall into a bad mood, feel sadness as a result of circumstances. I mean, at some point, everyone has one of those days (could be several days even). But, this is not what we call depression.
What then are depressive symptoms?
Depression is more deep-rooted, and difficult to explain because it’s symptoms may even seem ‘regular’. Symptoms such as a loss of interest, appetite changes, sleep changes, weight changes, low libido, menstrual irregularities etc. So yes, it is important to occasionally check up a friend because their consistent refusal to go bowling (or something else they loved to do before) might just be a warning sign.
What would you say medically about depression?
Clinically, depression is a mood disorder. Mood disorders are basically a group of psychiatric disorders characterized by abnormalities in mood which can vary from extreme sadness to extreme excitement. Depressive disorders itself varies from mild depressive disorders to severe depression with psychosis. The exact cause is not known, but there are triggering factors, like(in addition to what we may already know) – an abuse of alcohol or drugs, a family history of a mental health disorder (ranging from eating disorders to bipolar disorders), a chronic illness, even being too pessimistic as a personality trait could be a trigger! The symptomatology of depression is so vague. And these symptoms had to have lasted for two weeks or more (depending on the presenting symptom(s) to actually say ‘this is depression’.
Well, just so we don’t go labeling every sad and moody person on the streets as depressed, there are criteria for actually diagnosing depression, and interestingly, suicidal ideas/thoughts are a minor feature of this criteria (surprised? yea, I know…I already said it’s deeply-rooted than we think).
How then can depression be managed?
In managing depression professionally, there is usually a pharmacological and a non-pharmacological approach or a combination of both depending on the severity and the type of depression (yes, there are several types).
Do you have any advice on preventing depression?
As far as preventing depression goes, there is no sure way of preventing it. However, here’s my advice for whenever you feel you are slipping up…or you know someone who is;
- Take a walk more often and consciously try to take in every little detail of your environs.
- Change your diet, eating healthier happy foods.
- Exercise. Exercise. If you are already into this, try changing your routine.
- Help others. It is often said that there is joy derived from being able to meet a need of another.
- Change your environment. If you have to completely uproot yourself and relocate to a whole new city, please do! for the sake of your mental health.
Trust me, as simple as it may seem, it works.
Remember, talking to a counselor and a medical professional is the first step to living a happier more fulfilling life. Don’t be ashamed to seek help. And by all means spread the awareness!!!
So guys, please share, you might be helping someone out of an early depression. If you are going through something and feel the need to share, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org
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