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Depression – The number one cause of suicide

02/20/10

Permalink 06:55:38 pm, by Melba
Categories: Commentary, Health

Depression – The number one cause of suicide

Growing up in the church we are taught that if one commits suicide there is only one place for them, hell. The fear of an eternity in hell keeps many ‘God fearing’ in line. In fact many develop an attitude of intolerance towards those who would even entertain the thought of suicide let alone those who actually commit the act. I remember many, many years ago sitting in church for the funeral of a family friend’s husband who had committed suicide and thinking what a waste of my time, ‘him done gone to hell’. I remember also thinking that it ‘serve him right’ as he was very selfish as he had left his wife with the responsibility of raising their children on her own.

 

But what would cause someone to take their own life; after all we have no guarantees as to what happens after death. Not to mention that if you grew up in the church then you would have been taught that committing suicide excludes you from a happy ‘here after’.  It leaves me to believe that what ever would drive someone to suicide must be very powerful and real.

 

According to what I have heard and read, the number one cause of suicide is depression. But what is depression? All of us at some time or other in our lives experience sadness, disappointments, disillusionment, loneliness, hopelessness, low self esteem and all the other things that we associate with depression. These are all normal reactions to life’s ups and downs.  During these times we are not able to see the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ so to speak. In fact it is easier the think, why bother. We use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but ‘real depression’ is much more.

 

 According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia; Major depressive disorder (also known as clinical depression, major depression, unipolar depression, or unipolar disorder) is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities’.

It is when these feelings become overwhelming, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun and last for long periods of time, that they can keep you from leading a normal, active life.

 

It is not always easy to tell when someone is depressed, everyone is different and act differently.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, symptoms of depression may include the following:

·         difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions

·         fatigue and decreased energy

·         feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness

·         feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism

·         insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping

·         irritability, restlessness

·         loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex

·         overeating or appetite loss

·         persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment

·         persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" feelings

·         thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts

There are many reasons that would cause someone to be depressed. The lost of a loved one, the lost of a job, the failure of an exam, body weight, sickness, inability to cope; the list is endless. Understanding the underlying cause of depression may help overcome the problem. Some depressions can be helped by positive lifetime chances. For example, if you are feeling lonely and sad, finding new friends at work or through a hobby will probably give you more of a mood boost than going to therapy. For someone experiencing depression the support of loved ones can make a difference. The way you are treated by family and friends can help you to snap out of it or it can cause you to sink even further.

With all the depression caused from the recession; job lost, increased prices, and the inability to cope, suicide is sure to be on the rise. We all need to be our brother’s keepers. Let’s not wait until it’s too late to help our brothers and sisters. There are many effective treatments for ‘real depression’, including therapy, medication, and alternative treatments. If positive lifestyle changes and support from family and friends aren’t enough, that’s when it's time to seek medical help.

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