By the “Social Worker”
Feelings of sadness or downswings in mood are normal reactions to life’s difficulties, but depression is much more than just sadness. It is a serious illness that involves the brain.
SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION INCLUDE:
- Sleep disturbances. That is when you cannot sleep or you sleep too much.
- Concentration- you cannot concentrate. You find that previously easy tasks are now difficult to cope with
- Feeling of worthlessness- you feel hopeless and helpless.
- Thought Disorder- you cannot control negative thoughts no matter how much you try.
- Change in weight- you have loss your appetite or you cannot stop eating.
- Mood changes- you are much more irritable, short-tempered or aggressive than usual.
- Reckless behaviour- you consuming more alcohol, using drugs and engaging in reckless behaviour.
- Suicidal- you have thoughts that life is not worth living and consider suicide.
- Feelings of self-loathing- you could have strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. The deep despair and hopelessness that goes with depression can make suicide feel like the only way to escape the pain. If you feel suicidal, please seek help by phoning suicide anonymous.
THERE ARE TWO MAJOR TYPES OF DEPRESSION
Endogenous depression- this type of depression is thought to be of internal origin, for example, brain chemistry, hormones or inherited traits.
Exogenous depression- This depression is usually linked to outside factors such as losing a job, getting divorced or the death of a loved one. Sometimes depression co-exists with major illness or it can be a reaction to the illness. Nearly 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have major or clinical depression. It is also known that a family history of depression may increase the risk of depression.
Learning about your depression treatment options will help you decide what actions to take, whether it will be therapy, medications or to get a healthy lifestyle change. No two people are affected in exactly the same way by depression and together with your Doctor or Psychiatrist you must be informed of your possible treatment options.
DEPRESSION TREATMENT TIPS
- Learn as much as you can about your depression. Be open to change and the different treatment options.
- Do not rely on medications alone. Try exercises, maintain a healthy lifestyle and go for therapy.
- Get social support. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness. The simple act of talking to someone can be of enormous help.
- Treatment takes time and commitment. Sometimes it might feel overwhelming or frustrating. This is normal. Recovery has its ups and downs. Persevere.
- Sleep. When you do not get enough sleep your depression symptoms will be worse. Sleep deprivation exacerbates irritability, moodiness, sadness and fatigue. Make sure you get enough sleep.
- Stress reduction. Makes changes in your life to help manage and reduce stress. Reduce the aspects of your life that stress you out, such as work overload or unsupportive relationships and find ways to minimize their impact.
A family doctor might be the first professional to recognize your depression. However, while they can prescribe antidepressants, it is always good to explore your options with other mental health professionals who specialise in the treatment of depression. You may end up with a therapist and may not need antidepressant medication. A psychiatrist has advance training and experience in the treatment and medication in working with depression.
According to Shaykh Omar Baloch from the Furqaan Institute of Quvaninie Healing, the Islamic solution to depression includes:
- Define the goal of life. What is the purpose your life? Worldly life is transitory and Muslims believe in life after death.
- With difficulty, comes ease (Quran, 94.5-6). Allah never burdens a sole with more than it can bear.
- If a depressed person needs a source to turn to, turn to Allah for help, support, mercy and forgiveness.
- Surrender your unmanageable problems and that which you have loss control to Allah.
Firstly believe in Allah’s mercy. Say, ‘Al Hamdu lillah’repeatedly: “All praise and gratitude to Allah”. Muslims should recite this phase when they are in difficult situations. Everything is from Allah and we should praise him often.
Acknowledge that Allah is free from injustice and that he would not cause any hardship without a reason. Seek help through Sabr (patience) and Salaah (Quran2:45). Patience and prayer are two neglected stress busters. Sabr is often translated as patience but it is not just that. It includes perseverance, endurance and a focused struggle to achieve ones goal.
It is easy to get caught up in our own stress and anxiety. However, if we remember that our life is short and temporary, and that the everlasting life is in the hereafter, this will put your worries in perspective.
Make the Quran your partner. Reading and listening to the Quran will help refresh our heart and mind. Recite it out loud or in a low voice. Listen to it in the car. Connecting to the Quran is connecting to the means to heal your heart of stress and worries.
If you depressed seek help. Contact your doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist. You do not have to go through this period of difficulty alone. Depression can be managed.