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What is Depression, the Major Cause of Suicide

The number of people suffering from depression is increasing these days. Some of them commit suicide, making it a severe problem in Korea. What is depression?

Major depressive disorder is a mental disorder characterized by a persistent low mood that is accompanied by low self-esteem and by a loss of interest or pleasure even in enjoyable activities. It affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to variety of emotional and physical problems. People with depression have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities. And depression may make them feel as if life isn’t worth living. Depression isn’t a weakness, and it isn’t something that people can simply shrug off by saying, “I feel blue these days”. If people are diagnosed with depression, they can’t live their daily lives, or even eat.

DSM-5 (the most reliable diagnostic list for psychiatrists) describes the symptoms. If you have five of the following symptoms, you may be suffering from depression. 1. Irritable most of the day, nearly every day, as indicated by either subjective reports (e.g. feeling sad or empty) of observation made by others (e.g. appears tearful). 2. Decreased interest in most activities, most days. 3. Significant weight change or change in appetite. 4. Change in sleep patterns: Insomnia of hypersomnia. 5. Change in activity: psychomotor agitation or retardation. 6. Fatigue or loss of energy. 7. Guilt / worthlessness: Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt. 8. Concentration: diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness. 8. Suicidal tendencies: thoughts of death or suicide.

Depression is the most common cause of suicide. According to OECD statistics, Korea’s suicide rate is ranked No.1 in the world. It is considered Korea’s most severe social problem. There are many reasons: poverty, feeling left out, guilt; depression and worthlessness of life. Because of increasing suicide rates, Korea has considered countermeasures. One method was a “bridge of life” at the Mapo-bridge in Seoul. Words of encouragement were written at the bridge, such as “Don’t worry.” It became a popular site, and even a tourist attraction. But ironically, there has been a four-fold increase in suicide rates since it began. Because of this, we assume that stamping out depression requires human contact, and not just words on a bridge. In a study, people suffering from major depressive disorders usually reject other’s help, but actually want the opposite. They may cry inwardly, and desire others to save them.

* Source of article: DSM-5, www.mayoclinic.org/

Lim Se-jin  msjwk9497@naver.com

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