The term depression has come into light in the recent times, with celebrities like Deepika Padukone sharing the stories of their battle with this disorder. Every time there is a celebrity suicide, the internet is swamped with posts about depression and self-harm. However, there is still a lot of stigma and vagueness surrounding the idea of depression. Most people are not even a part of the conversation and have many misconceptions about it.

So, what is depression?

Depression is a mental health condition that is classified as a mood disorder. It is characterised by a perpetually low mood, sadness, and reduced interest in daily activities or even hobbies. If it persists for more than six months, it is diagnosed as a clinical condition.

People tend to use the term very casually, to describe momentary sadness or short-lived feelings of despair arising due to specific circumstances. This is a blunder, and only trivialises the struggle that depression actually is. We should be careful with how we use the word, making only educated guesses and not self-diagnosing. Familiarising ourselves with the symptoms will help us decide that we need treatment. The following are the symptoms of depression:

  1. Low mood for a prolonged period of time, even if there is no apparent cause.
  2. Decreased interest in activities that the person was formerly enthusiastic about.
  3. Loss of sexual desire.
  4. Low appetite and weight loss without dieting
  5. Persistent feelings of tiredness even without exertion
  6. Feelings of guilt and worthlessness
  7. Excessive sleeping or difficulty sleeping
  8. Inability to perform basic, daily activities such as taking a bath, combing hair, or even getting out of bed.
  9. Difficulty performing cognitive tasks such as concentrating, decision-making, or just thinking.
  10. Impaired psychomotor functioning, such as slowed movement and difficulty speaking.
  11. Suicidal thoughts, attempts at suicide, or tendency to self-harm.

Depression is, therefore, not a simple feeling of sadness. It is a serious condition that interferes with normal functioning and makes life difficult.

  • The causes of depression are not distinctly specified and are usually a combination of hereditary (could run in the family), biological changes (in hormones produced by the brain), environmental conditions and psychosocial factors.
  • Life events such as bereavement, relationship issues, bad workplace conditions, divorce, health concerns, stress, bankruptcy, etc. can also trigger depression.
  • If a person’s nature drives them to produce unhealthy coping strategies, they are at a greater risk of depression.
  • Certain drugs such as beta-blockers and corticosteroids, abuse of toxic substances like alcohol and recreational drugs, etc. also give way to depression.
  • Prior episodes of depression, childhood trauma, head injury, are all risk factors for depression.

Treatment is indeed available, but there are no quick fixes or home remedies. Relief can be obtained through support systems and support groups, educating family members, and discussing solutions, but a more permanent solution would be counselling or psychotherapy. A trained clinical psychologist is the best person to help you out of depression, usually through therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy. If it is too severe, depression can be treated with the help of drugs, known as antidepressants.

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from any of these symptoms, react before it is too late. Mental health is as important as physical health and treatment should be taken promptly, at any cost.

Take another step in the direction of good health andprevent mental illness by taking a break from regular life. Go on a holiday with your loved ones and uncover the various experiences of live. A travel insurance policy besides Cigna TTK’s health insurance policy with easy-EMI and easy-return policies will keep you financially safe in the midst of a health crisis.