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DEPRESSION - a scourge in our times

INTRODUCTION:

In her bid to medically educate staff of NNPC Lagos on topical health issues especially as it pertains to our daily working life, the medical sevices through the activities of the Occupational unit of the Field Clinics, conducts Health Education and Promotional activities at least once every quarter. In this edition, we have chosen a topic that reflects the mood of the majority of people in the current realities of economic meltdown, job insecurity, restructuring and reforms imminent in the oil and gas industry namely: Depression.

It was a time of sober reflections as we examined the different dimensions through which the current socioeconomic stress can drive staff out of control. We also explored and suggested ways and means of improving our coping skills because as we all agreed at the end of each session, DEPREESION no matter the severity it comes, has become unavoidable in our situation.

DEFINITION:

In psychology, a mood or emotional state that is marked by sadness, inactivity, and a reduced ability to enjoy life.

CLINICAL FEATURES:

A person who is depressed usually experiences one or more of the following symptoms: feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or pessimism; lowered self-esteem and heightened self-depreciation; a decrease or loss of ability to enjoy daily life; reduced energy and vitality etc.Depression differs from simple grief, bereavement, or mourning, which are appropriate emotional responses to the loss of loved persons or objects. When a person experiences alternating states of depression and mania (extreme elation of mood), he is said to suffer from a manic-depressive psychosis (q.v.).

EPIDEMIOLOGY:

Depression is probably the most common psychiatric complaint and has been described by physicians from at least the time of Hippocrates, who called it melancholia. The course of the disorder is extremely variable from person to person; it may be fleeting or permanent, mild or severe, acute or chronic. Depression is more common in women than in men. The rates of incidence of the disorder increase with age in men, while the peak for women is between the ages of 35 and 45.

TREATMENT:

There are three main treatments for depression. The two most important are psychotherapy and drug therapy. Psychotherapy aims to resolve any underlying psychic conflicts that may be causing the depressed state, while also giving emotional support to the patient. Antidepressant drugs, by contrast, directly affect the chemistry of the brain, and presumably achieve their therapeutic effects by correcting the chemical imbalance that is causing the depression. The tricyclic antidepressant drugs are thought to work by inhibiting the body’s physiological inactivation of the monoamine neurotransmitters.

This results in the build up or accumulation of these neurotransmitters in the brain and allows them to remain in contact with nerve cell receptors there longer, thus helping to elevate the patient’s mood.

PREVENTION

  1. There’s no sure way to prevent depression. However, taking steps to control stress, to increase your resilience and to boost low self-esteem may help.
  2. Friendship and social support, especially in times ofcrisis, can help you weather rough spells.
  3. In addition, treatment at the earliest sign of a problem can help prevent depression from worsening etc.

CONCLUSION

In this age of major downswing in the business cycles DEPRESSION is an unavoidable outcome. However

  • Determine to defeat this unseen enemy.
  • Are you prepared?
  • Do only what you can do at the time.