According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression will be the second cause of Global Disease Burden by the year 2020.
WHO states that the burden of depression is 50% higher for females than males and Indian is reported to be among the world’s most depressed Country. The prevalence of depression is 9%, of major depressive episode is 36%, and the average age of onset of depression is 31.9 years, in India. The prevalence rates of depression from India range from 1.5/1000 to 37.74/1000. The higher rates of depression have been reported in the rural compared to the urban population.
There are a multiple reasons for the rise in depression in Indian women. The prevalence of mental morbidity in married women is due to the long hours of working under strict deadlines which causes up to 75% of working women to suffer from depression or general anxiety disorder compared to women with lesser levels of psychological demands at work. Work pressure and deadlines have led 53% of the respondents to skip meals and go for junk food. Women employed in sectors that demand more time such as media, knowledge process outsourcing, and touring jobs are unable to take leave when unwell and force themselves to work mainly due to job insecurit. Factors like exposure to industrial pollutants and environmental toxins, poor quality of sleep, lack of exercise, sunlight exposure, poor nutrition, excessive intake of alcohol, and drug abuse also cause depression.
Stressful life event such as trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or any stressful situation often triggers a depressive episode. Additional work and home responsibilities, caring for children and aging parents, abuse, and poverty also may trigger a depressive episode in women. There are a number of medical and neurological causes of depression such as a cerebrovascular disease, epilepsy, infections including HIV, neoplasm, autoimmune disorders, and Myxedema Madness (MM), MM is more common in women.
Symptoms to Watch Out:
- Persistent sadness or low mood.
- Marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities, even for activities that you normally enjoy.
- Disturbed sleep compared with your usual pattern. This may be difficulty in getting off to sleep, or waking early and being unable to get back to sleep. Sometimes it is sleeping too much.
- A poor appetite and weight loss. Sometimes the reverse happens with comfort eating and weight gain.
- Tiredness (fatigue) or loss of energy.
- Agitation or slowing of movements.
- Poor concentration or indecisiveness. For example, you may find it difficult to read, work, etc. Even simple tasks can seem difficult.
- Feelings of worthlessness, or excessive or inappropriate guilt.
- Recurrent thoughts of death. This is not usually a fear of death, more a preoccupation with death and dying. For some people despairing thoughts such as “life’s not worth living” or “I don’t care if I don’t wake up” are common. Sometimes these thoughts progress into thoughts and even plans for suicide.
Understanding the symptoms of depression and that the fact that it is common, will help you to accept that you are ill and need help.
Regular exercise, relaxation therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy are helpful. Caffeine, salt, alcohol, and nicotine should be minimized during high-risk days, and difficult decisions are best avoided.