Depression is a state of low mood that creates a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest which can affect an individual’s thoughts, behaviour, feelings and sense of well-being. Depression is a mood disorder that involves a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. It is different from the mood fluctuation that people regularly experience as a part of life. This behaviour is characterized by a feeling of discouragement and helplessness.
SIGN/SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN, TEENAGERS AND ADULTS
•In younger children, symptoms may include clinginess, worry and irritability, or losing weight.
•In teenagers symptoms may include sadness, feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive, using recreational drugs or alcohol, avoidance of social interaction, feeling negative and irritable.
•In adults symptoms may include sleep problems, fatigue, loss of appetite, or doing new things and memory difficulties or personality changes.
CAUSES OF DEPRESSION
Some likely causes include:
•Environmental factors (health issues, death of loved one, social isolation, financial difficulties, period of relationship conflict, marital or family related issues etc)
•Psychological and social factors (a strict and severe upbringing, negative comments and criticism such as “I’m ugly, I’m worthless among others).
PREVENTION
There is no sure way to prevent depression, however these strategies may help. Take steps to control stress, increase resistance and develop your self-esteem.
•Accept that there are some events that you cannot control •
•Make time for hobbies and relaxation

Take on responsibilities
•Engage in activities that keep your mind positive and busy. Think about joining a support group, do things that keep you connected to others.
•Reach out to family and friends.

•Avoid alcohol and eat healthily.
•Do not rely on drugs, alcohol which may include compulsive behaviours. It may seem like they make you feel better but they can actually promote or cause depression.
•The brain needs the right mix of nutrient to function properly.
•Engage in exercises and positive behaviour
•Exercise regularly; your body can fight depression better when it is fit.
•Do not make big decision on the day you are feeling down.
•Get treatment at the earliest sign to prevent depression from worsening.
•Talk to a counsellor or someone you trust that can handle the situation.
COUNSELLING INTERVENTION AGAINST DEPRESSION
Are you are experiencing some of the symptoms highlighted in the list above? Are they affecting your life? Do not hesitate to ask for help: you may be suffering from depression.
In this case, seeing a counsellor is a crucial step. The counsellors are there to assist you. But do not overlook the help you can get from them and what you can do to look after yourself.
The following tips are really useful in managing depression.
Seek social support: Reach out and stay connected to a counsellor for professional assistance, to share your burdens and challenges.
Identify depression triggers: Identify possible factors that may be responsible for the state that you are in.
Challenge and restructure negative thoughts: Develop the ability to confront or face threatening thoughts that may have been a source of depression. It takes positive thoughts to challenge and replace the negative ones.
Change behaviours that could be responsible for being depressed by encouraging positive behaviours.

HELP LINES:
07064632624, 07035149295, 08028934198, 08036692353.
This message is from:
STUDENTS’ GUIDANCE AND COUNSELLING CENTRE, UNIVERSITY OF BENIN.

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