Sadness, feeling down, having a loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities – these are symptoms familiar to all of us. But, if they persist and affect our life substantially, it may be depression.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 7.6 per cent of people over the age of 12 have depression in any 2-week period. This is substantial and shows the scale of the issue.
More so, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is the most common illness worldwide. It is also the leading cause of disability. They estimate that 350 million people are affected by depression, globally.
Speaking to a mental health advocate Dr. Gbenga Coker, he talked about some solid indicators people should look out for.
“These signs are solid indicators that you should talk to your doctor about depression: Your mind seems foggy and you have trouble concentrating or remembering. You feel irritated, angry or cry over things you would normally shrug off. Deliberate self-punishment or self-harm (starving, cutting, burning, etc.)
“You have unexplained pain such as back pain, shoulder or headaches. Your eating habits have changed a lot, either an increase or decrease in appetite. Unexplained loss of energy, interest, happiness. Too much or too little sleep without feeling refreshed,” he said.
Coker also said that if you feel you should isolate yourself from people, friends, work, life, etc for no obvious reason and for longer than two weeks, then you need to see the doctor.
He noted that the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued an update to its guidelines calling for universal screening for depression in adolescents “in an era of great clinical need and shortage of mental health specialists.”
“There is adequate need to start screening teenagers too of depression, they are not exempted,” he stressed.
He added that there is also the prompt need to screen individuals to know who are most vulnerable to anxiety disorder, depression and suicide. This, he said, would help how to channel for right treatment, mostly lifestyle adjustment.