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World Health Day 2017, DEPRESSION, Let’s talk and beat this silent killer

World Health Day 2017, DEPRESSION

Do you often feel very tired, pessimist and hopeless? Have you lost interest in activities and interests you previously enjoyed? Do feelings of guilt and compunction keep you occupied? Are you insomniac? Do you often suffer from digestive disorders? Are you losing weight? Do you get exhausted and fatigued? Do you feel remorse and contrition? Do relationships not attract you anymore? Do you remain persistently sad, anxious or vacuous? Do you find yourself irritated and restless? Do you face difficulties in concentrating, remembering details and making decisions? Do thoughts of suicide come to your mind? Have you ever attempted a suicide? If your answers to four or more of these questions is ‘yes’ for two or more weeks consistently, beware, you are most probably suffering from depression – though you might think it’s due to your exhausting daily routine.

Mental disorder, generally, is not taken as a disease rather it is considered insanity or lunacy or an impact of black magic or some mischief of evil spirits. But, modern science has evidently proved that just like physical ailments, mental disorders do also exist and that they are absolutely curable. One such disease or disorder is depression i.e. dysthymia, to highlight the menace of which World Health Day is being celebrated on April 07, 2017 under the theme: “Depression: Let’s Talk.”

A person gets depressed when he finds himself mired in issues like poverty, unemployment and is faced with adverse life events like death of a close person, physical disorders and alcoholism, as well as drug addiction. Moreover, changes in a person’s brain chemistry, genetic effects, human behaviours, emotional bonds and psychological factors do also throw a person under the claws of depression. Although any person belonging to any field of life and falling in any age group can become its victim, yet most commonly it attacks adults and adolescents. Under extreme effects of this disorder, a person secludes and sequesters himself and from society and shuns his normal-life activities, causing thereby a decline in his income, ergo standard of life. And, above all, such a person is often considered and disparagingly called lunatic or insane. Experts opine that this disease is fundamentally a hereditary and genetic disorder that is intensified by social, economic and political deprivations.

Depression is slowly, yet gradually, making its presence felt around the world. A report by World Health Organization, titled ‘Depression and Other Common Disorders, Global Health Estimates’ says that “the total estimated number of people living with depression increased by 18.4 percent in the 2005-2015 decade” and that “[t]he total number of people living with depression in the world is 322 million … Globally, it is estimated that 4.4% of the global population suffer from depressive disorder …”

An analysis of the report suggests that the largest number of those suffering from depression is living in India with an estimated 56675,969 people are suffering from depressive disorders. The next on this list are China (2nd) and the United States (3rd) with the numbers of such people reaching 54,815,739 and 17,491,047, respectively. Pakistan is at 7th position on this list with 7,436,224 reported cases.

A common misconception about mental disorders is that they are the problems of well-off people only. It is an absolutely unfounded and baseless conception because it attacks people belonging in developing and underdeveloped countries with same ferocity as it attacks their counterparts in the developed world. The veracity of this notion can be adjudged from the fact that among top ten countries, where depression is endemic, eight fall  in the category of developing and underdeveloped countries – India, China, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria and Bangladesh.

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