Handling depression

February 16, 2011

Depression is a main reason of incapacity among its sufferers. It is also the second most important cause of the loss of the healthy years of one’s life.

The personal costs of depression are very high and it is today recognised in Europe as a leading problem of public health.

What is depression and who can be affected by it?

Depression is a mental disease characterised by lack of activity for a prolonged period of time, lack of energy and easy tiredness. The depression can affect people of all age groups and if not treated in time can lead to a person committing suicide.

It can be episodic, recurrent or chronic. It can affect the person’s ability to carry out day-to-day responsibilities. It is more common in women than in men and some studies point out that 1.9 per cent of men suffer from depression compared to 3.2 per cent of women.

What are the symptoms?

It is different from the normal mood changes and is often associated with anxiety and panic attacks.

The most common symptoms are: Modification of the appetite, sleeping disorders; tiredness, loss of energy; apathy, sadness and concentration difficulty, concerns about the meaning of life; the sentiments of guilt and lack of self esteem.

Are there people with more risk factors?

People with episodes of depression in the past; those with a family history of depression; someone who lost an important person in life; people with chronic diseases; those who cohabit with people with chronic diseases; individuals  with anxiety and panic disorders and older people.

How long it can last?

Depression can last from a few months to a few years. However in about 20 per cent of the cases, it becomes a chronic disease with no remission. These cases are reported mainly because the person was not given proper treatment.

When is it important to look for help?

Feeling depressed is common, especially after experiencing a bad situation. It is important to start looking for help if the depressed feeling continues for over two weeks.

How is it treated?

Usually through medication or psychotherapy interventions. In some cases, a combination of both. The medication used to treat depression include antidepressant drugs prescribed by a psychiatrist.  You should strictly follow his instructions.  The psychotherapy interventions are useful in most cases.