Is depression to be considered a serious matter of illness or left alone? Depression is a form of psychological ailment that could arise from childhood neglect, abuse or bereavement. It causes loss of concentration, lack of appetite and sleep deprivation impairing one’s daily life. According to World Health Organization (WHO), it is estimated that around 300 million people are affected by depression globally. Yet, it is quite difficult to identify and diagnose this clinical disorder. This could be primarily due to misdiagnosis, inadequate medical facilities and personal barriers.
Misdiagnosis of depression is probably one of many leading causes due to which it remains unheard of. Patients affected by depression often show symptoms like fatigue, lack of interest and unexplained sadness which are often overlooked as normal part of being. In several cases, depression is masked and diagnosed as another class of disease. For instance, patients affected with depression often develop signs of forgetfulness which might be misunderstood as dementia. Also, sleep deprivation in such patients could be confused for insomnia. As a result, the patients are given the incorrect treatment causing side effects. Misdiagnosis of depression probably causes more harm to the patient than not being diagnosed at all.
Another factor which might cause depression to go unnoticed is the lack of adequate medical facilities dedicated for its proper detection and treatment. The current procedure that is followed for treating depression is not well defined and is based on trial and error methodology. Due to the availability of limited number of health care professionals that are specialized in
depression, developmental research on its treatment remains stagnant. As such, very scarce data and evidence about different categories and symptoms of depression is available which is insufficient for healthcare providers to detect personalized depression. Not only does the lack of proper facilities deteriorate the issue, personal complications significantly raise the difficulty of diagnosing depression.
Patients of depression often lack willingness and self-realization to accept that they have been affected by the disorder. This is presumably due to the prevalent negative stigma that is associated with having depression. Patients often feel anxious to get the required therapy and counselling as they might consider it as a sign of weakness and lack of willpower. In some cases, the individual is not able to receive the available treatment as they might be restrained financially. These factors greatly hinder the ability to properly diagnose depression which causes it to remain undetected in the society.
In conclusion, misdiagnosis, inadequate facilities and personal barriers are probably the main causes behind undiagnosed depression. Establishment of proper treatment procedures, setting up of designated depression hotlines and propagating awareness about depression amongst the community could help in early detection and treatment of depression. Individually, one can morally support the affected patients and alter their perception of the illness to create an overall positive impact. Despite all the hurdles and obstacles, depression, with community effort, could be eliminated completely.