We all know that depression is a mental disorder; thanks to the increasing awareness about mental health issues. But, do you know how prevalent it is? According to the 2018 Depression fact sheet of the World Health Organization, the disorder affects more than 300 million people worldwide. The American Psychiatric Association defines depression as an illness that can negatively affect your thinking, feelings, and actions. It is not only the leading cause of disability, all over the world, but is also the reason why 800,000 people end their lives every year; suicidal tendency is one of the signs of severe depression.

Is It Time Take Medication?

It’s perfectly normal to feel sad, down and disinterested occasionally. But, if the feelings of unhappiness and pessimism linger, without any apparent reason, and start affecting your health, work, and relationships, it is time to seek help. Coping with depression can become difficult when it becomes too severe. Take control of your health and do not hesitate to get help.

Here are some other warning signs that you should consult a therapist or doctor who will then assess if you need to take medication to return to normal life:

  • Reduced or loss of pleasure and interest in activities that you earlier enjoyed
  • Significant changes in appetite, which will then affect your weight. This could go both ways.
  • When affected with depression, some people lose appetite and hence, lose weight whereas some may start over-eating and gain weight. Weight gain or obesity can make depression even worse – it is both a risk factor and an effect of depression
  • Sleep disturbances – around 75% of depression patients suffer hypersomnia or insomnia
  • Feeling agitated, annoyed and restless all the time, for no specific reason
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling pessimistic and worthless
  • Indecisiveness
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Loss of confidence
  • At worst, depression can develop suicidal tendencies

Depressed people normally experience most or all of these symptoms. But, even if you are experiencing a few of them, consult a doctor immediately. Depression is a serious mental illness and its effects can be debilitating.

Medication may be suggested if your depression has prevented you from actively working to change it. The inability to problem solve or see a future suggests medication may be necessary. Medication will not solve your depression but will give you the energy and support needed to begin actively working on your issues. Medications used for treating depression, antidepressants, are the same as using medication to treat hypertension or diabetes. These illnesses cannot be controlled without medication. Antidepressants will not make you happy, give you a feeling of being high, or work immediately. Most antidepressants require 1-6 weeks to produce noticeable changes in your mood and energy. When antidepressants reach peak effectiveness you feel like the old you again.

Antidepressants must be prescribed by a physician. Talk with your therapist about antidepressants and your depression. There is help. Depression can be treated. You don’t have to feel this way.