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What causes depression?

What causes depression?
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Highlights

Depression can be caused due to a combination of factors that include genetics, life events, or stress. It manifests when the incumbent experiences

Depression can be caused due to a combination of factors that include genetics, life events, or stress. It manifests when the incumbent experiences

  • Psychiatric disorders
  • Life stressors
  • Physical health problems
  • Personality issues
  • Addiction to alcohol or drugs
  • Possible causes include a combination of biological, psychological and social sources of distress. Increasingly,
  • Research suggests that these factors may cause changes in brain function, including the altered activity of certain neural circuits in the brain.

Signs of depression at the early stage?
Some of the symptoms are:

  • Feeling low and sad most of the time
  • Loss of interest and difficulty in completing daily activities. Tiring easily and feeling a lack of energy throughout the day. Inability to enjoy things that you found interesting earlier.
  • Difficulty in concentration, thinking or making decisions (example: hobbies, focusing on studies, etc.).
  • Loss of self-confidence and self-esteem
  • Negative thought about self, life and future
  • Loss of appetite or overeating
  • Feeling guilty and blaming oneself for past failures; feeling unworthy
  • Frequently absent from work or being unable to work
  • Feeling hopeless about the future
  • Disturbed sleep or being unable to sleep
  • Lack of interest in sex/sexual activity
  • Experiencing body aches such as headaches, neck pain, or cramps
  • Thoughts about self-harm, suicide or death

What are the signs that depression has reached dangerous levels?
The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterises major depression can lead to a range of behavioural and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behaviour or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide. When a person starts expressing suicidal intent or doing things that suggests he or she is going away for good or for a long unspecified duration, increases incidences of self-harm, then it's a sign of danger.

How can people around help those suffering from depression?
Firstly, understand that he or she is unable to come out of the situation on his/her own. Support the person with caring and concern without being judgemental or critical. Allow the person to ventilate his/her negative feelings to the extent he or she requires without taking umbrage over what he/ she is saying. Take him or her to a doctor to seek professional help. The mainstay of treatment is usually medication; talk therapy or a combination of the two. Increasingly, research suggests that these treatments may normalise brain changes associated with depression.

How many of the people suffering with depression, approach helpline centres?
We get around 170-200 calls in a 24-hour cycle every day. And we get them from all over the country and also the rest of the world.

By: Johnson Thomas, Director Aasra, 9820466726

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