Understanding Depression

Understanding Depression

Koy sat quietly looking despondent and her demeanor was very sad. She did not make eye contact nor did she seem to engage with what was going on around her. When she finally spoke her speech was almost a whisper and she responded to questions with few words…yes...no...I don’t know. Her friend Susan said, “Her phone has gone unanswered for weeks, she no longer responds to messages and her social media is silent.”

Koy sat in silence for while as she remembered how from her early teens she always felt different from her peers. She couldn’t understand why she struggled to participate in joyful, fun things like friends or why she tended to be withdrawn and lonesome or why her sleep patterns were weird. At times she lay awake for hours while at other times she would sleep most of the night and day if allowed. She was always tired and overwhelmed by fatigue and had even lost her appetite so she ate when she was with others otherwise she could go hungry for days on end and a result she had lost a lot of weight.

Koy had always been an avid reader and lover of music, yet she had not touched a book for months and no longer cared to listen to her favorite artists. She was a gifted student who easily excelled in her studies, but her grades had steadily deteriorated over the last two years and her mind would wander off the class so she found it difficult to focus and concentrate. She was therefore also struggling to recall material she was convinced she knew.

As a result of the above, Koy’s self-esteem had taken a major knock and her confidence plummeted. Her perspective of life became bleak, negative and pessimistic and in time she became quite distressed and desperate for relief. Then it happened. One day out of the blue she started entertaining ideas of the final solution – death and any time she heard of a death she wished it was her who had died.

This is when she reached out to her best friend who helped her to talk to her parents about these struggles and they sought the help of a counseling psychologist who helped her handle and cope with her depression. Her treatment protocol included a double angle with antidepressants prescribed by the psychiatrist and psychotherapy from the psychologist.

Depression Unmasked:

Depression is a disability condition that affects every aspect of life. In reality, at any given time 5-10% of all people suffer from identifiable depression and it is more common in females than in males. There are several signs and symptoms of depression as follows:

  • Despondence, feeling low and sadness

  • Loss of interest in most activities

  • Loss of concentration

  • Difficulties I recalling things

  • Fatigue, tiredness and low energy

  • Becoming withdrawn, preferring to be alone

  • Loss of self esteem

  • Feelings of unworthiness

  • Irrational and excessive guilt

  • Negative pessimistic view of life.

  • Disturbances of sleep either too little or too much

  • Disturbances in appetite either too high or too low

  • Weight loss or gain

  • Unexplained illnesses that doctors can’t figure out

  • Ideas or acts of self harm

  • Ideas or acts of self destruction or suicide.

The treatment includes:

  • Pharmacotherapy (medication)

  • Counseling and psychotherapy

  • Best treatment is normally a combination of pharmacotherapy and psychotherapy.

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