It should be understood that depression is a very common mental disorder that can affect anyone in all communities across the world. Research done elsewhere shows that depression is a huge public health problem, as it affects 10 percent of adults, eight percent of teens, and two percent of preteen children.
It is disturbing that depression is a significant contributor to many diseases. Namibia is not an exceptional case of this problem. This disorder prevents people from conducting normal daily lives, such as maintaining a job, attending school and performing other normal functions.
Depression affects body, mood and thought processes.
In many cases we tend to treat sadness casually as depression. Sadness is a normal reaction to lifeís struggles, setbacks and disappointments. The difference is, depression is much more than just sadness. Just like some people depressed donít feel sad at all, rather they feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic and for men sometimes they become aggressive, angry and restless.
With depression the feelings of helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness is so intense and unrelenting with little sign of relief.
Factors such as history of substance use, family problem and stress increase the personís risk of depression. With the prevalence of alcohol use it shows how the population is at risk in Namibia to depression.
Mainly there are three types of depression which are major depression, bipolar depression and dysthmia.
The good news about depression is that almost everyone suffering from this condition can be helped with treatment, so it is important to recognise the signs and symptoms of depression. Depression signs and symptoms are characterised not only by negative thoughts, mood and behaviour but also by specific changes in bodily functions for example (crying spells, body aches, low energy or libido as well as problems of eating disorders, weight or sleep).
In severe cases depression can lead to suicide: in the world it is responsible with 850 000 deaths every year. It is worth noting Namibia has a share in these figures, with suicide rate above average.
Among some of the causes of depression are genetics (if there is someone in the immediate family with this disorder , there is a likelihood to develop depression at some point in life), economic disadvantages for example poverty, exposure to violence, separation/divorce, chronic illness (cancer/HIV), loss of job, failure of examination, bereavement and other social factors such as loneliness, marital problems, unemployment, failure to be promoted and drugs , all fuel the onset of depression.
Getting help is of great importance as depression can be successfully treated. It is necessary to get help from a health care provider in your community. Talking (talk therapy) is important in managing depression; whatever the cause is talking with someone will help. The person to talk with can be a friend, parent, workmate, social worker, psychologist, psychiatrist (any health provider), or religious minister.
Exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain helping it to function more optimally. Studies done have shown exercise has a greater anti-depressant effect than even medication. The intensity of the exercise will determine the antidepressant effect.
At times treatment of depression needs medication and change of lifestyles which also includes change in diet. More importantly going spiritual will have an effect; try to talk to God or different spirits to share the thoughts with them.
George Bobo, georgebobo
Social Worker at Engela Hospital, Ohangwena