How to change the Stigma surrounding depression
Changing the Stigma Associated with Depression
Depression is a psychiatric disease and is just like any other organic disease. In this condition, there is a lack of mood and the individual affected with depression exhibit various symptoms. These include loss of happiness, inability to smile and laugh, prone to excess or limited sleep and eating and often speaking or walking so slowly or so fast, which is abnormal to others (Marshall & Werb, 2010). However, like any other disease, there are clear cut symptoms and etiology for depression too. There is impairment in neurotransmitter presence in the synapse between pre synaptic and post synaptic neuron. Serotonin causes mood elevation. That is why selective serotonin reuptake users are used to treat the disease (Mashman, 1997). Hence, like any other disease depression also has defined symptoms, etiology and treatment schedules. However, even with such definitions of a disease state, there is a stigma about people having depression. They are often viewed as individuals who do not have the will power, lack judgment or are mentally weak and abnormal. Even in today’s society, people cannot disclose depression to near and dear ones, either in their personal or professional life (Slomann, Gilbert & Hasey, 2003). Interestingly, depression is also caused by situations that are beyond the control of the individual. It is just like sustaining a virus or bacterial infection. Therefore to break the stigma of depression the following steps should be implemented:
1. Creating awareness in the society that depression is just like any other organic disease.
2. People should be sensitized about the issue of depression and how they should react with individuals suffering from depression
3. People should be encouraged to be screened for any depressive disorder and should access treatment, just like they do for any other disease.
4. Individuals suffering from depression must not suffer from fear of retaliation against job loss or bullying.
5. They should be legally protected.
Mashman, RC (1997). “An evolutionary view of psychic misery”.Journal of Social Behaviour & Personality 12: 979–99
Marshall BD, & Werb D (2010). “Health outcomes associated with methamphetamine use among young people: a systematic review”. Addiction 105 (6): 991–1002.
Sloman L, Gilbert P, & Hasey G (2003). “Evolved mechanisms in depression: The role and interaction of attachment and social rank in depression”. Journal of Affective Disorders 74 (2): 107–21.