S. Vasudev, consultant psychiatrist at the District Government Hospital, said on Tuesday that depression was the third leading disease in the world now.

He was speaking at a media workshop on ‘Depression – A global crisis’ as part of the World Mental Health Day organized by the Department of Psychiatry, District Government Hospital, and Dr. A.V. Baliga Group of Institutions, here.

Dr. Vasudev said that depression was likely to be the number one disease by 2030. It marred the functioning of the people having it. The burden of depression was higher among women by 50 per cent. A mother suffering from depression led to poor growth of children. At its worst, depression led to suicide. Lack of revenue and social stigma were some of the main barriers preventing treatment of depression.

The symptoms of depression include feeling sad, loss of interest in favourite activities, tiredness, low self-esteem, feelings of guilt, hopelessness, irritability, inability to concentrate, lack of sleep or oversleeping, not eating or overeating, thoughts of suicide, suicide attempt, aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems.

It was only when sadness persisted beyond time and situation along with lack of interest in activities, loss of sleep, appetite, and thought of ending life, that it was termed as clinical depression. Depression was an illness of brain which essentially required treatment. Depression should be taken seriously.

The causes of depression include genes, brain chemistry, stress, loss of loved one, difficult relationships and stressful situations. Depression could affect children. These children complained of sickness, headache, stomach ache, and nausea.

They refused to go to school and were irritable. They worried that their parents might die.

It was essential to seek medical treatment for depression. Relatives could educate the patients, listen to them, and encourage them to air their feelings.

More In: Mangalore