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Aware yourself to defeat depression…!

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By: 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 given 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.

Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease, with more than 264 million people affected. It is the fourth most significant cause of suffering and disability worldwide behind heart disease, cancer and traffic accidents.

The population-based study from India to report on depression shows that the prevalence of depression was 15.1%. India is home to an estimated 57 million people (18% of the global estimate) affected by depression. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Close to 800 000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds.

India accounts for 36.6 per cent of suicides globally, suicide has surpassed maternal mortality as the leading cause of death among women and teenage girls aged 15-19 years. Due to continuing conflict in Kashmir during the past two decades, 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%)….CoVid 19 also happened to be factor in the increasing of cases of depression in Kashmir on daily basis…suicide cases in Kashmir are rising day by day owing to depression and other mental health issues. (Data is from different verified sites available on internet)

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 can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. 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 Symptoms 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, poor concentration , feeling restless, agitated, and irritable, feeling bad about yourself or feeling guilty or having suicidal thoughts.

Cause and treatment

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 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, anti-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 you 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.


Exercise, Make exercise a habit. Physical exercise causes our brain to release endorphins which helps us in improving our ability to sleep which in turn reduces stress. Exercise helps in Increasing  body temperature, which can have a calming effect on the central nervous system. It also helps immune system reduce release of chemicals that may worsen the depression. 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.

Reduce stress

Acute and chronic stress is one of the most avoidable common causes of depression. Avoid over committing to things. Practice mindfulness or meditation. Learn to let things go that you can’t control. Don’t let go any moment of laughter. Laughing 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 drug abuse, many of people 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 hep us relieve stress.

Mediate as 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.

Build strong relationships

Having a strong support system and an active social life is important for our mental health. Moreover adequate” social support can protect against depression. Make sure that you’re regularly connecting with friends and family, even when your lives are busy. Stay away from toxic people.

Stay away from anyone who makes you feel worse about yourself. Cut people out of your life who take advantage of you.

Eat well

Recent research has shown that regularly consuming a high-fat diet can have similar effects as chronic stress in terms of causing depression. Eat balanced meals with lean protein, and lots of fruits and vegetables. Reduce high sugar and high fat foods. Eliminate processed foods from your diet as much as possible. Incorporate more omega-3s into your diet, with foods like fish or nuts.

Maintaining healthy weight

Obesity can result in low self-esteem, especially once you start adding in the judgments and criticisms of other people. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a clear correlation between being obese and experiencing depression. A national survey found that 43 percent of adults with depression were obese. Don’t skip your breakfast, drink lots of water, include dietary fibre in your diet, fight off your hunger with more filling foods, and plan your meals.

Sleep well

Getting plenty of high-quality sleep is necessary for both mental and physical health. According to the National Sleep Foundation, people with insomnia have a tenfold risk of developing depression compared to those who sleep well. Make sure you have good sleeping habits. Avoid late night caffeine. Avoid seeing screens before atleast one hour before going to bed. Mediate before bed.

Minimizing daily choices

Psychologist Barry Schwartz, author of the book “The Paradox of Choice,” describes research that shows that when faced with too many choices, those who aim to make the best possible choice  “maximizers”  face higher rates of depression.The pressure of making the right or wrong choice is thought to contribute to depression. Learn to be decisive more quickly.

Maintaining treatment plan

If you’ve already experienced one depressive episode, there’s a decent chance you’ll experience another .That’s why maintaining your treatment plan is so important. Continue prescription medications and never cut off from medicines abruptly. Maintaining regular visits with your therapist so often when you are in remission.

Lack of proper Health care

WHO also states that the mental health workforce in India is not upto the mark and there is a huge shortage of psychiatrists and psychologists in the country as compared to the number of people suffering from mental health issues. WHO states that in India, (per 100,000 population) there are psychiatrists (0.3), nurses (0.12), psychologists (0.07) and social workers (0.07), while the desirable number is anything above 3 psychiatrists and psychologists per 100,000 population.

Kashmir also lacks proper infrastructure to deal with cases of rising depression. Need of the hour is to properly aware people about depression and its preventive measures. Health camps must be installed in Kashmir to provide medical assistance to patients of depression. Government must pay their heed towards establishing more infrastructure for treatment of depression.

Rehabilitation centres must be installed to help people dealing with stress, anxiety and depression issues. Government must build enough public gyms and parks in rural areas as a centre of attraction and motivating force to indulge more people in daily exercises. May Allah bless us all with good health….!!!

(The author studies MBBS at Community Based Medical College, Bangladesh)


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