No one is exempt from depression, the ‘common cold’ of psychiatric illness. We all go through it at some time or the other — each in our own way. Besides, we all react to life’s innumerable problems differently. Depression affects more than 200 million people around the world. In the worst scenario, it can lead to suicide. Over the world, a million people take this extreme step, every year.
In simplified words, depression can be defined as sadness or grief that persists for an excessively long duration as compared to normal and significantly impairs the normal functioning of an individual. On account of millions of people being affected by depression worldwide, it is a huge public health problem. It is especially important to diagnose it and treat it in time, because it affects not only the patient but his entire family as well as his work. Depression can affect people of all ages and backgrounds; females are twice as likely to suffer from it as compared to males. The major problem with this condition is that it often has sub-clinical symptoms, leading it to be under-diagnosed and hence under-treated. The condition has a propensity to worsen as time progresses and it can substantially affect the functionality of an individual. In the worst scenario, depression can lead to suicide, which results in the loss of as many as 850,000 lives every year.
Situational depression occurs after certain traumatic events take place, like divorce, retirement, loss of a job, or the death of a relative or close friend. Another form of depression is hormonal depression, where biological and hormonal changes cause depression. It is mostly seen in women.