Health experts express concern over increasing depression patients

ISLAMABAD:  ‘Depression accounts for 6% of mental illness in Pakistan and the rate is ever increasing due to abundant issues like economic loss, insecurity, political uncertainty, unemployment, stressful working conditions, gender discrimination and disruption of the social settings’, said health experts to mark World Mental Health Day

Professor Dr. Rizwan Taj, HOD Psychiatry PIMS Islamabad said, ‘Depression is becoming a common global issue especially in developing countries.’

“Depression is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease and affects people in all communities across the world. Today, depression is estimated to affect 350 million people”, he added.

Moreover, almost one million lives are lost yearly due to suicide, which translates to 3000 suicide deaths every day. In fact, depression is the leading cause of disease burden for women in both high-income and low- and middle-income countries.

He added, ‘A depressive disorder is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression.’

Depressive disorders often start at a young age; they reduce people’s functioning and often are recurring. For these reasons, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide in terms of total years lost due to disability, he added.

Dr. Anwar ul Haq, HOD Psychiatry Department CDA Hospital Islamabad said, ‘Research in developing countries suggests that maternal depression may be a risk factor for poor growth in young children. This risk factor could mean that maternal mental health in low-income countries may have a substantial influence on growth during childhood, with the effects of depression affecting not only this generation but also the next.

‘Depression is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, decreased energy, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, and poor concentration,’ he added.

He added that these problems can become chronic or recurrent and lead to substantial impairments in an individual’s ability to take care of his or her everyday responsibilities. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide.

‘Managing depression is very significant part of patient’s life that transforms the whole society in peaceful environment. Depression is a disorder that can be reliably diagnosed and treated in primary care. Preferable treatment options consist of basic psychosocial support combined with antidepressant medication or psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavior therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy or problem-solving treatment,’ he added.