An Overview of the Depression Rate in Nigeria
Depression is a pandemic in Nigeria, according to health think analytics, 7 million Nigerians suffer from depression. There is almost barely a day that you do not come across news about depression on social media platforms, yes, it is that serious and worrisome. It is however more alarming that not many people in Nigeria understand depression as a health challenge.
You must have at some point seen yourself or someone around you attributes depression to spiritual causes or personal deficiencies or weaknesses. To say this is similar to concluding that medical conditions such as cancer or typhoid are a manifestation of personal or psychological deficiencies/weaknesses.
The more awareness we have about an issue or problem, the more clarity gained and the closer we are to solving such a problem. Hence, this piece of writing will help you gain more insight into the concept of depression so as to promptly seek necessary intervention when you notice the symptoms in you or someone around you.
What is Depression?
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a person to have recurrent feelings of anguish, irritability, unhappiness and loss of interest. It is called mood disorder because is a clinical condition that goes beyond the sufferer’s control.
Symptoms of depression
Symptoms of depression manifest in various ranges, and the manifestation of these symptoms is dissimilar for different persons. Some of the symptoms are: feeling hopeless, feeling helpless, feeling sad, lack of interest in activities you used to enjoy, fatigue, low energy, feeling anxious, feeling guilty, feeling tearful or crying over minor issues or thoughts of past events, feeling tired most times, the decline in sex drive, low appetite and irritability.
Please be aware that experiencing any of these symptoms temporarily or after a very stressful event is justifiable as a normal response. However, it could be depression if you experience a combination of these symptoms for a duration of two weeks or more. The best way to know for sure is to see a mental health professional.
What causes depression?
Depression is not always linked to just a single factor. Therefore, you need to be aware that depressive symptoms can be triggered by one or multiple of the factors/causes below.
Biological Factors: The impairment of brain structures and malfunctioning of the neurological processes trigger symptoms of depression as described above. For instance, hormonal imbalances such as a deficiency of serotonin in the system can manifest sadness and poor sleep.
Social Factors: These refer to situations that limit an individual from actualizing their potential or meeting their basic needs, an example is poverty, lack or poor education. These factors prevent individuals from easily accessing resources such as quality relationships, food, or health care that they need to support their living and well-being. These factors result in frustrations that trigger or exacerbate your emotional distress.
Traumatic experiences: These are social factors that cause significant psychological discomfort and distress to individuals, such events include, an accident, divorce, bullying, sexual assault, domestic violence and other related painful experiences. These experiences occur in ways that temporarily supersede the current coping abilities of the individual in the situation. These often trigger cognitive distortions that often impair perceptions, self-esteem and other psychological constructs.
Childhood experiences: These are also social factors that involve traumatic situations that you have experienced as a young child. This ranges from experiencing neglect, dysfunctional parenting styles,
Psychological Factors: These describe how dysfunctional and distorted thoughts perpetuate depressive symptoms. This also explains how dysfunctional thoughts affect poor judgment which then stimulates mood disturbances and maladaptive behaviors. These maladaptive behaviors are the actual bugbear in matters of our mental health and problematic socialization.
Also Read: How Depression Affects the Brain?