Depression: A Cruel Punishment

by Azhar-U-Din

‘’The most terrible poverty is loneliness, and the feeling of being unloved.’’ ’Mother Teresa

Depression is generally related to a mental disorder. It is characterized by frequent upsets, morose moods, or loss of interests in everyday activities that in turn disturbs the normal life of a person. As the modern societies are approaching new technologies and innovations that make our lives much easier and uncomplicated, the number of new problems and challenges are increasing day by day that destroys the mental solace and peace. Nowadays almost everyone suffers from depression and anxiety in one way or another. According to the World Health Organization Globally, more than 264 million people of all ages suffer from depression by 2030; it is expected to be the largest contributor to disease burden. In India, the National Mental Health Survey 2015-16 revealed that one 20 Indians suffer from depression.

Depression is more common in women than in men. The report on Global Burden of Disease revealed that the rate of depression is 1.9% for men and 3.2% for women, and the one-year prevalence has been estimated to be 5.8% for men and 9.5% for women. There are several reasons for this high prevalence of depression among women than men. Hormonal changes in women, especially during puberty, before menstruation, following pregnancy, and at perimenopause, suggests that female hormonal fluctuations may be a trigger for depression.  Besides in developing countries like India women are facing many problems like rape, dowry deaths, sexual harassment at home or workplace, kidnapping and abduction, domestic violence, Eva teasing etc. All these social stigmas give impetus to depression among women in India. People who undergo divorce face a variety of psychological issues including increased stress, lower life satisfaction, economic problems which collectively disturbs the peace of mind and leads to anxiety and depression.  Portugal has the highest rate of divorce at 64.2 per every 100 marriages in 2017. This was followed by Luxembourg and Spain at 62.5 and 57.5.

Poverty and long-term unemployment are associated with socio-economic deprivation. Unemployment is one of the burning issues all over the world especially in the third world countries like India and Pakistan which continue to have the problem of unemployment and underemployment despite continuous policy emphasis and programmes to eliminate the problem. Unemployment is not only the cause of diseases in one way or another but it also leads to an adverse impact on mental health and leads to depression and decreased self-esteem. The financial strain of unemployment has direct health impacts, with people in debt being more prone to depression. Millions of unemployed Indian graduates are currently suffering from depression which in turn give birth to many social problems like drug addiction, smoking, crime, domestic violence etc.

It is a well-established fact that prolonged socio-political conflict has a high correlation with the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder and major depression. Unrest and protests often also lead to disruption of routine life, socializing, and even commuting to work become more stressful hence increasing anxiety. Also, some people may lose temporary employment or assignments due to such unrest and increased unemployment invariably leads to adverse impacts on mental health. The constant war-like situation in the erstwhile state Jammu and Kashmir has several mental health implications for its residents. According to a survey conducted by the State Mental Health Society (SMHS), around 80,000 people from Kashmir valley have visited various mental health professionals during the 2005-06 and nearly three fourth have been diagnosed with serious psychological disorders.  As per the survey of  Médecins Sans Frontières  (MSF) in 2015, nearly 1.8 million adults (45% of the adult population) in the Kashmir Valley show symptoms of significant mental distress. Moreover, from august 2019 the high-speed internet is suspended in the majority of areas of the UT which give further impetus to the mental strain especially to the students and business class.

Due to the overload of study many students face the problems of depression and mental disorder. Parents who compel their wards for the particular stream or profession also increase the mental apprehension among these students and which often leads the outcomes like drug addiction or even sometimes suicide. Most of the young boys and girls have a premarital relationship. Thus, any disturbance in this relationship causes much stress and disquiet among them.

The repercussions of depression are very worse and awful. Suicide is one of the important outcomes of depression. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 90% of people who die from suicide have depression and other mental disorders. Mental stress also leads to an adverse impact on the digestive system and results in obesity or weight loss. Stress hormones impetus to the rate of heart palpitation and makes blood vessels tighten and over time, this can lead to heart disease or cardiac arrest. Some people also experience relationship problems due to depression, which can have an impact on sexual activity. Depression also give rise to drug addiction, alcoholism, and other social evils which further cause a great disturbance in the equilibrium of the society

To curb the problems of depression the first and foremost responsibility is of family members and peer groups who can help the depressed person to come out of mental stress and by knowing the cause of depression so that they can find any antinode for it. In addition to this, they can help the victim by giving the company to him or her and through an emphatic approach depressed person will not hesitate to share the cause of anxiety. Programs and seminars should be conducted in schools, colleges, and universities as well as through social media the young minds should be cognizant about the causes and consequences of depression and also highlight the remedial measures that one can get rid of from it. The government should also   maintain and utilise the resources of the country judiciously and sustainably so that they can maintain the balance between the growing population and increasing rate of unemployment which helps to reduce the mental strain in the unemployed graduates of the country. Political turmoil areas like Kashmir and Naxal areas of Chhattisgarh must be resolved through dialogue processes to prevent the mental traumas and severe depression among the people of these areas. Religious organizations and institutions should also be aware of the masses about ways through which they can reduce angst and perturbation.

About the Author:

Author Hails from Pahalgam kashmir and is a student of Geography at Aligarh Muslim University. His articles frequently appear in various  Regional newspapers like Kashmir Reader, Kashmir Images, Brighter kashmir, Kashmir Observer etc. His main areas of interest are Metaphysics, Greek Philosophy, GeographicThought and Geomorphology. He mainly writes on contemporary burning issues.  


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