How to recognize the warning signs of depression

For too long, suicide has been a taboo subject and perhaps through an open discussion about what makes a suicide tic tac, more can be done to alleviate the stigma surrounding this topic – especially given the recent suicide attempt at the main beach. of Scottburgh.

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According to the South Africa Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG), suicide is ranked third as the highest cause of death among South African teenagers – accounting for about 9.5% of all teenage deaths. But suicide does not discriminate; your mother, father, brother, sister or even your best friend, husband or wife, daughter or son could fall into an attack of depression.

Sarah Lamont, Akeso Randburg Occupational Therapist, Crescent Clinic, says it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of this mental disorder. Depression is a clinical disease created by an imbalance in the neurochemicals that control our states of mind. "When someone is depressed, their mood is not only low, but their thoughts are influenced and they are temporarily unable to see the circumstances realistically and therefore generate realistic solutions, their low mood also affects their overall level of functioning in all the areas of their lives and therefore a change or deterioration in any aspect of someone's life could be a red flag ".

According to Lamont, depression manifests the following signs and symptoms:

* Change of personal hygiene which results in a more untidy appearance.

* Changes in appetite that can often lead to unusual changes in weight.

* Changes in the sleep routine, with the individual, often feeling more exhausted and in need of sleep for long periods of time, staying in bed all day or for a whole weekend.

* Avoid social interactions and remain withdrawn or isolated. For example, they may be less active on social media and their posts may reflect less energy or positivity than before.

* Depressed people develop inadequate coping strategies such as increased smoking, drinking and substance abuse.

They can also start the game of chance as an attempt to find a quick solution to financial pressures. These only have further negative effects on their levels of despair and their inability to generate healthier solutions.

* Work performance may worsen and frequency may become problematic. Low levels of energy and low levels of motivation can make it difficult to participate in daily activities, which is particularly evident in the workplace and at home.

* Depressed people will also avoid their usual leisure time activities and there may be an increase in activities that allow them to isolate or engage in maladaptive / addictive behavior as mentioned above.

* Their thoughts may also reflect a general sense of despair that can leave those who engage with them to feel negative and hopeless. They can avoid conversations and can give you the misleading answer that everything is fine.

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"As a family member or close friend, if you witness one of these behaviors, you must trust your feelings of unease, recognize what you are seeing, continue to support and encourage the person to seek help," emphasizes Lamont.

If you need to talk to someone, consider contacting one of the following organizations:

South Africa Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG): 0800 212223 (free) or Life Line: 0861 322322.

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