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Take Depression Seriously!

Depression is an epidemic spreading across the world, starting at a young age making youngsters’ future
lives difficult and improbable because of the high rates of suicide and making it one of the biggest
reasons for suffering / morbidity in the world at this time.

And despite it being so important for young people, the unfortunate, the sad and the bitter truth is that
today, in 2024, more people with depression are harmed because of their families and loved ones’
reluctance to accept it as an illness or to encourage taking treatment from Psychiatrists.

Since most people start with symptoms of depression at a young age they are neither financially
independent enough to afford treatment, nor intelligent or informed enough to be able to make a wise
and correct decision to seek treatment. As a result, most young people are impacted disproportionately
in a much more adverse manner from depression than perhaps those who are 30 years old. This is why
we see a peak of depression in younger age groups starting from 15 to 25. And a second much lesser
peak is around 40 to 50 years (especially in women).

In the younger age group, the commonest symptom that I see among the urban Indian youth is that of
struggling intellectually (academics), concentration, retention, memory etc. are all issues that most
youngsters suffer with. But if the reason for this intellectual difficulty is depression, which is treatable,
why do you not want your son or daughter or younger sibling to get appropriate treatment and to be
able to function much better, intellectually, emotionally and behaviorally.

Unfortunately, most people insist that it is in their control and rather than encouragement to seek
treatment, it is discouragement to go to a Psychiatrist.

Don’t think! Don’t take tension! Don’t be sad!

By saying these, you are blaming the person for a chemical change in the brain, which they have no
control of, which they have not initiated, and which they cannot end.

Unfortunately, if one were to ask people who give this advice, can thinking negatively create depression,
most reply in the affirmative.

Negative thoughts do NOT cause depression. It is the other way round.


Can you think your way out of every health problem that you have? If you have a fracture, think your
way out of it. Heal your bones. If you have gastroenteritis or loose motions; heal it by thinking that your intestines will not initiate bowel movements so frequently! If you have accepted these illnesses, which
require medical treatment, then why do you not accept that depression is also an illness!

Depression leads to a change in the brain’s chemical functioning, thereby causing a loss of control over
emotions, thoughts, feelings, and/or behavior and that loss of control is not something which the
patient can regain by themselves. It requires external intervention by a specialist, an expert skilled in
understanding, identifying and advising the best possible way out.

If you do not even take your family member to consult a psychiatrist, you are harming them. You are
causing their condition to become worse. And you are in some ways, blaming them for having a problem
which in turn often compounds the negative thoughts, the loss of self-esteem and the loss of confidence
within young people.

Let me give you an example. Young men between the age of 20 to 25 are brought up in a very
masochistic world. A world where weaknesses and failures, are presented to them as non-male issues
and thus when faced with difficulty in achieving their goals (which are mental goals): Goals of
intellectual stability, goals of intellectual progress, goals of working in a job or building a business. These
young men are unable to even express that they have a difficulty and they are undergoing a problem.
Neither with the family nor with their friends. Forget them coming to see a psychiatrist. That is because
we have created an environment in our society where failures are not to be looked as solvable

But if those failures are not because of the person or despite them, should they not get the help that
they deserve and need.

If you bring such a person to me, I will not berate them, not scold them, not criticize them. I will
understand and explore what factors are leading to problems in emotions, thoughts, feelings and
behavior. If I do find any factor, which is under the young person’s control and can reasonably be
changed by them, then yes I would advise them to do so. But as with all conditions, there are multiple
factors involved and the majority of them are chemical : inside the brain and outside the control of the
human person itself. That is where our medicines help!

Medicines change, modify, restructure and facilitate the chemical environment in the brain which can
lead to much better control on our thoughts and feelings which in turn helps a person to be able to rid
himself or herself of suicidal thought, extremely negative thoughts like contemplating death, feeling
hopeless, worthless, having lost their self-confidence and not seeing a future that would be pleasing to

If medicines can bring them back from that sense of darkness, then why should you advise them not to
do so? Your “abuse” in the form of constantly berating them for what they cannot do, and on top of
that, advising them to take a walk, leave the bed, eat better, keep smiling, don’t think are all such
useless advice that I term them as “emotional abuse”

Try to put yourself in the young person’s shoes. How would you feel if somebody tells you not to think
when the brain inside you is constantly throwing words like useless, worthless, dumb, failure, death etc?
As an example, if I were to tell you not to think of the word elephant, what do you think would happen?
Most of you will accept that in fact the word elephant would come in more often than if I were not to
tell you not to think about it. Similarly, when you tell your loved one not to think, not to be tense, not to
worry; you are doing just the opposite. You are actually creating a milieu where because of the negative
connotation of worrying, the worry itself becomes an illness. Since you’re asking them to relax and they
are unable to relax, they become more tense. Because we’re asking them to go out and work but when
outside, they are feeling so uncomfortable that they come back inside the house, where you scold them!
Hence they’re caught in a difficult space, and often they will try and hurt themselves or end their life.

Please, I beseech family members and loved ones of persons suffering with Depression, to advise all
your close ones, to consult a psychiatrist and not to dismiss our advice to take medicine as frivolous.
Take depression seriously. Help your young people to get better.

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