Depression: What you should know

Depression is a very real and treatable illness. But myths, misunderstandings, and stigma continue to be barriers to treatment for many, and the consequences of untreated depression can be life-threatening.

Dr. Karuna Anand

Consultant Psychiatrist

If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, there is help available. Depression, sometimes called clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is manageable and treatable.

If you think that you might have depression, read on…

What is depression?

  • Depression can happen to anyone and is not a sign of weakness.
  • It’s an illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities that you normally enjoy, accompanied by difficulty carrying out daily activities.
  • People with depression also normally experience several of the following: loss of energy; change in appetite; sleeping more or less; anxiety; reduced concentration; indecisiveness; restlessness; feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness; thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
  • But don’t worry. Depression can be treated – with talking therapies, medication or both.

What you can do

  • Talk to someone you trust about your feelings – most people find that talking to someone who cares about them helps.
  • Seek professional help – your local healthcare worker or doctor is a good place to start.
  • Try to keep doing at least some of the activities that you usually enjoy.
  • Stay connected with friends and family.
  • Exercise regularly – even if it’s just a short walk.
  • Stick to regular eating and sleeping habits as much as possible.
  • Avoid or restrict alcohol intake and don’t use illicit drugs – they can make depression worse.
  • If you feel suicidal, contact someone you trust for help, or ring the emergency services.

REMEMBER: With the right support, you can get better – so if you think you might be depressed, seek help.

Source: WHO

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