Detecting signs and symptoms of depression

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By Rose Jessica Octaviano

A Sound Mind

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

HAVE you ever experienced feelings of sadness, hopelessness, unworthiness and helplessness? If yes, you might have gone through depression.

Depression is a mental disorder that presents with feelings of extreme sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, decreased energy, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite and poor concentration. It is also one of the most common mental disorders.

Clinically, there are three primary types of depression: major depression, minor depression (dysthymia), and bipolar depression (manic depression).


The exact causes of depression are yet unknown, but it could be a combination of genetics and life experiences. These experiences could be difficult, like losing a parent in childhood, death of a loved one or termination of an employment.

It could also be one’s personality: Having a hard time coping with stresses, or having low self-esteem. Having a few support system can also be damaging.

In 1994, Kessler, et al said there’s one in 10 people who suffer from major depression. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that 121 million people worldwide are affected by depression. WHO projected that by 2020, depression will be the second leading cause of world disability.

It sounds alarming. But we can do something about it by educating ourselves with the signs and symptoms of depression. Once we know them, we can help fight the stigma and prevent depression or any mental disorder.

Here are some signs and symptoms of depression:
Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies or activities that were once enjoyed
Decreased energy, fatigue, feeling “slowed” down
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
Changes in sleep patterns; insomnia, early morning awakening or oversleeping
Appetite and weight changes
Restlessness, irritability
Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders or chronic pain
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts

If you or anyone you know is experiencing five or more of the symptoms above in about two weeks or more, please contact a mental health professional or visit the Philippine Mental Health Association (PMHA) Office at Cottage Road Bacolod City or call 433-8868. We are here for you.

We can overcome depression. Once depression is detected early, it can be cured. I know of some people who were clinically depressed, yet looking at them now, you will not know that they have been through that difficult moment.

Let me share the story of “Beth.” She had a boyfriend “Matthew” in college, whom she married three years after graduation. Then, Beth had to immigrate to the US. When she came back after a year, her husband Matthew had an affair with his secretary who got pregnant. It shattered her sheltered life.

She lost about 20 pounds, was always crying and lost interest in everything to the point of thinking of killing herself. She had friends who were concerned of her and so they referred her to a psychiatrist. Her psychiatrist diagnosed her as “clinically depressed.” She gave her medicines and also did talk therapy (psychotherapy).

After a year, she is back to her happy life. She is now back in New York working as a nurse. When you see her happy and babbly self now, you will not be able to tell that she almost killed herself sometime ago. If she wasn’t helped, she might have ended in a mental institution, or worse, in the cemetery.

Join us as our mental health partner. You can save a life!

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on May 13, 2014.


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