Depression, a common problem in Pakistan
Depression is becoming common problem in Pakistan. It is one of those vulnerable countries where stress, anxiety and depression are at highest level. Its victims are alarmingly more in urban areas than rural districts. These patients don’t belong to any specific age or class.
What is Depression ??
All of us have those “blue days” every now and then , where we just feel completely exhausted and out of energy. Too often these symptoms are miscomprehended as being a sign of depression when it’s actually not the case. According to the DSM (The manual used by psychiatrists and psychologists all over the world to diagnose various psychological disorders) a person is said to be depressed if he shows five or more of these symptoms during a 2-week period:
- Subjective feelings of sadness , hopeless etc during most of the day and everyday .
- Loss of pleasure and interests from nearly every activity . This lack of interest should go on as long as 2-weeks or more.
- Inability to think or concentrate properly.
- Significant weight gain or weight loss/ Increase of decrease in appetite (This might usually be visible to others)
- Hypersomnia or Insomnia nearly every night.
- Extreme fatigue or lack of energy.
- Suicidal ideation, suicidal plans or even attempts
- Feelings of guilt, unhappiness and worthlessness (Self defeating behavior is common too).
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Although these symptoms are right, but its always recommended to consult a psychiatrist or psychologist before making a complete diagnosis.
How to Overcome Depression?
Overcoming depression is not actually a real thing , but rather it would be better to say how to manage depression. Because as soon as your environment will provide a provoking stimulus, you will be feeling another depressive episode before you even know it .. The depression generally makes an individual too tired to even try getting out of his situation but a little self reassuring or a strong support network might makes it easier for the depressed person. Here are a few natural ways to help an individual manage his/her depression . Some of these tips might even be helpful in preventing depression:
1- Exercise :
Whether aerobic or anaerobic, they both have their own benefits and can prove to be extremely helpful in managing a depressive episode. Exercising produces the chemicals “endorphins” in our brain which are mood/ pleasure boosters. Research shows that exercise can also help in boosting the self esteem (which might be pretty helpful for depressive individuals).
2- Sleeping schedule:
A depressive person needs to develop a strict sleeping schedule . 8-10 hours of sleep are compulsory but sleeping at the day time is something which a depressive individual should NEVER EVER do. The reason behind this that sleeping during the day causes extreme depressed feelings when a person wakes up and it also promotes insomnia at night which is not good for someone suffering from depression.
3- Green Tea:
Amongst them, one is that green tea is an excellent mood booster and it does so by increasing the levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain.
4- Maintaining a positive social circle:
Though the depressed people usually lack the need and urge to socialize but it will be very helpful to you if you once go against that urge and develop a positive social circle with people (friends, parents , relatives) who know and understand what you are going through and are ready to help, support and at times just to listen to you.
5- Mood boosting foods:
Some of the foods contain Omega 3 fatty acids which have mood boosting qualities, try consuming one of these during a depressive phase:
- Nuts, especially Walnuts
- Citrus fruit Bananas
- Dark chocolate
- Proteins such as Tuna, chicken or turkey
- Green leafy vegetables
It is also advised for the depressed individuals to avoid sugary, oily and baked goods.
6- Doing fun things:
Do things that you enjoy or used to enjoy before the depressed started. Even if you might not be able to enjoy the same but still try to get involved with different activities. This can make your mind to think about other things beside those “self deprecating” thoughts.