Suffering from depression? Learn simple ways to deal with it.
The high rate of suicide cases in Nigeria in recent times is quite alarming and disturbing. If we look closely at the lives of all these suicide victims, we will realize that they all suffered from depression and they had actually reached the final stage of depression, known as severe depression, which was why they took their lives.
A typical example is the case of Chukwuemeka Akachi, a final year student of the English and Literary Studies Department, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, who committed suicide by drinking a bottle of sniper. This was after several failed attempts at suicide and a long term battle with depression. He would probably still have been alive if treatment was administered early enough but it was too late.
The symptoms of depression include:
● Lack of concentration. Forgetting important details and indecisiveness.
● Fatigue/constant tiredness.
● Feeling worthless, helpless and hopeless.
● Pessimism and feelings of guilt.
● Bad sleep patterns (either lack of sleep, insomnia, waking up too early or sleeping too much).
● Loss of interest in sex.
● Bad eating habits ( like overeating or not eating at all/loss of appetite).
● Body aches, pains, headaches, cramps that refuse to stop.
● Digestive issues.
● Persistent sadness, anxiety or feelings of emptiness.
● Suicidal thoughts or attempts at suicide are the final symptoms of the advanced stage of depression.
If you notice yourself or anyone around you exhibiting any of these symptoms, it can actually be treated.
For treatment, a person suffering from depression has to see his or her doctor who will ask some key questions to be aware of the patient's mental health history then come up with a diagnosis and then refer the patient to a psychiatrist or psychologist to begin therapy sessions and be treated.
You cannot do a physical test to diagnose depression, like you would do a blood or urine sample test. All the doctor has to do is ask the patient some key questions, make his or her diagnosis from the answers provided, then start treatment on the patient because depression is actually a serious mental illness. It is not a joke at all.
Treatment normally includes the use of drugs called “Antidepressants “ and psychotherapy sessions with a psychologist.
There is a lot of stigma associated with mental health issues in Africa, especially in Nigeria. A lot of awareness needs to be done about these issues, especially depression.
There is also a high risk of suicide cases for highly depressed patients, so it is vital that you contact a trained mental health professional if anyone you know has been exhibiting these symptoms for a while.
We as a people should also stop being so judgmental and critical of depressed people, as it can happen to anyone, young or old and at any stage of your life depending on what you are currently passing through.
We should rather educate ourselves about depression and other mental illnesses, be more accommodating, tolerant and empathetic of these individuals and let them know they can actually be treated and live a normal life again instead of ending it all.