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The Social Stigma of Depression

The Social Stigma of Depression

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Published by Dr.Jiji.T.S

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Published by: Dr.Jiji.T.S on Aug 17, 2011
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Page 1
Dr.Jiji.T.S/Research Article-2011
The Social Stigma of Depression
Dr.Jiji.T.S. Social Worker, SCTIMST.
Emotional pain in our society is seen as a personal weakness, not a symptom of a physical disorder, chemical imbalance or nutrient deficiency. Pent up emotions can beextremely difficult to talk about to anyone - even someone you are close to. Even in a closefamily, having to tell someone how you feel is a risk and leaves you open, vulnerable torejection and humiliation. Depression is a disorder of perception. Healthy brain chemistrycreates a healthy reality.The biochemistry of depression makes you feel & believe
that this depression is your fault
that you will never get better 
and that you must die.
What is Depression
Depression is a common mental disorder that presents with depressed mood, loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, disturbed sleep or appetite, lowenergy, and poor concentration. These problems can become chronic or recurrent and lead tosubstantial impairments in an individual's ability to take care of his or her everydayresponsibilities. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide, a tragic fatality associated withthe loss of about 850 000 lives every year.Depression is the leading cause of disability as measured by YLDs and the 4th leadingcontributor to the global burden of disease (DALYs) in 2000. By the year 2020, depression is projected to reach 2nd place of the ranking of DALYs calculated for all ages, both sexes.Today, depression is already the 2nd cause of DALYs in the age category 15-44 years for  both sexes combined.The world health organisation (WHO) states that of the world's population, between10 and 20 per cent of all people will experience indefinite depression in their life time.However the statistics also include that less than 25 percent of these people receive treatment.
Page 2
Dr.Jiji.T.S/Research Article-2011
This may be a result of a lack in medical resources available to them or the inability to buymedication. However it is believed that a large part of the problem is the social stigmaattached to depression. The WHO believes that in an attempt to increase the availability of treatment to depression sufferers, the social stigma must be detached. This can be done in anumber of ways. It is important to increase the social awareness as well as an understandingof the mental illness. Once society has an adequate understanding and acceptance of thedisease, people may become more comfortable with their depression and feel comfortableseeking treatmentThe depression itself is causing the very shame that prevents you from reachingfor help. Depression occurs in persons of all genders, ages, and backgrounds.
Depression is truly an innocent, shameless, blameless, physical disorder that makesyou believe that something is wrong with YOU instead of your biochemistry..
It is not a mystery anymore. It isn't your fault & you have a physical disorder,imbalance or deficiency..
And the more you know & learn about your own biochemistry, the more often youwill be able to see yourself and your illness as separate from yourself a split second ata time.There are lots of sufferers who just don't know they have depression, andinnocently blame their misery and suffering on family, other people and life circumstances.Symptoms like
general unhappiness
low self-esteem
Difficulty getting along with others is innocently blamed on other people and lifecircumstances.
Page 3
Dr.Jiji.T.S/Research Article-2011
Types of Depression
Major Depression
- This is the most serious type of depression, in terms of number of symptoms and severity of symptoms, but there are significant individualdifferences in the symptoms and severity. You do not need to feel suicidal to havea major depression, and you do not need to have a history of hospitalizationseither, although both of these factors are present in some people with major depression. There is no official diagnosis of "moderate depression."
Dysthymic Disorder
- This refers to a low to moderate level of depression that persists for at least two years, and often longer. While the symptoms are not assevere as a major depression, they are more enduring and resistant to treatment.Some people with Dysthymia develop a major depression at some time during thecourse of their depression.
nspecified Depression
- This category is used to help researchers who arestudying other specific types of depression, and do not want their data confoundedwith marginal diagnoses. It includes people with a serious depression, but not quitesevere enough to have a diagnosis of a major depression. It also includes peoplewith chronic, moderate depression, which has not been presented long enough for adiagnosis of a Dysthymic disorder.
djustment Disorder,
with Depression - This category describes depression thatoccurs in response to a major life stressor or crisis.
ipolar Depression
- This type includes both high and low mood swings, as wellas a variety of other significant symptoms not present in other depressions.
The Social Stigma
One of the things that people with depression have to deal with is the perception of others around them. Depression, in the many forms that it may come through as, isconsidered by many to be a mental illness.Trying to live a normal life while living with these circumstances can be verydifficult because of how others see the person who suffers from depression. There isdefinitely a social stigma attached to being a depressive.Employers, co-workers, teachers and even friends who you have known for years

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