Vidyasagar Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Allied Sciences, Nehru Nagar, New Delhi

Depression and Bipolar States

Depression is a medical illness in which the individual suffers from a depressed mood. There is a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. There are specific forms of depression

Seasonal Affective Disorder – Usually comes in autumn and winters and is also related to the day length.

Postnatal Depression – Many mothers have “baby blues'' after the birth of their baby. It may occur anytime between 2 weeks and 2 years after birth.

Bi-polar Disorder (Manic Depressive) is a disorder where the individual may experience major mood swings, where periods of depression alternate with periods of mania. Mania is the opposite of depressions, where an individual is in an elated mood.

The expression “I feel depressed”, when feeling sad or miserable is usually a feeling that will pass in due course. If the feeling persists and is interfering with your daily activity, then it requires medical attention.

How do I know I have depression?

  • Depression involves feeling of sadness and/or irritability;
  • loss of interest and pleasure in normal activities;
  • feeling of worthlessness, guilt, hopelessness and helplessness.
  • It also includes changes such as tiredness, insomnia, changes in appetite, and self harm. Withdrawing self socially, could also be part of depression. Depression also affects ability to concentrate and decision making.

Helplessness Hopelessness Worthlessness - Depression makes one feel all three, along with:

  • Problems at school/college and in relations with others
  • The changes are not due to any medical issues like hypothyroidism or drug use
  • The changes are not in reaction to loss of a loved one

Depression will not go away by itself; it is a medical condition that requires treatment and support. It can get worse if untreated. Seek professional help when you witness symptoms mentioned above for more than 2 weeks and its impacting your daily functioning.

There are mental health professionals like psychiatrists and psychologists from where the patient could get help. Psychiatrists can provide biological assessments and analysis, prescribe antidepressants and mood enhancers. Psychologists can provide : counseling, talk therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy: help identify negative thoughts, things contributing to depression and change them, mindfulness based cognitive therapy: accepting life, living and paying attention to the present moment without being judgmental, interpersonal therapy: focuses on relationships. It helps to understand and work through troubled relationships, and behavioral activation: look at simple everyday tasks which you avoid and start doing them. and skill building. Teenagers studying in schools and colleges can approach school counselors and they should be able to direct you further.

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