Awareness Is the First Step - Fight Depression
MDD or Major Depressive Disorder is not entirely an adult disease. The adolescents suffer from it as well. In fact, most of the disorders diagnosed in adulthood start taking root in adolescence. There are several factors which may cause MDD. A family history of depression and a chemical imbalance in the brain are the topmost reasons. Stress, temperament, adverse family environments, poor parental conditions, and bereavement are amongst the other causes. However, the symptoms in adolescents remain the same as of adult MDD. In the adolescents, it is majorly marked by repetitive outbursts, constant irritability and loss of interest in things they used to find pleasure in.
It was earlier thought that children and adolescents can not have depression and other mental disorders. Recent studies have proved otherwise. We, as parents or society, have a major role to play here. The symptoms are to be recognized and the treatment to be sought out as soon as possible. There are other mental ailments as well, which affect our children, like Dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder) and Bipolar disorder. Dysthymia is often confused with ADHD as the symptoms are majorly the same. Bipolar or manic depression is marked by manic episodes (mania and depressive) and extreme mood swings.
The treatment is by therapy and medication. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral therapy), IPT (Interpersonal therapy and family-based therapies have been majorly effective in treating the patients. The support of family members is of utmost important here. SSRIs (Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) are also used for the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders.
Many people are of belief that anti-depressants harm you more than curing and make you addictive. “Pills are not the answer”, they say. However, a patient needs the treatment, without which they can succumb to the illness. Yes, this causes death. It has been proved that suicide is a major outcome of depressive disorders left untreated. I look at it in this way. The medication of other ailments also has side-effects; however, they are taken if need be. Exercises and meditation help – only that you need to have the energy and motivation to get up from the bed and do these. The treatment comes first, followed by the patient feeling better enough to exercise, meditate and undergo various other natural therapies.
MDD is characterized by disruption in day-to-day functioning of the patients. At the same time, the family members also get adversely affected by this change of routine and behavior. Treatment should be provided promptly and effectively. It is important to discuss all symptoms with clarity with the doctor or the psychologist. Only once the symptoms are understood, a correct diagnosis can be made. In turn, a correct diagnosis is important for the right treatment.
As parents, it is our duty to make our children aware of positive mental health. The schools undoubtedly play a vital role in fostering more awareness amongst youngsters regarding mental disorders. The early signs need to be recognized and treated. It is imperative that they should feel comfortable to talk about the symptoms and their health. The kids who struggle from mental ailments should know whom to approach. At times, they get too scared to talk about it and the incessant bullying and enduring the stigma, makes it more difficult for them. To cope with a situation like this, they resort to alcohol and drugs; at the worse, they end their lives. This stigma must be stemmed down.
Various associations across the world are working towards the prevention of these disorders, especially in the case of adolescents. The high-risk groups/people are categorized and counselled. There are several mental health support groups which work independently to create awareness and provide a supporting hand. We, as a society, need to stop turning our face away from the stark reality of mental health. The cases are constantly on rise and the general apathy is only aggravating the situation. Be as much aware as you are of the other ailments. After all, knowledge is the first step towards the solution.