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Are you depressed? While most people would shy away from admitting it, many others remain unaware of this condition. Often confused with sadness and pessimism, it is easy to mistake this mental disorder for just a “low point” in life. Shockingly, cases of undiagnosed and untreated depression are rampant in India. Unsurprisingly, India is home to around 57 million people (nearly 18 per cent of the global estimate) suffering from depression, as per WHO.
Depression is one of the leading causes of suicide in India, which has become the second leading cause of death among young Indians, according to a study published in the medical journal The Lancet.
Prolonged depression, if left undiagnosed and untreated, may propagate feelings of extreme sadness, guilt, loss of interest and withdrawal into self. This can ultimately culminate in suicide too, says Dr Kedar Tilwe, consultant psychiatrist, Hiranandani Hospital.
Apart from psychological reasons, Dr Achal Bhagat, senior consultant, Psychiatry, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, says that sociological factors like a deselecting culture that does not accept diversity, fixed parameters of success, increased social isolation and more urbanisation are some of the prominent reasons of increasing suicide rates in India.
Although peer pressure and a competitive environment has been around for quite some time, Dr Parul Tank says that in the recent years the protective family factors have reduced with more isolated lives. Dr Tilwe further explains suicide to be a more advanced level of the depression spectrum and advises getting urgent medical help for it.
What are the symptoms of suicidal tendencies?
Dr Tank outlines some of the most common signs that a person having a suicidal tendency might show.
* Consistent low mood with loss of interest in activities that one enjoyed previously
* Withdrawal into self
* Negative thoughts and ideas of hopelessness, guilt and worthlessness
* Possible substance use
* Talk about self-harm
While most of us would be more than eager to pop pills to give a headache a rest or bid a fever goodbye, the more serious concerns of anxiety, stress and depression are exasperatingly brushed off.
The stigma and the lack of communication around mental health problems can also contribute to the condition being worsened. Dr Bhagat advises expression of self during such a stage. “Talking to a close friend, trusted family member or even writing down your feelings helps,” he adds.