Has depression taken the joy out of your life?
Depression is a complex disease. No one knows exactly what causes it, but it can happen for a variety of reasons. Some people have depression during a serious medical illness, or life changes such as a divorce or the death of a loved one. Others may a family history of depression, and experience depression and feel overwhelmed with sadness and loneliness for no known reason.
South Africa currently experiences high rates of depression. The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) estimates that around 9.8% of South Africa's adult population experiences major (clinical) depression at some point in their life - that's more than 5 million people.
So what can contribute towards feelings of depression?
It turns out that lots of things can increase the chance of depression, such as:
- Abuse: Physical, sexual, or emotional abuse can make you more vulnerable to depression later in life.
- Age: Elderly are at higher risk of depression, which can be made worse by other factors, such as living alone and having a lack of social support.
- Certain medications: Some medications such as certain antibiotics and steroids, can increase your risk of depression.
- Conflict: Depression in someone who has the biological vulnerability to it may result from personal conflicts with family members or friends.
- Death or a loss: Sadness or grief after the death or loss of a loved one can increase the risk of depression.
- Gender. Women are about twice as likely as men to become depressed. No one's sure why, although the hormonal changes that women go through at different times of their lives may play a role.
- Genes: A family history of depression may increase the risk. It's thought that depression is a complex trait, meaning there are probably many different genes that each exert small effects, rather than a single gene that contributes to disease risk.
- Major events: Even good events such as starting a new job, graduating, or getting married can lead to depression. So can moving, losing a job or income, getting divorced, or retiring. However, the syndrome of clinical depression is never just a "normal" response to stressful life events, and should be taken seriously.
- Interpersonal problems: Problems such as social isolation due to other mental illnesses or being cast out of a family or social group can contribute to the risk of developing clinical depression.
- Serious illnesses: Sometimes, depression happens along with a major illness or may be triggered by another medical condition.
- Substance abuse: Nearly 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have major or clinical depression. Even if drugs or alcohol temporarily make you feel better, they ultimately will aggravate depression.
Symptoms of Chronic Depression
A major depressive episode is defined as experiencing five or more of the following symptoms every day (or most days) for two weeks or more:
- Depressed or irritable mood
- Sleep problems, such as sleeping too much or too little; sleeping mainly during the day
- Change in interests, and not being interested in what you used to enjoy, or low motivation
- Excessive guilt or unrealistically low self-image
- Significantly low energy and/or change in self-care - not showering or brushing your teeth anymore, for example
- Significantly worse concentration, with a sharp decline in school/university marks or performance
- Changes in appetite - eating too much or too little
- Agitation or severe anxiety/panic attacks
- Suicidal thoughts, plans or behaviors — including self-harm
If you are experiencing persistent feelings of depression and feel like you have nowhere to turn, call SADAG's toll free number for assistance and advice: 0800 567 567. www.sadag.org
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How can Perfectly Healthy's Depression Tonic help?
- Improves mood and feelings of well-being
- Helps with excessive tearfulness, irritability, stress or anger
- Reduces symptoms of OCD, anxiety & panic attacks
- Improves disturbed sleep patterns
- Helps with appetite disturbance (including anorexia, bulimia & comfort eating)
- Improves energy levels and motivation
- Prevents & treats Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and PMS
- Formulated by our Clinical Psychologist
Uses: Improves mood & feelings of well-being, excessive tearfulness, irritability, stress or anger, symptoms of OCD, anxiety & panic attacks, disturbed sleep patterns, disturbed appetite, low energy levels and motivation.
Feel free to reach out to us with any questions, via our contact page, or via Facebook & Instagram messenger!