iLocal

- Depression Is Real

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What is depression?

Depression is a mental disorder and one of the mood disorders there are. It is characteri­zed by extreme sadness, depressed mood, and loss of pleasure from activities that were previously of interest. Depressed people withdraw from the people surroundin­g them and eventually the world around them.

Mrs. N. Nofeliti ( Sister Nokuphumla) is a Research Nurse Co- ordinator for UCT working at Town Two Clinic and she speaks to iLocal about depression. According to Sister Nokuphumla most people who suffer from depression and its symptoms think that it is just stress symptoms that will eventually go away. They do not often think of seeking help until the symptoms are severe and have affected their functional­ity and are bordering on thoughts of suicide.

The purpose of this article is to make our communitie­s aware of the seriousnes­s of this sickness and how to easily identify its symptoms and seek help at once. We aim to curb the stigma associated with mental sicknesses in our localities. People suffering from depression are often called lazy and that they should “just snap out of it or get a grip.”

According to Sister Nokuphumla, people suffering with depression often find it difficult to talk to their families, friends and in the workplace, because of the stigma attached to it. This works in contrast to the expected results of the well- being of the patient. No one is exempt from this sickness, but the early detection makes it easily treatable with medication and a healthy support system, she said.

It is very unfortunat­e that most people never seek profession­al help when dealing with this sickness and are left undiagnose­d. If left untreated, it may escalate, leading to a life of untold suffering and may potentiall­y lead to suicide. World Health Organisati­on statistics show that depression in South Africa has increased alarmingly to a 58% high from 1990 to 2013.

( www. sadag. org> Home> Suicide> National Articles) iLOCAL’s interview with Sister Nokuphumla Nofeliti went as follows: Q: What causes depression?

A: Stressful life events, which overwhelm a person’s ability to cope: such as job loss, unemployme­nt, dreadful diseases, grief and loss ( when you lose a loved one), medical conditions ( Lifestyle diseases like hypertensi­on), female hormonal changes, before monthly menstrual cycle and during menopause, chemical imbalance in the brain, etc. What I have noticed working on the field of Mental Health is that people in the community are suffering from depression but are not aware what it is and how serious it may become. They only come to the clinic to see the doctor because of physical symptoms caused by depression. With this article I hope to make reader and community at large aware that, mental illness is not a death sentence but can be treated and kept at bay. You can lead a normal life, it does not define who you are, it’s just a part of you.”

"World Health Organisati­on statistics show that depression in South Africa has increased alarmingly to a "58% high from 1990 to 2013

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