MENTAL HEALTH AND DEPRESSION

Depression is without doubt one of the most prevalent discussions in Kenya currently with COVID-19 making the situation worse.

MENTAL HEALTH AND DEPRESSION
Photos:Courtesy

Financial difficulties seem to be the leading cause of depression with an estimated 738,000 Kenyans losing Jobs to the COVID-19 pandemic across the 2020 calendar year according to fresh data from the 2021 Economic Survey published this month, Those who have jobs having to cope with up to 50% pay cuts among other issues that cause people to sink into depression including domestic misfortunes.

Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease your ability to function at work and at home.Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe.

Traditionally these are the major causes of depression abuse ranging from physical,sexual,emotional and other forms of abuse, Some medications, age; study show that people who are elderly are at a high risk of falling into depression ,conflicts ranging from marital to communal,Death of a loved one,gender,family history and genes, and other major events in life.

Photos:Courtesy

It is difficult to tell if one is depressed.However you can look out for the following to identify if one is depressed or not. If someone is worried at all times or has paranoia or anxiety, If one is easily irritated and gets angry quickly and is sad for a long period, Mood swings, Love for solitude, lack of appetite or increased appetite and sudden and unexplained change in sleeping habits; a lot of sleep or lack of it. Increasing fatigue, increasing purposelessness, the feeling of guilt and worthless, inability to make decisions and lose of concentration, thoughts of suicide among others.The good news is depression is treatable.Study shows between 80% and 90% percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.

Examination should be done to establish the cause of depression including blood tests  to rule out depression that is caused by a medical condition for example a thyroid problem or a vitamin deficiency.

The evaluation will identify specific symptoms and explore medical and family histories as well as cultural and environmental factors with the goal of arriving at a diagnosis and planning the correct course of action.

Medication, Psychotherapy, or “talk therapy,” is sometimes used alone for treatment of mild depression; for moderate to severe depression, psychotherapy is often used along with antidepressant medications. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has been found to be effective in treating depression. 

Psychotherapy may involve only the individual, but it can include others. For example, family or couples therapy can help address issues within these close relationships. Group therapy brings people with similar illnesses together in a supportive environment, and can assist the participants to learn how others cope in similar situations.

Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is a medical treatment that has been most commonly reserved for patients with severe major depression who have not responded to other treatments. It involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain while the patient is under anesthesia. 

There are a number of things people can do to help reduce the symptoms of depression. For example, regular exercise helps create positive feeling and improves mood. Enough quality sleep on a regular basis, eating a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol.

Depression is a real illness and fortunately there is help. With proper diagnosis and treatment, together we can overcome depression.

If you are experiencing symptoms of depression talk to someone you trust or a physician. Talk about your concerns and worries. It is the best way to start addressing your mental health needs and the way to recovery.