The recent suicide by the young and talented Indian actor Sushant Singh Rajput has once again brought the issue of mental health to the front. Even though it is beyond the scope of this post to speculate about what compelled the immensely loved actor to end his life, it is definitely time for us to be open to the possibility that a person could be hiding enormous pain behind a dazzling smile and successful looking social media life.
|Actor Sushant Singh Rajput|
With 57 million people in India suffering from depression ,Depression is one of the leading causes of suicide in India. The fact that it has now become the second leading cause of death among young Indians is further alarming.
A Suicide can be prevented and Depression can be treated, all we need is compassion and sensitivity to pick up the early signs of Depression and take timely action.
Causes of Depression
Depression can affect any age ( Yes, children and even pets may suffer from it) and sex ( women are more prone to depression possibly due to the hormonal changes in their bodies).Factors that can contribute to depression include genetics, brain chemistry, certain medical conditions like hypothyroid, hormonal changes like childbirth and menopause, substance use, stress or grief, poor nutrition, a sudden change in lifestyle, certain drugs like anticonvulsants, statins, benzodiazepines, corticosteroids, and beta-blockers.
Depression is attributed to an imbalance in the neurotransmitters including dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine etc.which are involved in mood regulation.
Depressed Mood Vs Depression
While being sad or inability to cope can be a response to a life situation , it may or may not quality as depression. Depression includes a depressed mood along with other physical changes in the body like sleep, appetite, sex drive etc. When symptoms persist every day for at least 2 weeks , this signifies clinical depression and not just a depressed state.
What are the Symptoms of Depression
There are a lot of signs of depression … you may not have all the following symptoms ,but if you have any of them and have had them for a long time (more than two weeks) then you may be suffering from clinical depression.
1. Feeling Sad, empty, or anxious. It will continue over time without getting better or going away.
2. Feelings of Helplessness, worthlessness , or guilt. You may feel bad about yourself or your life, or think a lot about losses or failures.
3. Hopeless. You may be pessimistic or believe that nothing good will ever happen. You may even think about suicide.
4.Irritable. You may get restless or more cranky than usual.
5.Decreased interest in recreation. Hobbies or games you usually enjoy may not appeal to you. You may have little or no desire to eat or have sex.
6. Feeling Tired Less energetic. You may feel extremely tired or think more slowly. Daily routines and tasks may seem too hard to manage.
7. Trouble concentrating. It could be tough to focus. Simple things like reading a newspaper or watching TV may be hard. You may have trouble remembering details. It might seem overwhelming to make a decision, whether it’s big or small.
8. Changes in Sleep Pattern. You may wake up too early or have trouble falling asleep. The opposite can also happen. You may sleep or stay in bed much longer than usual.
9. Changes in appetite. You may overeat or not feel hungry. Depression often leads to weight gain or weight loss.
10. Persistent aches and pains. You may have headaches, cramps, an upset stomach, or other digestive problems.
Signs of Depression in a Person
Signs of a disease are visible changes in a person that can be perceived or elicited by others. These signs of depression may alert you to the possibility of a family member or friend being depressed ,these can include:
1. Trouble in concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
2. Fatigue ,feeling tired or not having enough energy and motivation to do routine work
3. Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness are strong signs of depression
4. Pessimism and hopelessness, despair of future
5. Insomnia, feeling very awake in the early morning or sleeping too much even during the day
6. Irritability and aggression
8. Loss of interest in things that were once pleasurable, loss of sex drive or desire for sex
9. Eating too much or eating too less
10. Persistent Aches, pains, headaches, or cramps that won’t go away
11. Digestive problems that don’t get better, even with treatment
12. Persistent sadness, anxiety or “empty” feelings
13. Dwelling on Suicidal thoughts or attempted suicide
10 Warning Signs of Suicide
Depression carries a high risk of suicide. Suicidal thoughts or intentions are serious and should never be brushed off as a sad mood or mood swings. Paying attention to these red flags can save a life
|Image courtesy -Pexels.com|
1. Mood Swings – A sudden switch from sadness to extreme calmness, or appearing to be happy.may become very irritable, aggressive or moody from being happy.
2.Withdrawing from Society – The person may avoid calling or meeting close friends and family
2. Focuses on Death – Always talking or thinking about death ,.Researching and talking about ways to kill themselves.
3.Talking about suicide -Saying things like “It would be better if I weren’t here” or “I want out”
4. Signs of Clinical depression – deep sadness, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating that does not improve with time
5. Risky or Reckless Behaviour -Taking risks that could lead to death, such as speeding or driving through red lights
6. Despair of life- Making comments about being hopeless, helpless, or worthless
7. Planning – Putting affairs in order, like tying up loose ends or changing a will, visiting old friends, asking for forgiveness or giving away belongings. Visiting or calling close friends and loved ones
8. Drugs or Drinking – Using substances to dull the pain raises the chances of suicide
9. Shows Sleep disturbances – May sleep for very long hours or have sleeplessness for days
10. A recent history of Loss – Losing a close loved one or losing reputation or losing a job can all put a person at risk of depression and suicide.
If you know someone who shows any of the above warning signs, alert the family, call your local suicide helpline or contact a mental health professional right away. You might save a life !
There are no diagnostic tests to confirm the diagnosis. The signs of depression are generally the guide to diagnosis . Your doctor may rule out a physical cause for your symptoms, before they may start your treatment or refer you to a mental health professional. The mental health professional will chalk out the best course of treatment according to the type of depression .The treatment may include medicines (such as antidepressants) or a type of therapy called psychotherapy, or both. The baseline is that it can be treated and one does not need to live with the constant pain and suffering.
I hope through this post I was able to give you enough insights into the symptoms of depression and identifying the warning signs that a person may be in danger of committing suicide. I shall feel greatly compensated for my effort if we can help even one person through this blog.
If you think this post helped you understand depression better ,please share the post in your circles and leave your valuable comments below .