Depression: Causes, Symptoms and How to Cope

In this part of the world where depression is still seen as a spiritual attack and also taken lightly, a lot of enlightenment is required. A 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) report says Nigeria has more than 7 million people diagnosed with depression. While these numbers may not be up to date, the recurring news of depression-related issues makes it imperative to deepen the discourse, hence, this piece.

Mental Depressive Disorder

This is what we all refer to as depression. Mental depressive disorder or simply depression is a mood disorder characterized by a persistent or prolonged feeling of sadness, frustration and loss of interest. It leads to some form of behavioral disorder such as lack of interest in hobbies, sleeping difficulty, or rapid loss of energy, which can further degenerate to emotional and physical problems.

Notably, there is a thin line between sadness and depression, as such common warning signs to watch out for include:

  • sleeping disorder (excessive or insufficient sleep);
  • loss of appetite;
  • sudden weight loss/gain;
  • increased aches/pains; and
  • thoughts of death or suicide amongst many others

Causes and Prevention of Depression

Depression is like every other illness. It is not a spiritual attack or a demonic transition, as often termed in Nigeria.

While there is no particular cause of depression, the most common and general causes of depression include adverse events, conflicts, abuse (physical, sexual or emotional), nutritional deficiencies or loss of life or something very dear to one.

More often, depression may be difficult to prevent. Nonetheless, it could be appropriately managed in order to recover from such episodes. Non-medicinal coping strategies include;

  • Regular exercise
  • Minimized sugar intake
  • Proper stress management
  • Adequate dieting and nutritious consumption
  • Consult a therapist or mental health professional
  • Seek support from family, friends or mental health support groups


Author: Adeleke Khadijat Yetunde

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