Depression - The Silent Destroyer

‘… she tied a rope and hung herself in it…’

 ‘…she jumped into the lagoon but was rescued before she got drowned…’
 ‘…he came down from his car and jumped into the lagoon…’

And so goes the list of suicide cases which is currently on the rise all over the world and particularly in Nigeria, which was once known to be the country with the happiest people on earth.

Many of these suicides are complications that arise from untreated cases of depression. The WHO states that depression is the second leading cause of death amongst 15 -29 year olds. However, it is not limited by age, status, tribe or occupation – both literate and illiterate folks have become victims of this devourer which affects relationships, moral health and general well-being.

Depression is a mental disorder which results in a persistent feeling of sadness and may not really require a specialist for diagnosis and treatment. It is characterised by feelings of low self-worth, guilt, loss of interest or appetite, tiredness, sadness and poor concentration. This can lead to variety of emotional and physical problems.

Several factors which include hormonal changes, inherited traits, chemistry of the brain, and biological differences may cause depression in different persons. Factors that may prompt depression include: childhood trauma, being in an unsupportive situation, traumatic events (such as loss of job, loss of loved one, loss of relationship etc), some medications, drug abuse, and chronic diseases etcetera.

Complications that may arise from untreated depression includes excess weight gain, self-mutilation, substance abuse, physical illness/pain, suicidal feelings, relationship difficulties, anxiety, social isolation and/ phobia.

Depression is treatable and can be treated via the use of antidepressant medications, psychotherapy or the combination of both. The patient should be closely monitored in spite of medication. Prevention of depression is very important and it is best done before it escalates. Steps to prevention include but are not restricted to:

Ø  Conscious steps to manage stress.
Ø  Knowledge of the signs and get treatment early.

Ø  Talk – Reach out to family and friends for help.

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi

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