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Louis Auerbuck
Louis Auerbuck
Clinical psychologist
Stellenbosch
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The disease of our time

Despite abundant information on, and increasing understanding of, depression, it is clear that people do not yet realize the full impact of this disease.

Worldwide there is talk of a “depression epidemic”, and although this conflict of mind has become so prevalent in a modern world, people do not seem to realize how dangerous the condition is. To cite just a few examples: In South Africa, depression is the second leading cause of death in people between the ages of 15 and 25, and one in four teenagers suffering from depression has made suicide attempts. About two-thirds of all suicides in South Africa happen to people between the ages of 20 and 39. These people have almost all suffered from depression.

Apart from the direct link between suicide and depression, the "black dog" also causes other life-threatening physical conditions. People with depression generally experience characteristic weight gain or loss. The increase in weight is linked to several health risks, such as diabetes and heart-related conditions. It seems that about one in five people who develop coronary system disease also suffer from depression. Chronic pain and inflammation caused by the stress of body depression negatively impacts our immune systems, which in turn can lead to type-2 diabetes, arthritis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Another common symptom of depression is sleep disorders or insomnia, of which much research has been done. Too many fluctuations in the sleep pattern are again related to blood pressure and digestive problems, as well as some types of cancer.

Depression affects people's thinking, emotions and actions. Sometimes the experience is described as a constant feeling of sadness or a loss of interest that negatively affects people's functioning in their work, everyday activities and relationships.

Men are generally less likely than women to recognize the feelings of low self-esteem and low self-esteem associated with depression. They usually complain more about fatigue, irritability, sleep problems or a loss of interest in their work or hobbies. Men who suffer from depression are also more likely to develop aggression, reckless behavior and drug or alcohol abuse. Women, on the other hand, generally experience more intense feelings of guilt, overeating, menstrual pain, and weight gain or loss.

Assistance in the form of medication and psychological treatment is available, so if you are someone who is experiencing depression symptoms and is struggling to cope, it is time to turn to a professional for help.

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