It is a challenge to admit you may be mentally ill. While mental disorders may be looked down upon by the less informed or misinformed, the only way forward is to recognize them as medical conditions, just like a broken arm or cancer. depressive disorder
Depression (depressive disorder) , one such mental disorder, affects more than 300 million people of all ages worldwide.Moreover, it is not just a one-time occurrence like chicken pox. Up to 65% of individuals have recurring episodes of depression.
Nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men experience depression during their lifetime. The higher incidence of depression in women has been attributed to differences in sex hormones, physical strength, personality traits, and exposure to stressors.
Depression is different from being depressed. It is not a synonym for sadness.
It is completely normal to feel blue. Feeling sad and grieving, say due to loss of a loved one or pet, a financial crisis, or a relationship failure is us being human. But when circumstances change for the better and things begins to look up for us again, we indulge and recover – maybe slowly but we do.
Clinical depressive disorder, on the other hand, prolongs that period of sadness, not allowing you to recognize a positive change in your circumstances. It robs you of your ability to enjoy the pleasures of life, physically slowing you down and interfering with your focus, sleep, memory, appetite, sex drive, and even the basic will to live.These reactions are not the part-and-parcel-of-life kind. Things you normally find enjoyable will attract no attention from you, and you will feel blue for 2 weeks at a stretch or even longer.
Depression Is A Prolonged Adaptive Response
Our bodies are evolutionarily designed to adapt to stressful situations through the fight or flight response.This response focuses all of our energy at alleviating a threat, actual or potential, for a few seconds, minutes, or in extreme cases, a few hours. This response was particularly useful to our hunter-gatherer ancestors when they had to protect themselves and their loved ones from predators or the brutal forces of nature.
While we are no longer hunter-gatherers, this primal coping system has persisted as we continue to face our own versions of modern-day dangers and stress. However, the adaptive response tends to be prolonged in certain people more than required, implanting the roots of depression.
People suffering from depression take 10 years on an average to ask for help.
The causes of depression are not as clear-cut as the causes for other more physically visible diseases like arthritis. Being a mental illness, depression is difficult to diagnose or detect by observing patterns, as the test subjects are people with different personalities. This also brings to light the fact that peoplesuffering from depression take about 10 years on an average to seek help.Fewer subjects to study translates to compromised, partial understanding of this very complex epidemic.
Even within the scientific community, different schools of thought – from geneticists to neuropsychiatrists to behavior analysts – have emerged. And while these different perspectives aim at understanding the same phenomenon, their approaches are often different, controversial even. depressive disorder
Besides this, a major problem in researching a mental illness is the dilemma between cause and effect. While it is more convenient for pharmacists to accept biochemical abnormalities as the first-level triggers, it is yet to be decided whether biochemical changes are in reality effects and not causes of psychological stressors or whether they are a combination of both.