Depressed? Don’t suppress

| Updated on January 11, 2018


Depression is a serious illness. It affects about 350 million people worldwide and is a leading cause of disability, says the US Food and Drug Administration, citing WHO data.

Depression is a stealthy disease. You may not recognise the symptoms or blame them on lack of sleep or a poor diet. And, even when many realise that they are depressed, they are ashamed to seek help.

Though not all depressions require medication, the drugsapproved by the USFDA can help improve symptoms.

Diagnosing depression should be by a health-care professional, who look for symptoms, the frequency of occurrence, their severity and duration. The symptoms include low mood, loss of interest or pleasure in almost all activities, change in appetite or weight, disturbed sleep patterns, slowed or restless movements, fatigue or loss of energy, feeling of worthlessness or excessive guilt, trouble in thinking/concentrating/making decisions, and thoughts of death or suicide

Doctors typically consider the patient’s history and review his behaviour and mental status when diagnosing for depression. They first rule out physical causes (such as a thyroid disease or Parkinson’s), and decide if depression is indeed an appropriate diagnosis. Doctors must also screen patients for bipolar condition, a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy/activity levels, as well as changes in the ability to do everyday tasks.

Anti-depressants are medications that are thought to work by acting on brain chemicals called neurotransmitters — primarily serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine — which are involved in regulating mood.

“Some evidence shows that the most effective way to treat many patients with depression is through both talk therapy and prescribed antidepressant medication,” says Mitchell Mathis, director of the Division of Psychiatry Products at the USFDA. Talk to your doctor about the best treatment for you.

Source: USFDA

Published on May 12, 2017

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