Depression is not weakness, health experts say

Depression is not weakness, health experts say

AURANGABAD, April07: With ‘Depression: Let’s talk’ being the theme of World Health Day falling on Friday, health experts have stressed that the curable mental disorder should not be considered as weakness of an individual.

Exhorting the need for doing away with the social stigma associated with depression, experts have urged that those affected should not suffer in silence and open up about the mental agony or trauma they are undergoing.

Psychiatrist Sanjeev Saoji said, “We have often found that a person – trying to open up about his emotional distress – is bombarded with suggestions that he or she should not become so weak and muster courage that could potentially lead to depression. The foremost thing every one of us needs to understand is that depression is not a sign of weakness and can happen to anybody,” he said.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), depression is an illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that one normally enjoys, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities for at least two weeks. It is predicted to become top health hazard by 2020, health experts said.

“Even if the social stigma associated with depression is gradually withering away, more public awareness is needed to keep the mental disease at bay. Talking to someone you trust about your feelings can provide a vent to the emotional distress as most people feel better after talking to someone who cares about them. No hesitation should be shown in seeking professional help as professional doctors can also give a listening ear and offer more help,” Saoji said.

 Layeequr Rahman Khan, another psychiatrist, said social isolation in the era of information and technology and undue peer pressure are some of the key factors leading to unwanted negative emotions accumulating in the mind.
“None other than Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his recent ‘Mann ki Baat’ programme spoke upon the need of opening up about depression. Such appeal from one of the highest authorities implies the need for de-stigmatising depression. Popular actress Deepika Padukone recently openly spoke about her own experience of dealing with depression and was made ambassador of Indian Psychiatric Society subsequently. These are positive signs to battle out depression,” he said.
Kuldeep Raul, president elect of Indian Medical Association (IMA), Aurangabad chapter, said society should also realise that depression is treatable, with therapies or antidepressant medication or a combination of both.
“Patients should remember that they can get better with the right help. Staying connected and keeping in contact with family and friends, doing activities that one used to enjoy when well, exercise regularly even in the form of a short walk and sticking to regular eating and sleeping habits are key to keep depression away,” he said.