Friday, October 2, 2009


During one of my morning news updates in the internet, I chanced upon an article about some possible common reactions of victims of the recent typhoon like depression, anger, shock, and guilt, so I made a leisurely research about one that took my fancy- depression. I consulted our very very old family book, Reader's Digest Family Health Guide and Medical Encyclopedia, which had often times saved me in the past from going to libraries when I wanted to find out answers to personal simple medical questions. I want to share my readings which might help those suspected of having depressed feelings.

Depression is defined as that state of feeling dejected or dispirited. It is most likely to occur at critical or unsettled times in life; in the adolescent years, during pregnancy, shortly after giving birth to a child, at menopause, or in the later years. It may be triggered by the death of a loved one or a profound disappointment.

What are the common symptoms of depression? A depressed person tends to have a bleak, pessimistic outlook on his future and to be apathetic toward activities he formerly regarded as meaningful. He may complain of constant fatigue or exhibit a variety of physical complaints, usually minor in character or difficult to identify. The individual may lose all interest in sex activity. He may no longer have an appetite for food, with a resulting sharp loss in weight; or he may overeat compulsively. Sleeping difficulties and fits of weeping are common.

How can we help a depressed person? Getting a depressed person to talk out his problem is often helpful. Although the listener should lend an understanding ear, it is a mistake to be over-sympathetic; encouraging the individual to feel pity for himself may do more harm than good. It might be pointed out to the depressed person that the situation is best met in a realistic, unemotional way. The individual should be assisted to recognize his own value and make the most of his resources. A doctor can prescribe medicines to fight depression, called antidepressant, and to help the depressed person sleep if he has difficulty in doing so. When the condition is very severe, a psychiatrist should be consulted.

It is not neurotic to be unhappy or depressed under certain circumstances, for example, when a loved one dies, or when one has divorced, or has lost a job or as in the various problems of the recent victims as aftermaths of typhoon Ondoy. Different people with different problems react differently in handling their own depressions. Well-adjusted people can 'work-through" their grief and disappointment so that they can resume their activities and reestablish their social contacts within a reasonable short period of time. Whereas, poorly-adjusted people feel helpless; their low self-esteem convinces them they can never cope. These people need medical attention.

Doctors usually prescribe antidepressant- a substance that has the effect of bringing people out of deep depression. It, of course, doesn't correct emotional condition but only temporarily relieves the acute feeling of depression. Amphetamines or pep pills have sedative effect to be taken only as prescribed by a doctor or the person may become dependent upon them.

If we really want to help our brothers in need of attention and care, a good kind of literature for their readings can be of great help. Readers, of course, are enjoined to verify what they read for their own protection. When in doubt, proper authorities are the best references.

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