On Depression

On Depression

According to the American Psychiatric Association, “Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home”. This succinct definition captures the nature and essence of the illness with the saving grace that it is treatable and, and to an extent, curable. However, the problem , in contexts like Kashmir, the problem or issue of depression is , often times, not recognized and when and if it is, it is usually too late. This is as alarming as can be because as the definition of depression suggests , the problems caused by it can lead to significant dysfunction and impairment in the life of an individual or individuals. The prices-emotional, psychical, economic and social- are not only paid by the victim of the illness but also by his or her family. The problem then is both invidious and one that needs redressal. The question is how? The first prong lies in recognition of the illness. Here the individual victim , generally speaking, is both vulnerable and perhaps not in a position to identify that he or she is suffering from depression. The onus then lies on families to be alert and on the lookout for symptoms of the illness which can include withdrawal, sadness, moroseness, over sleeping, over eating, and bouts on anger that neither has context nor a reason. Once these signs or symptoms are identified in a depressed person, the first reflex of the family in contention must be to seek professional help. This can take the form or counseling and medication. Neither is a problem and there should be no hesitation or taboo in taking recourse to. Depression, as an illness, , can debilitate and mar the lives of not only individuals but also entire families draining and exhausting them at a range of levels. The best antidote lies in recognizing it at an early stage lest it morph into something more insidious. Once recognized and once the depressed person is under treatment, he or she must be given full range of support, especially at an emotional level. Key lies in early recognition and treatment. Let depression be taken as it is and people be helped before it is too late!