KV Network

Defeating stress and Depression

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Fidhat Fayaz Drangay
Have you ever been taught about mental health in your home, school or college? Have you ever talked about your mental health status with your family, friends or close ones? Have you ever gave freedom or space to someone that he /she has felt free to speak about his/her mental health?
Well! We at first place are not sure about answers of these questions because most of us have minimal conversations about mental health. Mental, physical, social health are equal vitals of complete healthy person. We all do visit our relatives, friends and close ones if they even suffer from seasonal fever or flu, minor injuries etc.
Are we able to access status of our mental health in real terms? Do we all over think and make our mental health suffer. We often use terms like stress, anxiety, tension and depression in our day to day life conversations with our friends or family as if they are interchangeable terms or describing the same the thing.
Well this is not the case. Anxiety is the sense of fear or dread that something terrible is going to happen. Anxiety can be general or specific to a place, social situation or thing (phobia). Depression, stress and anxiety are the most common problems that lead people to go to a psychologist.
Stress is a feeling of emotional or physical tension. Stress is usually characterized by a sense of feeling overwhelmed. This feeling may be due to your coping capacity being over-stretched or having been under pressure for too long. It can come from any event or thought that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or nervous.
Stress is your body’s reaction to a challenge or demand. Whether it’s a traffic jam on the way to work, examination hall, important meeting, job meeting, or on the way to visit emergency patient, or the death of a loved one, we all experiences varying degrees of stress from time to time in our daily life.
Even positive events, such as getting married or beginning a new job, can be stressful. In short bursts, stress can be positive, such as when it helps you avoid danger or meet a deadline. It can motivate you to reach your goals and help you accomplish tasks more efficiently. Stress is key for human survival, but too much stress can be detrimental to your health. At the same time too much stress can lead to high blood pressure, weight gain, and even heart disease.
There are some key ways your body lets you know when you’re experiencing too much stress. Inability to concentrate or complete tasks, trouble falling asleep or staying awake, feeling overwhelmed, memory problems, change in eating habits, feeling angry or irritable, having trouble functioning at work, getting sick often, headaches and body aches.
We can easily understand by ourselves the degree of stress we are dealing with. If we are having too much stress beyond the point where it can interfere with our ability or performance in our day to day to life , there are step which can help us bring stress down to a healthy level.
Exercise, physical exercise causes our brain to release endorphins which helps us in improving our ability to sleep which in turn reduces stress. Laugh, laughing with our friends or family helps in reducing stress. Laughter causes our body to decrease release of stress hormones and increase release of endorphins to promote overall sense of well being.
Learn something new or engage yourself in hobbies, it helps us in development of confidence of our abilities or the things we are capable of, which in turn reduces stress. Avoid alcohol and drugs.
Many of us suffering from stress find it as a way to help relieve ourselves from stress temporarily but it can ruin our health in the longer run.
Volunteer, helping others in the time of need or feeding the hungry person, helps us to relax and makes us feel good. Good feelings help us relieve stress. Use breathing exercises, these deep breathing exercises increases the oxygen supply to brain and triggers the body’s relaxation response, which in turn promotes a state of calmness.
Mediate, mediation helps you to focus your thoughts and calm the stream of jumbled worries clouding your mind and causing stress. If these self techniques are not coming to your rescue to relive stress, see a doctor and take proper measures.
It is the fourth most significant cause of suffering and disability worldwide behind heart disease, cancer and traffic accidents. Due to continuing conflict in Kashmir during the last 28 years there has been a phenomenal increase in psychiatric morbidity. The results reveal that the prevalence of depression is 55.72%. The prevalence is highest (66.67%) in the 15 to 25 years age group, followed by 65.33% in the 26 to 35 years age group.
The difference in the prevalence of depression among males and females is significant. Depression is much higher in rural areas (84.73%) as compared to urban areas (15.26%). In rural areas the prevalence of depression among females is higher (93.10 %) as compared to males (6.8%).
Depression refers to an experience where you feel down most of the time which is called “low mood” and you have also lost interest in things you usually enjoy. It may be described as feelings of sadness, loss, or anger that interfere with a person’s everyday activities. It’s important to realize that feeling down at times is a normal part of life. Sad and upsetting events happen to everyone. But, if you’re feeling down or hopeless on a regular basis, you could be dealing with depression.
We can understand if person is suffering from depression or not by monitoring Symptom if they are persistent from at least two weeks. Some of these symptoms include Feeling sad and hopeless, withdrawing from other people, loss of interest in hobbies and activities, anger and rage, eating more or less than usual, sleeping more or less than usual , lack of energy and motivation, feeling restless, agitated, and irritable , feeling bad about yourself or feeling guilty or having suicidal thoughts.
There are several possible causes of depression ranging from biological to circumstantial. Most common causes are , family history , people belonging to family with history of depression or another mood disorder are at higher risk for developing a depression. Early childhood trauma, some events of our childhood affect the way our body reacts to fear and stressful situations. Medical conditions, chronic illness, chronic pain, insomnia, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder like conditions put ourselves at level of getting depression.
Brain structure
People have higher risk of depression if their frontal lobe of brain is less active. Drug abuse, history of misuse of drugs or alcohol can lead us to depression. In extra of these known causes there are several risk factors which may increase chances of depression. Low self-esteem or being self-critical , personal l history of mental illness, isolation is a risk factor for depression, negative, critical relationships are harmful. certain medications, persistent stressful events, such as loss of a loved one, economic problems, or a divorce are some of the risk factors. Don’t ignore symptoms of depression.
If your mood doesn’t improve or gets worse, seek medical help as sometimes thyroid problems or a vitamin D deficiency can trigger symptoms of depression. If depression is left untreated, it can lead to several health complications like weight gain or loss, physical pain, substance use problems, panic attack, social isolation , thoughts of suicide, self-harm etc.
Living with depression can be difficult, but treatment can help improve your quality of life. We can successfully manage symptoms of depression by one form of treatment or combination of treatments. Some of treatments include medication like antidepressants, ant anxiety and antipsychotics. Psychotherapies, light therapies and alternative therapies are also given as a treatment. Exercises and avoiding drug abuse and alcohol can also help us in lowering symptoms of depression.
Taking care of yourself is important factor in treating depression. This includes getting plenty of sleep, eating a healthy diet, avoiding negative people, and participating in enjoyable activities. Natural treatment is also important. Traditional depression treatment uses a combination of prescription medication and counselling.
Relationship between stress and depression
Stress is not a mental health condition. It tends to have an obvious trigger, like a move, divorce, or illness. Stress typically resolves as life events change. However, stress can lead to mental health problems like anxiety and depression if it persists over long periods without relief. Depression is a mental health condition that requires a medical diagnosis. Stress is related to life events, depression can happen even if everything in life seems fine – and it can last for years.
Taking steps to manage our stress on our own can help prevent depression in most of cases. Depression can make it extremely difficult to get through the day. At times, it may feel like there’s nowhere left to turn. Too much stress or chronic stress may lead to major depression in susceptible people. Loss of any type is a major risk factor for depression. Grieving is considered a normal, healthy, response to loss, but if it goes on for too long it can trigger a depression. A serious illness, including depression itself, is considered a chronic stressor.
Sustained or chronic stress, in particular, leads to elevated hormones such as cortisol, the “stress hormone,” and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, which has been linked to depression. When these chemical systems are working normally, they regulate biological processes like sleep, appetite, energy, and sex drive, and permit expression of normal moods and emotions.
When the stress response fails to shut off and reset after a difficult situation has passed, it can lead to depression in susceptible people. The connection between stress and depression is complex and circular. People who are stressed often neglect healthy lifestyle practices. They may smoke, drink more than normal, and neglect regular exercise. “Stress, or being stressed out, leads to behaviors and patterns that in turn can lead to a chronic stress burden and increase the risk of major depression.
Once someone is in the grip of major depression, it’s usually not the best time to make lifestyle changes. So it important to know the symptoms of stress and depression at first place and implementing proper self techniques and preventing the depression at earlier stage. Be aware about symptoms and self techniques of stress and depression and protect yourself and your loved from these dreadful problems. Feel free to talk about your status of mental health. May Allah bless us all with good health…!!!
(The author is pursuing medicine. He studies MBBS at Community Based Medical College, Bangladesh)

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