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According to the World Health Organisation, depression is a common illness worldwide that affects more than 264 million people. This premier organization also adds that this condition is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. If it continues for a long time and is severe, it can cause serious health problems. A person with depression finds it difficult to perform normal day to day tasks. This is also one of the main reasons for suicide. WHO says that close to 800 000 people die due to suicides every year. If you are depressed or know anyone who is depressed, you must seek medical help immediately. It may save a life.
But first let us look at a few myths that surround this condition.
Many people believe that depression is not an illness. This is why they do not seek medical help. This is unfortunate because it is a legitimate mental disease. However, it is not easy to diagnose and that is why it is often passed off as sadness or 'being under the weather'. This is a complex problem that is physiological and also psychological in nature. There are many social components attached to it. A few studies have also attributed this condition to faulty brain wiring in the frontal lobes, shrinking of cells in the hippocampus region of the brain, genes and hormonal imbalances.
Women are at more risk of this disease. But they are not the only ones who suffer from depression. It can also happen to men. It is just that women have the additional burden of hormonal fluctuations and social obligations that can take a toll on their mental health. Also symptoms vary in men and women. While women may withdraw into themselves, men may become irritable and angry and take to substance abuse. Sometimes, physical symptoms like backaches, headaches, chest pain and digestive issues may also make an appearance.
Following a healthy diet is good for overall health. But it will not shield you from depression. However, it may bring down your risk considerably.
There is a misconception in the minds of some people that medications used to treat depression will led to changes in your personality. But this is not true. These medications get you out of your depressed mood. However, careful observation by a doctor is necessary.
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