Depression is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person's ability to function at work and at home.
Depression is a serious issue that Filipinos need to address. But like with most serious issues facing the nation, most Filipinos tend to just shrug it off as inconsequential. Some would even insist that the study must be inaccurate because they truly believe that Filipino “resilience” can be attributed to the people’s happy-go-lucky nature despite the disasters — both natural and man-made — they have suffered.
But we Filipinos need to get real. We all know that life in the Philippines can be stressful even at the best of times. This is true even for some of those who live in exclusive gated communities. One of the ways to counter being sad or depressed is being true to yourself. This means we need to collectively admit where we constantly get it wrong. Understanding why some Filipinos feel depressed may help overcome the problem. A physician could prescribe medication for those proven to have clinical depression. However, in most cases, medication can only mask the underlying issue of Filipinos’ inability to be accountable for their own actions.
Depression symptoms can vary from mild to severe and can include:
Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
Changes in appetite (weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting)
Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
Loss energy or increased fatigue
Increase in purposeless physical activity or slowed movements and speech
Feeling worthless or guilty
Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
Thoughts of death and suicide
Depression is Different from Sadness/Grief/Bereavement
Being sad is not the same as having depression. The grieving process is natural and unique to each individual and shares some of the same features of depression. Both grief and depression may involve intense sadness and withdrawal from usual activities. They are also different in important ways:
In grief, painful feelings come in waves, often intermixed with positive memories of the deceased. In major depression, mood and interest are decreased for most of two weeks.
In grief, self-esteem is usually maintained. In major depression, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing are common.
For some people, the death of a loved one can bring on major depression. Losing a job or being a victim of a physical assault or a major disaster can lead to depression for some people. When grief and depression co-exist, the grief is more severe and lasts longer than grief without depression. Despite some overlap between grief and depression, they are different.
Distinguishing between them can help people get the help, support or treatment they need.
Treatments for depression
Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. There are three components to the management of depression:
SUPPORT - Ranging from discussing practical solutions and contributing stresses, to educating family members. There are a number of things people can do to help reduce the symptoms of depression. For many people, regular exercise helps create positive feeling and improve mood. Getting enough quality sleep on a regular basis, eating a healthy diet and avoiding alcohol can also help reduces symptoms of depression.
PSYCHOTHERAPY - Also known as talking therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). It includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy and problem solving treatment. CBT may be delivered in individual sessions with therapiest, face to face, in groups, or over the telephone. INTERPERSONAL therapy helps patients to identify emotional problems that affect relationship and communication, and how this, in turn, affect mood and can be changed.
DRUG TREATMENT - Antidepressants. Antidepressants are drugs available on prescription from a doctor. Drugs come into use from moderate to severe depression.
A number of classes of medication are available in the treatment of depression:
• Selective Serotin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)
• Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)
• Tricyclic Antidepressants
• Atypical Antidepressants
• Selective Serotin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRI)
Each class of antidepressant acts on a different neurotransmitter. The drugs should be continued as prescribed by the doctor, even after symptoms have improved to prevent relapse.
Senator Risa Hontiveros filed senate bill no. 1190 otherwise known as Philippine Mental Health Act of 2016. The senator said, Philippines is one of the few countries without a comprehensive mental health law and she felt it is now the aproppriate time for the Philippines to have it's own mental health law; saying the country has the highest number of depressed people in southeast asia.
For the longest time, many people with mental health needs are silently suffering in the dark due to the lack of a comprehensive mental health law. It's time we uphold the people's right to mental health and protect the rights of those who require mental health services.
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